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    Default Job security.

    After 23 years of running a Laser shop for a small company i'm looking to prepare myself for the next chapter in my life. I use GE-fanuc controller and Auto cad 2000. What Cad/cam software should I learn to prepare myself for a future?

    Looking to purchase a CNC router to aid in my learning experience. With training and equipment I would like to be under 15K.

    Thank you for any help you may provide.

    MIKE

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    Lots around here like to bash/quickly dismiss Fusion 360. And while it sounds like you're willing to shell out some coin, and I don't know anything about your business, I can say for me, 500/yr has given me the capabilities, opportunity to learn, etc to do anything I've needed to do on a 3 axis mill. That's a lot of extra money left over....

    Is it quirky? Yeah. Do things sometime have to be done in odd/drawn out ways? Sure. But I've paid off my 65k mill in 9 months using it. And for my prototyping business, that has equated to over 500 different parts being programed so far and a lot coming yet this year.

    Really depends what your expectations and uses are I suppose.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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    Get Fusion 360 and start learning it backwards and forwards ASAP. There are *hundreds* of YouTube videos that will walk you through every aspect of Fusion for free and at your own pace. Go through them and get familiar, than come up with 5-6 projects of increasing complexity. CAD them up, design the workholding, lay down some toolpath.

    Is Fusion a "hireable" piece of software? Nope! But CAD/CAM is fundamentally the same between everyone - you sketch 2D shapes, extrude/revolve them into solids, add features, combine those things into more complex parts or assemblies, then lay down toolpath. Wrap your head around Fusion 360 with complete confidence, and you'll be able to learn SolidWorks/MasterCAM/NX/Esprit/ProE very easily. Knowning how to think in 3D, and the fundamentals of this class of software is the important skill.

    "Learning" a control is sort of an outdated thing in modern industry, as almost nobody is programming at the control. Fanuc/Haas/Heidenhain/Brother... for low to mid level operators, the control only serves as a place to set work/tool offsets, load the program and hit cycle start. Nerdy production programmers might go deep into things like path smoothing options, macros, accel/decel params, DPRINT data capture, or in-process probing where one control might have advantages over others and the UI makes a material impact on how nice that work is to do, but for 95% of jobs in the industry? Those discussions are irrelevant.

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    I have a friend who is doing very well with having a few lasers doing mostly decorative art.
    He sends all his programming to another guy who likes writing programs. Mike, my friend says he is too busy to waste machine-hours writing programs.

    I do think you're getting a CNC router is a good idea. I'm thinking about getting one for my adult son, for a venture he is thinking about. looks like 3 to 6 k for the ones that might work for his project.

    I know another guy who is in a big lawsuit for a car part, a CNC router made part that failed after a million or so parts were in the field. He is not a close friend so likely I will not be able to follow his plight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post

    Is Fusion a "hireable" piece of software? Nope!
    So you could do a little research into seeing what CAM package is prevailant locally to all the shops.
    If it's Mastercam, download the Home Learning Edition and learn that. Again, lots of videos on youtube of home courses available.
    Might save you learning something that isn't used...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post

    "Learning" a control is sort of an outdated thing in modern industry, as almost nobody is programming at the control.
    Maybe the shops you have worked at don't program at the control but reality is different.
    How do you think all the shops with Mazak machines do their programing? They do it right on the controller with Mazatrol. Same with Hurco. And most job shops program at the control.
    At my current job that I have been for almost 3 years, we program everything at the control. We don't have CAM software because we don't need it. All lathe work, all programmed at the control with Fanuc manual guide i, Fanuc SuperCAPi, Mori Seiki Mapps II, Mazatrol and whatever the Hitachi Seicos programming is called.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancuku View Post
    Maybe the shops you have worked at don't program at the control but reality is different.
    How do you think all the shops with Mazak machines do their programing? They do it right on the controller with Mazatrol. Same with Hurco. And most job shops program at the control.
    At my current job that I have been for almost 3 years, we program everything at the control. We don't have CAM software because we don't need it. All lathe work, all programmed at the control with Fanuc manual guide i, Fanuc SuperCAPi, Mori Seiki Mapps II, Mazatrol and whatever the Hitachi Seicos programming is called.
    Not everyone is doing simple 2 axis turning. Even back when I was in a job shop with a lot of turning, the lathe and Swiss guys would regularly come to me for a code snippet for live tool milling a hexalobe, gear profile, etc. Sure they could hand code it if they had to, but it was far faster and more reliable to do it in CAM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbter View Post
    So you could do a little research into seeing what CAM package is prevailant locally to all the shops.
    If it's Mastercam, download the Home Learning Edition and learn that. Again, lots of videos on youtube of home courses available.
    Might save you learning something that isn't used...
    Disagree.

    Fusion is the best platform for learning CAD/CAM in existence, by far. It is very modern software (so no old command line crap or complex config files to deal with, modern dialog boxes, etc etc), but it also has hundreds of hours of learning material available online from not only Autodesk, but dozens of YouTube creators. Type almost *any* CAD question, 3 axis, basic 5 axis, or turning question into Google with the word "Fusion" in the end, and you'll wind up with a step-by-step tutorial.

    The point isn't to learn Fusion; the point is to not only learn, but get exceedingly comfortable with the basic foundations of CAD/CAM. Once you understand how all this stuff works, transitioning from one package to another is almost trivial. When you get down to brass tacks, Fusion works the same as SolidWorks/MasterCAM/NX/Esprit/etc.

    Besides that, Fusion is just a great tool to always have in the toolbox.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancuku View Post
    Maybe the shops you have worked at don't program at the control but reality is different.
    How do you think all the shops with Mazak machines do their programing? They do it right on the controller with Mazatrol. Same with Hurco. And most job shops program at the control.
    At my current job that I have been for almost 3 years, we program everything at the control. We don't have CAM software because we don't need it. All lathe work, all programmed at the control with Fanuc manual guide i, Fanuc SuperCAPi, Mori Seiki Mapps II, Mazatrol and whatever the Hitachi Seicos programming is called.
    I mean, I did say "almost" in my statement, yes?

    Look, the guy is making a lateral career move into CNC machining; why would you send him off to the lowest ROI path humanly possible? Unless he has a lathe in his garage and is a monster autodidactic, the FingerCAM learning curve is steep and takes a lot of time. The end result? You might be able to sweet talk your way into a 2 axis lathe shop. You'll still be years away from any competent Swiss shop letting you set-up a machine. Yuck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancuku View Post
    Maybe the shops you have worked at don't program at the control but reality is different.
    How do you think all the shops with Mazak machines do their programing? They do it right on the controller with Mazatrol. Same with Hurco. And most job shops program at the control.
    At my current job that I have been for almost 3 years, we program everything at the control. We don't have CAM software because we don't need it. All lathe work, all programmed at the control with Fanuc manual guide i, Fanuc SuperCAPi, Mori Seiki Mapps II, Mazatrol and whatever the Hitachi Seicos programming is called.
    I think you are out of touch with reality on this, or maybe you are exclusively making simple parts (not meant as an insult).

    We are a job shop, and we cooperate with a lot of other job shops. I don't know anyone who is not using CAM*, and that includes all those with Mazaks and Hurcos etc.

    *Well, I know of one, but they are losing people and probably not going to be around for much longer. One of their guys came to work here, and stated their refusal to buy into CAM as the primary reason for his wanting to leave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    Disagree.
    .
    That's okay. We can agree to disagree.
    You already said Fusion isn't a hireable SW option.
    All i was saying was do a little market research and see what's being locally used.
    If it's Gibbscam then I'd learn that.
    There's tons of youtube vids for all SW platforms.
    The point i was trying to make is to shorten the learning period - learn what everyone in his area is using.

    Gregor...you're right but...i sold my place and am amalgamating it into a group that have two other shops.
    1x outsources all grammin for their 5ax and twin pallet vert.
    Everything else is at the machine heidy grammed or finger grammed for the fanuc lathes...
    But they are a repeat shop that don't even get 10 new jobs a year....
    The other shop...everything is grammed at the control in heidy.
    Both companies don't even know how to accept a CAD model...
    I was absolutely amazed.

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    If you want to run a hobby router in your garage cheap, your only option is Fusion.

    If you want to get a job in CNC machining you need to learn Mastercam. I you want a job on the CAD side, you need to learn SolidWorks. These two softwares will open the most doors for you.

    Lots of fusion fanboys will tell you you can do all these great things in Fusion, its soooo modern...reminds me of that family guy episode where Peter becomes a hipster...the Fusion starter pack is a vape pen, a bluetooth ear piece, a man bun, and skinny jeans...6 months of Fusion on a resume vs 6 months of Mastercam or SolidWorks, you know whos getting the job if everything else is the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancuku View Post
    Maybe the shops you have worked at don't program at the control but reality is different.
    How do you think all the shops with Mazak machines do their programing? They do it right on the controller with Mazatrol. Same with Hurco. And most job shops program at the control.
    At my current job that I have been for almost 3 years, we program everything at the control. We don't have CAM software because we don't need it. All lathe work, all programmed at the control with Fanuc manual guide i, Fanuc SuperCAPi, Mori Seiki Mapps II, Mazatrol and whatever the Hitachi Seicos programming is called.
    Huh??

    1) Programming at the control (most likely) means the machine isn't cutting chips (I know some support background editing)

    2) Worked at an all Mazak shop before. 50/50 mazatrol vs cam programming. 3d surfacing = Cam programming

    3) Worked with Hurco's as well. Guess what? When the print didn't have enough info to conversational it, they came to me to open in cad/cam and give them numbers and/or bits of g code

    4) Lathe programming... meh, I know lots of people like using the almost universal canned cycles. That's fine for a few diameters and bores. Get into live tooling, or funky sweeping shapes and radii? Cam it and verify is sooo much faster.

    5) If you think you don't have cam software because you don't need it... maybe you don't, not for me to say, but I would bet it's more like "we don't have cam software because company doesn't want to buy it and pay for training and a guy to {{{ sit his lazy ass at a PC all day }}} "

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post

    Look, the guy is making a lateral career move into CNC machining; why would you send him off to the lowest ROI path humanly possible?
    I am not sure where you got that from. I simply stated that many shops, and especially job shops, program at the control.
    Why do I say that? Because it was my experience two years ago when I interviewed at 15 shops in my area before I settled for the current job.

    OP should definitely go the CAM route because that's where the money is. There is no doubt about that.
    And Fusion 360 is a sellable skill because it means that you are able to learn a CAM system even though the shop you are applying at uses MC, Esprit or other higher end spftware.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    You'll still be years away from any competent Swiss shop letting you set-up a machine. Yuck!
    A swiss machine is still a lathe. What's so difficult about setting a Swiss lathe compared to a regular 2 axis lathe or a millturn?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancuku View Post
    A swiss machine is still a lathe. What's so difficult about setting a Swiss lathe compared to a regular 2 axis lathe or a millturn?
    Have you ever seen a modern Swiss?

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by sirAIG View Post
    Have you ever seen a modern Swiss?
    Yes, 2015 Star SV20. I interviewed at a Swiss shop in 2018 and was tested to see if I could set it up. I didn't have much trouble with it even though I had never setup or ran one before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fancuku View Post
    A swiss machine is still a lathe. What's so difficult about setting a Swiss lathe compared to a regular 2 axis lathe or a millturn?
    We need a "funny" mod.

    11 axis three channel anyone? Better check those collisions!


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