Thanks for making this a great and welcoming forum for users of all levels of experience.
I ended up getting what was one of the last batch of kits from Bar and Hannah last year. Due to some major life changes and then a move to a new house, I never had a chance to build it until now. I’m finally getting set up in my new garage and itching to build the Maslow, which brought me back to many nights of reading on the forums. But also many questions…
Before I get to my question, coming from a tech background myself (but more on the business side), I wanted to offer my one-time-only virgin eyes. That is to say, while I’ve been doing my best to follow the forums for months, and learn the theory, I still haven’t cracked open the package and started building. This gives me a unique opportunity to provide detailed feedback on a build using the latest info, and maybe help improve the documentation and FAQ.
I know that once you get in to something it can be hard to remember what it was like when you “didn’t know” where to start, making new eyes valuable to “fill in the blanks” for those that come after us. I hope I can help in this regard by asking questions and carefully cataloging answers and sharing the results back with the group.
THE FRAME & CHAIN
From what I have been able to determine, it appears the current thinking is that a 12 foot top beam (ideally in metal or does it matter?) will yield the best calibration results. Is this correct?
It sounds like the actual design I choose is more preference and available space, so will likely go with the modified regular design with the plywood storage as that is a great combo and I need some sheet storage.
Assume this is correct, I believe I will need to source two new lengths of chain as the chain in the kit will be too short. Is there a recommended source of specification for the chain or can I get it from any local bike or hardware supply shop?
With a 12’ frame is 11’ 6" the recommended motor spacing?
OTHER COMPONENTS & Pi
I see various “upgrades” have emerged, like a new motor control shield with higher amp support and various other bits and pieces. Would you recommend any “must have” upgrades, given what the community has learned and developed over the past 6-12 months?
Also, for a control device, is a RaspberryPi 3B sufficient or should I scavenge up some PC parts and make a proper PC? I have an old laptop here, how much fire power is required?
Originally I purchased the Ridgid router but ended up returning it as I was able to get the Maximum brand from Canadian Tire on sale for less than half the cost, and I see various people using it successfully with minimal modification.
I also have a much smaller (but lovely) Makita RT0701C trim router that originally I was told wouldn’t be powerful enough, but I have since seen a number of people mention using it successfully. Any guidance on which way to go? The Makita appears to offer more precision and I do have the plunge base for it as well as the fixed based, if relevant ( https://www.makitatools.com/products/details/RT0701CX3 )
Should I build with the 12’ beam and use the normal GroundControl and calibration or jump straight to the branch with the Holey Calibration from the start? I would like the most precise experience currently available.
WORK SIZE & WORK HOLDING
I understand the top center and lower outside edges are where most of the accuracy issues normally arise. I currently have a Volvo XC90 that is surprisingly versatile for carrying wood but I am constrained to 42" wide. Without my home-made bed extender I can go ~ 42" x 78" for a sheet (cut down at store). With my bed extender I believe I can go 42" x 96".
Given that the size of sheet I can easily carry is already constrained in size, if centered on the work area (both horizontally and vertically), would I actually be ok with the 10’ beam and the stock chains and still have good accuracy? I don’t really want to build the frame twice, so my inclination is to just go 12’ from the outset, but I was curious given my constrained sheet size.
In the same vein, I saw someone did a neat “camera iris” style, four sided work holding clamp system. Are there are formal recommendations on how to secure the work pieces?
SAFETY & BUNGEE CORDS
I can’t quite tell if a move to 12’ beam removes the bungee cord requirement, which I believe some have had some safety concerns with (bungees letting go etc). Are there any other safety best practices or learnings that I should incorporate as I go about building my Maslow?
I did get the original Z-Axis kit included with mine (need to double check). Is the stock sled and z-axis fine or should I consider a different sled design (or material)? I see multiple references to a “chinese c-beam z-axis” but haven’t been able to find a link yet to see what that is. I believe going Makita would take me in that direction?
SOUND DEADENING AND DUST COLLECTION
I’ve seen one or two photos of large plexiglass overlay shells to help with sound deadening and dust collection. Now that many months have passsed, how have those worked out if you have one? I am a lot more careful with my hearing these days and given the long operating hours to cut a project I’d like to keep it as quiet and clean as possible.
I currently use SketchUp for my woodworking projects and I really enjoy it but it seems it is not a great fit for the Maslow workflow. I know Fusion360 is recommended, and I should really take a look. I am having an MFT style detailed top made by a local CNC shop and they recommended I export from SketchUp and build up the CNC appropriate file in Rhino3D (https://www.rhino3d.com/). Yeegawds I just saw the price and my eyes are watering. Nonetheless, has anyone else here used it for Maslow work? Trying to find the shortest path that works with my SketchUp style brain.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU CAN SHARE
If you have anything else you can share about your build and set up experience I would love to hear it. Thanks for reading this far!