Setup instructions don't include "tabs" to hold pieces

I’m in the middle of cutting out the final frame and have noticed a big source of my problems are that pieces are being cut out completely and the holes they leave are causing the temporary sled to jump and jerk.
I remember some time back seeing a way to add “tabs” (that is small gaps in the cut lines that would hold the piece in place so that they don’t fall off the cutting surface) in Is there any way to add instructions on how to create those to the instruction manual? I think it will save people a lot of headaches for new users.


Great suggestion!

I had the exact same issue with the holes left by previously cut parts catching on the temporary sled. I didn’t add the step to put tabs in to the instructions because it can be tedious if you haven’t installed the z-axis yet.

What are everyone’s thoughts?


Good point on the Z axis. I actually cancelled my first attempt after its first piece was complete and installed the Z-axis because I couldn’t see myself fiddling with the cuts for that many hours. But if a person didn’t have the Z-axis I can imagine it would be many, many more hours of screwing the bit in and out.

Maybe you could still add the how-to to the instructions but state at the beginning of that step “this is not recommended for users who have not installed the Z-axis because it will add hours of time to the cutting process” or something similar.


That makes a lot of sense to me. The instructions are actually a wiki page, would you be willing to add a note where you would like to see it? You know what you would want to see so you will probably do a better job than I could


I feel like too much of a noob to add anything to the wiki (especially since I don’t know how to create those tabs yet… sigh. I have so much to learn!) but I did go back through the wiki and to me it seems like a discussion on how to create “tabs” would fit nicely in the GroundControl instructions here:

I’m thinking they would best fit under step 5, “Set up the Cut”. If my vague memory serve me right, those “tabs” are created in the same menu tree, right?

Wish I could be more help here. If you can point me to any instructions you’ve created in the past I’d be happy to try and transpose them into the instructions.

No pressure :slight_smile: , letting me know what needs to be fixed is already tremendously helpful! I’m probably just a little slower about getting it done.

If you ever want to edit a page, just click the Edit button in the upper right hand corner (it might not show up unless you are logged into GitHub (free):

I added a sentence to step six describing how to make the tabs. I moved it from five to six, because the tabs have to be added after the “Calculate All” step because you need to be able to select the cuts to add the tabs to.

When you get a chance, will you give it a try and let me know if the instructions are clear?


Awesome! Thanks! I was able to get Maslow fired up again last night (the chain calibration portion was much easier than I expected) and I rebuilt my g-code to include tabs per your instructions. Worked like a charm! I’m still learning what each adjustment does (especially the “tab height” option… not sure how that’s calculated but I’ll figure it out).

Thanks again.

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FYI, I made some edits to the tab creation section of your instructions wiki (step 6) - someone may want to verify accuracy:


Looks fantastic! Good tip about how a 1/2 inch bit will cut clean through a 1/2 inch tab. I made that mistake a couple times too before I got it but I’d forgotten.

The “tab height” option is specified from the bottom of the cut, so if the depth of cut is .5 inches and the tab height is .25 inches, the bit will raise up to a depth of -.25 inches. I pretty much always leave that one at .25 :grin:

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@mooselake had a description of how makercam tab depths work in an earlier thread. Does that chime with your experience?

It’s been a while, but that worked for me.

I like very thin tabs that don’t take more than a pocket knife to remove and clean up. There’s also “onion skin”, leave the final cut with a paper thin layer, should work where tabs are problematic.

My initial CNC days were with tab less software, used a chicken stick and counted fingers afterwards, on a horizontal gantry style machine. Launched and/or destroyed a number of parts. Worked on Art a couple years to get them added to Gearotic

Hi-Estlcam will automatically add tabs when you convert your drawing to Gcode. It allows you to add them manually of the software can do it for you. Same with “pocket” routines, etc.

It might be nice to have two versions of the “all parts” files already turned bro G-Code, one with tabs and the other without. I understand that having us convert from SVG is a learning experience. But, that implies I know that the concentric circles in the sled need different profiles. Ne set are for countersinking the bolts while the other are the through holes (should these also be cut inside or outside the line?). Having the ready made G-Code would take guess work out for us.

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The instructions also don’t talk about the countersunk holes in the sled.
The instructions use an example file, instead of the “All Parts” file, so when I used the “All Parts” I selected everything, CAM -> Profile Operation, and followed the info for: Target Depth - How deep to cut, generally the thickness of the wood plus a little bit more to be sure to cut all the way through.
So the holes to mount the hardware are now all the way through & too big of a diameter.

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Great point! Don’t forget that the instructions are a wiki so you can edit them directly when you find something which is not clear. I’m happy to add a note about that also because you are totally right that it should be mentioned some holes don’t go all the way through


oh my goodness! Now it makes sense! When I cut my sled out I was baffled as to why the bolt holes were cut so big. I had no idea they were countersunk holes. I really screwed up that sled by having it drill pilot holes so big…


Perhaps we need a makercam video that runs through this. How to set up multiple tool paths with different depths and tabs. Specifically the sled.

It is something I have been thinking about not over depth but a way to incorporate multiple tools in Gcode - Basically I can do this manually with index points but it would be nice to break down the operations by tool and be prompted. For example for my larger run I might want to use 1/4 inch bit, for corners and pocket cuts 1/8 inch. I want to have the 1/4 inch cuts grouped and all performed, then have a message " now change the tool to the 1/8 inch double up spiral and reset home to continue." Once the tools is changed you go to your index point and set home/ zero, the work would then continue.

Thank you

I’ve got good news! That’s already fully supported :grinning:

If you use two tools of different diameters in MakerCAM the machine will stop after it finishes using the first one, and ask for the next tool. You are free to move the machine around and adjust the zero position for the new bit. When you press “Continue” the machine will return to where it needs to be to cut and start cutting with the new bit


That is great news, I can dedicate those braincells back to other Maslow tasks and know I can use this in the future!


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This weekend I ran into a problem where the tool change did not work for me. I had two things to cut and each required an 1/8-inch bit to start and a 1/4-inch bit to finish (to cut all the way through the wood to cut out the piece). When I ran the first one, it immediately asked me to do a tool change because the last time I cut, I was using an 1/4-inch bit. But after that, it never gave me an opportunity to do a tool change even though GC reported the different tool change gcode. It tried to cut out the entire piece with the 1/8-inch bit, which would have been problematic since it’s not long enough to get all the way through the wood (it had a 1/4-inch shank). I can try to do some tests this weekend to produce something repeatable, but at this point, I create two different gcodes.

I found what I think is the offending code in the firmware and created an issue with a possible solution.

And I made a PR!!!