Tools: Maslow CNC

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Tool Description

Like the Shop Bot, the Maslow is a 3-axis CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) router. However, it is mounted vertically instead of horizontally as a table. It is capable of cutting pieces out of 4 foot by 8 foot sheets of material (i.e. plywood or MDF); Smaller pieces may be more difficult to use.

It can make vector cuts (and pockets and drill holes) for shapes like boxes, circles, arcade cabinets, flat-pack furniture, gears, and airplanes; as well as carving 3d models of things like faces, terrain, plaques, ceiling medallions, door panels, or Carbonite prisoners.


  • The Maslow consists of an Arduino Mega (Compatible) 2560 board, running MaslowCNC Firmware v1.26
  • GroundControl is used on the PC to calibrate the Maslow, as well as send GCodes to the CNC.
  • See Maslow's list for software.
    • The default for the ShopBot is VCarvePro, but the above link says: Success using "Intelicam GCode" as the post processor. More experimenting needed testing GRBL options.
    • For Fusion 360, you need the postprocessor, but currently warns that it is not released. To set it up:
      1. Create a model
      2. Switch to Manufacture Mode
      3. Create a Setup/toolpath
      4. Right click toolpath, and select Post Process
      5. Note the Configuration Folder, something like C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Autodesk\...
      6. Download maslowcnc.cps from to that Configuration Folder
      7. Close Post Process Window, and open it back up MaslowCNC / maslowcnc should be in the Post Configuration dropdown.
      8. Select Post
      9. Provide .nc filename

Materials (what to use, and not use, it on)

  • Wood (MDF, plywood, hard woods, soft woods (pine, poplar), etc)
  • High density foam
  • Acrylic?
  • Metals can't be cut because the spindle (router) doesn't turn slow enough
  • Other??

General and Special Safety Considerations

This is not an exhaustive list!

  • Always wear safety glasses.
  • Read, understand and follow all warning labels, instructions and safety manuals.
  • Hearing and respiratory protection are recommended.
  • The Maslow may start and move in unexpected ways. Stay well clear of all moving parts during operation. Warn any bystanders before you command the Maslow to begin a motion.
  • The Maslow's router may create dust, chips, and larger chunks. These may be thrown from the cutter. Be aware of possible projectiles. Always wear safety glasses.


  • Training is currently TBD.

When asking for training on the Maslow, you should first have (per-requsites):

  • Taken the wood shop class so you know how we want things cleaned up.
  • A basic understanding of work holding, feeds and speeds, and conventional and climb cutting (as taught in the machine shop class).
  • A project idea, and have either already generated vector files for your project, or, for simpler designs, measurements of the pieces you want to cut out. This could be as simple as a couple boxes and a circle cut from a piece of plywood.
  • Material to use to cut. This could be a sheet of wood, or an appropriate scrap from the wood bin. Your material should be relatively flat, free of any metal (nails, screws, staples) and in good condition. I.e. not rotting, splintering boards you found on the side of the road.
  • Recommended reading: ONSRUD Cutter LP - CNC Production Routing Guide

Pre-Use checklist

TBD (copied from Shopbot) Before using the Maslow, you should:

  • Ensure that the gantry (y-axis) is square to the rest of the ShopBot frame.
  • Zero out your X and Y axises to the desired location. (0,0 is the center of the board?)
  • Ensure you have the desired bit installed in the router.
  • Zero out your Z axis.
  • Triple check that your intended cut path will not impact any hold-downs
  • Wear hearing and eye protection.
  • Activate the dust collection vacuum system.
  • Before hitting "Cut Part", do a bladder check.
  • "Cut Part". You will be prompted to turn on the router. ("Spindle")

Post-Use Checklist (cleanup, etc)

TBD (mostly copied from Shopbot) When you have finished using the Maslow, be sure that you:

  • Return the tool to the traditional [0,0] position in the lower-left corner. Zero the axises if they have been changed.
  • Install a standard cutter bit if you have changed to a specialized bit.
  • Use compressed air to blow dust off the Maslow itself, the computers, and the work bench.
  • Vacuum or sweep wood chips, debris and dust off the bed and the tool.
  • Sweep up dust and debris within 4 a foot area around the ShopBot.
  • Return any other tools you have used to their storage location.
  • Shut down the Ubuntu PC.
  • Unplug the Maslow controller.
  • Unplug all electrical cords used and return them to stowed condition

Tool Use

Please take a class or ask for individual instruction

Tips and Tricks

For those who are looking to buy Bits, Here are the current Recommended Bits to purchase for your "Tool Box"

  • Whiteside UD2100 Spiral Cut Bit (Compression), .25 Diameter, .25 Shank, 1" Cut Length, 2.5" Overall Length -- Good For Wood and will give nice clean cut - Available via Woodcraft Special Order Item # 818489 $38.49
  • Whiteside RD2100 Spircal Cut Bit (Down Cut), .25 Diameter, .25 Shank, 1" Cut Length, 2.5" Overall Length -- Good For Wood cuts downward pushing work against table - Available via Woodcraft Special Order Item # 812126 $20.99
  • Whiteside SA2100 O-Flute Straight Router Bit, .25 Diameter, .25 Shank, 1" Cut Length, 3.5" Overall Length -- This is for Plastic - Available via Woodcraft Special Order Item # 405215 $27.99
  • Whiteside is the best bits you can buy, they will last as long as you live, and you can pass them on to your children provided you take good care of them.

Related links