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View Full Version : Can anyone recomend the best books for learning CNC milling?



suesi34e
26-12-2014, 01:47 PM
Hi guys,

I could jot down what little I know about CNC machines on the back of a postage stamp and still have room to spare!

What I am after is a good book or someone on the south coast that could teach me a few bits here and there, happy to pay for someones time.

I like reading on here and learning what I can but I wonder if a good book would help me learn more. I don't want to buy a bundle of books if they are not very good or too advanced.

All the best

Suesi

charlieuk
26-12-2014, 02:07 PM
I cant offer a huge amount but your welcome to take a look at what I have done. I was in a similar situation a year ago and some one offered the same which helped me so maybe it would hlp you a little. Im not the best person to probably seek advice but I couldn't find any one else on the south coast.

I think we could defiantly come up with a page on here that has a explanation and a few pictures of what a basic system is and all the terms and abbreviations mean. Its taken me a year to understand the basics of micro steps till I looked on Wikipedia lol

suesi34e
26-12-2014, 03:14 PM
Hi Charlie,

Thank you for your msg. I do not find learning CNC easy! I will study your threads and look on Wikipedia. It is the CAM and writing G code if find a bit tricky, I can see what the commands do but I get a bit of a job when it comes to putting them together.

Many thanks

Suesi

EddyCurrent
26-12-2014, 03:29 PM
This site has a lot of info;
http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCCNCGCodeCourse.htm

JAZZCNC
26-12-2014, 04:52 PM
Hi Charlie,

Thank you for your msg. I do not find learning CNC easy! I will study your threads and look on Wikipedia. It is the CAM and writing G code if find a bit tricky, I can see what the commands do but I get a bit of a job when it comes to putting them together.

Many thanks

Suesi

Suesi. The problem lies with how versatile CNC machines are and the range of use's that people do with them not to mention the huge range of software available that no one can write a book to cover all aspects good enough to do any justuce.

I help a lot of people with Cad, Cam and G-code, Mach3 etc and the best why I find folks learn is to have job to make. This applies all the way thru from Cad to Cutting.
Just sitting down in front of software be that Cad, Cam or controller and trying to learn without a specific task makes learning very hard and boring.
Practice and experimenting will learn you best and while time consuming hands on really is the only way you'll learn and retain.
For someone to learn you enough to be any use and for you to retain what they have shown will take weeks or months. So really it's not practicle or econmical to try to pay someone as the amount of time required to fully sink is more than few hours or days can achieve.

Pick a job and give it a try. Start simple with 2D stuff first to get the basics down. Then work up to 3D etc from there.
If you get stuck post up a thread and I for one will gladly help as will others I'm sure. After experimenting and cutting air with a few parts you'll soon be knocking parts up like a pro.

Don't worry too much about learning G-code at first as it's not required but it is very useful to know the basics so worth taking time to learn at the right time.

IanS1
26-12-2014, 04:55 PM
With todays CAD/CAM software, I would have thought learning anything but the basics of G Code isn't really needed to get you started in the world of CNC. I would be looking to master the CAD/CAM software and then examine the G Code output to see how it works against your CAD model. You will soon get to know G Code working this way.

JAZZCNC
26-12-2014, 05:06 PM
Tell you what Suesi why don't explain which aspects you struggle with the most and lets see about doing a tutorial on each aspect.
Or suggest a part you want to make and we can take from start to finish.

It will probably need to be kept to basic principles rather than software specific unless I have the software you use.? In which case I don't mind making a video showing how I would approach and make.!

suesi34e
26-12-2014, 05:41 PM
Hi Jazz

Many thanks for your msg and offer to help I will take you up on that for sure. What you say makes a lot of sense.

This is where I am at:

I have the mill, AutoCAD and mach3 up and running (I did have Lazycam but the PC I had that on has a temporary issue. I will do some drawings for some 2D parts I would like to make.

I think I could do with adjusting the Z axis as at the minute the collet nut could go down through the table if I made an error, I don't see sense in having it set like that as I must have some material on the bed with some cutter projection.

I think then I need to get some CAM software I was thinking of BobCAD V24 as I can get that reasonable or CamBam. I do not know which is best. I guess once I have the software I will have a go with the CAD drawing and if I am still in the dark ask you Jazz for some help!

Many thanks

Suesi

suesi34e
26-12-2014, 05:43 PM
Thanks Eddy this site is good I shall have another look at it.
Many thanks
Suesi

suesi34e
26-12-2014, 05:50 PM
Hi IanS1
Thanks for your msg.
Perhaps I was trying to do things a bit back to front I see what your saying
Tar very much
Suesi

JAZZCNC
26-12-2014, 07:01 PM
Ok well first I'll say forget Lazy cam it's hard work, outdated and unsupported.

With auto cad your half way there which is good and if you can use it all the better.

Next get some Cam software sorted ASAP. BobCad cam is Ok-ish and I do have it thou don't use it much these days but it will help you as I know it very well and it's a quirky program to use so having some one show the quirks will help.

To be honest half the battle with any Cam software is adjusting to how the actual software works rather than learning how individual cutting stratergies etc work.!


Like Ian says forget learning G-code at the minute. In practise you'll only want to learn G-code so you can monitor what's happening in Control as the G-code is ticking away or maybe the odd MDI (manual data input) command for setting up etc. Very rare do you write G-code for actually cutting anything these days.

EddyCurrent
26-12-2014, 07:20 PM
I think then I need to get some CAM software I was thinking of BobCAD V24 as I can get that reasonable or CamBam. I do not know which is best.

I use CamBam, at first I thought it was basic and limiting when compared to other CAM software but the reverse is true. It includes some good CAD features for 2D work, lets you tweak loads of parameters, and can use scripts and plugins that users write to expand it's capabilities. It looks a bit daunting at first because it's 'nuts & bolts' rather than 'glossy brochure' stuff.

m.marino
26-12-2014, 07:29 PM
Really it is horses for courses,

If I am doing work for a client that can be done in Aspire, that is the tool I use (still has a learning curve and still learning a lot with it). If it needs engineering edges I tend to use CamBam and have set things up for that purpose. Really it depends on what you are using it for and money and time. It took a good while to be able to afford Aspire. But aspire allows me to do drag and drop of pre made models to build finished products for clients and that saves time. It really depends on what you are using it for and what your CNC is for. Jazz is right though that doing a project with the software is the best option.

Michael

suesi34e
26-12-2014, 08:28 PM
Hi Jazz,

Thank you for that. I see you have bobcad is it v24? Is there a better software for me to go with without spending silly money? I can draw in AutoCAD 2D OK not so go good on the 3D side of things, I just don't get time to play with it enough. If you cant think of anything better than bobcad I will go for that and see what we can do. I really appreciate your offer to help me, it should dig me out of a very deep hole!

Many thanks

Suesi

IanS1
27-12-2014, 04:52 PM
To get started why not look at one of the free packages, FreeMill is limited but OK to have a play with.

http://mecsoft.com/freemill/

As with any software, you will need to put some time in, it's the only way to learn I'm afraid.

suesi34e
27-12-2014, 06:17 PM
Hi IanS1,

Many thanks for your msg and the link the software looks great for free. I am tempted to try that or bite the bullet and buy BobCAD. I guess Bobcad would be harder to learn as I imagine there is much more to it but I also think there would be more help with it. A tricky one!

Thanks very much for your help

Suesi

Boyan Silyavski
27-12-2014, 06:33 PM
One of the best places to start is to arm yourself with patience and read some manuals. In that order. When you are finished you will know much more about everything.
So RTFM! :triumphant:

You could go, download demos, click help and read the manuals. it doesnt matter that you will or not use the specific product. These have well written manuals that will help you much.

- Mach3
- Aspire
- CSMIO
- MachStdMill

EddyCurrent
27-12-2014, 07:15 PM
I find it best these days to only learn what I need, and that means only when you get stuck on how to do something you NEED to do.

suesi34e
27-12-2014, 07:40 PM
Hi silyavski,

Thank you for your msg and pointers. I had better get reading, I have mach3 I am going to get a manual printed next time I get to the printers.

Many thanks

Suesi

suesi34e
27-12-2014, 07:43 PM
Hi EddyCurrent,

I see why you think only learn when you get stuck it makes a lot of sense. The only downside is I have so much to learn!

Many thanks

Suesi

JAZZCNC
27-12-2014, 09:28 PM
I find it best these days to only learn what I need, and that means only when you get stuck on how to do something you NEED to do.

First prize goes to this Man.! . . . . This is by far the best way to learn IMO. Doing like this means you retain most of what you learnt because it had meaning and substance. It also makes you more eager to find or solve the problem.

In the past I've spent many many hours on the phone trying to help folks with explaining how to do things or worn my fingers to the bones writing long emails on the same subject. Only for maybe less than 10% to actually get retained.

Now I've learnt that the best way for them to learn and retain 80% is to create a project and give it there best before contacting me. Doesn't matter how miserable they fail doing this it gives a good start point where 5-10% is learnt and retained before I get involved. Then we can work on what went wrong or how can be done easier or better. Also I do this by having them at the software or machine and working directly on the project. This technique works great and far more is learnt and retained in short period of time.

suesi34e
27-12-2014, 09:45 PM
Hi Jazz,
I see the issues you mention. I think I will get my z axis adjusted first. I may then get BobCAD and see how I go the post processor is the first hurdle I see!
I am pretty good if someone tell me how to do something I try and jot it down to refer to.
Many thanks
Suesi

EddyCurrent
27-12-2014, 09:57 PM
First prize goes to this Man.! . . . .

Looks like I'm in the good books at the moment :hysterical:

Here's a good saying that's very true;

I hear, I forget
I see, I remember
I do, I understand

JAZZCNC
27-12-2014, 10:18 PM
I see why you think only learn when you get stuck it makes a lot of sense. The only downside is I have so much to learn!

No no no learning to use or build a machine is like eating a Elephant.? . . . Can't be done in one sitting and best done in small bites.!

There is a simple process and sequence to running a CNC machine and learning is best done in the same sequence.

Starting with CAD so get this learnt to a proficient standard first which you say you have done.

Next comes CAM. This can be easy or hard depending on the software. Some software requires more input from the user for selecting Geometry etc which you use to define toolpaths.
Better software will give more choices and options in cutting stratergies along with easier or more advanced Geometry selection techniques. Ie Auto hole selection etc. Nice but not required.!
In general it's learning the quirks of each software for simple things like selecting geometry that takes the time rather than figurng out the cutting stratergies and all there options.

Lastly comes Mach3. Often Mach3 daunts people but it really shouldn't because in practise and in basic usage form there's very little to using it after the machine as been setup. Which really has nothing to do with using the software for cutting and is kind of separate thing.

There's basicly 3 stages to setting up and using Mach3.
#1 Setup and define the machine so it moves the correct distance and controls any I/O (Inputs & outputs).
#2 Second Define tool numbers and height offsets or fixture jig offsets. (if using any)

#3 The main one.!! Load G-code file. . . . Place material, insert correct tool, define WORK zero coordinate press Cycle start.!

In real world use there really is nothing to using Mach3 and it shouldn't daunt anyone. Obviously there are few other options and buttons on the Mach screen you'll want to learn and use but again nothing scary or rocket science.

When you have your working procedure setup and working for you then it get's easier stiil. For instance you'll keep a tool table of your cutters in CAM that matches the Tool table in Mach3.
So when you select say 10mm tool in Cam which you defined and gave a TOOL NUMBER then saved in your tool table. That same TOOL NUMBER is used in Mach3 so when the G-code file produced for your part and calls for T1 Mach knows the height offset and tool diameter for this tool and automaticly applies the height offset and any cutter compensation if called for.
You do nothing other than make sure you put the correct tool in the spindle. CAM and Mach3 work with each other.

Obously this only applies to those with Mills or machine which use tool holders which can define set consistant heights of tools that never change.

For the rest of use who use individual tools not using holders then we don't bother with Fixed Tool offsets in Mach3 and set Z axis Zero each time we change tools.
But in all this the process of actually cutting parts in Mach3 is quite simple really and shouldn't scare anyone.

Learn step by step and you'll be ok.

Clive S
28-12-2014, 01:17 AM
posted in the wrong post :beer:..Clive

JAZZCNC
28-12-2014, 10:19 AM
posted in the wrong post :beer:..Clive

Stay off the amber Nectar Pisshead. . . :hysterical:

suesi34e
28-12-2014, 11:00 AM
Hi Jazz,

Thank you for your reassurance and so much info it is very handy to me. I guess I have been very cautious so that I hopefully don't damage my machine or tools. I would hate to mark the bed or something like that as it is in great condition. I guess I will do just like you say start with the basics and learn step by step. The CNC side of things is tricky for me especially as I don't get to the machine all that often, not as much as I would like! Hopefully once I get going things will mesh together a bit and I will be able to start making little parts. I think I will feel a little better once I have a good simulator like that in BobCAD so I can get an idea of what should happen before I start.

Tar very much for all the help

Suesi

JAZZCNC
28-12-2014, 03:06 PM
I guess I have been very cautious so that I hopefully don't damage my machine or tools. I would hate to mark the bed or something like that as it is in great condition.

This why it's always best to set the Z zero work coordiante in Mach3 higher than material so you can cut air if your not sure. This way only time is wasted not an expensive table or tool.!

I'll PM you some details and I'll work with you if you like and go thru the steps slowly.