“Is this really something I can do??” That’s a question we get a lot here at MakerMade when people first see the Maslow CNC. And it’s especially tough to answer because real, carpe diem, no-limits, “check this out!” makers come in all types, from all backgrounds, and definitely all ages. Case in point, a resourceful high school student named Cam. Cam’s experience is such a strong representation of the right maker attitude, we had to get him to tell his story. That said, here it is:
Hello, my name is Cam. I am a Grade 12 student in Saskatchewan, Canada. I love working with wood. If you are a student with a limited income, like I am, it can be difficult to try out new hobbies. If you have an interest in CNC routers, your dreams and intentions can quickly end when you find out how much conventional CNC routers actually cost. I thought I would have to wait until I was middle aged to finally be able to afford a CNC. But then I found the Maslow! My dad and my construction teacher at school were skeptical but I really liked what I was learning about the Maslow. What appealed to me most was the simple DIY design instead of the typical suspended-gantry design. This is awesome when you have limited space! After a lot of research, I was amazed at how simple the Maslow is to use. I’m not a math whiz, but after seeing a lot of the videos and reading the forums (which are awesome), I was able to understand how the Maslow operated. Getting a DIY system requires some playing around and tweaking to get the best performance possible. It made my decision easier to know that there are many people in the online community to answer questions and help with trouble shooting. For the price, I was willing to take a chance. As soon as I ordered my kit, I started preparing the frame so I could hit the ground running once the Maslow parts arrived.
For the frame, I knew I wanted something more permanent and solid. Instead of building a typical stand- alone frame, I decided to build one the attached to the wall of my shop. It just has 2X4 construction and particle board for the structural part of it and the waste board. See pictures attached. I went with a 15 degree angle for the frame because that was most commonly suggested on the forums. I anxiously waited for the kit to arrive from the USA.
Once it arrived, I followed a combination of the instructions provided on the Maslow website and a variety of YouTube videos of other people setting up their kits. Everything was fairly straightforward and it all went quite smoothly. Since I wanted to use a different chain tensioning method than the instructions suggested, I looked at pictures of machines that did it the way I wanted. I ended up using 5 lb weights on each side. This seems to be working well for me. When I was setting up, I found that pretty much any of my questions had been asked and answered by others on the Maslow forums. It is a very helpful resource! Calibrating the machine was also quite straightforward. The instructions describe exactly how to do it on ground control. If I didn’t understand what they were saying I just looked to the forums for clarification. With set up complete, I was excited to make my first cuts.
The first cut I did was a sled. I found everything I needed to know on YouTube. Someone showed the process of downloading the link to the sled, making it into an SVG file on Maker Cam, and then opening it on ground control. That all worked great. One thing I did find out is that you only want to take passes half the diameter of your bit. So if you are using a ¼” bit, take 1/8” passes. When I first started, I thought I could speed things up by taking deeper passes (1/4”). I found that it started wandering near the bottom because it was trying to take more wood than it could handle. Once I raised the depth to 1/8”, it cut perfectly.
After completing the first project, I felt like I had an open road to do whatever I wanted. I started making all sorts of random projects. (See images attached) One thing that really impressed me was the accuracy of this machine on smaller projects. The Maslow handled both small and large projects very well. You just need to be careful not to cut too close to the edge of the frame because the sled needs backing to support it. If it goes too far over the edge, it will tip and mess up your cut. Also, I would suggest hooking up a dust collector or vacuum to your router. I didn’t have one at first and it got very dusty in my shop. Once I hooked up the dust collector, there is barely any dust at all.
All in all, my experience with Maslow has been great! I do have previous experience with CAD and 3D printers so that probably helped me. I loved how easy it was to set up the Maslow. I loved the price which made it possible for me to try it. I have no negative comments at all. The best advice I can give is to check out the forums. The Maslow is an awesome machine for anyone wanting to get a CNC router. For the amazing price, you definitely can’t go wrong. Even my dad and my teachers are impressed. It feels pretty good to show them my projects and tell them “I told you so.”
Pretty impressive, right?? It’s really inspiring to see someone like Cam tackle a project like the Maslow with this much confidence and skill. Not only that, but he’s been able to sell several of his pieces since getting started! To learn more about Cam’s business (and maybe buy a piece for yourself), visit his Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/cams_woodworks/
Great work, Cam!
If anyone else has a story about a brilliant maker they’d like to share, or if you just want to give credit to Cam, please add your comments below.