Maslow MakerMade M2

Hello all, I am new to the forum, and figured that this is a good place to introduce myself, and hopefully help contribute to the 3rd Party Machines.

I am mostly a hobbyist. I have used woodworking as a way to relax and build things for years. I enjoy making things, especially out of materials that a lot of people would consider junk. I make lots of stuff out of old pallet wood, fence boards, barn boards, and I have a whole lot of old plywood and mdf from a warehouse currently occupying my garage.

I chose the Maslow MakerMade M2 for the two biggest factors for me. The price is a big one. I am not a pro, and this is a hell of a machine for the price. The size of the machine was also important to me. I like that it can do 4’x8’ (or larger, even), but also the fact that it is mostly vertical helps me to be able to fit it into my tiny shop. My woodshop is just over 9 feet wide, and although it is about 25 feet deep, I have a staircase that affects my work area, so I am roughly 9x13.

I do have a standard frame (on casters) that I am not currently using, as I decided to build a wall frame and it sits behind my big workbench (also on casters), and I have to be careful to leave enough room, but it can work with a couple of inches of clearance while I can still do other things on the workbench. I do really like it for that.

I feel that it is important to talk about some of the cons of the MakerMade M2 as well, but I am finding solutions and I hope that this thread may help and/or encourage others to speak up as well.

The most significant difference of the Maslow compared to most other CNC router machines is that it hangs on a sled. The only gantry is the router mount for your Z-Axis, and even it is affected by the most important factors of gravity and physics. To be honest, it is a big disadvantage, and I guarantee that it is the biggest reason to not like the machine. BUT, it can all be dealt with, and I hope that this thread can show that it really is a very capable machine.

It has taken me about 5 weeks to figure a lot of stuff out and get to actually making some decent projects. The learning curve on all CNC stuff is bigger than you think, and the extra factors that the M2 experiences just adds to it. It is easy to see why people give up on it. It really is a bit overwhelming, and I have cracked a beer and said ‘see ya tomorrow’ and walked away from it several times. Keep at it, and every day you learn something new and it gets a little better.

I will post some pictures and things I have done in future posts. This is my second post on this forum, so I do not yet know how all that is going to work, and I am not going to re-type all of this stuff, so just text to start. :stuck_out_tongue:

Is the Maslow MakerMade M2 worth purchasing? Yes. Do I still want a flat bed like an X-Carve? Yes. Should I have just bought an X-Carve to begin with? I don’t know. I’ll answer that when I get one, but at this point I would like to say no, because I haven’t found anything that the X-Carve can do that the Maslow can’t. But I am also just a beginner.

The biggest lessons I have learned and I think are critically important:

Your mount (frame) needs to be level. Even if it is level when you build it, but the floor it sits on is slanted, it at the very least needs to be level and square to the waste board. You can compensate with calibrations and it can be dealt with, but if you start square it is a LOT better.

Aprons or skirts, whatever you want to call it, but your workpiece needs to be surrounded by equal thickness materials. The sled has to ride at the same level to be accurate. I have many smaller pieces of different materials to make this work, and I really don’t enjoy having to do that, but if you want accurate cuts, it has to be the same.

Work must be clamped, screwed, or nailed to the wasteboard. I have experimented a lot, and sure, you don’t have to, but you absolutely should. I have some solutions in mind and will see how that unfolds.

Don’t cheap out on bits. I get it. They are expensive, and I have broken a few, but recognize why and compensate. Cheap bits really do not do a good job and make your troubles worse than they should be. Also, do not use regular router bits on a CNC. When bad things happen at 27k rpm, it is only entertaining on YouTube. Add a new pair of briefs to the cost of my errors.

As I mentioned above, gravity and physics are a significant challenge to this machine. The sled hangs from chains, and the router floats on the top of your work and aprons. Everything needs to be at the same level or the router will skip, gouge, and potentially ruin your work.

Don’t be afraid to recalibrate. It might be time-consuming, but it isn’t difficult once you do it a few times, and it really isn’t hard once you get it. A bit of time is cheaper than material. Any time I change material thickness or change the bit, I calibrate. It is worth the time and effort.

Dust collection and fire prevention is also important. I have a fire extinguisher very close, and a couple of bigger ones in the main part of my shop. Since all of the dust falls down to the floor, a fire just continues to get fed, so don’t leave the machine unattended. I have been using BucketHead vacuums connected to the sled, but I have burned out two of them already, and just picked up a proper dust collection unit today.

Overall I am pretty happy with the Maslow MakerMade M2. I really didn’t have huge expectations going into it, I really just wanted consistent repetitive cuts on an automated machine so that I could do other things, and it does that easily. I have carved some more detailed items with it, and am frankly surprised at what it is capable of. Stay tuned while I figure out how to add pictures and descriptions.

If you are on the fence about whether or not to buy one, do it. For my money, it was worth it.

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Alright, I am finally getting around to adding some photos here. Here is my wall frame coming together. I used some dirty old MDF shelving to make my wasteboard. Two 24x96 inch pieces are easier to carry and install by myself in this tiny space, and it makes replacement easier as well.

Here the second half of the wasteboard is installed, and I am working on making it level. The frame itself is square and level, but my concrete floor is sloped. You can see the winbag in the first picture to help bring it up.

I used a Winbag inflatable device to pick up the left leg in order to make level before screwing the frame to the wall, and then I had to shim under the leg to make up the difference.

With the header leveled to the frame, I could finally hang and calibrate the sled. Ready to start cutting! Don’t ask me why I made my first cuts on the wasteboard.

Here is one of my first projects. I decided to make a stool to sit on at my workbench in front of the laptop, since I am going to be spending a lot of time with this machine.

Speed and depth were two big factors that I had a lot of struggles with in the beginning, along with dust control. Here is a picture of how those things can cause issues.

My cut was successful in terms of the shapes and dimensions, but between calibrations and thickness of material, I did not achieve a through cut, so I threw it on the workbench with the middle tabletop removed, and had to trim the pieces out by hand. I designed this bench a couple of years ago, with the top being convertible on purpose. It does come in handy when cutting through large materials.

This way I can lay the material on the worktable and cut through with the jigsaw and not worry about what is underneath.

I cut the pieces through with the jigsaw, and then with a whole lot of sanding and a bit of boring the mortises with the jigsaw and a dremel, I was able to assemble the stool.

I also made a quick mount high on the wall above the Maslow’s header board so that I can store the stool out of the way when I need the space to use my workbench for other things.

Pardon the mess, but this is what tiny shops are like in real life. My workbench (on locking casters) sits in the middle of the room and can be moved wherever I want it. My wall bench and extra bench at the end are all the same height so that I can span sheets of materials across however I may need. the MakerMade 2 sits on the west wall behind the workbench.

Here the workbench is in place to work on other things while the CNC works away with just a few inches of clearance. It’s tight, but it works!

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Alright, so before I get into some of the cooler stuff I have been working on, I’d like to show some of my hardships.

I struggled a lot with calibrations. Thickness of materials, locked files, and just pure ignorance impeded my best intentions for a while. Then I noticed that my gantry was loose, and it would literally move with (or against) the bit.

This is what my wasteboard looked like after multiple attempts at trying to figure things out. That is 3/4" mdf, and it is cut right through.

I disassembled everything, tightened it all, reassembled and recalibrated. I did a couple of test cuts, and things were much better.

The next project that I wanted to try was a mortise and tenon shelf that I found on the internet. The file was locked, and intended for half inch plywood, and all I had was 5/8 so I went ahead and cut it anyway.

So of course I had to finish the cuts off with the jigsaw again (including every single tenon), and this time there were 48 mortises to enlarge. This was turning out to be a lot of work.

I used a 1/8 solid carbide bit on my dremel to cut the pieces out and bore the holes. A lot of extra effort, but I was determined to make it work.

Finally I wisened up and used a 1/8 bit in my hand held router, which took care of things much quicker.

Finally managed to make everything fit and got it assembled.

I do really like this mortise and tenon design. I’m just going to need to reproduce it so that I can make them in different sizes.

So, I have made a bunch of stuff out of junk mdf and plywood, but I wanted to try to make something nice for my wife. I foolishly chose a walnut sheet that tore up like crazy and looked awful. So I bought a piece of baltic birch and made a beautiful pie box (My son chose the graphic for the top).

I didn’t need to glue it, but I did anyway. Put a few clamps on it.

Just a simple shellac over the wood. It looks nice.

The other project that I wanted to do was also a gift for my wife. I found the Death Star Trivet in the Inventables Projects, and decided that I wanted to carve that on a hardwood. I found a pretty piece of red Zebrawood, and got to work.

Let me just say that zebrawood was a poor choice for my first experiment with what is one of the hardest woods on the planet. lol. I was in over my head, and I learned a good lesson.

The first stage was cut with a 60 degree vbit.

For the sphere, I attempted to use a cove bit from my regular router bits. I very quickly learned that only CNC rated bits should go into a CNC router. The ensuing violence ruined my piece (and my underpants), and I was almost hit by the projectile bit three times as it ricocheted around my tiny shop.

I changed out to a 1/8th bit, and broke that too.

I had to make many adjustments in speed, and redid the whole job on mdf before trying on the zebrawood again.

With more time and attention, I was able to succeed with the cut.

Here is the final piece with just a simple mineral oil.

I also sprayed the mdf piece with a Beautitone dark bronze metallic enamel, and I hung it in my shop to remind me of the time and effort and struggle to make this work.

Both of these projects are on the Inventables Projects pages if you want to try them for yourself.

I am really enjoying this machine though, and it is capable of doing anything I throw at it. Wait until you see what I do next! :wink:

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I have one more test to do before I dive into a very detailed project. This was just to see how detailed I can go, and how small. This test piece is 5-3/4" tall, and a little over 4" wide.

I was pleased with the way it turned out, the detail is good even on mdf. This gives me the confidence to go ahead with a project I have been nervous about. I asked my wife if she would like to paint it, which she thought was fun.

The excitement is building. My next project is a significantly more complicated carve.

This project is very special to me for a few reasons. I think everyone who has a CNC machine at some point in time feels the need to push the machine to its limits by making something with crazy detail. A Mayan calendar, or something like that. Well, this project is my huge challenge.

I have a buddy that I have been friends with for just about 25 years. I met him when he came into my computer store to have a custom machine built, and I could see as soon as he walked in that he was severely physically challenged. He had difficulty with the door, and was unable to stand still because he can’t maintain balance. I invited him to sit in my office while we chatted, and the wheeled chair made him fall right away. I was horrified and afraid that he was going to sue my ■■■ off. He told me to back off and leave him be, and I watched him struggle to get back to his feet, and finally settle into the chair. My admiration for this man was born on that day, and we have become steadfast friends.

Over the many years I have known him, I have seen him overcome so many challenges. Things that able-bodied people wouldn’t attempt to do. He has CMT (Charcot Marie Tooth) which is a degenerative muscular and nerve disease, somewhat like Muscular Dystrophy (which he was mistakenly diagnosed with for many years), and there is not any hope for things to get better for him. Back about ten years ago he fell out of his truck and broke his hip on the driveway. He has been in a wheelchair ever since.

I tell you that to tell you this: This man is an inspiration to me. For everything that I have been through in my life, this man has been through worse. When I feel like giving up and quitting, I think of him, and I find another way to solve the problem.

He recently celebrated his 46th birthday, and I wanted to do something special for him. Every birthday for years now is another one that he wasn’t supposed to have. He has been beating the odds for all of his life, and his favorite celebration is Jagermeister.

I spent a lot of time and effort to do this project. Finding Jager promotional materials is difficult - they have a unique product, and don’t really need to advertise. I found this artwork and set out to reproduce it in a special way.

I spent many hours editing and converting to create a cut file. Check out the toolpaths!

The window in the sled is three inches across, so this writing is small enough to completely cover with one finger.

Seven and a half hours in, with more than sixteen hours remaining (which is a complete lie, it took much longer), over 1.4 million packets!

About 11.5 hours in, some of the details are starting to come together and make more sense.

24 hours into the carve, the clock reset. The cut kept going, but I lost my preview and could not see anything on the Makerverse screen. It continued to cut, so I let it go.

At 42.5 hours, the carve was finally complete! I slept in short naps because I didn’t want to leave the machine alone for long. It was an exhausting process.

Here are a couple of closeups of the characters in the carve. This is the raw carve still on the machine, so I have not yet touched it to clean it up.

The cleanup process was pretty involved as well. I spent hours with different small sanding tools, a razor, and an air compressor to fix up all the little frizzy bits. I got it cleaned up and ready for the next phase, but had to make a whirlwind trip to Vancouver and back over the next three days (2,250km), and asked my wife if she could paint it while I was gone.

My wife knows how important this project was to me, and even though I only asked her to do a simple job with four or five different colors and just concentrate on making the words and the elk stand out, she went well above and beyond my (and even her own) expectations, and turned this into a masterpiece. This is about 13 hours worth of painting by hand with various tiny brushes, tubes, and blades.

Here it is a bit closer to show some better detail.

Here is the completed work mounted to the wall in my friend’s house above his favorite sitting chair.

I will build a frame to put it in at some point. I simply ran out of time on this project and had other things I just had to do. It was a crazy week, but we were able to present this to him for his birthday, enjoy a few drinks and laughs, eat some great food off the smoker, and celebrate.

I’m very pleased with this project. For anyone who says that a Maslow cannot do detailed work, have a good hard look at this. At some point I will redo this project and size it up a bit to pull out the greater details. For my first go at it though, this is amazing.

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