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  1. #1
    Hi,
    My name is Steven.

    This is a 'shot in the dark' but here goes.
    Is there such a thing as a CNC training course in the South West of England which then allows you to rent a CNC machine for a while, perhaps a day?

    Thank you.
    PS I have no knowledge whatsoever on how to program/use a CNC machine

  2. #2
    Neale's Avatar
    Lives in Plymouth, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 19 Hours Ago Has been a member for 7-8 years. Has a total post count of 1,559. Received thanks 282 times, giving thanks to others 10 times.
    Not sure how much it helps but Plymouth College of Art (you did say south-west!) used to run evening sessions where they taught some CAD/CAM and gave you access to a few machines. I have a feeling that UCA Bournemouth have done something similar. However, I expect that all these things are shut at the moment anyway.

    Alternatively, you could try looking for makerspaces in your area, which typically have a range of tools and machines and generally someone to show you how to use them.

    Good luck - from someone who threw together his first CNC router out of MDF and then taught himself... Two machines later, and I think I'm getting the hang of it!

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  4. #3
    I can't help regards where to rent or training but I think you'll struggle to find a generic CNC training course that will be much use operating a machine.!
    The problem is there are so many different controllers fit to machines that they couldn't possibly teach you all of them and really there isn't any standard for controllers fit to machines and it's the controller you need to learn to operate the machine.

    Then you have different types of CNC machines, ie: Mill, Router, Plasma, Laser, EDM. Each of these is CNC but operate with slight differences that would need to be learned before you could operate one.

    The principles of CNC can be taught in college ie: G-code, CAM, Coordinate systems, tool offsets, etc and they will teach you how to use the controller fit to the machines they operate to test your G-code, etc. But unless you go on specific courses for controllers, which I doubt there will be many taught in college, then they won't help you actually operate the machine. This is normally done by the employer, either on the job or by sending to the machine manufacturer who runs courses of their specific controllers.

    Then you have hobby controllers like Mach3, UCCNC, LINUXCNC, etc. that are often fit to DIY machines and many low-cost (compared to industrial) commercially available machines. These operate very differently from industrial controllers and while they use similar principles to industrial controllers, ie: G-code standards, Work offsets, tooloff sets, etc they have just enough differences to make them unusable if you haven't been shown, or at very least many hours of trial and error. And while DIY or lower spec machines they can still do serious damage to a machine or person if setup or programmed wrong.

    My advice if you want to learn Hobby level CNC is to buy a cheap machine and get stuck in, watch some youtube vids and ask questions on here. It's not rocket science and the best way to learn is from practical experience.

    What's your intention for learning CNC.? To get or job or just a Hobby.?

    Good luck
    -use common sense, if you lack it, there is no software to help that.

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  6. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by JAZZCNC View Post
    I can't help regards where to rent or training but I think you'll struggle to find a generic CNC training course that will be much use operating a machine.!
    The problem is there are so many different controllers fit to machines that they couldn't possibly teach you all of them and really there isn't any standard for controllers fit to machines and it's the controller you need to learn to operate the machine.

    Then you have different types of CNC machines, ie: Mill, Router, Plasma, Laser, EDM. Each of these is CNC but operate with slight differences that would need to be learned before you could operate one.

    The principles of CNC can be taught in college ie: G-code, CAM, Coordinate systems, tool offsets, etc and they will teach you how to use the controller fit to the machines they operate to test your G-code, etc. But unless you go on specific courses for controllers, which I doubt there will be many taught in college, then they won't help you actually operate the machine. This is normally done by the employer, either on the job or by sending to the machine manufacturer who runs courses of their specific controllers.

    Then you have hobby controllers like Mach3, UCCNC, LINUXCNC, etc. that are often fit to DIY machines and many low-cost (compared to industrial) commercially available machines. These operate very differently from industrial controllers and while they use similar principles to industrial controllers, ie: G-code standards, Work offsets, tooloff sets, etc they have just enough differences to make them unusable if you haven't been shown, or at very least many hours of trial and error. And while DIY or lower spec machines they can still do serious damage to a machine or person if setup or programmed wrong.

    My advice if you want to learn Hobby level CNC is to buy a cheap machine and get stuck in, watch some youtube vids and ask questions on here. It's not rocket science and the best way to learn is from practical experience.

    What's your intention for learning CNC.? To get or job or just a Hobby.?

    Good luck
    Clearly, much more involved that I imagined, thanks for sharing your expertise :)

  7. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Neale View Post
    Not sure how much it helps but Plymouth College of Art (you did say south-west!) used to run evening sessions where they taught some CAD/CAM and gave you access to a few machines. I have a feeling that UCA Bournemouth have done something similar. However, I expect that all these things are shut at the moment anyway.

    Alternatively, you could try looking for makerspaces in your area, which typically have a range of tools and machines and generally someone to show you how to use them.

    Good luck - from someone who threw together his first CNC router out of MDF and then taught himself... Two machines later, and I think I'm getting the hang of it!
    Thank you very much Neale, much appreciated :)

  8. #6
    Also if you are considering a Hobby level or small business level machine then I can provide you with a days training at our premises for the machines we build and the controllers they use. (UCCNC or MACH3)
    This doesn't mean you would be required to purchase one of our machines but it would mean that parts of the training will relate to that software only. However, most hobby level controllers work in much the same way and lots of what you'd learn would transfer to other control software like mach3.
    Would also show you the CAD/CAM side of operating a CNC machine and the process of creating the G-code files which run every CNC machine.

    Once you have the basics shown and understand a few basic principles along with learning the process of how to create a part from start to finish then things fall into place quite quickly. The actual process of setting up the job and running the machine is quite simple.
    It's common for people who have no expereince to be very daunted by the control software and all the many buttons or screens, so believe it to be very complex when infact it's simple to setup a job and cut the part with just 3 or 4 button clicks, and that's just the first part. If your cutting multiple sheets of the same part it becomes a 1 button click affiar.

    The real challenge is creating the part in the first place and that mostly boils down to your imagination along with learning the CAD/CAM side of operating a CNC machine. This is something a collage or course could provide. However, most people learn by trial and error along with watching the 10,000's Youtube videos out there.
    -use common sense, if you lack it, there is no software to help that.

  9. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by stvn66 View Post
    Clearly, much more involved that I imagined, thanks for sharing your expertise :)
    Don't be put off, depending on the level machinery your wanting to operate it's not as difficult as you might expect. 1000's of complete novices learn to operate DIY level machines with little to no training, most on here fit into that catergory.
    Also, I have many customers who had never used a CNC router and with just a few hours training on the control operating the machine. Then within just a few days creating parts In CAM for their business.
    I have several customers who within a very short time built up thriving business's and now operate several machines, all of them with no previous experience in manual machining or CNC machining.

    So don't be afraid to give it a go.
    -use common sense, if you lack it, there is no software to help that.

  10. #8
    Don`t worry.

    Everyone started from no knowledge at all. I Bought a machine second hand, immediately the pc that came with it broke.
    So then I had to do some quick learning and silly mistakes including a new motion controller and software learning.

    I would not say it is easy but many people on here answered my dumb questions and the machine lived again. I have since used it to produce quite a lot of woodwork projects which would have been very difficult without it.

    There is some great resources on youtube for software and hardware information.

    Ollie

  11. hi Steven where in Dorset are you im in New Milton might be able to help with the basics

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