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    Default Trying to get into programming

    Hello everyone. Id really like to expand my knowledge and learn mastercam/solidworks but unfortunately there arent any classes in my area that would work with my job schedule. I was looking at mastercam university as an alternative. What is the general concensus about taking courses through them? Is it worth it? Will an employer even care about some certificate online? Or will it actually help me? I am still in a contract to stay with my current employer for another year, and they dont have any programming positions available to someone without experience. So I'm just wondering the best way to go about this. Thanks in advance. Any suggestions are welcome and if youve attended mastercam U. Or another reputable online course, id love to hear your story. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zerotolerance523 View Post
    Hello everyone. Id really like to expand my knowledge and learn mastercam/solidworks but unfortunately there arent any classes in my area that would work with my job schedule. I was looking at mastercam university as an alternative. What is the general concensus about taking courses through them? Is it worth it? Will an employer even care about some certificate online? Or will it actually help me? I am still in a contract to stay with my current employer for another year, and they dont have any programming positions available to someone without experience. So I'm just wondering the best way to go about this. Thanks in advance. Any suggestions are welcome and if youve attended mastercam U. Or another reputable online course, id love to hear your story. Thanks.
    Good evening,
    I was thrown into programming. I started many years ago setting up Davenport and Acme Screw Machines. I was then moved into quality where I had to learn CMM Programming on my own. Now, since I'm a CMM programmer, my manager thought it would be a good idea that I take on the programming of cnc machines. So, what I've done, is download the trial versions and free CAM software and started practicing. I would get CADs from a site called GrabCAD and practice setting up a machining program. If I have issues, I ask the folks here. As for whether or not the hiring mangers care about online certs, I would say no. If you have the knowledge and can prove your work, then certs wont matter. I've worked with guys/gals with degrees but didn't know what they were doing. For some free software, try fusion 360 and look up Titans of CNC. He actually has online classes that you can take to learn programming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmmpro1 View Post
    I'm a CMM programmer,
    As for whether or not the hiring mangers care about online certs, I would say no.
    try fusion 360 and look up Titans of CNC. .
    Oh boy

    Everything in that post...except opposite.

    Like you mentioned, if you have no experience you probably won't even get an interview. If you can at least show proof you are worth interviewing (with an online cert from McamU, Caminstructor or similar) it could be the foot in the door you need. Not sure about your area, but around here most job postings are looking for Mastercam programmers...have yet to see one looking for someone with Fusion skills. Again, good luck in that interview if they plop a computer with Mastercam down in front of you and you've never used it before.

    Fusion is a great free product and you can learn a few things from it but your time will be better spent learning Mastercam and/or Solidworks, and you will learn it much quicker through a recognized program with an instructor or teacher....be it online, at your local community college, hell, even a reseller. (the order of those options are in order of their cost, online being cheapest)

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    Good morning everyone, I knew this would be a touchy post before I responded. I am not trying to step on any toes or anything like that but if you have the drive and have an understanding of some of the basics, you can learn to program. When I started programming, I had no teacher, classes or anything like that. Even with cmm programming, I was given a machine and was told to measure. ZeroTolerance, you can do it. If you have drive and it sounds like you do, then do all the reading you can, download some software to get familiarized with the concepts of Model Based Definition and learn this stuff.

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    Have you machined parts on manual or CNC machines? If you haven't, I'm sorry, but you're going to have a rough time (for a while, at least) making good running programs. Learning the software is the easy part; knowing how to cut a part is the hard part.

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    I've only ever thought about doing any coursework through Mastercam U. I recently ran into a tool rep that had gone through the gamut of the basic courses they offer, and he claimed they were so in depth that it got to the point where you're learning and being tested on material that you'll probably never use. That pretty much backed up the opinion I had formed from reading about the courses on the Mastercam U site, so I decided my time was better spent elsewhere and I didn't look any further.

    I have, however, done some online work with eapprentice and I can say that it was time and money very well spent. Colin is incredibly knowledgeable, and also really willing to help whenever you need it - whether in an online office hours type setting, through one on one email exchange or on the forum.

    Don't get me wrong, the cert would probably help with your current employer, but when it comes to actually learning the software in a practical way you'll be best off downloading the home version to play with, then just pick up what you can from Youtube, forums and if you wanna splurge for some additional great video content check out eapprentice.

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    Thanks for the replies. As far as my background- i graduated from tradeschool about 6 years ago and have been machining since. Mainly manual milling, cnc set up and operator, minor program edits and so forth. I want to get into programming because i think i would enjoy it and the pay is better also, especially if you know 5 axis and all that good stuff. So if mastercam u will help at all, i think ill give it a shot. Ill also check out the other things mentioned.

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    The online Mastercam courses are... simple. Meaning any person with zero machining skills can pass them.
    Seriously, all they are is click this, do this, do that, and then boom, you have your certificate.
    I've been using Mastercam since the mid 90's, and just recently took the multiaxis online course just to see if I could pick up on anything.
    It was boring, and it doesn't really teach you how to do stuff.
    So I would say that a certificate from them is just a memento, and you'd be kidding yourself if you felt it was deserving of a programming position.

    My advice would be to take the hasp home at night and train yourself, do as much as you can, get to know the in's and out's of Mastercam. SET UP YOUR DEFAULTS!! This is the #1 mistake that people make, then they complain that Mastercam sucks.
    YouTube has a ton of videos as a resource for training also.

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    i would say ask your boss if he can give you 1or2days a month to look and see how the programmer at the factory is working and if he would allow u to use the licence at factory downtime (weekends, hollydays,...) for practicing...
    if i ware your boss that woul be enough to see what ur input is to my factory and it would make it worth to invest time and money in U.
    after few months you can ask if you can try to program easy parts in your free time and run them at work.
    its the best learning curve i think

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    There is a free mastercam version you can use to learn the software, you can't post code with it, but you can use it.

    The main way I learned mastercam was the free version at home. Bought some tutorial books. Then I bought some print reading books, and modeled the parts, made programs and designed fixtures for the parts.

    The "how to make it do it" is the easier part compared to "what do I want it to do" sometimes lol. Especially when you are starting out.

    Learn how to do multiple setups on parts using planes and being able to verify the program to the model, and design and build any fixtures needed.

    Maybe big companies might care about a certificate of some sort. All the shops I've been in it's about if you can do the job or not. That's one of the things I like about this trade Last interview had a print reading test, then they sat me in front of a computer with mastercam, pulled up a model, and said "program this".

    Before learning cam though, you should know g code. You say you can do minor edits. Can you punch out a program by hand that works? Step 1 is manually writing some programs.

    Me personally, I think I can learn a lot more with a book of some examples, the help function and using it, than I would taking a course. Especially with youtube and forums these days. Butit's what works for you. Whatever gets you the skills to do the job.

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    That sounds like the best route to take brian. Its been a few years since ive written simple programs but the main thing will be remembering all the g and m codes. Where would you recommend i get the free demo? Straight from their site?

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    Any tutorial out there?

    Regards, Ivan

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    Quote Originally Posted by goooose View Post
    Oh boy

    Everything in that post...except opposite.

    Like you mentioned, if you have no experience you probably won't even get an interview. If you can at least show proof you are worth interviewing (with an online cert from McamU, Caminstructor or similar) it could be the foot in the door you need. Not sure about your area, but around here most job postings are looking for Mastercam programmers...have yet to see one looking for someone with Fusion skills. Again, good luck in that interview if they plop a computer with Mastercam down in front of you and you've never used it before.

    Fusion is a great free product and you can learn a few things from it but your time will be better spent learning Mastercam and/or Solidworks, and you will learn it much quicker through a recognized program with an instructor or teacher....be it online, at your local community college, hell, even a reseller. (the order of those options are in order of their cost, online being cheapest)
    It all depends on what placement you're looking for and where you're looking.. I'd absolutely give preference to someone who self-taught fusion, has a tormach in their garage, and can put the two together to make things- over someone with a mastercam certificate who loaded a few paint-by-numbers programs into the local community colleges' VF2.

    BUT I recognize that's not the case everywhere, and.. playing the numbers, might not be the most sage advise for landing a position in most areas.

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    If you are serious on learning how to program I would take a couple classes at the local college. The first class I would take is solidworks and learn how to draw and design parts. I am sure you have prints of parts you would like to program so that would be a good start. If you can draw and modify parts then this will help you along with programming. Nothing sucks more than being at the mercy of a piss poor draftsman who's drawing and models suck.

    I would also take a programming class at the local college, even it they do not have Mastercam a different programming software would help you learn the basics of using a software package. If you can learn 1 or 2 software packages then you can learn most of them real easy. One thing that helped me learn programming was reverse engineering existing programs and parts Sometimes I had prints with existing programs and sometimes I had only programs without the print and I used both ways of learning programming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlockwood View Post
    It all depends on what placement you're looking for and where you're looking.. I'd absolutely give preference to someone who self-taught fusion, has a tormach in their garage, and can put the two together to make things- over someone with a mastercam certificate who loaded a few paint-by-numbers programs into the local community colleges' VF2.

    BUT I recognize that's not the case everywhere, and.. playing the numbers, might not be the most sage advise for landing a position in most areas.

    I don't think it's good advice to tell OP that if he wants to get a job programming he should go buy a tormach and teach himself how to use it. I would also disagree with the 'paint by numbers' analogy used for community colleges. Community colleges (at least around here) have very high placement rates in manufacturing courses. If you attended a community college and did not gain anything from it, I would be asking for a refund.

    Completion of structured courses shows an employer more than just a gained skill. It shows motivation, dedication, preparation, ability to follow a schedule, etc. When hiring for an entry level position, employers are looking for life skills/personality traits more so than 'what you know'. As we all know, most learning is done on the job. The employer is looking for the right person to invest in. They will teach you as long as you are the type of person they want to teach. Showing you can take on a task that is a 3-4 month course and completing it speaks volumes.

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    My local community college offers an associates in engineering technology and along with other classes there are solidworks classes, rapid prototyping and CAD classes. Would it be worthwhile to persue this degree? The only reason im not sure is because the average pay for an engineer tech isnt that much different from a machinist, but if the degree will give me a leg up I will invest my time. What are your thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zerotolerance523 View Post
    Thanks for the replies. As far as my background- i graduated from tradeschool about 6 years ago and have been machining since. Mainly manual milling, cnc set up and operator, minor program edits and so forth. I want to get into programming because i think i would enjoy it and the pay is better also, especially if you know 5 axis and all that good stuff. So if mastercam u will help at all, i think ill give it a shot. Ill also check out the other things mentioned.
    If you have machining experience you are 70% there. First, before you want to commit to a CAD system teach yourself to program manually. Lay out simple tool moves and figure them out yourself. Calculate the tool through radii and angles. Take the time and do the math just to experience what to expect from the tool path when you post programs. This is something you can do in the comfort of your on home with a few beers. CAD/CAM systems are a tool to achieve results that you want. Do not shape yourself to the tool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zerotolerance523 View Post
    My local community college offers an associates in engineering technology and along with other classes there are solidworks classes, rapid prototyping and CAD classes. Would it be worthwhile to persue this degree? The only reason im not sure is because the average pay for an engineer tech isnt that much different from a machinist, but if the degree will give me a leg up I will invest my time. What are your thoughts?
    I have to tell you I am big on learning and schooling. I say go for it. Who knows, you may decide to take a step further and go to a four year institution provided the courses will transfer. I tell me children this, Do what you love and the money will follow!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revelstone View Post
    If you have machining experience you are 70% there. First, before you want to commit to a CAD system teach yourself to program manually. Lay out simple tool moves and figure them out yourself.
    To me, this is huge. I've seen people hired on where I work as contract programmers, who never ran a machine. I don't know how in the world one goes about machining a part in the virtual world without having actually done it. And like Revelstone said, knowing what all the G, M, and other codes do is valuable knowledge. Without this knowledge, you'll be unable to do a "sanity check" on posted CNC code. Check out some of Peter Smid's books if you need CNC programming help.

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    If i were you i would try youtube tutorials or Udemy courses or fileziper courses, it's free mate.


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