Hi @Red5 and welcome
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:
- 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).
- 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…
- 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
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
(A few edits for grammar, preciseness and context)