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Thread: CNC Training?

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  1. #1
    Hi Guys

    I am about to import a CNC machine from China. It's a medium sized machine with a working area of 1200x1200mm. Whilst I have a workshop full of Woodworking tools and machinery, this will be my first proper venture into the world of CNC. I considered making my own, but time is too limited. I would like to hit the ground running and am on the lookout for either a company or individual who can give me an overview of working a CNC machine. The machine comes with ArtCam, but I will probably invest in Aspire also. I will be doing a varied mixture of 'Art', cabinetry, part milling, etc. It would be great to go through the process of setting up a machine and running a job to get my head around it before the machine arrives.

    So if anyone knows of such a service, or would like to volunteer. I'm located in the mid-kent area, but can travel. I'm willing to pay a reasonable price in exchange for this.

    Many thanks


  2. #2
    If you wasn't so far away I'd gladly come spend a few days helping out running you around the machine side of things. Thou Being totally honest you'll find the machine side the relatively easy part, it's the software that will be the steep learning curve and where all the time will be spent or lost.

    The other thing that makes doing what you've thinking not so easy is the fact that most jobs and people have there own unique setup or layout which is often determined by machine design or type.
    My advice would be start playing with the software NOW and wait for the machine to come. Then start basic just controlling the machine with simple moves etc or jobs to get a feel for it. If you can find someone local who can come to you and help you learn your actual machine it will be far more beneficial than you going to them.
    Thou really it will be the software or more to the point getting out the software what you need that will fry your noodle.!. . .For the simple stuff like profiling doors etc this is realtively simple stuff, but when you want to get creative then it takes meny hours and lots of tweaking to achive what you want or need. This can only be gained by time using the software. Yes training helps but at the end of the day it's time using the software that learns you best.
    This is then mixed or balenced with knowledge of the machine doing the cutting and it's weak or strong points to find the best approach or way of working. Again no one can show you this as it's very software/machine specific.
    I'm still learning, tweaking and improving and I've cut hundreds of jobs and it's always the software side where I spend/waste most of my time and improving.

    If you really struggle to find someone then I could maybe be presuaded to have drive down for the weekend if you provide dry shelter with beer and Hob-nob's (Yes John-S aint the only one who can be bribed with them:naughty:)

    If Artcam is genuine and Pro version then you won't need to buy Aspire, it will do everything Aspire can then some.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the quick reply. Yes I suspected it would be the software side that would be the difficult part. I was in IT for 15yrs, so I know computers, but having installed some of the demos, I'm a little lost. In the new year I am going to email ArtCam and see if they offer training. I know they offer some training videos, but there's nothing better than actually being shown.

    But your advice has helped me work out what I need to focus on. The machine won't be here until the middle of Feb (at least). So I have plenty of time to get some software practice in. At the moment I open the applications and am lost straight away. I'm used to using SketchUP to design basic woodworking projects. For parts too complex for my SketchUP skills, I'm used to use designing on the fly, whilst building.

    My machine will also have a turning axis, which complicates matters more. I already have a customer for some turned work, so that's high on my list to get my head around.

    Anyone know of a proper comprehensive DVD type training programme, for either ArtCam or Aspire?

  4. #4
    Wizer, Not knowing your machine but guessing it's one that uses a networked pendant control instead of a conventional controller the hardest part will be finding someone who is conversant with these machines to help you getting setup.

    Can your seller recommend anyone in your area

    I know a local signmaker how had the same problem and it took him a trip to Birmingham to see a similar machine in use before he got his head round it.

    Perhaps this will help on Aspire training ?


    Artcam here :-

    John S -

  5. #5
    Hi John

    I don't mind jumping in the car if needs be.

    I don't recognise the term networked pendant control? In the details I have it just says 'DSP System (Option:Ncstudio PC)'. What should I be looking for?


  6. #6
    I found you tube good for learning Artcam but then I'm a very visual learner and much prefer watching than reading.

    I wouldn't go booking any jobs for the machine straight away even thou I know time is money. . .You will need a good few days, even a week to get to grips with just using the machine if you've not had no previous experinece using CNC machine.

    There is one thing you need to know and be aware of regards Software. Each software needs a specific Post processor thats specific to your machine controller in order to creat G-code in a format it under stands. This is not always available if your machine uses's a custom control so you need to check this out with each software you plan on using. Often they will build one for you if not available, sometimes free some times they will charge. The seller should be able to provide you with one but best checked else you won't be able to produce G-code.

  7. #7
    Why do so many people seem to think they need training to use a CNC machine, software or hardware?
    In the case of the software just press the buttons and see what happens and apply common sense for the rest...that's how I treat any new program. If that doesn't get far I might look at a tutorial. First time you try using the machine run the program without the cutter in, then you can see that it goes roughly where you expect / doesn't hit the limits etc, and you can check what happens when you tweak things / press buttons etc in the controller whilst it's running to see what effect it has with no risk of breaking anything.
    If someone asks for training then yes, I'm happy to help but I really don't see the point. I saw the same thing at my work placement last summer-they'd send people to do training for using Pro-Engineer...but why, you just press the buttons and see what happens and for a program that widespread there's plenty of information out there. The only gain I suppose is speed. It's all logical, not designed to be hard.
    If you have a background in IT then you shouldn't be lost, is there anything in particular you're not sure about so we can help?
    Last edited by Jonathan; 28-12-2011 at 12:07 AM.

  8. #8
    Jonathan I agree largely but it's not always that easy.? . . Being self employed I know the reasoning behind Tom's thinking.! . . . He needs it to be up and running ASAP to make money.! . . It's not a toy with all the time in the world to play with. . . . It's a completely different ball game.!!

  9. #9
    jmb's Avatar
    Lives in Derby, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 3 Weeks Ago Has been a member for 0-1 years. Has a total post count of 7.
    Hi Guys,
    I came across this post and I have the same issue as Tom, I have imported a CNC machine from China. It has a working area of 1200x1200mm. This is my first venture into the world of CNC. I am looking for either a company or individual who can give me an overview of working a CNC machine. The machine comes with NCstudio and ArtCam10.
    I have tried doing it myself but I'm like a headless chicken and realise could do with expert help.
    So if anyone knows of such a service, or would like to volunteer. I'm located in Derby, I'm willing to pay a reasonable price in exchange for this.

    Many thanks


  10. #10
    Craig, Check out Nottingham Hackspace. I run CNC Engraving for beginners courses there fairly regularly. Would be a good place to start if you have no experience with running CNC machines. Only takes 30mins to get there from Derby & the next one is in a couple of weeks.

    The control software we run is LinuxCNC. It won't be directly applicable to your machine but I imagine a lot of the skills will transfer over to NCStudio :)

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