Maslow plotter, or getting used to Maslow without spoiling wood

I had the idea to use a pencil or marker to practice the movement of the machine without damaging wood or bits.

So, I designed a small modular marker holder that fits into the current setup. The concept is that the black part is secured into the acrylic dust shield and rests on the sled. The red part can be screwed into the black one and has different versions for various pencil sizes. The spring is used to raise the marker from the paper when the router moves up.

It’s not perfect and more of a proof of concept, but I got excited and wanted to share my initial results. It would be fun to use the Maslow as a giant plotter.

The only drawback is that most markers are slightly too tall to fit between the router and the dust shield, so I had to trim the marker a bit. I have already found some very small markers online, so while I’m waiting for them to arrive, I will continue with the ones I have.

My first tests are only with the UI controls. I haven’t tested with G-code yet.

And I wasn’t the only one with this idea this week :slight_smile:


Would you share your 3d model and source for the very small markers?

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Yes, no problem. I will first do some extra clean-up and make some little tweaks, and then I will share them. It will probably be tonight or tomorrow.
Do you want the STLs or also the source (.step or other format) files?

The markers I’m using now are these:

The small ones are those pills and eggs markers, although they are not exactly the colours I was looking for

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If it is a work in progress and you’d like help tweaking the design, then both STL and STP would be useful. Thank you! I’m excited and hope this works well - it would be so nice for testing.


As an alternative for the pen, I found this style refillable paint marker. I am thinking if the tips can be sourced, it would be fairly easy to design a bottle that is customized for this install with the right matching threads and shape to fit the router collect (probably print with TPU).

Refillable Paint Marker


@Bob_Craig very interesting idea to create your own refillable pens! This would provide a lot more options for a wider variety of colours and maybe even different pen tips. It would also address the issue that most markers are too large.

I have completed an updated version of my design and I am quite pleased with it. I have not yet tested it in the machine, I hope I have time this weekend, but it should function the same as the previous version.

I modified the design to lock the spring into the marker holder. This change makes it much easier to install and switch markers. Additionally, I removed some unnecessary features and made some other small tweaks to the adapter.

Please feel free to download and test it, or make improvements to the designs.

Maslow Marker adapter.3mf (683.2 KB)
Maslow Marker adapter.step (1.1 MB)

I also received those pill markers I shared, so I’m going to make an extra adapter to use them too. I’m not super happy about the flashy colours, but they have a better size to easily fit under the router.

I made a small video to show the assembly process.

Just a thought, but enabling an angled marker holder would not only have the obvious effect of alleviating the length issue, but it would also facilitate chisel tips for calligraphy.

Yes 100%!
I also had the same thought when I was trying to install the marker between my adapter and the router.:smiley:

The only easier thing with the straight marker is that now I use the Z to push the marker onto the paper. However, that can probably be fixed with some extra modifications.

Maybe something for v3 of the adapter :wink:

These basic concepts look relatively promising. It’d just be a matter of getting the angle to be acceptable for the malsow’s shape.

Would also potentially be good to have an adjustable angle, so chisel tips can be adjusted for instead of needing another adapter per angle.


Wouldnt the marker be blocked by the sled at those angles?

Potentially, yes.

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I like those! Are they your designs?

Without the dust cover, this would work pretty well, I think. And there’s no need for a dust cover when using the Maslow as a plotter anyway.

What are the pros and cons of having the pen in the middle of the sled? Why not just mount to the side of the sled, to the riser supports or something

Nope. From a cursory google search to see if the engineering problems had already been solved. Should just be a design adjustment to make it fit the space required.

For me, I wanted to get used to the movement of the machine. I have no experience with CAM software, so before I waste a bunch of wood and maybe bits, I can use a marker to see how my designs scale and where they are positioned on the work area. So then it’s important to have the line at the same spot as the router.

To use the Maslow as a plotter, probably not.
EDIT: I was just thinking that the sled is not always correctly oriented, so it would be difficult to create an accurate drawing when the sled turns slightly to the left or right. So that would be a con.

Ah the sled orientation moving…, great point

I really like your design.

I found this marker body on Thingiverse (Art Marker - Takes Copic nibs by Oic0 - Thingiverse). If I have time this weekend, I plan to shrink the body down, add a 1/4 shaft that can fit into the router collet and give it a try (I ordered some Copic nibs and ink off of Amazon).

If the printed marker works, I could imagine combining the body design with your mount and have a pretty slick solution that wouldn’t require cutting down markers.

James Presnail wrote:

What are the pros and cons of having the pen in the middle of the sled? Why
not just mount to the side of the sled, to the riser supports or something

The sled may rotate during use, so if it’s not in the center, it’s not marking

David Lang

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Just realized, this also nukes any chance of using it for calligraphy.

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Ah yes, that’s true.
Or not if someone is happy with a funky calligraphy style. :wink:
It might be possible with a counterweight that keeps the pen straight, but I think we are overcomplicating things.

Hahaha, that brings us to Maslow’s hammer, I suppose.
I was looking for that famous quote, and I had no idea it was named Maslow’s hammer. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: