Realistic expectations of the Maslow cnc

Looking forward in a few months to receiving my kit and start creating. I am massively appreciative of all the hard work being done by everyone in this community but whilst I realise this is an evolving project I am starting to get concerns regarding expectations of accuracy and speed that would affect for example the use of the Maslow as a professional machine.

I work with other materials such as perspex/acrylic and aluminium conposite but have not been able to see much evidence of the Maslow being used with other materials.

So my concern is whether or not the Maslow is a machine capable of producing professional work, with acceptable industrial speeds?

It was not intended to be an industrial machine but rather a hobbyist affordable maching. :+1: But it is capable of cutting aluminum and other materials. One person made an aluminum engine surround for his pickup I believe and Bar made a video of other materials cut with the Maslow! Have fun experimenting and we will all answer questions the best we can.

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I think everything is in the direction of each persons perspective. It has been stated here. This is a Hobby machine. I started out with CNC routing to make chairs. 1 simple design, basically a box with a back rest added to it. I was very concerned about the way the motor is mounted. By hand I can flex the mounts. However the “standard” setup is not making fast transitions and I could see when I started testing that once under a load they are not going to move much. The point is to make my chairs it would excel. But then my mind started to wonder to making 8 ft tall lettering, more like 7.5 foot. This would push the bounds of what it can do based on other peoples input. It has been demonstrated doing very well at smaller lettering, there is a phenomenal pone case that has been done. So it depends.

I built a $1000 3D printer kit when they first happened in the home market. You could in no way compare the out put of that printer next to a $50k established 3D printer. I’ve used both.

In the same manner you can’t expect to have a $350 kit perform in the same manner as a $20k CNC router.

It depends on how you want to make this work for you. On the POD project Bar and Hanna demonstrated the power of using the Maslow to make Templates and using the templates with a traditional router to quickly reproduce a part multiple times.

The old racing adage - Speed is just a matter of money. How fast do you want to go?

the other - Speed, Quality, Cost - You can only pick 2

It is a good question and a good discussion. The real question is what is your business model? then we can look at how the Maslow could fit or not fit that model.

I could make a business out of my chairs. I could use the Maslow as part of the workflow to aid in making them. I would use more traditional methods to cut stock to size for instance. Then mount it on the Maslow. In this way I could be probably 400% more efficient then making a file then mounting a full sheet and having the Maslow do the entire job. Less labor but more time. Also if I were doing this as a real business, I’d have 3 Maslows to start. A relationship with Maslow to keep track of what parts I might need to replace to keep 2 machines working at all times.

I base my answer on what we know today. Over time the Maslow could become an entirely different machine depending on the community and the company. I was part of improving 3d printing and my designs have made it into many commercial products.

As provided the Maslow is not intended to replace professional industrial products. I’m going to state my opinion and para-phrase Bar I think - I think the intention of the Maslow is to bring a tool that was out of the price range of many hobbyist that have a skill set to use it but not the finical means to justify owning one to that hobbyist level.

In a perfect world this would be a tool to start a business and boot strap through ingenuity and workflow creating the financial structure to afford and justify moving to and industrial tool.

As always I hope this information is useful. I’m not here to decide for other people, I’m here to try to help and inform and let people decide what is right for them.

Thank you


in short


The maslow is nowhere close to acceptable industrial speeds. It isn’t designed
to be a fast machine, it’s designed to be a cheap machine for home use. It costs
around $500 with the router, while heavy duty industrial machines can run
$200,000, and even the very low-end shopbot machines can run close to $20,000.

Accuracy is improving as we improve the software (and move towards triangular
kinematics), but the initial goal of being within 1/64" is a very tight limit,
and we are not there yet, and it’s still an ambitious goal to get to that point.

a shopbot can cut up to 700 in/min with accuracy claiming 0.002 in, the maslow
can cut up to 35 in/min with an current accuracy of 0.04 (aiming for 0.015), so
the shopbot is ~20x faster and ~20x as accuracte (with us aiming to get this to
~10x as ccurate), for about 40x the price (the shopbot is actually faster than
this indicates as it can take a deeper cut at that higher speed)

And I’ll say again that the shopbot is not really considered an industrial
machine. The really serious industrial machines will spend $30k-50k on the
vaccum pump to hold the wood being cut down to the machine, and the machine can
cut out the work as fast as a person can load the wood and remove the cut

The maslow is not trying to compete with such machines, it’s looking to bring
the capability to work with large sheets of plywood to the home shop.

Yes, the Maslow can produce professional work, but you can produce professional
work eith a handheld router, no CnC involved, so in part it depends on how you
define ‘professional’ work. Some of the pieces that people have posted pictures
of would qualify as ‘professional’ in anyone’s book, but it depends on the
requirements of the task you are working on.

As far as cutting things other than wood, the maslow will cut anything that you
could normally cut with a heavy duty handheld router. Things that are easy to
melt are going to give you more grief, just like they would if you were using a
handheld router on them.

David Lang


This thread brings to mind something I have been wondering about.

I know that Bar and others have used Maslow to produce Opendesk designs.

With the current .04 accuracy mentioned above, have people found that that is enough accuracy to produce all Opendesk designs, or are there certain types of designs that don’t turn out well with the current accuracy?

For example, if there are designs that have lots of notches and tabs that need to line up, is that likely to encounter issues?

Are their tricks/tips that people have found to make such designs more likely to succeed? Like adding a little more margin in places that could then be sanded to fit, or something like that?

I kind of have a dream of producing much of the furniture for a house, and just wondering if I should adjust those dreams to target only certain types of pieces due to current accuracy issues?



The current accuracy is within 1mm or so of ideal, that’s in the range of
variation of one sheet of plywood from another, and well in the range of what is
routinely sanded off of wood to make things fit just right.

So nobody has reported having problems (at least not with the triangular
kinematics) after the initial calibration.

I’ve had good luck with large shapes and cuts through the entire piece, but pockets have been a problem for me. If I have something complex with a lot of pockets at exact depths to cut, I still have to use a smaller cnc table (GR3 2x4 foot). I, and others are working on z axis mods, but even then I suspect there will be a little clean up work involved. I don’t think it is unreasonable to think you could do all the furniture in a home. You will just have to be clever with your design and design around the limitations of your machine.

As for speed, I don’t think we’ll ever see an ultra fast Maslow.


I can’t answer the Opendesk question yet. What I can say is I have experience making things all my life.

Wisdom - is defined as knowledge plus experience.

Each Maslow being a kit is somewhat unique. It will depend on the builder how accurate it is.

I know people with great skills and knowledge that spend more time tuning then making. While they may have better numbers or measurements, their instrument may not perform as well as another.

Basically I’ve seen others spend grate amounts of time tuning a 3D printer and while all their numbers are “correct” they read all of the information they can not consistently get results from their printer.

Others who tinker and observe the results of trial and error are able to take the same printer and get print after print out of it without any measurements, their experience allows them to adjust and work with issues that arise.

So different people with get different results.

Tabs not lining up for one person is the end of the project. For me it’s a challenge to my skills.

I will draw a parallel in my own lack of seeing a better path to a solution. My goal was and is to use the Maslow to go through the steps most will based on the information on “how to assemble”. I got caught up in the accuracy of the “temporary sled” and the “final sled”. Then someone posted here - “I think I’ll skip it - I’ll just make a final sled by hand as I’m much faster at it.” It reminded me I’m the maker and I should not rely only on that automated tools. I can do both - Make one by hand and one by Maslow and choose the better of the two.

So if I made a OpenDesk design and the tabs didn’t line up. I’d just fix it by hand. This is subtractive manufacturing it doesn’t mean you can’t add back to it. It’s the difference between making things as a Craftsmen and making what others tell you you can make.

All of the furniture on OpenDesk could be made with an Inkjet Printer and hand tools. Indeed I’m sure there are people in this forum with more skill than me that could make great furniture buy hand. The Maslow will allow us to use our energy and industry differently.

I’ve said different so many times I’m reminded of the Apple ad campaign “Think Different”

So let’s all be part of something different.

Thank you

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@dlang thanks for putting that in perspective, and for passing along that nobody has reported problems (assuming triangular kinematics). That makes me feel more confident.

@Bee Thanks for sharing your experience. And for sharing your perspective on measuring versus making, that’s really helpful to keep in mind.

I’ve been fretting a bit over not wanting to ruin a piece of baltic birch plywood, or getting results that I’m not happy with, whereas I should probably relax and enjoy the challenge/adventure of making it work one way or another.

Thanks for sharing your experience with pockets.

I hadn’t heard of the GR3 CNC machines before, just looked them up now and they look pretty solid.

And yes, I’m not expecting Maslow to be fast. I’ll happily trade speed for accuracy at this stage with my budget and goals. =)


If I can make one observation it is this. In it present form you are correct it will not function at industrial speeds and yes it is targeted at a hobbyist level but that is not to say that is where it will ultimately reside.

The fundamentals of the system are solid in terms of CNC processing, Kinematics, motor control CAM. All the fundamental building blocks are there and consistent with CNC technologies with one fundamental advantage - All the development is open and new ideas are rapidly reviewed and incorporated. A point in case is the work on the chain coupling mechanics. Once nailed this will deliver the first step change in improvements.

In its present form there are things that can be improved but this will happen organically over time as the community works to solve issues and make enhancements but the focus is currently affordable, accessible CNC technology that is simple to put together and start making things. In the mean time the system is functional and further contributions will only extend its capability.

What makes this project special (at least for me) is that all the development is open. I can explore, learn and make improvements. There is a community that you can float ideas with and not be judged.

Over time there is no doubt the electronics platform will outgrow the Arduino and replace it, motors will be upgraded to meet new capabilities and the chain mounting system will continue to improve.

As more knowledge is accumulated commissioning and tuning will be documented readily available and automated to improve accuracy and hence capability.

From my perspective I hope to be manufacturing wiki house components on the Maslow CNC in the short term and helping to provide people with affordable housing then progress with my own modular designs. I am confident this can be done on the Maslow CNC otherwise I would not be investing my time understanding the system, its capabilities and future enhancements.

I hope this will inspire you to keep going and think up the next big new idea with the knowledge that things will keep getting better.

Kind Regards Stuart


I think this is a super important question, and it’s definitely something that keeps me up at night. I think everyone already did a great job of covering it, but I’m going to repeat them anyway.

My goal with Maslow has never been to compete with industrial machines. The goal is to make a machine which lets me make things that would have been too difficult or time consuming to make by hand. The goal is to help make things that would have been difficult or impossible to make with hand tools like a jig saw.

The dish rack I made a couple weeks back is a good example of this. I’m not planning to make my living building dish racks, but I did want to make one. Making it by hand would be tedious, and doing the design digitally let me make a couple versions to test things like how wide the slots should be to properly hold my plates.


To be 100% honest, I would never have made minecraft weapons for my kids let alone the rocking chair I’m working on had it not been for Maslow. Honestly, I wouldn’t have bothered to “just do it” by hand and probably just kept watching TV or doing my other hobbies (most involve sitting in front of a computer). But being able to build something with a robot… now you’re talking! Now I have something to make me move around and sweat even. Maslow is actually rather inspiring… thank you to all that have toiled over it.

P.S. Can someone invent a sandbot? I don’t really enjoy sanding :slight_smile:


make a new sled for the maslow that holds a random orbital sander, you don’t
need a z-axis, and the path to cover the material should be simple enough that
you can just hand-code the g-code.


Would it be an idea to strap a sander on a sled?

Power feed drum sander? Hire a neighbor kid?

The random orbital on a new sled has been discussed before, but it doesn’t sound too hard. Hand write some gcode to sand back and forth, and don’t let it stop somewhere you care about - or use a relay on the spindle on/off commands and still keep it moving until it stops.

Well, it was more of an issue of sanding edges and rounding out corners more than the face. The comment was a bit in humor. :wink:

a round routerbit could produce nicer edges then sanding.