teaching g-code to an employee at home
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    Default teaching g-code to an employee at home

    Have a new employee that is sharp and motivated and wants to learn g-code and basic CNC functions (beyond speeds/feeds and basic manual machining practices) on his own at home. No real way to get him OJT right now otherwise I would. But he's motivated which is great so I'll buy him some training materials.

    He won't be programming right away, just starting off running a 3-axis CNC router which is pretty simple. But I want him to know the basics so he can do the fundamentals without having code needed to be written for him each time.

    Ideas for books or online programs he can use to learn the language at home? Prefer something that isn't too formal like enrolling in a class, etc. Even better if it's something that will be fun and well presented so I don't scare him off. And prefer something inexpensive of course.

    Figured I wasn't the only one that has had this idea and some of you sharp shop owners would be able to give me some advice.

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    Haas has some free programming tutorials online that are pretty comprehensive. Just google search Haas Programming Manual.

    There's also some g-code simulators out there he could run from his computer.

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    Peter Smid's cnc programming manual is Thee Best

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    For fanuc controls some of the guys i work with used Heinz Putz's videos.

    He frequents this forum and is usually happy to answer any questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MotoX View Post
    For fanuc controls some of the guys i work with used Heinz Putz's videos.

    He frequents this forum and is usually happy to answer any questions.
    Always good when an employee wants to get ahead and learn new stuff. Help him all you can.

    Also I've never actually dealt with the stuff Heinz Putz actually sells, but he has always been very
    free with the information here, and I would be highly inclined to support him if I needed what he sells.

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    If you don't have a lot of different materials on hand, maybe you could give him some copies of programs you run and assign him the task of figuring out what each line of code is there for. Maybe even give him a tool list and ask him to figure out the finished size and shape of the part based on what the program is going to do with those tools.

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    All sound like good advice, I'll check some of these out. Thanks.

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    I know I learn best when I am actually doing the work. If he is operating a CNC machine give him the manual for the machine and printouts of the code he is running. That way he can see how it does what he sees it doing. Give him a simple part to program on paper. Let him compare what he produces to the code you run and using the manual for the machine figure out any differences. A burning desire to learn trumps all the schooling in the world.

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    I would have him learn basic machine shop practice before programming. How can you program if you don't know what sequence to machine a part!!

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    I self taught my self and best way I figured out how to learn whats going on is using the code that I ran everyday I watch the Gcode on the screen and tried to figure out what it was doing I ran mostly okumas so they have the handy ? softkey with the G code and M code search on my free time I played around IN MDI and watch the engineers in between Cycles to watch and learn from them ...

    As stated above Give him some Gcode that he runs and the manual he will figure it out real fast if he needs a explanation in Visual MDI is you best friend

    I Further my Learning experience soon after I bought my first CNC Lathe and CNC Mill if there willing to learn they will

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    The CNC workbook is a great text to teach most of what you need to know about G code to run a mill or a lathe. The price is right on Amazon for used books....

    I buy these by the half dozen and give them to people who tell me they want to learn to run a CNC machine. I tell them if they read it, they can program a simple part easily, and then I'll work with them. If they lose interest I'm not out much. I've used this book to teach dozens of people CNC programming.

    Here's a link to buy it for cheap...



    Amazon.com: Buying Choices: The CNC Workbook: An Introduction to Computer Numerical Control

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    I can't think of anything more boring than reading a cnc program.

    Really, what he needs to learn is the necessity of safety:
    Rule 1: Never crash your tool or machine
    Rule 2: Do what you have to do to ensure Rule 1 is observed.

    Do these MakerBot machines run Gcode? That might be an interesting way to learn: by hand writing a few programs for something like that.

    IMO, hand coding should teach (through implication) how much better off you are to use a CAM system to program and to simulate your programs with. I learned a heck of a lot more about machining techniques that I haven't even dreamt of, by using a CADCAM system. To sit around pondering the finer points of hand writing code is as useful as dispensing with the calculator to figure out trig functions without tables!

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    Go figure. Nobody in my shop gets to run a CNC machine unless they have a basic comprehension of what the G code scrolling down the screen means. They should be capable enough to run it in single block, read the line of code in the buffer and know what the machine will do when they hit the green go button. If they don't they have no business hitting the button. The CNC Workbook is a real tool to let them learn what the simple g code means.

    But then I am the guy that gets to pay for the damage caused by my mistakes, and those of the operators.

    G code is really a simple language. But then my daughter understood the concept around age 2 1/2 and was running a CNC lathe by herself at age 6. And she does know what the code means...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw-Pj8H0evg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Caruk View Post
    Go figure. Nobody in my shop gets to run a CNC machine unless they have a basic comprehension of what the G code scrolling down the screen means. They should be capable enough to run it in single block, read the line of code in the buffer and know what the machine will do when they hit the green go button. If they don't they have no business hitting the button. The CNC Workbook is a real tool to let them learn what the simple g code means.

    But then I am the guy that gets to pay for the damage caused by my mistakes, and those of the operators.

    G code is really a simple language. But then my daughter understood the concept around age 2 1/2 and was running a CNC lathe by herself at age 6. And she does know what the code means...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw-Pj8H0evg
    Well.... try reading a complex 3d surfacing path and see if you "understand" it. LoL. I do alot of surfacing and the code flies by sooo fast, hard to grasp what any one line is doing. There will literally be pages and pages of code with only tenth increments in between one line and the next
    ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by garyhlucas View Post
    I know I learn best when I am actually doing the work. If he is operating a CNC machine give him the manual for the machine and printouts of the code he is running. That way he can see how it does what he sees it doing. Give him a simple part to program on paper. Let him compare what he produces to the code you run and using the manual for the machine figure out any differences. A burning desire to learn trumps all the schooling in the world.
    A Fanuc manual will surely just scare him away!

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    My first programming experience was with a wire edm. Simple codes, very easy to follow. G01 straight line move, G02 arc move, G01 straight line move, etc.. Make sure to start him with basics so he can really understand whats going on...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6061Mike View Post
    Well.... try reading a complex 3d surfacing path and see if you "understand" it. LoL. I do alot of surfacing and the code flies by sooo fast, hard to grasp what any one line is doing. There will literally be pages and pages of code with only tenth increments in between one line and the next
    ...
    Certainly Stuart doesn't expect his guys to figure out every single line of a high-speed surfacing toolpath that finishes a mold cavity. He want's his guys to know why you put a G43 in a program, and know what the T H and D numbers are. What he really wants is someone who follows good work habits, and even if you're using a CAM system, a GOOD machinist should know how to single-block through their program, to make sure the tool gets to the part without any accidents on the way. Even if you're using CAM, you can still crash a machine when you touch-off a tool wrong, or setup a work-offset wrong. Knowing how to single-block through those first few critical lines can be the difference between an, " Oh shoot, looks like I made a mistake - better stop and fix it," and a " Uh, sorry boss, the machine crashed. I don't know what happened. I hit cycle-start and then it knocked the 4th-axis off the machine. Sorry..."

    Which guy would you rather have running your machine, running your high-speed surfacing toolpaths on that expensive mold core that you have several weeks labor tied up in?

    The difference between the two, is someone knowing just enough about G-code to know what to watch out for...

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    Far and away, most of the crashes happen in a Z axis move. It's usually something simple like a needed tool isn't in the magazine, so someone swaps a tool into an available pocket, edits the program to change the tool #, and forgets to edit the height offset callout as well. This move is at the start of your high speed surfacing toolpath, and is a far more likely place to crash than anywhere else.

    I don't expect them to be rocket scientists (I know a couple of those... they both have PHDs, and I wouldn't let either of them near any of my machines...)

    I do expect them to know G1, G0, G2, G3, G28, all the simple work coordinate systems and have an idea of what a canned cycle does. Yes the Fanuc manual is daunting, which is why I suggested the CNC workbook.

    It's cheap, simple and proven effective. Any reasonably capable person could read that book, then program by hand a simple part with modest features.

    I figure if they take the time to read it, I'll invest my time to show them how to run the machine. The first thing they learn is how to verify that certain things are as we expect them to be, and how the single block switch, feed hold, and distance to go displays work so we never get to hopefully hear the big bang.

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    For the most part, a new trainee needs to focus on the controller manual. You can explain what G0, G1, G2 and G3 are in 5 minutes. But, the particular ways that certain controllers execute the desired functions in MDI, and Auto, what handle mode does, what the spindle control is like in handle mode, what you can do in Jog mode.....all the stuff that is similar from machine to machine but maybe not exactly the same.....that is what you really need to absorb before being on your own. Setting a part datum, and why you set a part datum, what a tool length offset is, and why you set it and how exactly does this machine require input in that regard.....all practice required with hands on the machine....book learnin' just don't stick very well until you've been stuck setting up a particular machine and have the right questions: THEN, you're ready to go and look in a book for the answers.

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    Another option accessable from PC, tablet or phone is -

    CNC G-Code Programming Tutorial, Course, Examples, and Programs


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