Making bee hives - can I use different sized board with Maslow?

I have a beekeeping business where I build and sell bee hives. A CNC machine would save me a lot of time and money. Might be a silly question, but can I cut smaller sized boards like 1"x12"x8’ using the Maslow? Or is it best to get all my pieces from a 4’x8’ piece of plywood? I know one can adjust the cutting area, but that would probably take a lot of time changing it from one size board to the next. So basically, is it just easier to plan out all my pieces on the 4’ x 8’ plywood or is the Maslow easily adjustable so that I can use other 1x boards.

Thanks for any help you can give.

Jimmy Nguyen

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I know one can adjust the cutting area, but that would probably take a lot of time changing it from one size board to the next

I’m not sure what types of cutting you plan to do. If its just a series of cross cuts (say to cut down a 1"x12"x8’ board into a series of smaller pieces), then a circular saw will be significantly better. Do you have an example of cuts you are trying to make?

Here’s an example of a bee hive someone made using maslow:

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But, to answer your question directly, as long as you have something the same thickness surrounding the thing you are cutting to support the sled, you can cut from a piece of any size. To be safe you want to support the sled for one radius. On a stock sled that is 9 inches. So, if you put a 1 x 10 or a 1 x 12 above and below the piece you are cutting, you will be fine.

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Thanks y’all. The top bar hives I build can be found here on my website: I was hoping to do some finger joints for the 4 main pieces that make up the hive body with some pocket holes so that customers could assemble my hives themselves. That way I can flat pack it and save lot of money on shipping.

Then there are some of the more difficult pieces like the actual top bars: This requires me to cut a pocket into 3/4" wood and then glue a triangular piece into it as a comb starting guide.

I have used a shopbot to make these items before and am trying to become more familiar with a Maslow. I am of the thinking that the Maslow does not use 4’ x 8’ plywood as a backing like the Shopbot mdf table. Or could you attach different 1x pieces to the 4x8 plywood with screws or clamps and use the 4x8 as a permanent backing?

If not, I still would consider making most of my pieces from sanded 3/4" plywood if the cuts were relatively fast. For example, how long would it take to cut 11.25" x 48" piece with four finger joints in it from a 3/4" piece of plywood?

Thanks again for your time.

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I would say that generally, it would take much longer for maslow to do the cut than if you did it by hand with appropriate tools/jigs. what you may want to consider doing is using maslow to create templates that you could then do the routing yourself by hand. This would allow you to speed up production if that’s what you are looking to do. Here’s an example on template use that @bar put together for a picnic table:


A little OT but your website is nice!

You could also use the maslow to carve a logo into part of a board, add decorations or personalizations…

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Thanks ShadyG. It took me a while to build it. Now I just got to move some more product. I think for now I’ll just use a jig for the box joints and top bars. I was thinking of making a wood branding iron for the logo to go on the hives.

I’ll try to sell enough to move on to a shapeoko or xcarve. Whichever is faster, so I can just press a button and sit back.

Jimmy –

I recently needed to carve words into 1x12x36" boards and what I ended up doing was similar to what @Jim_Penny said but then I did it only on 3 sides so that I could make it a jig so that I would just take one board out and replace with another, I think I ended up using it for at least 20 boards.

For what I was doing I needed to make sure that I either never changed where home position was, or made a mark so that I would know exactly where I needed to move the home back to. This also allowed me to do designs with different bit sizes so that I would have 1 home position and I could align all of my boards for 1/8" bit and then a 2mm bit (some I used a 1/16") but if you make it a jig you can do a lot of cool stuff just make sure you don’t change that jig haha.

That being said, I just did this for the front of the pieces that I was making where I needed to have a nice carved words. The sides, top/bottom, and back were all cut on a table saw which like @madgrizzle said is much faster than the Maslow for straight cuts. The sides of my box however I wanted rounded over so I ended up making a template (again as previously stated) and then used a transfer router bit to quickly and accurately hand route these.

It goes back to what are you wanting it to do, do you want it to be like an X carve where it can do most of it but you will have to put multiple pieces in? Do you want to cut it all out of 1 sheet? Or do you want speed, which would be by hand (at least for me personally, I can be much quicker with a good jig than even an X carve)

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Thanks @ChrisB. So the three boards that surrounded the piece you wanted to carve was screwed onto the 4x8 plywood sheet? Making the thickness of both pieces 1 1/2". And then the Z-axis or router was adjusted accordingly?

Sorry, the only thing I’m not clear about is the 4x8 piece of plywood. Can that be used as your backing on which you screw down or clamp down other boards?

Yeah, I’m torn. A CNC machine would definitely let me be more creative, but I have to make sure it’ll save me time/labor costs. I think if I hire an employee, a CNC machine might make it easier for them to do the cuts by just lining everything up and pushing a button.

For me, I just screwed in 3 scrap boards of same thickness to my spoil board. and then changed out the board to be cut each time. However, now that I think about it, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea to have a jig built onto say a 1/2" piece of ply so that you could move it on and off so long as you clearly mark where your sled needs to be homed to.

Haha, that’s what you call it - a spoil board. Sometimes getting the terminology is key when entering a new forum. What size spoil board do you use and what thickness? Does it matter much? Say for ease of setup, I started with a smaller spoil board (4’x4’), but then wanted to move up to (4’x8’). Would it be hard to change? I’m guessing I would have to take everything down and build a new frame?

Thanks for the tips.

That would depend upon how you build the frame, the one I have at work is a 4’x8’x3/4" (slightly larger because it is mdf) with a few screws holding it into the frame so it might take me a couple of minutes to change it out.

My personal one is a little more in depth because I build a steel frame and did insert nuts so I would have to get those holes back into the exact same place. But if you have either of the stock frames it should just be a few screws to change out the spoil board.

Edit: As a side note, I would build you frame full size, even if you just want a 4’x4’ initial cutting surface because it seems the wider your motors the more precision you can get out of the middle of the cutting area.

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You could first cut a square or rectangle out that was consistent with the board you will be using. This would give you a fixed format when placing your blank workpiece in the pocket.