January 3rd Update: New Ring System to go out in February shipment, finishing up with the PlyPAD, & lots of Projects!

Hi everyone, and happy 2018!

Since the last update we’ve gotten all the parts ordered for the February batch of kits, and a few parts have even started to arrive. We’ve been really hoping to be able to ship all of the February kits with the ring chain attachment system, and we’re really excited to officially announce that we’ve got all the parts lined up and all of the February kits will ship with the ring system.

The new ring attachment system

The new ring attachment system

Parts starting to fill up our work space

Parts starting to fill up our work space

The last part for the ring system that we were struggling to source was the bearings which run along the track. We tested samples from 6 suppliers and three times we thought we had found the right supplier only to have the price go up, or to find out that they wouldn’t be able to get them done soon enough for us to ship. We initially tested designs with a groove cut into the bearing because that is a design which was available, but we quickly found that while the groove seems like a good idea, it could bind up on the track. We ended up going with a customized version of that design without the groove.

Here you can see the bearing we’re using

Here you can see the bearing we’re using

Here is a side by side showing the bearing with and without the groove in the center

Here is a side by side showing the bearing with and without the groove in the center

Software Updates

There have been at least a dozen changes to Ground Control since the 1.0 release last week. Most of them are small enhancements or bug fixes, but they make the update well worth it. The most noticeable change is probably the new look for the file opening process. On the firmware side the unstoppable Kevin Keegan has now made it so that the machine’s dimensions are stored in the Arduino’s EEPROM, meaning the machine remembers it’s calibration instead of relying on Ground Control to send it. The latest firmware can be found here and the latest version of Ground Control can be found here.

PlyPAD Success

We realize it’s been quite some time since we last talked about the PlyPAD - the CNC tiny house that we volunteered to build. The last time we mentioned the project was back at the end of September!

Since that time, the PlyPAD has been completed. It sat doorless in the parking lot of ADX for at least a month due to a lost/damaged door that was never delivered. It took some time to figure out that the door was never going to be delivered, and after that even more time to find a new supplier of the exact door we needed. Because of the unique design of the PlyPAD (ie tiny), finding the exact door that would work proved to be a bit difficult, and they all seemed to have long lead times. Eventually we found a new supplier of the door we needed with a shorter lead time than the original supplier and had that door delivered. Bar installed it at the end of November!

With the PlyPAD officially completed, we contacted our friends at the City of Portland, the Rebuilding Center, and the Portland State University Center for Public Interest Design to set up a move date for the tiny house. With the holidays nearing, we found it a bit difficult to nail down a move date that worked for everyone, but we finally settled on January 13th. In a little less than 2 weeks, we will be separating the PlyPAD back into its 3 modules, moving those modules with a forklift and flatbed truck to the Kenton Women’s Village, and reassembling the home at its final destination!

The entire PlyPAD project was a true adventure with many ups and down, frustrations and smiles, but with it all nearly said and done we’ve come to realize how awesome and important it is that we were able to complete the tiny house, not only for the woman who’s going to call it home but for the development of Maslow and future CNC construction. We put together a page on our website specifically covering the PlyPAD that we’d love for you to check out here. The page covers the background of the project, shows off some photos, and describes the design and changes that were made to it. We also go over the many lessons that were learned from working on the PlyPAD and how using the Maslow to cut the parts resulted in great improvements to the machine itself.

Be on the lookout for a final update on the PlyPAD in two weeks after we’ve moved it to its new home. We plan to show off lots of photos of the move and of the tiny house occupied by its new resident!


There have been a lot of exciting projects showing up in the forums since the last update. Here are some of our favorites.

MeticulousMaynard has continued his awesome generator rebuild. Here’s an updated photo of the panel being installed.

MeticulousMaynard generator pannel update.jpg

And here is an excellent youtube video of the build in progress:

ClintLoggins made this amazing tiger engraving.

clintloggins tiger.jpeg

ClintLoggins also posted a truly incredible project to repurpose a mid-century Körting stereo into a wet bar. The doors, the cabinet back, and the inside shelf were cut using his Maslow, the remainder is the original stereo. The finish on both these project is something that I think really makes them pop.

clintloggins bar1.jpeg
clintloggins bar2.jpeg
clintloggins bar3.jpeg

HydronCollider posted this wonderfully intricate deer head next to a beautiful christmas tree.

HydronCollider Deer Head1.jpg
HydronCollider Deer Head2.jpg

Onelonedork made this stellar alternative to using the Ridgid’s built in z-axis

Onelonedork z-axis.jpg

Jcourrier made this elegant sign which, amazingly, was their first real project. They said the process of getting started was a little intimidating...but I think the results speak for themselves!

jcourrier sign2.jpg
jcourrier sign1.jpg

Bryan_Pollock tested the automatic edge detection in the free trial of the CamBam CAD software to create this cat cutout. Because the software was working from a picture of a cat instead of a vector drawing of a cat the incredible fur detail really came through.

Bryan_Pollock Cat.jpg
Bryan_Pollock Cat2.jpg

And finally I cut out this wine rack for a local theatre group.

Wine Rack.jpg

What an amazing batch of projects!

Until the next update you’ll find us in the forums. If 2018 is anywhere near as exciting as 2017 it’s going to be an amazing year. Happy routing everyone!

-Bar and Hannah