Trying to Decide to Purchase a Maslow, Limitations and Usage

I’m sure this has been written about and discussed a lot but most of the conversations that I have found haven’t really either swayed me either way yet. I have been following the Maslow CNC design since the Kickstarter campaign and have been on the $1 wait list since then and now I’m really trying to decide if I should purchase one. So in my hopes to have a few individuals really either talk me into purchasing one or out of purchasing one these are my few concerns hopefully someone can address and help me with. I have read a bunch of blogs, reviews and articles on this machine and still find it interesting. So here it goes.

I am computer savvy and have no problem dealing with all of that, actually my degree is in computers and network/IT management so I don’t have a problem there. I do have an old Compaq Evo N600C Laptop running Windows 2000 Pro on it maybe someone can tell me if this will work with Maslow - I do have other options but would like to use something I really don’t care about in the shop. Can it be run from a iPad? I have a couple older desktops and I guess that is an option.

How easy would it be to modify to be used with 5 x 5 ply? I mostly use Baltic Birch ply and if I could set up the frame to even be 5 x 8 that would solve part of my issues.

I mostly build one off furniture pieces and cabinets and was wondering if anyone could throw their two cents in on if Maslow is a viable option to possibly getting into CNC work. I have been wanting to purchase a CNC for awhile and have been looking at the kits on CNCRouterParts and 8020 pieces and would love to have a flat bed CNC, not sure my shop is large enough for that but I do know there are are options for standing ones also. So would this be a good start or really just a waste and I should save up and purchase the real deal CNC?

I also play around building wood boats/kayaks/canoes/surfboards and thought this might be a decent way to cut all the frame rib pieces that go into them. Does anyone have any experience using the maslow for that? I seen a post on using it for skin-on-frame kayak building but there wasn’t much input into the conversation. Not even sure how hard it is to get digital files to be converted to be used on the maslow.

I guess my biggest concern is if I went through all this to purchase a maslow and set everything up and start to use it, will I out grow it and wish I would have saved my money for a larger one? Does anyone know what the next step up might be and for how cheap I can get a flat bed CNC going for? I still need something to cut 5 x 5 mostly, unless I started with a 4 x 4 machine and broke down the 5 x 5 baltic birch pieces first for the cabinet pieces. It looks like in my research it’s probably in the 5-8k range and really a maslow can be up and running for less than $800 probably. I would plan on going through all the “extra” linkage pieces and upgrades to make the maslow more workable.

If these have all been gone through before please just direct me to the correct forum links. Thanks and I look forward to the reply’s.

Hinckley, Ohio

I can’t say for certain, but I think you could build a frame that would work with 5x5 ply… You’d want to build it 5 x something bigger than 5 … like 8 :slight_smile: in order for the router sled to have something support it when its working at the side of your piece. I don’t know if you have to do anything special to get it to work (other than calibrate it correctly).

check out this thread regarding other concerns (still seek verification about 5-foot height)

The ‘next size up’ in terms of professional equipment that can handle 4x8
plywood is in the range of $20K for a shopbot

there are other kits you can get for less ($5-10k), but they are also just kits.

As I see it, the maslow is SO much cheaper than anything else that can handle
wood this size, that even if you throw it away in a year or two, it’s a cheap
way to get your feet wet and see if you really want to do this, or if you find
that you’d rather just cut things out manually.

The only thing worse than buying a cheap tool and wishing you had saved up for a
more expensive version is to drop a lot of money on the expensive version and
find that you don’t really end up using it.


Somebody has to say it; that’s what keeps Horror Fright in business…

There’s a number of discussions about other frame sizes, but going from 4 to 5 foot high should be relatively trivial. You might need to add some more chain, but the rest should be straightforward. David can jump in and comment on if you need to increase the width of the top beam and the motor-motor distance, but that’s also easy to do.

Of course, it won’t be as fast or as accurate (the goal is +/- a 64th) but at least for speed if that becomes an issue you can go the multi-core route and have a flock of Maslows working in parallel for a lot less than one large format router, and you can get there incrementally too.

I didn’t see anybody comment on Win2K (haven’t seen that in quite a while), but the odds of that having OpenGL 2 support are somewhere around slim and even more slim You can get a refurb laptop from one of the usual sources (look at for example) for not much more than a hundred bucks. My recommendation would be to replace the hard drive since that’s the most wear-prone component (well, other than fans). Figure $50 for a 1G spinner, and in that ballpark for a quarter gig SSD.

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Depends on how you see the maslow.

You can outgrow it, but you can also let it evolve. Then the machine will most likely outgrow you one day. … Is that a scary thought or not?


I look at it like this. My total cost will be ~$700 for the Kit + Z Axis + New Ridgid Router & Lumber and hardware bits to put it together. I have left out my cost on bits. I see them as a consumable and you need them with whatever system you choose. I’ve noted you can easily get a dedicated laptop good for the job for $150.00 on top of that.

The Maslow is using a real CAD/CAM workflow. It is supported by a community of Tinkerers that are passionate about it.

So for the sake of argument I’ll round up and say if I needed every part including a starter bit and computer I’d spend $875 + tax and shipping.

To learn the knowledge I’m gaining how much would I spend to go through a course in a community college? What would my materials cost be there? My opinion is that the value of learning the workflow and experience of CAD/CAM is much greater then the what I will have spent on the Maslow.

I own many tools. I can put a hammer to a nail. I have more then just a hammer in my tool box. Owning a Maslow doesn’t preclude owning other tools, CNC included. We have not see it yet but there would be nothing stopping someone from selling there used Maslow on the path to upgrade either.

So my advice is to start with a Maslow. You, based on what you have said can use one of your old systems. I would load Windows 10 on one of them. The other option is to run a Linux Distro. Either way I appreciate your participation here and supporting Maslow through the Kickstarter.

Thank you

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Think of it as adding another router and keeping the Maslow for the kind of jobs it would work well for. It really doesn’t need a lot of floor space. You can never have too many tools, only too small a shop to hold them in. (Mrs. Moose cringes every time I say something like this, though…)

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Thanks everyone for all the input so far. I really wasn’t even thinking about doing something like this right now, I already have way to many projects going on, but it’s really been in my head the last week or so since the maslow email went out about the pre-sale. So with that in mind now it becomes a little more pressing to try and decide between a maslow or waiting and starting a kit later. I already have a bunch of 8020 pieces from building a few jigs in my shop so that would already be a start.

As to the computer, it’s not a huge issue to build another one or even purchase a newer model. I actually think I have a bunch of newer parts including a new processor I just need a new hard drive and case. So that is really solved already. I will just have to decide if I want the capabilities to be a little more efficient and have production ability. I’m not sure the maslow will allow me to “mass” produce certain items I want to build and sell without it really becoming an issue. I do like the idea of it maybe being my learning tool to allow me to advance and grow and that might be how I have to look at it if I decide to purchase a maslow.

I might need to continue to look through the forum posts and even watch some standard cnc build projects to see what I should do. thanks again so far for all the help and comments.



Its just that, i don’t have a maslow and i already learned a lot of stuff that i never would have known if i had not been involved on this forum. :slight_smile: So thank you guys 'n girls.
This knowledge has more value then anything else.

And yes for people who want to do CNC the Maslow is most likely the most affordable way in at this scale.


There is actually some good stuff out there under $5k these days if you have the room it. Or if you live close to an international port of entry.

Sub 5k

Slightly over 5k but customs and transport sucks.
Monster cnc table

That said, maslow is the most compact and functional system you can get with a 4x8 work space under $1000 period.

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There is actually some good stuff out there under $5k these days if you have the room it. Or if you live close to an international port of entry.

Sub 5k

The page you link to doesn’t appear to provide any accuracy or speed specs

Slightly over 5k but customs and transport sucks.

note you can trim aliexpress URLs at the first ?

This is an interesting machine, accuracy is 0.03mm (as opposed to our goal of
0.4mm) and speed is 700 in/min (or up to double that when not cutting) as
opposed to the maslow current 35 in/min going to ~48 in/min or so

and it has an 8 ft long rotary axis available

but it’s over $5k and needs a LOT of space (and unloading it would be a pain)

That said, maslow is the most compact and functional system you can get with a 4x8 work space under $1000 period.


Prices are more like $4000 to $10k for fast woodworking applications manufacturing. It has come way down in price in the last 10 year. Even my GR3 2x4 table will do 600 inch/min on wood at 200 steps on 5mm rod with repeatable accurateness and that is $2k without electronics.

Currently all I have is a cell phone in Amsterdam, url shrinking may be an upgrade.


You can do it with bbcode, or at least make it so the url doesn’t display. i don’t know how to escape characters here so lsb is left square bracket, rsb is right

Lsb url=http… Rsb some text lsb /url rsb

The url doesn’t display, just the highlighted text. My fingers are too big to hit characters often enough to edit them on this phone screen


It’s amazing how the chinese can sell a machine like that for that price and include free shipping.

It turns out that the price listed is if you pick it up on the shipping dock.
Shipping from there (for 1500 pounds) is up to you.

Funny - I might be more worthwhile to buy a used cargo container. Load it in the container and have the container delivered. I bet you could get the container and delivery for around the same cost as having it delivered alone.

Thank you

I see, thats still a good deal if the machine itself is well build.

The trick is if you live close to a port. My home is on the Columbia River Gorge about 10 blocks from a “Sea port”. I was able to buy a pretty sweet 80 watt laser with a 3x2 foot working area for $2400 (after import tax). It would have set me back around 5 to 8k if I bought it from a united states distributor. All I had to do was rent a truck with a lift bed and drive it home.

The trick is, you have to be close to the port, and you have to deal with importing. Luckily in the case of my laser, it was just a matter of paying import tax and dealing with customs for 3 weeks, with an office in town it wasn’t so bad.

However, if you don’t live close enough to deal with all the back and forth, you end up having to higher a customs broker to take care of it for you. Which can add anywhere from $200 to $2000 depending on the types of issues a given custom office presents. On top of that, import taxes are on you, which is fine if it is a none tariff item. But heaven help you if it is one of those random 200% items. To top it all off, every day after it clears customs, there is a holding fee until you can get someone to move it for you. I’ve heard horror stories, you really have to know your way around if you want to go that route.

The best deal is actually to keep an eye out for a factory that is upgrading their early 2000’s stuff or a shop (snowboarding shops are a good one) that is closing down. You can usually find an old large mach 3 system running on windows 98 for $3 to $8k. Spend $300 or less to upgrade the controls and an extra $400 or $500 if the motors need an upgrade and you’ll have a pretty crazy system. You’ll still have to move the dang thing.


The fine print says don’t order on AliExpress, and it’s FOB their end so you’re stuck for freight, customs, assorted port fees, and all the other outstretched hands. Add another 50% to the price, at least

Edit: See it’s already been covered, should have kept reading. The autocorrected “dlang thing” was interesting.

Never trust a vendor who advertises as “free shipping” and then disclaims it in the fine print


Yet another option :wink:. By the time you kit out motors and electronics, you’ll be in the $4400 range.

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