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The Blue Smoke Herder Shield - AKA the New Maslow Shield (TLE5206)


Industrial cutting and electronics manufacturing have very little in common.

I appreciate the thought. Me & @dlang have and will collaborate.

Thank you


I think the demand for this is probably a lot greater than it seems since the pcb is the log jam for those of us who discovered this too late to buy a full kit. I would gladly buy option b and maybe also an option a for a backup depending on the price point. Are the connectors compatible with the motors being sold on the maslowcnc site?


per @Gero in another thread:

So far I have not cut a straight line across the top to prove that it will be OK with the TLE5206 and a 10A power supply.
My observations so far:

  • The first ‘pull chain tight’ has bent my previous motor mounts, so I had to go for a rock solid mod…

Is it a good idea to think about preventing or limiting ‘full power conditions’ in new shield firmware?

We know that the previous shield was under spec’d, but only by a bit. It seems we also know that we probably do not need (or want) 100% of the TLE5206’s power, as while the v1 shields ‘could’ destroy things in the wrong conditions, the v2 boards most certainly WILL


I have heard a beeping noise (4 or 5 beeps) on the the last 2 ‘pull chain tight’ and I believe it is the motor stalling. I was expecting something else to break and are happy that this is not the case. Your frame flex and motor mounts are challenged, I can tell.
There is something on the chip that does error handling but I was not good in researching if this could be used and also read something that with PWM it will constantly flag on and off, or so. Don’t understand enough to get further. Current sensing with the arduino is should be trivial but I don’t know if we have enough memory/pins/processing power left to implement that.


Keep in mind Gero has a double Amp power supply. The stock supply should keep most folks out of the weeds.

Just my 2 cents

Thank you


I will be posting the Details later today - it will be a long write up. This is a repost with added pictures and information.

V1 & V2 pictured together below:

Thank you


OK - A longer post is coming. However I have just returned from long and prosperous meeting with an EU based entity that will produce and ship the Blue Smoke Herder Shields!

Thank you


Here is the long post:

This is a reworked excerpt of my announcement in the news letter from my website disciples of CNC. After working 21 hrs straight I wrote up the following ( I’ve done some corrections and updated this to include our new EU partner) -

I’m possibly about to change everything and possibly make it more work for others. Sorry about that, I think. The following is good news for some and a disappointment for others. For anyone disappointed I’m truly sorry.

There is a lot of information about to come your way.

First I’ve been making and using my own tools most of my life. This includes software and hardware starting at the age of 5. Hand making custom bicycle parts for bikes I raced BMX on.

At no portion of my life did I set out to do or design anything with the question how much does it cost?

I built my own PC, as in a portable power source 6x greater then anything available at the time, custom ports, a wearable mobile PC back in 1995, I had to wait a few years to get portable wireless connection.

When I make something it’s to fit a need I have that there is no other solution for. I’m not going to tell anyone about it until I know it works.

The Blue Smoke Herder Shield is a fork of the design by blurfl in the community garden.

I wanted a way to use 12 volt fans to actively cool the shield.

My friend Harry agreed to make some modifications to the board for me. We did a rev 1 and it works great. The 12V ports are over the USB port of the Arduino, there are many shield designs in the Arduino space that this is common. Blurf pointed this out and Harry is the kind of guy it bugged so we did a Rev 2 that moved it to a different area of the board.

I have ~45 boards between Rev 1 and Rev 2. We ordered another 100 boards that are coming.

I bought the parts to build and test several boards, to date I’ve put together 6 so far, 7 if you count the original board in the community garden I made one of.

This is the change everything part, I’m setting a standard of burn in testing of at least 1 hour.

It takes ~ 2 hours per board with testing. You see I build a board by hand with parts bought and delivered in the US. Once I complete the build I run G-code trough the board to test it, first a calibration test cut then a small file I made just to keep it running over an hour. So each board is tested for an hour before its considered complete.

I want to know the product leaves my hands in working order. I could save considerable time just slapping some solder on and saying I know I do good work.

To steel the words of an old wine commercial “we will serve no wine before its time.”

Ive told you about my work ethic here, what about the product?

The driver for the new board vs the old discontinued controller is approximately 2x as powerful. This should lead to less shield failures. There is also 1 driver chip to each motor, where the old one 2 motors shared 1 chip. The new design has large heat sinks that are attached to the chip so they should not fall off like the taped heatsinks did. This all adds up to a better experience.

The shield to date has had multiple Auxiliary ports, but only Aux 1 has been used to turn the router on and off and Aux 4 to set up a Z touch plate for automatic Z height. Im prepared to custom build to order the shield based on if you will be using the ports we will add the connectors for them. As a user you will not need to solder anything to upgrade the board for implementing these features.

So all of this comes at a cost. I do not have one US supplier for all the parts. I have to work with 3 vendors, that includes 3 shipping charges.

I know of a user in our group that was quoted $600 for 10 boards. This doesnt include shipping or import fees.

After looking at it, as a US base business I will have to charge $75 a board delivered in the continental US. I’ve struggled with this for several days trying to find a way to cut the cost. At this level it is not possible. If we were talking 1000 or more at a time the cost goes down per unit but it literally equals the coast of a down payment for a house.

I plan to do a kickstarter , as soon as they will clear the project, I can offer the boards at $65 delivered in the continental US.

What about outside the US? As of 8/25/18 we have an entity in the EU that has agreed to produce and ship Shields for us. I asked them if they would be willing to look at doing kits as well and they are open to it. Someone has to come up with kits first, we are only working on shields. If someone else wants our help in the EU sector please reach out to me.

What about Shield Kits? The price of a kit is not any lower as I’m the solder jockey and I haven’t paid myself. Soon no one has paid for labor. I’m willing to look at kits because it has been requested, the down side of a kit is it’s untested.

If I can find a way to cut cost I will, but the overhead of being a business in the US has a cost to it. I have fronted the cost of setting this up and I can say I have put more the the cost of buying several of the new Maslow kits into investigating this and more time then I should.

No man or woman left behind - Recently a user created a thread in the forum of killing his shield. In my thread he simply said he is interested in the Blue Smoke Herder when it’s available. I reached out to him to get his information and we arranged an express delivery of the New Rev 1 shield with a pre programmed Arduino Mega, he runs a business with his Maslow and wanted a solution ASAP. So we delivered it. If you have down machine please either PM me here or use the contact us page at:

For some I know they will be surprised by the cost of the new shield. I however, feel its faire. I’m not in this to make a buck on others, I’m not in it to pay you to take my product either. We have to make enough to cover remaining in business so we can support you.



I appreciate every one that has thanked me for the hard work. We hope you will invest in the Blue Smoke Herder Shield if its right for you.

Thank you



This is great news @Bee !
I’ll be watching for I just read, your detailed post or email -
This is the last component I need to finish my Maslow build - Prospect of a complete Maslow is Super exciting !

Thanks for doing this, especially for those of us who didn’t get in on any earlier boards :smiley:


Genial, entonces cuando podremos tener en España el TLE5206?


Hi BeeI

Sounds like a winner to me! I am interested in the Bee version with the enclosure… Please provide pricing and order info.


how bout you round it up to an even $100 and have pizza and beer on me? good work!

edit: what power supply are you recommending for the new shield?


I will be off line most of the day. I am working on documents associated with making these available.

@mrfugu Sounds good to me, Thx - for the power supply, for now I’m suggesting staying with the stock supply. The 5A is keeping things in check and I will suggest it until other wise is proven better. @Gero is a special circumstance for many reasons. Advanced users can go for a 10A power supply but it has more risk - with great power comes great responsibility.


Thank you


I am not sure if I can trust my AMP meter. That’s why I held back. If what the meter showed is correct, then this shield does not pull more then 0.5A at ‘pull tight’ and not more the 0.25A with both motors pulling the sled close to horizontal. This is measured at the power supply. Use with care, as I would have expected much more. Don’t have access to a second meter to confirm the readings.


The ‘pull tight’ ("" B11 S255 T3 " + self.direction) is still a PWM signal, though at maximum output (S255). That might confuse an ammeter. It only lasts for 3 seconds (T3) and that might not be long enough for a stable reading. With an amp probe and a storage scope one might get a clearer picture of the current, but few have those tools available.


I am not sure if I can trust my AMP meter. That’s why I held back. If what the meter showed is correct, then this shield does not pull more then 0.5A at ‘pull tight’ and not more the 0.25A with both motors pulling the sled close to horizontal. This is measured at the power supply. Use with care, as I would have expected much more. Don’t have access to a second meter to confirm the readings.

Not to question your ability to use an amp meter, but I’m just curious where did you measure your amps. If you measured it between the power brick and the wall, your amperages are going to be much lower than if you measure between the brick and the shield.

I don’t even have my power supply in front of me to see what the specs are on it but I’m guessing the power supply converts to 12v DC. So lets say the motors are pulling 5 amps at pull tight on 12v DC. That would be only be roughly .5 amps out of a 120 volt wall outlet.


Thank you @blurfl and @Steven_Hickerson for the comments. Not in the state of mind to give valuable feedback unless advised. (side note: relationship issues can be devastating to you mind)
I removed the + from the power supply and put the red pin from the meter in there. I clamped the balck from the meter to the red + going to the shield. From what I remember A is read in line.
The values were constantly fluctuating but I have min and max on this meter. Need to find a manual for this this that has served me over 20 years.
Pics of the setup:


Thanks all for your patience and support.
Regards, Gero


@Gero Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Also have we located the source / reason for the Audio that @Gero experiences over or during that time? Is it a alert from the power source or a sound produced as a result of how it is operating? These are diffrent causes.

Also if I remember correctly @Gero your sled is slightly towards the heavy side?

Thank you


@Bee We should all get paid for the value we bring to others. You should be amply compensated for the thought portions as well. If someone believes differently then they, themselves, don’t desire to prosper (or just don’t play by the golden rule!). This is coming from someone who would eventually like the full package and isn’t yet fiscally in the position. I know that I won’t get to where I’m rightly able with an attitude that desires anything less than for you to prosper through this wonderful dream and venture! Blessings.:bow_and_arrow:


I can say when I met with @bar the first time. He said he didn’t need to make money on this, meaning Maslow. I didn’t exactly get it, I had to let it sink in.

For me this is a hobby. As long as the hobby is not taking too much away from the rest of my life it’s all good.

We have started a Business around our support of CNC so we can do things like this. So there is a odd mix of funding a Business and maintaining the Hobby.

I appreciate your words and thoughts.

Thank you