Got into one of those wars with myself today. Nothing seemed to be going right on a project, and at first I was working through and around the problems. But, problem after problem kept piling up. It also didn’t help that it’s a gazillion degrees in the shop. Then I started to get frustrated and impatient, and started trying to force things to be the way I wanted them to be, and damaged something I had been working on all day. The trick is to quit before getting to that state. When will I ever learn?
Category: The Maker
I had only one mishap with the Maslow, and that was due to my stupidity. The z-axis upgrade has made it much more reliable.
I think I was first introduced to the concept of a Möbius strip in high school. This simple yet weird thing that can be made from a single strip of paper, one end given a 180º twist, and then the ends taped together. If you trace the surface of the resulting object, it has only one continuous face, and there’s only one edge. There are also weird results when you cut it different ways.
A Möbius strip is actually an ideal mathematical construct, like a point, plane, or cube. One you make out of paper is a physical representation of that ideal construct, but paper actually has thickness. But, that’s interesting, because what you’ve actually done is made a long, thin rectangular solid into a Möbius cube, which has one surface, and one edge. I made the Möbius Roller to answer a question in my head: What would it look like to inflate the side (edge) of a Möbius strip? (Then I had to add the channel that follows the side with balls that roll in the channel – because it was cool 😀.)
What has that to do with Blender and Fusion? Well, I originally learned Blender in order to make this object. I don’t know if you can make it in Fusion. (I genuinely don’t know, I’d like to see how, if it’s possible.) Anyhow, it wasn’t too hard to find a tutorial for Blender that showed how to make something like this shape, and I adapted it.
Does that make Blender better than Fusion? No. There are advantages to each. For example, making an object from a dimensioned drawing (like an engineering or architectural drawing) is much easier in Fusion than in Blender.
If you’re interested buying one, contact me.
If you look on the Maslow CNC forums, you will see that one of the greatest challenges that Maslow users face is the mechanics of the z-axis. The height adjustment on the recommended router, the Ridgid 2200, was never meant to be used in the way that it is on the Maslow. It can be altered to be OK on cuts with a limited number of z-axis moves, like furniture. But if you want to do something with a lot more depth movement, like some kinds of artwork, such as my CNC Halftone experiments or logos, it can start to get dicey. My guess is that the main issue is the accumulation of errors due to slop in the router’s height adjustment mechanism that the Maslow uses for z-axis moves (not an original idea).
I should state before going into the things I’ve tried, and the recommendations I have that I am not an engineer of any kind (although my last job title before becoming a full time maker was Desktop Support Engineer). Also, if you are a Maslow user, or thinking of becoming one, you should definitely go to the Maslow forums https://forums.maslowcnc.com to get answers and advice from people who are far more experienced in this stuff than I am. My general approach to the Maslow is: I have technical skills and the Maslow is within the range of those skills, but I’m really more interested in the art I can make with it. Upgrading the machine was done out of necessity, and not because I wanted the engineering challenge. Making halftone images, for example, was something I had in mind to make from the beginning, and I did not know I’d be pushing the limits of what the Maslow can do.
There are a number of ways recommended on the forums to take the slop out of the z-axis mechanism on the Ridgid router:
- Add a some elastic over the top of the router and anchor it to the sled. https://forums.maslowcnc.com/t/z-axis-bungee-to-ensure-correct-depth/481 In my opinion, this should not be an option. Everyone on the forums will remind you to not put too much tension on because that might cause the router spindle to slip out of the shallow slot that connects it to the z-axis mechanism (what I learned is called a “mechanical fuse”). I have found that it is not too difficult to achieve sufficient force to take out most of the z-axis slop without causing the mechanical fuse to trip.
- Another easy get is putting a thin washer under the screw that the z-axis mechanism rides up and down on. https://forums.maslowcnc.com/t/cheap-fixes-for-z-axis-slop-on-the-ridgid-r22002/4031/3 The entire screw can slide a good millimeter or so, and the washer pretty much eliminates this source of slop, and it’s easy to do.
- Attach a bushing to the z-axis clip to keep it perpendicular to the screw. This is something that didn’t work for me and caused the mechanical fuse to trip, I suspect because I used my own solution, but I’m not sure. I suggest that if you want to go this route that you carefully follow the instructions here: https://forums.maslowcnc.com/t/cheap-fixes-for-z-axis-slop-on-the-ridgid-r22002/4031/5
The other solution to the z-axis problem is to discard the Rigid router mechanism entirely, and build a replacement one. That’ll be Part 2.
3D Printed Halftone Image
3D printed halftone image from digital image to physical 3D print.
Finally finished part 2 of my Pentaflake Tabletop build video. I’m looking for work, so if you’re interested in me making something like this for you, contact me via the email address in the sidebar.
I’m still working on the video, but I wanted to get something up on HipNerd.com about finishing this project, since I already posted to social media about it.
I had more trouble with the Maslow, but finally got a good cut.
The bit was dull from the tests I ran previously, so I changed bits halfway through, then re-ran the program to clean up the hairy stuff from the dull bit. Finally, something worked in my favor, and it cleaned up well.
I sanded the insides of the cutouts by cutting up a sanding sponge, folding it over and zip-tying it to a dowel, then putting the dowel in my drill.
I cut the tabletop into a circle using a router on a jig.
I painted a coat of clear epoxy resin into the cutouts to seal, then poured the the colored epoxy using condiment dispensers.
I sanded off the excess epoxy with 80 grit sandpaper, working in sections.
I sanded everything smooth, working my way to a final 400 grit hand sanding. I put some edge banding on to hide the plywood edge. Then, I put on three coats of varnish.
I’m really happy with the way this came out, and looking forward to some more projects with my Maslow.
This video documents making a tabletop with a pentaflake pattern. Unfortunately, I spend most of my time troubleshooting my Maslow CNC.
In this shop project video, I show how I used some concrete anchors to anchor a canopy to my driveway.