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Where to learn CNC machining?

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  • Where to learn CNC machining?

    I am new to machining and want to learn how to work with CNC mills and CNC lathes to make metal and plastic parts. I am a computer programmer by profession so eventually I want to get into CNC programming and CAD/CAM design. But I think I need to learn about the actual machining first. I live in Northern, NJ and the problem is, I CAN'T find anyplace that teaches machining shop around here. I looking into all the colleges, etc. and everybody just teaches CAD or drafting. One place does CNC programming but you still need a background in machining to do that class. I was looking on the internet and I cam across a site called: Tooling University

    That's about the only thing I can find but I still need hands on training, doing classes online I don't know how I will actually learn to do the real thing.

    Let me know what you think about online classes for this and also if you know of any local machine training schools in my area.


  • #2
    Most of the cad/cam programs can be downloaded for free, they just wont put out any g-codes. You can still learn how to use them though. FeatureCam, Onecnc, and MasterCam are some of the more popular ones that you will see in actual machine shops. They are really not budgeted towards a home shop though, you can find cracked versions if you know where to look and are not guilty about that sort of thing, personally I would rather keep it legit at the business to avoid any fines. Bobcad is a cheaper program, and there are a few others but some of the other member will have to help you with there names. I am used to Featurecam and find bobcad to be a horrible program that isnt worth the money IMHO.

    As far as learning the operation of CNC machines, I know of only two way's, hands on training via a employer or a college course, or if you have the money you buy a cnc mill or lathe(or make one if you really want a challenge) and learn by trial and error and asking questions at forums like this one. good luck.

    It also wouldn't hurt to buy a book on CNC programming, using G-codes. Even if you are using a cad/cam system you should be able to read the code that it spits out, if you can't you are nothing more than an operator.


    • #3
      You're correct, you do need machining experience before you can become a competent CNC programmer. I don't know of any way to get it other than working in a good machine shop, then supplementing what you see and do there with some study at home.

      Here are a few sites you might want to look at.

      Software For Metalworking