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New Programmer, Need Recommendations

Matthewkral

Plastic
Joined
Jul 21, 2021
Hello. I have spent the last 10 years working on Bridgeport’s and manual lathes as a tool and die machinist for a plastic extrusion company. 8 months ago I took my first CNC Milling job as a set up person. A few months into the gig our programmer got canned and now they are just expecting me (only 8 months working with CNC) to just be able to run the entire department. I understand machining and with my prior experience CNC is coming really natural to me. So far, I’ve been able to teach myself everything that’s been needed. I just started getting into GibbsCAM and have been picking up on some basic G code no problem.

I’m looking for any recommendations or resources that are good references for new programmers. Anything that could help with learning G Code, Speeds and Feeds, GibbsCAM, Machine Maintenance, or anything alike, I’m all ears. Thank you!
 

mmca

Plastic
Joined
Jan 2, 2008
Location
California
That's either awesome or horrific.

As a start looks at all the old CAM setups on the shop computer. It should give you a feel for how this shop expects to do things. Step through the operations tree and check out how each one is setup. Look at what the speeds and feeds are of the commonly used shop tools.

With a decade of tool and die, order of operations and other basics should should make a lot of sense.

One thing manual guys sometimes get caught up on is 'linking', it's the little moves the machine makes between operations. And where the operation starts and stops. Most modern CAM software is pretty good about doing all that for you, but take a look at how the last guy did it. Depending on how complete your CAD model is, it could be very simple or very complicated. If your fixtures are all modeled, you can normally let the software have at it. If not, you are gonna have a take a close look at your clearances near fixtures.

As long as the shop lets ya have a couple of massive screw ups during the learning phase you should be fine. There is a lot of useful/general CAM stuff on Youtube, but really with 10 years of machining under your belt, you probably just need to transfer your old skill set to doing it with a computer.

For the CAD side, definitely do some Youtube tutorials on your chosen CAD software. I started with MasterCAM X3, moved to Solidworks and now trying to learn Fusion360. Each time it's a bit of a learning curve.
 

michiganbuck

Diamond
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Location
Mt Clemens, Michigan 48035

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
I'd ask if your company can hire an experienced part time programmer to come in and walk you through a bunch of things.

There's a lot of stuff that's hard to self-learn. Some folks do it, but if you're not great at that it could help immensely to get an experienced individual involved to train you up or get you out of a jamb.
 

TeachMePlease

Diamond
Joined
Feb 11, 2014
Location
FL
All of the books by Peter Smid (some are beyond you so far, but you'll get there), and the book by our member SK Sinha will get you more knowledge than you know what to do with (literally) and allow you to grow as a programmer.

What kind of machines are you supposed to program for?
 

michiganbuck

Diamond
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Location
Mt Clemens, Michigan 48035
Some day we will have machines and computers that with only the part print and the tool list they will make the program and run the part, perhaps with running to a snag they will order or design a needed tool/cutter.
 

michiganbuck

Diamond
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Location
Mt Clemens, Michigan 48035
If at all possible, get training from Gibbscam distributor. Nothing beats training from the manufacturer or distributor.

I think it would take a full week at 8 hours a day with hands-on just to learn and get comfortable with the basics. To purchase a CNC router that uses G code might be an aid to get practice at home. I'm not a mill guy but did write for 6 axis CNC grinders, but never became good at programing, guess I'm not smart enough.


(Yes, this site is a spam for some CNC routers, not Mine. I am just using this site for an example so don't beat me up. This outfit seems to be a router distributer because they don't mention the specific brand name. One might get a better deal going to a brand name.)

How to Create a G-Code For CNC Router Machine |BuyCNC

To get the full benefit with a home router for a learning aid you would also have a device to rotate the part.

And fixturing the part would be a good thing to learn. For a dead green person just putting a part in a vise is a talent.
 

Shawnrs

Stainless
Joined
Mar 30, 2016
1) feeds and speeds, look up or google the recommended feeds and speeds from the tool venders. If you have YG endmills use the recommended feeds and speeds they provide. If you have Ma ford, Guhring, sandvik etc use what they recommend. When you program jobs and run them you will get a better feeling from running your own programs and eventually dial in your own feeds and speeds for each machine.

2) training, I would look as youtube videos as a starting point and when you feel comfortable with the cad and cam side get some onsite custom training. Set up the training to program your parts and do a couple of jobs. The instructor will have an idea of what you want to to and also give you better ideas of programming while using the software. Self teaching is ok but you will miss out on a lot of the bells and whistles the software offers.

3) g-codes will come natural to you when you keep repeating jobs and before you know it. I would look at existing programs and try to follow the code. Look at where the zero sets are set up and try to read the code.
 

Pathogen

Hot Rolled
Joined
Oct 18, 2016
Sounds like the company is run by brother in law of the owner and they are more interested in new tires for their wife's BMW

Look for a new job or rinse the heck out of them before they fold
 

Rstewart

Stainless
Joined
Jun 14, 2006
Location
Huntsville Alabama
You already know how things are machined (assuming). Youtube Youtube Youtube for Gibbscam

Buy Peter Smid's CNC programming book.

Take a Junior College course.

That's exactly what I did when all this got tossed into my lap. Learn all the hard knocks at this job, then take your skillset somewhere bigger and better.
 

michiganbuck

Diamond
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Location
Mt Clemens, Michigan 48035
Having your own books so you can mark them up and re-read certain things is a plus.

Having log run jobs you might study at work.
Taking a course and you can ask questions.

Likely a good business to start a CNC school.

I was asked to teach CNC grinding but really thought that I was not good enough to teach, so passed on that.

I would have loved to teach manual surface grinding.
I could be the Tubalcain for surface grinding.
 

SumiSpy

Plastic
Joined
Mar 11, 2021
In regard to Gibbscam, I would check and see if your company is currently paying for maintenance. If they are, you're in luck being in Ohio. The Gibbscam reseller in Ohio is Virtual Manufacturing and they have a nice online resource for training as well as a person (Dave McCray) that is quite knowledgeable about Gibbscam who is easy to reach.
 

DouglasJRizzo

Titanium
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Location
Ramsey, NJ.
Youtube has some nifty CNC stuff, and you'll find a lot here and some of the other sites too.
Mike Lynch, and Peter Smid both have great books on programming as well.
 

Mtndew

Diamond
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Location
Michigan
and now they are just expecting me (only 8 months working with CNC) to just be able to run the entire department.

This is your opportunity. Grab it by the balls and don't look back.
I had this same opportunity many years ago, and was told the same thing.
You will be rewarded if you can git-r-done.
 

CAMasochism

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 6, 2019
Location
DFW, Texas
This is your opportunity. Grab it by the balls and don't look back.
I had this same opportunity many years ago, and was told the same thing.
You will be rewarded if you can git-r-done.

Rewarded with the same pay, more responsibility, and whispers of sweet nothings in the ear.
 

Mike1974

Diamond
Joined
Nov 5, 2014
Location
Tampa area
Rewarded with the same pay, more responsibility, and whispers of sweet nothings in the ear.

Sounds like you missed a step...

When I finally learned enough about programming to advertise (ie my updated resume) myself as such my pay scale went up from setup guy.
 








 
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