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.

Budget Pick
Premium Pick
CNCSourced Rating:
CNCSourced Rating:
$78.99
$1198
Working Area:
4’ x 8’
Working Area:
4’ x 8’
Accuracy:
Not as accurate as MakerMade M2
Accuracy:
More accurate due to superior electronics and z-axis
Speed:
Slower than MakerMade M2
Speed:
Can cut up to 40% faster
Software Compatibility:
Compatible with Groundcontrol, Webcontrol, and Makerverse
Software Compatibility:
Compatible with Makerverse software only
Upgrade:
Upgrade kit available for users to upgrade from Maslow to M2
Upgrade:
N/A
Budget Pick
CNCSourced Rating:
$78.99
Working Area:
4’ x 8’
Accuracy:
Not as accurate as MakerMade M2
Speed:
Slower than MakerMade M2
Software Compatibility:
Compatible with Groundcontrol, Webcontrol, and Makerverse
Upgrade:
Upgrade kit available for users to upgrade from Maslow to M2
Premium Pick
CNCSourced Rating:
$1198
Working Area:
4’ x 8’
Accuracy:
More accurate due to superior electronics and z-axis
Speed:
Can cut up to 40% faster
Software Compatibility:
Compatible with Makerverse software only
Upgrade:
N/A
02/18/2024 02:08 am GMT
Comparison PointsMaslow ClassicMakerMade M2
Machine TypeBeginner’s CNCImprovement on the Maslow CNC
Work Area4’ x 8’4’ x 8’
AccuracyNot as accurate as MakerMade M2More accurate due to superior electronics and z-axis
SpeedSlower than MakerMade M2Can cut up to 40% faster
AssemblyRequires assembly, but more difficult than MakerMade M2Requires assembly, but easier than Maslow Classic. Comes with wall mount brackets for easier build
PriceCheaper than MakerMade M2More expensive than Maslow Classic. Kit costs $1198, while upgrade kit costs $599 to upgrade from Maslow to M2.
Software CompatibilityCompatible with Groundcontrol, Webcontrol, and MakerverseCompatible with Makerverse software only
UpgradesUpgrade kit available for users to upgrade from Maslow to M2N/A
Maslow vs MakerMade M2 specs compared

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 CNC
Source: Maslow

Pros

Cheap and great for beginners.

Superb for woodworking.

One of the best 4×8 CNC routers under $1000.

Cons

The router needs to be bought separately.

Long assembly.

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

Pros

A great improvement on the original Maslow CNC.

Can upgrade the Maslow to an M2.

Can cut large signs.

Cons

Has a long assembly time as well.

The router needs to be bought separately.

More expensive than the Maslow CNC.

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

Price

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.

Controller

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.

MakerMade M2 vs Maslow CNC 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.

Software Compatibility

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.

Makerverse Software
Makerverse Software. Source: Maslow CNC Forums

The Z-Axis

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.

Maslow CNC Z-axis
Source: Maslow CNC Forum

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.

MakerMade Z-axis
Source: Instructables

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 CNC Chain
Source: Maslow CNC Forum

Maslow Classic uses a bungee cord to put tension on the chains, while M2 uses springs. M2’s springs are way better.

MakerMade M2 Spring
Source: MakerMade

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.

Extra Accessories

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.

Several 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. 

Optional Laser

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

MakerMade M2 CNC Engraving Machine Kit
$1198
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Leo Watts

Leo is a head writer and editor for CNCSourced, having been an engineer for a number of years. I have an MS in Control Engineering and have designed and built several automation systems for PLCs. I built my own DIY CNC machine from scratch, welding metals to make a rigid CNC body, and making CNC control systems for powerful motors. I gained unique experiences both building and working with that CNC machine, and I’ve also published brand-new research on how to cheaply cut granite and stone with a unique trick (check my guide for this). If you have any questions, you can reach me at [email protected]

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