Basement, Blog, Woodworking / Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

I have wanted a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) router for years. The problem, however, is that a CNC is very expensive and only recently have they come down in price but even at that lower price, they’re still out of my range. For a while, I was looking at the cheapest CNCs on the market, an import from China with questionable reviews and only capable of working on an area the size of a Post-It note. For me, that’s not really what I’m looking for.

A few years back, I found what I was looking for, a budget, large-scale CNC router. It was a Kickstarter campaign for the Maslow CNC. For $500, I could have a CNC capable of cutting a 4 ft. x 8 ft. sheet of material. For $500 and a few tradeoffs like being slow and hacky and DIY in its own way. Still, it was a h*ck of a deal considering comparable CNCs in a traditional setup run $10,000 or more.

Even better, due to the design of the Maslow, it takes up a whole lot less space than a traditional CNC. It sits vertically and the router dangles by chains. But because it is still so big, I didn’t have any place to put it at the time when I was living in apartments. Fast forward to when Ellie and I bought a house, I suddenly had more space to put it and didn’t need to worry about bothering the neighbors.

It took me a year of hemming and hawing over buying one but finally, I thought I was in the right place with everything to pull the trigger. Back in May, I ordered myself a Maslow. However, due to how they fulfill orders, I had to wait until earlier this month to get it. What’s worse is that the whole thing came in a 8 in. x 10 in. x 6 in. Priority Mail box. In pieces. 

Maslow CNC Parts

I knew it’d come this way, I did my research and knew it was part of the reason the Maslow is so cheap. Shipping is a breeze for those folks. But now, all I have is a box of parts and no means to use them, yet.

The plan for the next couple months, aside from other house projects, is to slowly assemble the Maslow. First, I’ll need to build the frame for it. Then I will need to mount all of the parts to it. After that, I’ll have to calibrate it and tweak it until it’s running properly. And finally, once all of that is done, I’ll be able to use it for the things it was intended for.

So what do I intend to cut with a CNC? Plenty of things are on my list right now, not limited to:

  • A new computer desk
  • A bathroom vanity
  • Some end tables
  • Shelving for the basement
  • A bed frame
  • Christmas ornaments
  • A bathroom vanity
  • Maps and other wall decorations

The list goes on and on. I really hope this budget-friendly CNC can do the things I listed above. I don’t care if it will run slower and be a bit less accurate than a more expensive machine. For the time being, I’m not in it to make money (though that’d be pretty cool if I did), I’m just in it to learn more things. Already, I’m learning 3D modeling. I’ll need to take those models and translate them to something that can be cut. After that, I’m sure there’s more to learn. 

It’s going to be a fascinating journey, and I hope you stick along for the ride. In the meantime, enjoy a video of me unboxing the Maslow.

Fun fact: I was super nervous recording this video because I don’t like to be on camera or to hear my voice recorded. This was actually the third time doing this because my camera wasn’t cooperating the first couple times. It vastly improved my comfort on the camera. I hope you enjoy it!

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