Sense check - smaller frame

New guy here; Hi!

I am excited to get my Maslow kit. Being a computer CNC kinda guy, I’m pretty comfortable and got all the electronics running quickly - what I’m asking is for a sense check on my planned smaller frame.

I’ve done the math and everything to check out, but experience often beats math. I’m going for a 5x4 foot (trying to be empirical for you blokes in the US) with an 8 foot top bar, 18 inches above the cut area.

The numbers look like this:

If I’ve done my research right, @bar you numbers say I’m in a good space. I have limited space and, being in NZ, will be going the Bosch route. < bad joke

Welcome any suggestions for improvement! For context, I really on have that width to play with, my workshop is in a very confined space but a 5x4 cut area should do everything I need.


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That will be better than the stock frame, but not as good as a stock frame with a 12’ top beam, if you can make your motors any further apart, it will significantly help that min force value, which will help in the bottom corners.

Thanks for the quick reply @bar !

What would be your gut-check min force number? I think a guiding number could make the spreadsheet a more useful guide. Loving it so far!


the higher the better :slight_smile:

unfrotunantly it’s not a hard cut-off, it’s a matter of the higher it is, the
more accurate it is in the bottom corners (and the faster you can move)

an extra foot on each side roughly doubles this value.

That said, you need to fit the machine in the available space, but the wider you
can make it the better.

David Lang


@dlang is right, it’s not a hard cutoff. Higher is better, but it will depend on things like the weight of your sled. I actually don’t think I made that spread sheet :grinning:

Also, you have a 6x4 workspace in the spreadsheet, not 5x4. That might help your values.

Thanks @garrett1812 just waiting on my final sled weight now, but numbers are looking good. The frame will be last; I think this is a sensible move so I can dial in all my parameters.

Modding the router today, and a MASSIVE thank you to @Ned and his ingenious Bosch 1200 hack. Works like a charm, I just need to be bold and take the handles off now.

Loving my Maslow adventure so far! Much respect to the community.


OK, final sense check. These look good to me, but you guys are the experts - how do these values look?

min force 6.68
max force 30.00
min angle14.77
max angle 75.22

I ended up here - 6x4ft cutting area.

Dooooo-iiiitttt. Dooooo-iiiiitttt.

Your warranty is void, so go right ahead. Also, you might have to grind off the metal nubbin in the lower centre of your photo. It might bind on the ring.

Done! Sheesh - felt stressful, but worth it!

Well everyone said the machine cuts best in the center. lets say the middle 2x2 ft. if you plug in the number for a 24x24 work area then you get force values that are 11.4 to 16.5. therefore it makes sense that the machine should cut very well when the force is at least 11 or above. at least to me lol.

a 12’ long top beam with 30" height 26 lb sled and 4x6 canvas gets you 11.1 in the corners. frame will look pretty big compared to your small work surface, but should in theory give best result.s

Well everyone said the machine cuts best in the center. lets say the middle 2x2 ft. if you plug in the number for a 24x24 work area then you get force values that are 11.4 to 16.5. therefore it makes sense that the machine should cut very well when the force is at least 11 or above. at least to me lol.

the problems in the bottom corners are two things

  1. chain sag, the long chains sag and the stock calculations don’t account for
    that. Holey calibration does.

  2. low force to mvoe the sled towards the corners, which can cause the sled to

a 12’ long top beam with 30" height 26 lb sled and 4x6 canvas gets you 11.1 in the corners. frame will look pretty big compared to your small work surface, but should in theory give best result.s

what is the max force in the top center? the stock motors have trouble there.

David Lang

33.8 top center value
if sled weight is 23.5, max and min become 30 and 10 respectively

How is this working for you? I am about to purchase one, but a smaller frame would be better for me. I think the frame would fit in my space, but I can’t get a 4x8 sheet into my space without hacking it up first.
I’m trying to determine if I should make a smaller frame or just deal with the full size frame that would never be fully used.
I think my biggest concern is calibrating it for a smaller frame and it looks like you’ve done the hard part.
Thank you!

Hi @Red5 and welcome :slight_smile:

I’m a bit of a noob here too, but I couldn’t be happier with what I’ve learned. I am extremely happy with my setup and I hope the following makes sense to you and helps.

My entire workspace is 8 x 8 feet and, like you, I can’t get a full sheet in there - as a kicker, I have NO flat area to calibrate anything… seriously, how do I get 15 degrees on my frame!? So here’s what I arrived at:

  1. The wider the top bar the better, and the higher from the cut top the better. For ME this meant I could only go 8 feet wide, so let’s go high (oh, did I mention I only have 6 feet height).
  2. You can mess with @dlang s spreadsheet a lot and get a good idea of how things stack up to the “stock” frame. There’s no fast and hard rule here, just “try to beat the stock frame”. I spent a lot of time here…
  3. And this is the most important learning - start by starting.

For ME, I went 8 ft top bar, used @dlang bolt together frame Bolt Together Maslow Frame with added top and bottom supports for the ply, and went for a 6ft space between my uprights. The bolt design meant my angles were right (no flat area remember) and all I’d really done is make it narrower. I did break from the bolt plan by cutting off the pieces that stuck beyond the front beams and drop my cutting area so it was 1/2 the width of my sled from the ground (giving me as much height from the bar to the cut - I couldn’t go up remember). There are some pics here: Couldn't be happier

I knew I was making a few compromises, but I also compensated. My cuts are awesome, but I go low and slow; I’m a pretty patient guy and (here’s where I go all metric on you) I cut at 500mm per min with a 2mm drop (I use a 2-flute 6mm up-cut at 10k RPM). Never going to set a speed record here, but I really should post more pics - I’ve got what I need out of my Maslow. My advice: never walk away, take a couple of beers and just be patient.

Note: I’m using the full-length chains. This isn’t ideal and I should really address it - I’m using the bungees, which I cut to 1/3, so my chain setup is rubbish (look at the pics) but by going slow I can watch everything and, at times, I stand with my finger guiding them. I ALWAYS wear safety gear, specifically ear and eye protection. I also have a cheap shop vac to suck out the debris - a must in my book.

I’ve maybe done 200 hours of cutting now. Never let me down. I had a couple of USB connection issues, turning WiFi off on my laptop solved those immediately.

Top to bottom my cut variance, even in the corners (my cut area is 4 x 5 ft, realistically I only need 4 x 4) is < 0.5mm. @bar and @dlang always say Maslow is “good enough” - I think they undersell it or some people’s expectations are clearly a lot higher than mine.

I started on this path for one reason, and here’s what I wanted to do:

It was originally a weird cavity under our TV, now it’s not and has storage behind it. Everything from here is just gravy :smiley:

Does that make sense? I remember feeling a little lost too. You’re NOT making a bad decision here if you’ve got a little patience :wink:

(A few edits for grammar, preciseness and context)

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Thanks Peteinakl!

This is what I needed to hear. I’ve been doing some more reading on the forums and feeling a bit more confident.
Your experience is really helpful too. It’s great to learn from other people’s mistakes :slight_smile:
I just ordered mine and I’m thinking about how to set it up. I think I can do 8-10’ wide without any problems, but I have to be mindful of the overhead space. Luckily I have a bit more headroom than you do! Now I’m curious if I could fit a 4x6’ size ply sheet down there, but 4x4 won’t be a problem.
And thanks for using the Metric system. It’s so much easier than Imperial. :slight_smile:

Hello - first time posting. read up on the Maslow and these forums before buying kit. I think maybe I did not read enough. I saw that a smaller frame than standard could be built so off I went. Now I am finding it is not that easy - particularly with chain length and taking up the slack.
I am constrained by space so decided 4’ x 4’ would be max sheet size and made frame for a 68" motor separation and 18" height. these numbers gave me what I thought were better than stock numbers on the spreadsheet. (I now note comments that higher rather than lower minimum force is preferable) I could lengthen motor separation slightly.
I am planning to use weights for the chain slack but as you can imagine I have a lot of chain spare. I see two options - overlap spare chain in plastic cable trays to separate (concerned with drag and fouling) or cut chain. To cut chain I am thinking to stretch from motor to diagonal opposite corner and add a bit of slack for normal loop over retraction pulley (weight)
one thing I have not seen (yet) is the initial setting for calibration (ie where do you position chains and sled) I have vision of switching on and chain getting pulled too tight.


The thing you will need to do if using webcontrol for a classic maslow is adjust your chain feed distance before you calibrate, then when you extend chains, it will go the correct distance. make sure that distance is a multiple of .25" so it will be a certain number of links that can be marked. There is a guy who runs a 6’ beam and a 4x4 cutting area and he zip tied the spare chain next to the sled. There are no rules on how you do it. Running a 4x4 workpiece is certainly doable. having at least a foot outside the work space on each side for the motor is better than 10", but you work within the constraints you have. You can make it work, but you will need to spend some time to understand the limitations and test the cut quality.

Thanks Orob
I think I can move motors out a few more inches on my beam. I cleverly used an aluminium rectangular tube for stability but lost simplicity of screwing into wood!