Maslow Home Maslow Community Garden Newsletter

Unistrut Frame Sanity Check

I’m planning to start building a Maslow CNC and I like the idea of a Unistrut frame connected to a wall by hinges. I’ve been lurking here for a while, I think I’ve read all of the Unistrut frame design threads. Based on those threads, I’ve come up with a frame design that I think will work, but I wanted to post it here to see if anyone has comments or suggestions.

I have a roughly 13’ wide 10’ tall section of wall to work with. Here are a couple of Sketchup drawings of my proposed frame:

The beam for the motor mounts will be 12’ wide, I’m making it out of scrap steel that I have, the rest of the construction will be Unistrut. The 3 vertical pieces will be attached to the wall with hinges at the top. My plan was for those 3 verticals and the bottom horizontal beam to be 1 5/8"x1 5/8" 12 ga strut, and the 3 horizontal pieces that support the spoilboard to be 1 5/8" x 13/16" 14 ga strut, but I’m having a hard time finding the larger 12 ga strut, so I may have to use the smaller 14 ga for all of it. The way I’ve drawn it puts the top of the workpiece 32" from the bottom of the motor mounts, but I’ve got plenty of space to adjust that if I need to.

I’m hoping to pick up the unistrut this week, as soon as I have some confidence that the frame will work in the space I have I’ll order a kit and start the build.

Let me know if anyone has any thoughts on the frame design.



having 12" below the workpiece doesn’t help much unless you have a way to space it out to match the workpiece (to keep the sled from tipping as it gets near the bottom of the workpiece and overhangs the bottom). Support on the sides for 3-6" is also useful (these have been dubbed ‘skirts’ in discussion here)

What I would suggest is something that you can adjust in and out to match the thickness of the workpiece that gives you 6-8" of support below it.

If you work with widely different workpiece thicknesses, you may want to make some mechanism to adjust the top beam in and out (make sure your supports aren’t going to get in the way of the chains), you want to be able to keep the chains close to parallel to the workpiece.

Thanks for the input.

I left the 12" at the bottom and made the support area ~9’ wide to allow for a skirt on the sides and bottom. I’m also thinking of eventually doing something like this: New "Clamping Skirt" Frame: 100% coverage of stock (including corners) for any width, height, and thickness of stock

I did plan for the ability to adjust the top beam in/out to compensate for stock thickness, but I did NOT think to account for the supports interfering with the chains. That definitely would be a problem with my current design. My first thought is to attach my beam to the bottom of the supports and/or to attach the motors to the bottom of the beam. I’ll have to think about that one some more.

I don’t know if my pictures can contribute but here’s my wall mounted hinged frame…