In my comparison of the Maslow CNC vs MakerMade M2, overall the MakerMade M2 offers significant improvements over Maslow Classic in accuracy, ease of assembly, and speed. However, it’s twice the price – though you can also upgrade to the M2 from a Maslow with a kit.
4’ x 8’
4’ x 8’
Not as accurate as MakerMade M2
More accurate due to superior electronics and z-axis
Slower than MakerMade M2
Can cut up to 40% faster
Compatible with Groundcontrol, Webcontrol, and Makerverse
Compatible with Makerverse software only
Upgrade kit available for users to upgrade from Maslow to M2
|Comparison Points||Maslow Classic||MakerMade M2|
|Machine Type||Beginner’s CNC||Improvement on the Maslow CNC|
|Work Area||4’ x 8’||4’ x 8’|
|Accuracy||Not as accurate as MakerMade M2||More accurate due to superior electronics and z-axis|
|Speed||Slower than MakerMade M2||Can cut up to 40% faster|
|Assembly||Requires assembly, but more difficult than MakerMade M2||Requires assembly, but easier than Maslow Classic. Comes with wall mount brackets for easier build|
|Price||Cheaper than MakerMade M2||More expensive than Maslow Classic. Kit costs $1198, while upgrade kit costs $599 to upgrade from Maslow to M2.|
|Software Compatibility||Compatible with Groundcontrol, Webcontrol, and Makerverse||Compatible with Makerverse software only|
|Upgrades||Upgrade kit available for users to upgrade from Maslow to M2||N/A|
Maslow CNCs are a beginner’s dream. They cut huge sheets – yet don’t take up much space. They are cheap and excellent for beginner CNC use, such as making furniture and cabinets. As a result, the kits are hugely popular.
But there is a decision to make. Should you buy the classic Maslow CNC, or pay more for the newer MakerMade M2?
The good news even if you buy a Maslow, and decide you now want the M2, you can upgrade it buying the upgrade kit. But, that requires you to replace and assemble some parts – and it costs $599.
But, to help you pick, I’ve compared the Maslow CNC and the Maker Made M2, so you can understand which best suits your needs, including:
- Choosing between Maslow CNC and M2
- Upgrading from Maslow to M2
I’ll compare Maslow CNC with MakerMade M2 over their controllers, software, and hardware improvements.
What is Maslow CNC?
Maslow is a beginner CNC. It’s a cheap solution for applications that require large work areas but not too much accuracy.
So, it’s superb for CNC woodworking, cutting furniture, and cabinet parts out of 4 x 8 foot wood sheets. Maslow CNC’s vertical design occupies very little space compared to its work area. It’s the best 4 x 8 CNC router under $1000.
What is Maker Made M2?
MakerMade M2 is an improvement on the original Maslow CNC. You can buy it separately, or upgrade the standard Maslow to an M2 by buying MakerMade’s upgrade kit. Therefore, M2 users are key part of the larger Maslow community.
MakerMade sells both the original Maslow Classic and the MakerMade M2 kit.
Differences Between Maslow CNC and MakerMade M2
You can buy the original Maslow kit from various sellers, including MakerMade. The price depends on the seller and the quality of the CNC. Some sellers offer Maslows for as cheap as $314.
MakerMade’s Jumpstart Maslow CNC kit costs $599. On the other hand, the MakerMade M2 CNC kit goes for $1198.
You can also buy a Maslow and later upgrade to M2. MakerMade’s Maslow to M2 upgrade kit costs $599.
The Maslow project has two controller board options: the Arduino Mega and the Arduino Due. Maslow Classic has the Mega controller, while M2 has the Arduino Due controller.
Arduino Due has superior electronics. It has a beast of a CPU, higher memory, and higher SRAM. It’s much faster overall.
Plus, the firmware on the two boards are slightly different. Calibration is easier with the Due board.
So, MakerMade has focused on this board for future improvements, while Arduino Mega is the older controller.
Since the Due controller is easier to calibrate, the MakerMade M2 is easier to calibrate than the original Maslow Classic.
However, you can also upgrade Maslow’s electronics to the Arduino Due controller. Everything is open-source, so you can download the firmware and flash an Arduino Due to upgrade the original Maslow.
There are three software options for Maslow CNCs:
- Groundcontrol (oldest).
- Then, Webcontrol came with networking capabilities.
- Makerverse (the newest software).
However, Groundcontrol and Webcontrol are only compatible with the Arduino Mega controller, while Makerverse supports both controllers.
As a result, you can use all three with Maslow, but only Makerverse with MakerMade M2.
This is somewhat limiting for M2 users. Because, although Makerverse will be the best of these in the future, it still needs some work.
Meanwhile, a ton of people are using Webcontrol with their Maslows and it’s well-tested. However, an M2 user can’t benefit from the Maslow forums’ pages on software issues.
On the other hand, some people like Makerverse better than Groundcontrol and Webcontrol. It’s already better in many aspects, including easier calibration. and compatibility with all Maslow CNCs.
Maslow’s z-axis is one of its weak points. It’s inaccurate, and this is the biggest issue users have with it. So, any improvement here makes a huge difference.
To change this, MakerMade’s z-axis is made completely from metal. It’s more robust and sturdier than the original Maslow Classic’s z-axis.
According to MakerMade, the new z-axis has twice the movement of the original z-axis and can cut up to 40% faster.
Also, the z-axis uses a T-nut locking system that accommodates different router sizes. For example, you can get a 91mm or a 71mm router clamp for various routers.
Frame Wall Mount Brackets
Maslow Classic kits need a free-standing frame, and you have to build the frame yourself. However, MakerMade M2 has frame wall mount brackets to set up your machine against the wall.
The wall mount has several advantages:
- It’s a far easier build. Building a free-standing frame takes more effort.
- The machine takes less space since the free-standing frame holds the Maslow CNC at a slant.
- The mount-on-the-wall design achieves sturdiness pretty easily, while making a sturdy free-standing frame is difficult.
The brackets are made of thick steel and can hold the M2 easily.
Springs for Better Chain Tension
The Maslow CNC uses a chain that connects two motors to the sled. This system also requires putting tension on the chain. Otherwise, the chain can wrap if you cut near the top of the stock. Taking care of the chain slack is essential to Maslow’s design.
Maslow Classic uses a bungee cord to put tension on the chains, while M2 uses springs. M2’s springs are way better.
You always have to watch your chains when Maslow is working – there’s always the chance that the chains get loose and require your immediate attention. Instead, MakerMade M2’s springs are more effective and significantly reduce the chance of chain wraps.
Dust Collection Sled
MakerMade has designed a sled for Maslow CNCs that supports dust collection. You can buy a dust collector and attach it to the MakerMade’s sled. That’s handy since cutting wood sheets produces a tremendous amount of dust.
However, the original Maslow’s sled didn’t have a dust-collecting attachment. But, you can also order this from MakerMade for your Maslow if you’re using a dust collector.
MakerMade M2 comes with extra accessories you don’t get with the Maslow kit. These include:
Collet Size Reducer
Maslow’s collet is ¼”, so you can use only ¼” bits and endmills. However, MakerMade M2 comes with a collet size reducer. It’s a ¼” to ⅛” collet reducer, so you can also use ⅛” bits.
If you buy a Maslow Basic from MakerMade, it doesn’t come with any bits or endmills. But, if you buy their Maslow Jumpstarter kit, you also get a ¼” upcut endmill. Meanwhile, MakerMade M2 comes with ⅛” upcut, downcut, and straight bits.
However, the bits don’t cost much. You can buy all the bits you want on Amazon or from other sellers if you want to buy these separately – so it’s not a huge deal either way.
You have the option of ordering a laser from MakerMade for an M2 kit. MakerMade offer a 2.8W diode laser attachment, with accessories. The kit includes an emergency stop button, a laser fan, and cables.
Overall, the sturdiness and general build quality improvements of the MakerMade M2 make it the better pick, in my opinion. Both are still incredibly cheap for 4 x 8 routers, and offer great value for full-sheet cutting.