Hannah Teagle and Bar Smith make some adjustments to a Maslow CNC router in their basement in Northeast Portland.
The two friends, business partners, and roommates started the open-source company last October. They make ready-to-assemble kits of these CNC routers, which hook up to a 4x8 piece of plywood and can cut out any design uploaded from a computer.
The pair had been working out of their basement since relocating from Port Townsend, WA.
In November, they acquired a space in the newly-built extension of Art Design Portland (ADX) known as the Annex, which opened at the beginning of the new year.
Quarters were cozy in the basement workspace and could be a bit cramped at times. Bar and Hannah continued working on projects here while setting up their new Annex workspace, which they moved into in January.
The Maslow CNC - a smaller and simpler version of a standard CNC machine. It’s also much less expensive, running at under $500 compared to the thousands (even hundreds of thousands) of dollars that a standard machine would cost.
“Affordable CNC routers have been a hobby project of mine for a long time,” Bar says. After creating a desk-top CNC router in college that could carve a small block of wood into any shape, he decided to continue developing that idea: “I thought it would be really cool to take that same technology and apply it to a much bigger machine.”
This wooden chair was made using a Maslow CNC router. Bar and Hannah designed each piece with the software that is included in the kits and used the machine to cut out the pieces. They then assembled and nailed them secure.
From furniture to art décor to kayaks to (eventually, they hope) tiny houses, the things that can be created using the machine are endless.
When Bar came up with the idea for Maslow CNC, he knew he needed someone to work on it with. Despite her unfamiliarity with starting and running a business, Hannah was his choice pick.
“Hannah is a really cool person,” Bar says. “I enjoy spending time with her. And I think she has a different perspective than I do, which is really good. She just seemed like the right person.”
Hannah and Bar trim down a piece of plywood in ADX’s woodshop to be used for one of the shelves in their new Annex workspace.
ADX members and, now, Annex occupants are free to use the tools and machines available in the main shop, as well as other resources like a metal shop, fabrication shop, showroom, and full kitchen.
The outside of the colorfully-muraled Annex.
ADX celebrated its 5th birthday with the grand opening of this 10,000 square-foot warehouse. It’s divided into 500-4,000 square-foot workspaces available for rent to small businesses and start-ups like Maslow CNC. As “Pro Members,” Annex occupants have both the space and community to develop their companies, as well as extra perks like discounted classes, promotional marketing, and free coffee, kombucha, and beer.
Hannah helps Bar lift one of the metal beams that will be used for the shelves in their Annex workspace.
Upon arrival in Portland, the pair were soon introduced to ADX by several friends. They took a tour of the facilities and spoke with members of the community, never thinking that they would be moving in at the end of January.
“We didn’t expect to work here at all,” Hannah says. “But we showed up, and they said, ‘Well we have this pro-space that’s opening at the beginning of next year.’ Which was perfect for us.”
Building industrial shelves in a warehouse is no easy task. Hannah and Bar climb the metal beams that they set up for shelving as they fit a piece of plywood into place.
Hannah, Bar, and friend Thomas Van Hevelingen (center) play GeoGuessr in their kitchen. In the online game, the player is dropped in a random location and must use Google Maps Streetview to figure out where in the world they are.
Typical evenings at the house usually involve wine. “We’re averaging a bottle of wine a day,” Bar says. “Not healthy.”
Side projects that Bar and Hannah make with the Maslow CNC include this coat and hat rack (center) and a pair of wooden crutches (left.)
On top of their main job of making and distributing CNC kits, little projects like these keep them busy both in the shop and on social media. They post pictures of their creations on Facebook and Twitter, in order to inspire viewers’ creativity and gain more Internet attention.
Hannah and Bar enjoy some down time at the Annex after a busy work day.
Though they are longtime roommates, this is the first time that Bar and Hannah have worked together. "People definitely questioned us living and working together," Hannah says. "But we just get along really well."