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My Maslow Journey - A newbie's Experience

After two and a half years of sitting on my Malsow, I finally worked through all of the projects ahead of it and it is up and running.

I wouldn’t have been able to build it without lurking on this forum and learning from everyone elses experience.

I’ll detail the steps I took and try and record all of the different data points I gathered from various spots so that it is one place that will hopefully help someone else down the line. All of this will be written while waiting for future cuts, so it may be a bit sporadic.

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Someone on Facebook asked for the test pattern gcode. It is attached with the dwg and svg file for anyone who wants to use it. The G-Code is set of 1/8" depth and a 3/16" bit. It was set to cut in the center point of the lines, so I think it will be fine with any bit.

Maslow Test.dxf (160.9 KB)
Maslow Test.tcw (31.5 KB)
Maslow Test.dwg (52.2 KB)
Test Pattern.nc (105.8 KB)

I’d add the svg, but it seems to be impossible to attach. It keeps showing me a picture of the file instead.

I made my measurements and found that a couple of lines made it difficult. Here is version 2 of the test cut pattern. I haven’t run it yet.

Maslow Test V2.dwg (52.2 KB)
Maslow Test V2.tcw (31.5 KB)
Maslow Test V2|690x345
Maslow Test V2.ai (49.8 KB)
Maslow Test V2.nc (105.2 KB)
Maslow Test with dimensions.tcw (36.5 KB)

For those interested. Here are the measurements from my first cut from the left hand side and top side of the board. I forgot to center the board before I started, hence the skewed numbers. It looks like I’m within a couple of mm for all measurements.First Cut Measurements.pdf (377.5 KB)

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There are lots of questions about the frame on the Maslow forum. I think that David Lang summarized it best in one post when he stated that most of the details don’t matter. As far as I can tell, these are the most important considerations:

  • The beam connecting the two motors should be at least 10’ apart. 12’ is preferred.
  • The top beam must be very stiff and shouldn’t flex.
  • The top beam should be level.
  • The wood being cut should be sitting at about 15 degrees from vertical
  • The support for the wood being cut should be exactly level with the top of the top beam to make the wood being cut level to the motors.
  • The support of the wood should be flush with the wood being cut so the sled can move to the edges of the wood.
  • The top of a 4x8 sheet being cut should be at least 16" from the top and should be level with the top of the beam.

If your design meets the criteria above. Just start building it.

I knew I wanted my Maslow connected to the wall so that I could move it out of the the way when not in use, but I didn’t think I could use a 12’ beam because the only available wall was 11’ long. I bought a 10’ uni-strut and started mounting the motors on the top of the C. I had extra long screws to go through both sides and realized that I bent the sides of the C together. I filled the gap at the motors so that they wouldn’t bend in the future and was ready to start building the rest of the frame.

If you are going to use uni-strut, make sure that the C channel is supported so you don’t bend the pieces together and warp them.

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thanks for documenting this, great job so far.

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I had some friends over and we started work on designing the frame. I hate construction lumber and we decided to use as little as possible. I finally chose a lvl beam for the top to make sure the motors didn’t change while in operation and to be the primary strength of the frame. We thought we could use it and a sheet of MDF to fight the construction lumber and keep everything as true as possible.

We built a basic rectangle with vertical 2x4’s in the middle and edges of the mdf, and then two more 8" to the left and the right (the width of my wall) so that I can add supports for cuts all the way to edge in the future.

Then we measured the horizontal distance between the boards and made identical top and bottom cuts between boards to keep everything square. The horizontal boards were inserted between the vertical boards and bolted together with pocket screws. We weren’t worried about strength because that would be covered by the mdf and lvl wood.

We screwed the mdf to the boards in the center and sides, then cut two identical boards to match the distance we wanted between the top of the mdf and the bottom of the lvl. We placed the two boards on top of the mdf, lined up the lvl to the boards, and added a couple of long screws through the lvl and frame to keep it in place for the next step

I drilled 1/2" holes through the lvl and frame every 2’, or so. I glued metal inserts into the holes so that I could move the motors out and in based on the material thickness used without worrying about the bolts eating into the holes and taking the lvl out of square with the mdf. I bolted it all together with carriage bolts and wing nuts.

I started with the wingnuts facing out and realized that was a problem because the chains would probably get caught on the nuts. So I took them out one by one and reversed them.

I then bought some 1 1/4" dowels and a 1 1/4" hole drilling bit and drilled holes every 4" along the bottom of the mdf, making sure I lined the drill up exactly each time so that the material would be level with the mdf.

Now I can pound in dowels wherever I need to support material. I drove a couple in, added the foam backboard and some 3/4" plywood, then flush cut the dowel to the material

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Thank you so much for developing and sharing this, it is really appreciated.

-Jeff

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We went to Lowes and Home Depot to look for a good system to mount the frame to the wall so that it could pivot out of the way when not in use, and have the 15 degree angle when in use. We decided to mount a 10’ chain link fence top rail (https://www.lowes.com/pd/Galvanized-Steel-Chain-Link-Fence-Top-Rail/999989216) and mount it to the frame with some tension straps. (https://www.lowes.com/pd/Blue-Hawk-Gray-Metal-Fence-Tension-Band-Chain-link-Fence/3160585).

I took some scrap 2x4 pieces and cut them about 2’ long. Then I used a hole-saw, jigsaw, or bandsaw to cut a u shape notch on the top of one side. I mounted the 2x4’s with the “u” facing the wall and facing the roof with some ledger bolts through the 2x4’s in the wall.

Amazingly, it was perfectly level when we lifted the frame into place. It lays flat against the wall when not in place.

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