Want CNC training ideas

Hi guys, just wanted to get some recommendations for starting basic
CNC training.
I know the alt.machines.cnc group would be more appropiate, but since
I hang here most of the time, and know some of you do that group also,
here goes....
I have run a cnc mill before (smartcam), but was just the button
pusher, as two of the guys in the shop had training in the programming,
and the supervisor wouldn't send anyone else to school.
I now work in a shop (with educational bennies) with a two axis cnc
mill, and would like to get training in cnc.
The cnc program on the mill is a bastardized one, and the ONE guy that
runs it won't give any info on it. I personally believe he doesn't want
anyone else to learn or run it 1) for it may make him look stupid 2)
for someone may actually be better at it 3) for he won't be able to
milk jobs for days and days using programming as an excuse.... well,
you all know the type.
Before I get a spanking on bad mouthing the guy, heres an example:
making a plate 8x10 inches, 20 one half inch holes 4 columns by 5
rows. Two parts completed in three weeks.
Shit, I could have kicked out a hundred in no time on a conventional
mill and DRO.
Instead of bitching to the boss, I'll get the training I need. On my
own. With your help. :-)
Okay, enough background, now the applications I'll need
The shop is more of a repair shop, and we do a lot of one-offs, but
we still see a lot of repeat parts. Mostly mild steel, some stainless.
Nothing that you coudn't do on a conventional mill. I feel that the
time invested in the cnc would be more productive as in set up a
fixture, send the program, start. Quick, easy, productive, identical.
Isn't that why cnc was invented?
Now the questions: Thanks to this group, I have a copy of alibre
design xpress (CAD). Did the tutorials, but there is a LOT more to
learn. The local community college offers an AutoCAD course. Would you
guys recommend the alibre self training, or AutoCAD or both?
I am more apt to take the college for a better understanding, however.
I assume commands for both would be basically the same.
I don't know which would be better for CAM operations, or which is
more widely used.
Hell, being new to this, I don't even know if autocad can be imported
to the mill to run.
Am I correct in assuming that AutoCAD files can be sent to mill? or do
you need a program to convert?
Next, (yes I did search the groups, but not much ) it is my
understanding that mastercam is widely used, and maybe bobcad, but
would it be best to invest the money in mastercam or do a cheaper
version, for we are not a production shop, and frankly, I don't know if
the cost justification is there.
I just don't want to buy mastercam books and study if I can't sell it
to the boss.
Would the autocad course get me started in the right direction, tying
in to mastercam?
I think some of you could point me in the right direction, let me
know your experiences, and give some advice, or even your preferences.
And as always, Thank You all in advance.
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"doo" wrote in news:1136751679.824163.22730 @g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:
Ron, Some things: AutoCad, Albre, Inventor, ProE, etc are design software tools (CAD - Computer aided drafting). They will not directly import into a CNC machine. For that you need software CAM (Computer Aided Machining) that will take the design model and generate tool paths, i.e MasterCam, Gibbs, etc. CAM software requires a POST for the specific control on your machine, because each controller and machine uses different G + M codes, the post (post processor) must be 'tuned' to your specific control. I would suggest the AutoCad course, AND the albre self-course. If you do not understand how to draw in CAD, you may have trouble with CAM. You failed to mention what control is on the mill. That would help with answers regarding the CNC itself. CNC uses G (command) and M (misc. function) and a coordinate system to work. G codes are the actual commands that make the machine do something with the tool or coordinate system. M codes are for doing things like turning the coolant on, turning the spindle on (along with direction), all functions NOT directly related to cutting parts. Since there is no "Standardized" G + M code, you really need to have the books for your machine. While the basic moves are pretty much standardized (G1, G0, etc) The others can vary greatly from one machine to another, even with the SAME CONTROL. It depends on how the machine tool manufacturer set up the control and PLC. Alt.machines.cnc would be the group for getting specific answers to specific questions. Huge amount of knowlege over there from guys who do it all day, every day.
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Why don't you start with the programming manual for your machine? Get it here if your shop has lost it. I'd learn the maintenance manual too.
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For what you're doing, I'd learn to program at the machine and not mess with ACAD, MCAM etc. to start with.(HUGE larning curve here) Any chance you can find a local vo-tech that offers CNC training? Iv'e also seen on-line machine CNC training.
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Karl Townsend
Yes, I see.. I will get some Autocad and alibre training anyway, for I do have to do a lot of blueprinting of parts. I was hoping I could try tying directly to the cnc, but if not, so be it. As long as it may give me an idea towards generating toolpaths, I feel that would help. Also, as Karl has mentioned (and yourself) I will look today and get manufacturer and model number of the cnc. I'll get my own manual, as I've been told "there isn't one" .Hmmm... seems funny to me that you'd invest in a piece of equipment and not get the operation or maintenance manuals. I'll keep you posted on progress. Thanks, guys!
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"doo" wrote in news:1136814267.394335.241870 @f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:
When you get started programming, remember this (It'll help, I used to teach CNC programming at the local adult vo-tech.)
All CNC programming is, in a very basic sense, is plotting points on a coordinate system. You can do the same thing on a piece of graph paper. The G codes just tell the control HOW to get from one plotted point to the next. There are some special ones, like to rotate the coordinate system, or shift the coordinate system, but that is still performing an ACTION relative to the tool path.
The basic command letters for a CNC are, but not limited to: G - Action command M - Misc. Function S - Spindle speed F - Feed Rate T - Tool parameters P - (some controls) canned cycle parameters R - (some controls) Radius I - Circle center relative to the X axis J - Circle center relative to the Y axis K - Circle center relative to the Z axis
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