How to become a CAD/CAM Programmer
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    Default How to become a CAD/CAM Programmer

    Hello everybody. I am trying to get back on CNC Machining after a long pause. I am back on training and hopefully I will try to get me a job as CNC operator in any company that will take me in.
    My goal is to become a CAD/CAM programmer and I would like to know from you what I need to do in term of education/professional courses/certifications and skills to cover this role.

    Regards.

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    Default cad cam training

    Quote Originally Posted by kioto View Post
    Hello everybody. I am trying to get back on CNC Machining after a long pause. I am back on training and hopefully I will try to get me a job as CNC operator in any company that will take me in.
    My goal is to become a CAD/CAM programmer and I would like to know from you what I need to do in term of education/professional courses/certifications and skills to cover this role.

    Regards.
    .
    1) many cnc jobs just do conversational programming at the cnc to program
    .
    2) i have taken night school Mastercam training classes but a job requiring cad cam abilities will want you to know a specific version of the software. So taking training on Mastercan 9 or X or X2 will not help if they want someone who knows X7. Many places might give you a chance to learn the newest version but many places might just start you as a
    CNC operator.
    then as a CNC operator who does setups
    then as a CNC operator who does setups and program edits at the machine
    then as a CNC operator who does setups and does new programs at the machine
    last normally is someone who does Cad / Cam work and who might run the programs.

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    Blimey, where do you start when answering this one?

    Firstly, Cad is computer aided drawing, Cam is machining.
    Cad can take many forms, from simple 2d line drawing (early AutoCad) to complex 3d multi part assemblies (NX, Catia, Solidworks.)
    Unless you have some experience in a drawing office, I wouldn't worry too much about Cad.

    What style of Cam interests you?
    Offline programming,
    on machine programming,
    off line with 1st offs etc?

    What is your experience to date?
    What have you done, what can you do?

    To answer some of your questions though...
    My goal is to become a CAD/CAM programmer and I would like to know from you what I need to do in term of....
    education= good solid understanding of maths.
    professional courses = none.
    certifications = none.
    ........and skills to cover this role. = This is the biggie.
    This is where your experience comes in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toolie955 View Post
    Blimey, where do you start when answering this one?

    Firstly, Cad is computer aided drawing, Cam is machining.
    Cad can take many forms, from simple 2d line drawing (early AutoCad) to complex 3d multi part assemblies (NX, Catia, Solidworks.)
    Unless you have some experience in a drawing office, I wouldn't worry too much about Cad.

    What style of Cam interests you?
    Offline programming,
    on machine programming,
    off line with 1st offs etc?

    What is your experience to date?
    What have you done, what can you do?

    To answer some of your questions though...
    My goal is to become a CAD/CAM programmer and I would like to know from you what I need to do in term of....
    education= good solid understanding of maths.
    professional courses = none.
    certifications = none.
    ........and skills to cover this role. = This is the biggie.
    This is where your experience comes in.
    Thank you for taking the time to replying to both of you. I appreciate it.

    My plan is to start from the bottom and to move up. The objective is to work off-line for an office rather than being just an operator.
    The problem is that at the moment I cannot ask too much since I got only 1 year experience to modify programs (quite simple stuff) in automotive. I did not use to make components, having the opportunity to work on different programs time by time. I just used to correct machining programs and to take care of the tools and the maintenance of the machine, which was a 5 axes milling with Sinumerik 840D.
    I am trying my best to invest in education. At the moment I am working on CNC programming for mill and lathe and starting soon other trainings on Solidworks and Mastercam.
    I am pretty sure that there is not shortcut as any other field of life, but I am wondering what I can do to put me in the best condition to get a chance to make this change. Also I am quite concerned that without having a chance to work in an office I will never get out from the shop in the long run.

    I hope it helps, I would really appreciate to have your views.

    Kind Regards, Francesco.

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    Default software training

    Quote Originally Posted by kioto View Post
    Thank you for taking the time to replying to both of you. I appreciate it.

    My plan is to start from the bottom and to move up. The objective is to work off-line for an office rather than being just an operator.
    The problem is that at the moment I cannot ask too much since I got only 1 year experience to modify programs (quite simple stuff) in automotive. I did not use to make components, having the opportunity to work on different programs time by time. I just used to correct machining programs and to take care of the tools and the maintenance of the machine, which was a 5 axes milling with Sinumerik 840D.
    I am trying my best to invest in education. At the moment I am working on CNC programming for mill and lathe and starting soon other trainings on Solidworks and Mastercam.
    I am pretty sure that there is not shortcut as any other field of life, but I am wondering what I can do to put me in the best condition to get a chance to make this change. Also I am quite concerned that without having a chance to work in an office I will never get out from the shop in the long run.

    I hope it helps, I would really appreciate to have your views.

    Kind Regards, Francesco.
    .
    what kind of software training depends on where you work. where i used to work they used Unigraphics v17 and then v19 then NX2 then NX4 then NX5, but also used Solidworks 2004 then 2006 then 2008 then 2009 then 2011
    .
    my point is i spent money to go to night school to learn Mastercam v9 then X then X2 and none of this is any use to me where i work now as they do conversational programming at the Mazak CNC machines 99.9% and the extremely few times they do cad or cam it is with ProEngineer and it is done by Engineers normally. I believe only 1 machinist out of over 200 actually does Cad Cam where I work the rest program at the machine which basically has a type of Cam built into it..
    .
    the chances of you taking training that will be useful to you even 5 years later is limited. now once you learn a particular software version learning a newer version is normally easier than trying to learn it and never have used any version before.
    .
    the other thing is working with other machinist who will want programming done their way so they can understand and edit it if needed AND even if there is a dozen different ways to make a part will insist on it made the best way which basically is their way of doing it. If your cnc machine has operator and programming manuals of over 1000 pages like mine has I would read them first. I borrowed ours to copy and read them at home thinking about programming stuff often.
    .
    I use Librecad occasionally
    Home of LibreCAD, 2D-CAD
    ......... it is free and is based on Qcad which is the newer professional version. This is 2D Cad and 3D cad starts with 2D shapes normally. So learning 2D cad can be useful for making basic 2D drawings. I like to draw and often draw stuff on my free time. Occasionally drawing a part can help you calculate coordinates for cnc programming.
    ......... if you really want to learn any software that might be useful at a job search the job postings and see what software they want job applicants to know. You will probably find that there is no particular software that is used by even 1/2 of all the companies. Everybody seems to use different ones.

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    Thank you Tom.

    Personally I employed different parameters to choose which software to learn.

    1 - Standard de facto in the industry: for instance Autocad for general 2D drawing, SolidWorks and Inventor for drawing mechanical parts in 3D.
    2 - Most supported and used software from users and trainers: for example in the field of cams there is no standard, therefore I decided to go for a cam solution
    that was well supported from a good a community of users and trainers to learn quickly.

    At the moment I am spendig quite a lot of time examining job adverts to scan the major areas of expertise to fulfill the role.
    I wanted to ask if is better to work for a studio with CADs for few years and move into the role or the best option is to grow vertically from CNC operator up to drawing parts and making programs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kioto View Post
    Thank you Tom.

    Personally I employed different parameters to choose which software to learn.

    1 - Standard de facto in the industry: for instance Autocad for general 2D drawing, SolidWorks and Inventor for drawing mechanical parts in 3D.
    2 - Most supported and used software from users and trainers: for example in the field of cams there is no standard, therefore I decided to go for a cam solution
    that was well supported from a good a community of users and trainers to learn quickly.

    At the moment I am spendig quite a lot of time examining job adverts to scan the major areas of expertise to fulfill the role.
    I wanted to ask if is better to work for a studio with CADs for few years and move into the role or the best option is to grow vertically from CNC operator up to drawing parts and making programs.
    .
    defacto standards change Autocad is used much less and not at all in many industries. Auto, Aircraft, and other businesses often have different preferences. I only suggest Librecad as it is free and similar to Autocad
    .
    most places will not have a new guy creating programs for $300,000+ machines with rapid feeds over 800 inch per minute without many many years of experience and knowing how they want program done. like i said often there are many way to make a part but they will want it done the normal company way.
    .
    i find learning what the other machinist want done is important. for example even using cad to create setup sheets used for cnc machine setup and order of operations. i was told do not waste time by the senior machinist. if i told him it does not take as long as drawing by pencil and paper and scanning into a computer it would only piss him off and he would feel his job threaten and tell the boss every chance he got what a bad job i was doing.
    .
    learn what your company wants done and then try to get training or read up and do what they want. often each company will want very different ways of doing things.

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    I will take as gold your advice. Are you actually happy with your current role in the company ? May I ask you what is your plan in term of career development.

    Regards, Francesco.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kioto View Post
    I will take as gold your advice. Are you actually happy with your current role in the company ? May I ask you what is your plan in term of career development.

    Regards, Francesco.
    .
    i worked for a company 31 years and the least 12 as a maintenance machinist and was getting $28/hr. I was spending 1/2 my time designing parts in Solidworks or Unigraphics NX and using Mastercam and or Unigraphics for Cam programming. Companies main products became obsolete but it paid well and i still get $1200/month retirement checks the rest of my life. The company shutdown the whole building where i used to work. 98% lost there job.
    .
    Not enough to live on so I looked for another job. I had difficulty even getting other companies giving me (a older guy) a chance as a CNC operator. I got a job as a CNC operator who does setups and some programming as needed but in the Short Run cell I mostly make parts already programmed in small quantities (1-10). I started at $20/hr and after 1 year got a merit raise and now at $20.48/hr. I work the 230pm to 11 pm shift as day jobs are harder to get.
    .
    As a maintenance machinist I got paid more but I also had to do dangerous jobs in some extremely dirty and or chemically contaminated areas. I am happier at 51 years old to be in the shop full time doing the nice easy jobs and not having to do the shitty rough jobs an older person would not want to do anymore.
    .
    Career development. I have been around long enough to know it is usually better to try to improve things with technology but sometimes you have to take the time to convince the bosses and other older machinist the value in it. As the older machinist get sick and or retire their are job openings that become available. I will volunteer for as much cross training as possible. That is learn other machines so I can run many other machines when others are sick or on vacation.

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    As stated above, to let a guy with 1 years experience loose on a £1/4 million machining centre would prove difficult.

    I posted this a few months back, in answer to a similar question.
    ************************************************** ****
    Many years ago a guy was setting up a Rock band, and was asked why he had picked a guy who couldn't play drums as a drummer.
    He says 'it's easier to get a skinny guy and teach him drums than get a fat drummer to lose weight'.

    Same with cnc programming.
    Its easier to get a good machinist to program... than it is to teach a programmer how to machine.

    As a programmer you need to visualise in your head what the machine will be doing.

    To do this you need to know, for example, how to machine:
    ...what cutters to use,
    ....what feeds and speeds,
    .....depth of cut,
    ......life of tools,
    .......how to clamp a workpiece
    ....... can you single op or do you have to multi stage
    .........how the part will move when the material is removed
    then:
    .. are the cutters available?
    ... how many cutters will you need?
    .... can you do the short op's during the day, and long runs overnight?
    ..... what tool holding (collets) do you have available?
    ...... are there any known faults with the machine you have to work around
    after that:
    .. what are the critical tolerances and articles you have to adhere to
    ... what are the cost vs quality requirements for the part
    .... do you have to negotiate with the manual millers and turners to get the blanks sorted
    ..... what effect, if any, will heat treatmant or welding have to your compt
    ...... do the parts need to be stopped mid manufacture for inspection and tweaking
    ....... if they need to be modified, is the prog man alterable, or will you have to re-write
    ........ can you use cycles in the machine, or is it all done offline
    following this:
    ... you can begin to start programming.
    .... can i reduce the air moves?
    ..... why wont the cutter go down the slot i have drawn?
    ..... how am i supposed to cut a cavity 4" deep and obtain a 0.3mm (12 thou) corner rad at the bottom of a vertical wall?
    ...... why does the model I am machining to have overlapping surfaces? And why won't they trim?
    ....... why whenever i post out the program with a drilling cycle, does it say 'broken connection, zero radius not supported'?
    ........ why, oh why, can't I get the thing just to raster instead of doing figure of eights everywhere.
    ........ yes, i know there are cutter marks in the top surface, but i didnt know the machine would grow .2mm (8 thou) if run at 18k revs. Did you?

    The simulation looks fine, as you can take the whole depth and width of a cutter on the screen, which will last about 0.3 seconds when it hits the metal.
    And you will need to think about 5 steps ahead of everyone else, otherwise you will back yourself into a corner.
    And everyone will look to you for the answer to everything too, including the meaning of life and why there is only one Monopolies Commision.

    As a good programmer you will use 100% of your brain for 100% of your day.
    There is not normally any slack time.

    Don't even think of going home early, as you will need to be on top of the programs for tomorrow too.
    Its hard, but rewarding.

    But to be a good programmer you need to be an excellent machinist.
    If you are not excellent and manufacturing already, get that sorted first.


    and how do I know all this?
    Click the link, have a look.


    http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/stuart-hadley/a/343/aa1

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    Quote Originally Posted by toolie955 View Post
    As stated above, to let a guy with 1 years experience loose on a £1/4 million machining centre would prove difficult.

    I posted this a few months back, in answer to a similar question.
    ************************************************** ****
    Many years ago a guy was setting up a Rock band, and was asked why he had picked a guy who couldn't play drums as a drummer.
    He says 'it's easier to get a skinny guy and teach him drums than get a fat drummer to lose weight'.

    Same with cnc programming.
    Its easier to get a good machinist to program... than it is to teach a programmer how to machine.

    As a programmer you need to visualise in your head what the machine will be doing.

    To do this you need to know, for example, how to machine:
    ...what cutters to use,
    ....what feeds and speeds,
    .....depth of cut,
    ......life of tools,
    .......how to clamp a workpiece
    ....... can you single op or do you have to multi stage
    .........how the part will move when the material is removed
    then:
    .. are the cutters available?
    ... how many cutters will you need?
    .... can you do the short op's during the day, and long runs overnight?
    ..... what tool holding (collets) do you have available?
    ...... are there any known faults with the machine you have to work around
    after that:
    .. what are the critical tolerances and articles you have to adhere to
    ... what are the cost vs quality requirements for the part
    .... do you have to negotiate with the manual millers and turners to get the blanks sorted
    ..... what effect, if any, will heat treatmant or welding have to your compt
    ...... do the parts need to be stopped mid manufacture for inspection and tweaking
    ....... if they need to be modified, is the prog man alterable, or will you have to re-write
    ........ can you use cycles in the machine, or is it all done offline
    following this:
    ... you can begin to start programming.
    .... can i reduce the air moves?
    ..... why wont the cutter go down the slot i have drawn?
    ..... how am i supposed to cut a cavity 4" deep and obtain a 0.3mm (12 thou) corner rad at the bottom of a vertical wall?
    ...... why does the model I am machining to have overlapping surfaces? And why won't they trim?
    ....... why whenever i post out the program with a drilling cycle, does it say 'broken connection, zero radius not supported'?
    ........ why, oh why, can't I get the thing just to raster instead of doing figure of eights everywhere.
    ........ yes, i know there are cutter marks in the top surface, but i didnt know the machine would grow .2mm (8 thou) if run at 18k revs. Did you?

    The simulation looks fine, as you can take the whole depth and width of a cutter on the screen, which will last about 0.3 seconds when it hits the metal.
    And you will need to think about 5 steps ahead of everyone else, otherwise you will back yourself into a corner.
    And everyone will look to you for the answer to everything too, including the meaning of life and why there is only one Monopolies Commision.

    As a good programmer you will use 100% of your brain for 100% of your day.
    There is not normally any slack time.

    Don't even think of going home early, as you will need to be on top of the programs for tomorrow too.
    Its hard, but rewarding.

    But to be a good programmer you need to be an excellent machinist.
    If you are not excellent and manufacturing already, get that sorted first.


    and how do I know all this?
    Click the link, have a look.


    Stuart Hadley - United Kingdom | LinkedIn

    ....amazing. Thank you Stuart !!

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    Here is a great program you can check out if you were in the US but it doesn't look like you are....

    SkillsUSA: Champions at Work

    Or this one....

    https://www.nims-skills.org/web/nims/home

    You might want to check into the Haas Technical Education Network in Europe...

    Haas Technical Education Centers - Latest News

    You could also take some on line classes at Tooling University. I think that have on line simulators to help your grasp cnc programming and setup concepts.

    Online Training from Tooling U

    But don't forget about good old text books and if you are getting into programming / CAD CAM you should know G-code so go ahead and pick up this book at least

    CNC Programming Handbook, Third Edition: Peter Smid: 9780831133474: Amazon.com: Books

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    +1 on Al's last book recommendation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toolie955 View Post
    As stated above, to let a guy with 1 years experience loose on a £1/4 million machining centre would prove difficult.

    I posted this a few months back, in answer to a similar question.
    ************************************************** ****
    Many years ago a guy was setting up a Rock band, and was asked why he had picked a guy who couldn't play drums as a drummer.
    He says 'it's easier to get a skinny guy and teach him drums than get a fat drummer to lose weight'.

    Same with cnc programming.
    Its easier to get a good machinist to program... than it is to teach a programmer how to machine.

    As a programmer you need to visualise in your head what the machine will be doing.

    To do this you need to know, for example, how to machine:
    ...what cutters to use,
    ....what feeds and speeds,
    .....depth of cut,
    ......life of tools,
    .......how to clamp a workpiece
    ....... can you single op or do you have to multi stage
    .........how the part will move when the material is removed
    then:
    .. are the cutters available?
    ... how many cutters will you need?
    .... can you do the short op's during the day, and long runs overnight?
    ..... what tool holding (collets) do you have available?
    ...... are there any known faults with the machine you have to work around
    after that:
    .. what are the critical tolerances and articles you have to adhere to
    ... what are the cost vs quality requirements for the part
    .... do you have to negotiate with the manual millers and turners to get the blanks sorted
    ..... what effect, if any, will heat treatmant or welding have to your compt
    ...... do the parts need to be stopped mid manufacture for inspection and tweaking
    ....... if they need to be modified, is the prog man alterable, or will you have to re-write
    ........ can you use cycles in the machine, or is it all done offline
    following this:
    ... you can begin to start programming.
    .... can i reduce the air moves?
    ..... why wont the cutter go down the slot i have drawn?
    ..... how am i supposed to cut a cavity 4" deep and obtain a 0.3mm (12 thou) corner rad at the bottom of a vertical wall?
    ...... why does the model I am machining to have overlapping surfaces? And why won't they trim?
    ....... why whenever i post out the program with a drilling cycle, does it say 'broken connection, zero radius not supported'?
    ........ why, oh why, can't I get the thing just to raster instead of doing figure of eights everywhere.
    ........ yes, i know there are cutter marks in the top surface, but i didnt know the machine would grow .2mm (8 thou) if run at 18k revs. Did you?

    The simulation looks fine, as you can take the whole depth and width of a cutter on the screen, which will last about 0.3 seconds when it hits the metal.
    And you will need to think about 5 steps ahead of everyone else, otherwise you will back yourself into a corner.
    And everyone will look to you for the answer to everything too, including the meaning of life and why there is only one Monopolies Commision.

    As a good programmer you will use 100% of your brain for 100% of your day.
    There is not normally any slack time.

    Don't even think of going home early, as you will need to be on top of the programs for tomorrow too.
    Its hard, but rewarding.

    But to be a good programmer you need to be an excellent machinist.
    If you are not excellent and manufacturing already, get that sorted first.


    and how do I know all this?
    Click the link, have a look.


    Stuart Hadley - United Kingdom | LinkedIn
    This is a really really good explanation!!!

    Would it be okay if I borrowed this to use for my CNC students?

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    i would have interest in this thread as well. toolie955, i agree with everything u said. i have progressed along the mechanical engineering environment from brushing floors (labourer) through ALL levels (despatch/manual turning/cnc operator/cnc setter, to where i am now as a machine programmer. i run a haas vf5 using offline programming, onecnc and mastercam for the 3d machining (depending on my mood). im certified in Mastercam, and taught myself onecnc. i am still learning each day new and more efficient ways of machining. i would like to progress to a design level, but obviously cannot at this stage leave my job and step into full time education. and even part time education is only really covering the basics i have already taught myself. also, these basic courses are 2yr minimum, and required to progress to further education levels. at this point with the experience i have attained, i still have no piece of paper telling potential employers that i am an engineer/machinist. (immigration has been a thought). im in northern ireland and machine/cam software education is very lax. i teach myself the software i use, but, the little idiosyncrosies with each program can only be fully gained by a course, which isnt available here. so, in summary, i am a cnc machinist programmer, with experience in cam, but i cannot progress without some accreditation. ideas??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chobyn View Post
    This is a really really good explanation!!!

    Would it be okay if I borrowed this to use for my CNC students?
    Please, be my guest.

    *********************

    Adgernat,

    In my previous appointment at the Aerospace Co, they wanted a Delcam, Autocad, Edgecam programmer.
    They advertised for 6 weeks.
    I was the only applicant.
    I turned up with a folder full of examples of what I had done and made.
    They offered me the job on the spot.
    That was an easy intervue.

    In my current position, I have followed 3 other programmers who, I am led to believe, were more qualified than myself on paper, but became swamped when it came to 'walking the walk' every day.
    (On the other hand, they have offered me a 2 year contract and asked me to train up the new batch of programmers.)

    At my intervue I didn't hand out lots of bits of paper with Graduate on it, I took along photo's of what I have made, all on a laptop, which was quite slick.
    What also helped was I was given a laptop with an old version of Solidworks. Which I then learnt from internet bought tutorials.
    I looked into getting CSWA (Cert Solid Works Assosiate), but then landed the job at Bicester, so am far too busy at the moment.

    My current employers headhunted me away from Aerospace as they were struggling to find a programmer that they could work with.
    There were lots of ideas that they wanted to impliment, but couldn't get the original programmer on board to sweeten the pill.
    At my intervue I explained that 5 axis was not in my experience, but they were willing to take the risk on me.
    Good move.

    I have never worked with such a forward thinking and flexible managment team, who try every day to be better than they were yesterday.
    Currently we are not just doing well,.... but flying.


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    Default how can a waterjet programmer become cadd cam programmer

    iam working in CNC waterjet from 5years and well knowldged in auto cadd,software of machines,and also maintance,befor 5 years i was workg in lathe and milling as operator and setter but now i have lost touch of all those things.can any one guide me as iam planing to do unigraphics NX CADD CAM course.is it possible for me and will there be any difficulties.if so what and all should be sort out.

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    Perhaps one of the best explanations ever written here of what's involved to be a good programmer. I started as a machinist 36 years ago. I've been an offline NC Programmer (NX) for the past 20 years (I'm 55 BTW). Without the on floor experience, I'd not be the programmer I am today. It's an ever changing business that often requires job changes to improve (my 14th employer). Looking back, it's been a long strange trip.

    Bill



    Quote Originally Posted by toolie955 View Post
    As stated above, to let a guy with 1 years experience loose on a £1/4 million machining centre would prove difficult.

    I posted this a few months back, in answer to a similar question.
    ************************************************** ****
    Many years ago a guy was setting up a Rock band, and was asked why he had picked a guy who couldn't play drums as a drummer.
    He says 'it's easier to get a skinny guy and teach him drums than get a fat drummer to lose weight'.

    Same with cnc programming.
    Its easier to get a good machinist to program... than it is to teach a programmer how to machine.

    As a programmer you need to visualise in your head what the machine will be doing.

    To do this you need to know, for example, how to machine:
    ...what cutters to use,
    ....what feeds and speeds,
    .....depth of cut,
    ......life of tools,
    .......how to clamp a workpiece
    ....... can you single op or do you have to multi stage
    .........how the part will move when the material is removed
    then:
    .. are the cutters available?
    ... how many cutters will you need?
    .... can you do the short op's during the day, and long runs overnight?
    ..... what tool holding (collets) do you have available?
    ...... are there any known faults with the machine you have to work around
    after that:
    .. what are the critical tolerances and articles you have to adhere to
    ... what are the cost vs quality requirements for the part
    .... do you have to negotiate with the manual millers and turners to get the blanks sorted
    ..... what effect, if any, will heat treatmant or welding have to your compt
    ...... do the parts need to be stopped mid manufacture for inspection and tweaking
    ....... if they need to be modified, is the prog man alterable, or will you have to re-write
    ........ can you use cycles in the machine, or is it all done offline
    following this:
    ... you can begin to start programming.
    .... can i reduce the air moves?
    ..... why wont the cutter go down the slot i have drawn?
    ..... how am i supposed to cut a cavity 4" deep and obtain a 0.3mm (12 thou) corner rad at the bottom of a vertical wall?
    ...... why does the model I am machining to have overlapping surfaces? And why won't they trim?
    ....... why whenever i post out the program with a drilling cycle, does it say 'broken connection, zero radius not supported'?
    ........ why, oh why, can't I get the thing just to raster instead of doing figure of eights everywhere.
    ........ yes, i know there are cutter marks in the top surface, but i didnt know the machine would grow .2mm (8 thou) if run at 18k revs. Did you?

    The simulation looks fine, as you can take the whole depth and width of a cutter on the screen, which will last about 0.3 seconds when it hits the metal.
    And you will need to think about 5 steps ahead of everyone else, otherwise you will back yourself into a corner.
    And everyone will look to you for the answer to everything too, including the meaning of life and why there is only one Monopolies Commision.

    As a good programmer you will use 100% of your brain for 100% of your day.
    There is not normally any slack time.

    Don't even think of going home early, as you will need to be on top of the programs for tomorrow too.
    Its hard, but rewarding.

    But to be a good programmer you need to be an excellent machinist.
    If you are not excellent and manufacturing already, get that sorted first.


    and how do I know all this?
    Click the link, have a look.


    http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/stuart-hadley/a/343/aa1

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    Become an operator and when you have been doing that for a while tell your boss you are interested in learning programming. Keep your eyes open for other job opportunities if your current job has no prospects for programming. Get a few popular CAD/CAM packages installed on your PC (trial/student/entry level versions are fine for learning). Teach yourself using YouTube tutorials or search for tutorial PDFs on line. An opportunity will more often than not materialize if you are patient.

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    City and Guilds do a series of well respected cnc course that will be run at your local collage on a evening.


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