Maslow Home Maslow Community Garden Newsletter

Maslow Create - Alpha Release 🎉

I’ve been talking about this CAD//CAM software I am working on for a while now and I keep thinking that I am almost ready to release it, but then there are always just a few more things on the todo list before it’s ready. Today I took stock and decided that there are at least a few more weeks of work before I think it’s ready which feels like too long (it turns out making your own CAD/CAM program is hard)…so I’m just going to release it right now now instead as a very buggy alpha and keep everyone up to date as it improves.

This way I can get feedback about what features everyone wants to see and prioritize, and share the development process.

What is Maslow Create and why am I making it?

The goal of Maslow is to make CNC accessible to more people, hopefully so they can make useful things like furniture and houses. Right now I see three things which I want to see improve with Maslow. We need better CAD/CAM software, we need to be able to cut faster, and we need the calibration process to be easier.

Why do we need a new CAD/CAM software? A lot of the software that is out there is expensive or difficult to use. There isn’t much software out there designed to encourage people to collaborate. The Maslow Community Garden was our first attempt at creating a space to collaborate (and it was a success with some amazing projects shared and built all over the world), but I want to take it a step further. The community garden has a bottle neck which is what type of file do you upload? A cad file from autodesk or solidworks? What if someone wants to make it who doesn’t have that program? A .svg file? Then everyone has to do the work of generating the tool paths again, and what if I want to change a parameter like the wood thickness? Should I upload my gcode? What if you want to use a different size bit?

My solution is that we need to create a new type of CAD program which borrows from open source programming instead of from the world of drawing. By borrowing from the world of logical languages instead of drawing we can create a CAD model which is like a program. It can be edited by multiple people at the same time, version controlled, and run by an end user to produce gcode that is ready to run based on their customized inputs. The goal is to make a program which is simple enough to let someone customize a chair for their body size in a few key strokes, but powerfully enough to let a group of people work together to design a house.

Rather than demand that everyone learn to program Maslow Create uses a graphical language. Maslow create is built on top of JSxCAD (which is itself build on jscad which is build on openSCAD…thanks everyone :heavy_heart_exclamation: ). Maslow Create is integrated with GitHub so projects are version controlled and support pull requests with 3D diffs automatically…but if that sounds scary you never have to go to GitHub. Because the back end is GitHub you get the benefits of a cloud based CAD program, but you maintain control over your own files always.

tldr:
Check out the alpha version of Maslow Create now at www.maslowcreate.org . I think it’s pretty self explanatory, it’s designed so that if you want to know what something does just click on it and it will tell you.You can find a User Guide in progress here: https://github.com/MaslowCNC/Maslow-Create/blob/master/README.md

Let me know what you think, and bear with me while I make it work fully.

17 Likes

If you are looking for an easy place to start, this project should explain the general overview https://maslowcreate.org/run/?187035413 . You should get a copy of it the first time you log in, but if that doesn’t work click the “create a copy” button on that page.

2 Likes

Linux MX / Firefox
I always get this picture in front of the program. Am logged in it still keeps showing up.
Is that normal?

3 Likes

This is an historical day!

5 Likes

Hmmm, that should go away once you login the first time. Will you open the browser console and let me know what it says? To open it from the keyboard: press Ctrl+Shift+J (or Cmd+Shift+J on a Mac)

1 Like

Looking forward to checking it out. I linked my github account, but I think my work computer is too restricted to go any further.

So excited! Thanks @bar!

2 Likes

Thanks @bar, it seems to have settled. For switching projects the new login request is normal i guess.

3 Likes

I am very excited about this. Bar, you are amazing. Thank you.

2 Likes

This is a great start! I have a feeling you’re going to be bombarded with feature requests

1 Like

Okay, I just created a circle and downloaded it as an SVG, which worked. My first MaslowCreate output (I’m so proud)! The question is, how do I display the circle on the screen? Screenshot below.

Edit: I just hit F5 to refresh my browser tab, which required me to log back in. When I re-opened the project and selected the circle, it showed up on the grid. So maybe my help request is the first feature request: dynamic display of new geometry in Firefox on Ubuntu.

2 Likes

Awesome!!!

It’s so cool to see it on other people’s screens :grin:

:thinking: Hmmm dynamic display should already be working. Any time you click on something it should preview it…but it’s still a little buggy and sometimes there is a delay between when you click and when it shows up depending on how much processing the program is doing in the background. If you can find a repeatable process to make the issue show up it would help me a lot to figure out what is going on

2 Likes

Something is missing or I am very dense.
I really have no options other than to open another project or move the view of the grid around.

Update, I’m starting to understand. I have to look for atoms and add them to the drawing. This will take a bit

Sorry there is a bit of a learning curve and no documentation. I will try to get a quick into video made asap

If you right click anywhere on the top half of the screen you will get the option to place an atom

3 Likes

Hey, it’s alpha. I can’t expect it to be intuitive yet. :smiley:
Functional first

2 Likes

Hey @bar! So happy to see how seriously you are playing this “game”!

I am away from my shop for months at a time, and just fired up the Maslow in the last 2 weeks. Every time I use it, I think of all the work you and many others have done to bring this technology to common folks like me (a retired, 70-something year-old guy who envies those that can make all these cool gadgets work). I am always thankful for you and this community.

Your introduction to this thread listing the three needs really hits the proverbial nail on the head. I would put calibration first, then software, then speed… My machine is presently running pretty tight, with straight lines, round circles, and dims that are within about 1 to 2 mm over 1000+ mm. This is the result mostly of persistance, dumb luck, and a lot of Forum reading. I know something will change, and I will need to recalibrate. All the work the community has done on the “Holey Calibration” and other approaches has been fantastic, but I have not had to go there yet. I have just enough Maslow understanding and knowledge to be dangerous… Diving into something new like that will come at a cost of many hours of fumbles, but I know success is in reach as long as I have access to the Forum.

I use Easel because it relatively easy, free, and does a pretty nice job making G-code that works. It is not a 3D or design tool (at least for me), and that’s OK for now, as most things I make are pretty conventional and are mostly in my head and on paper. I can be away from Easel for months at a time and come back and figure it out right away. It is great that you are unleashing the alpha version here, as the feedback will be a powerful force for positive development. I again will be away from the action for awhile, but will follow the conversation, and give Maslow Create a go sometime over the Summer. Will be watching for your promised video! Very exciting times for Maslow!

5 Likes

This really is amazing. And impressive. And when I think about where this could lead, I get so excited. Thanks for doing all this Bar.

3 Likes

Made me my first cylinder-rectangle boolean thingie and downloaded an stl of it, which I’ll 3d print later today, and keep as a historical relic! The learning curve so far is not half bad either, even without documentation. I don’t know much about how open scad works but it would help those of us who are more visual than programmatic to be able to rotate and translate objects with an on screen gizmo. The direct integration into GitHub is just beautiful, that and the fact that it works seamlessly with the Maslow Community Garden eco-system. This combination is going to expand the possibilities for collaborative design and open source making significantly because its connecting important dots in an elegant way. Which makes me think again about how a Maslow 3d printer would fit strongly into this suite of solutions, especially with what’s been demonstrated of Maslow’s potential for affordable housing with the PlyPad project. I remember a thread from months ago that explored this and I think mentioned Torbjörn Ludvigsen’s hangprinter as an example of what might be possible when evolving a 3d printer out of the existing Maslow paradigm. A complete Maslow Suite that facilitates collaborative design, CNC cutting and 3d printing and open source sharing of assets is just incredible. Sorry I’m repeating myself, but there is no overstating this ‘obvious’!

2 Likes

Given Maslow Create will be playing in a similar space to FreeCAD, I hope MC can dodge the user experience pitfall FreeCAD had to struggle with from the ground up to hasten adoption and potential to scale. I shared the alpha with a friend Sabu Francis who is an architect and software developer who created one of the earliest BIM software ever and deployed it in his firm in India since as far back as 1989. He had this to say (from the perspective of MC being deployed for architectural projects) and I thought to share in case it helps: “Nice. But it may be difficult at the scale of a building – and I think it is meant for a replacement to things like SolidWorks, etc. A building is the largest hard-disk ever. Unless there are compression algorithms such as fractals, buildings are hard to be coded the way mechanical engineering objects are done. Unfortunately, they got some success with mech. engineering and thought they could use the same approach for architecture. The original coders of Revit were Pro-engineer software developers. Today a Revit file can take easily 15 minute just to load and it can crash a 16gb i7 computer.”

1 Like

I agree, I think that scaling will be a challenge.

For something big like a house I don’t think we want to render the full house at full resolution. I’m imagining that as you zoomed in we will ramp up the detail on that part.

I am also imagining that that for something like a house you will never be starting from scratch. Create supports importing other projects as atoms so if you want to put a sink in a house you would probably be placing a sink designed by someone else in the design. That doesn’t necessarily make things smaller it just means a lot of little files rather than one file, but I think there are ways to do some compression there.

For something big like a house I’m imagining that there will be something akin to a “compile” step to export all of the cut files. I wouldn’t mind waiting 15 minutes or even 15 hours to generate all of the cut files for the hundreds of parts to build it. The key will be making sure the UI is responsive when you are editing in any one area of the house.