Our Machining Center CD-rom
course, which includes 329 page manual, 90 page workbook, 90 page answer book,
6 hour CD-rom, and CD jacket (answer book not shown)
Using our self-study CD-rom and video course for machining center
programming, setup, and operation is pretty easy. There are ten key concepts
broken into twenty-four lessons for the machining center course, twenty-eight
lessons for the turning center course, and twenty-three lessons for the router
course. After each lesson, there is an exercise in the workbook to do. Many of
the exercises include a programming activity. Once you've completed an
exercise, you check it against the answer in the answer book. If you did well,
you continue on to the next lesson. If you didn't, you need to go back and
review the lesson content again -since obviously - you missed something. If you
still don't catch on, you can always call for free phone assistance
(847-639-8847). When you do fully understand the lesson's content, you go on to
the next lesson. This process is simply repeated for each lesson.
While this process is pretty simple to follow, we want to provide a little
more in the way of guidance to people using our CD-rom courses. For people that
have already purchased a course, this will provide you with better instructions
than those that accompany the CD-rom course. For people that are considering
the purchase of a course, this will provide you with some very specific
information about what you're in for. Note that these instructions apply only
to these CD-rom courses:
Machining center programming, setup, and operation
Turning center programming, setup, and operation
Router programming, setup and operation
Our CD-rom courses for CNC advanced techniques, parametric programming,
setup reduction, and cycle time reduction do not utilize the same lesson
Here is the start-up page that lists the 24 lessons of the machining
center course. Similar start-up pages are used for the turning center course
and the router course:
Course content and scope
Each course teaches complete CNC machine tool utilization. We include all
three facets of machine usage, including programming, setup, and maintaining
production (operation). We assume absolutely nothing about your current
understanding of CNC and make presentations from the ground up.
Programming presentations stress manual (G code level) programming. While
there are other forms of programming available, most notably computer aided
manufacturing (CAM) system programming, most experienced CNC people will agree
that it is best to begin learning about CNC programming at G code level. We
compare learning manual programming prior to learning a CAM system to learning
how to perform arithmetic calculations by hand prior to learning how to use a
calculator. Just as a person will not be able to judge the quality of
calculations performed on a calculator without understanding basic arithmetic,
neither can a CNC programmer judge the quality of output from a CAM system (it
is in G code format) without understanding G code level programming.
Additionally, there are many times when CNC people must modify programs at
the machine when verifying a new program. These changes must be made at G code
level - and of course - require an understanding of G code.
Yet another reason why it's best to begin learning about CNC programming at
G code level is related to specific CNC features. There are many features, like
program zero assignment, tool length compensation, cutter radius compensation,
among others, that are easiest to learn during presentations of manual
programming. Trying to learn about these features at the same time you're
trying to learn a complex CAM system can be very confusing.
Again, these courses stress all three CNC machine utilization tasks,
including programming, setup, and maintaining production (operation). Though
the course begins with programming, many of the discussions about setup and
maintaining production are actually started during the programming
This is done for two reasons. First, most programmers are expected to (at
the very least) direct setup people and operators. Some programmers are even
expected to make setups and run production. This means the programmer must be
at least as knowledgeable about setup and operation as any setup person or
operator. Second, many setup and production maintaining functions are
completely dependent upon programming methods. While the programming topic is
fresh in your mind, it is quite easy to extend what you know to include the
setup and production maintaining implications of the feature or topic.
Indeed, most students are interested in mastering all three CNC machine tool
utilization tasks. However, if you are only interested in learning about
programming, you can, of course, work through just the programming-related
lessons. If you are only interested only in setup and operation, you can skip
most of the programming discussions. But as stated, there are certain
programming topics that even a setup person or operator must understand. For
this reason, we provide a series of quick links to related topics at the
beginning of the setup and operation portion of the course (when you click on
"Important presentations from programming").
While we do consider these courses to be basic courses, you'll be exposed to
all key utilization methods, features, and topics. That is - these are very
comprehensive courses. When finished, you'll be well on your way to becoming a
proficient CNC person. All you will lack is hands-on experience.
While we assume nothing about your current understanding of CNC, it does
really help if you have some shop experience. While we include (in each student
manual) a lengthy discussion about machining operations that can be performed
on the CNC machine type you are studying, this information is not intended to
replace a course on basic machining practices. We assume, for example, that
students can read blueprints, that they can interpret tolerances, that they can
use gauging devices, that they understand workholding devices, that they can
perform basic arithmetic calculations, and in general, that students are
comfortable in the shop environment.
By the way, this is the reason why experienced machinists tend to make the
best programmers, setup people, and operators. An experienced machinist already
knows what they want the CNC machine tool to do. It's a relatively easy
task to learn how to tell the CNC machine what it is they want it to do.
The key concepts
As stated, there are ten key concepts. The key concepts let us put a
light at the end of the tunnel for you, limiting the number of new
principles that you must become acquainted with. Most importantly, they allow
us to stress the reasons why things are done as importantly as
how they are done.
Look at it this way: If you can understand but ten basic principles, you are
well on your way to becoming proficient with CNC machine tools. And by the way,
these same ten key concepts can be applied to any kind of CNC machine tool, so
you'll not only be learning important concepts about the CNC machine described
in your course, you'll be gaining a general understanding of all types of CNC
machines. This will make it very easy to build upon what you know about CNC
when it comes time to learn about other CNC machine types.
In each key concept, we'll begin by introducing the reasoning behind the key
concept. And again, this reasoning can be applied to any form of CNC machine
tool. With a firm understanding of this reasoning, you'll be exposed to
specific examples of how this reasoning applies to the kind of CNC machine tool
you are studying. All specific programming examples are shown for the most
popular control in the industry - the Fanuc control. And many control
manufacturers claim that their controls are Fanuc-compatible (including Haas,
Mitsubishi, Mazatrol's EIA programming, Yasnac, Seikos, and Flashcut -among
Remember that even if you won't be working on a Fanuc or Fanuc-compatible
control, the ten key concepts still apply. Frankly speaking, most of the
programming differences between Fanuc controls and those that are not
Fanuc-compatible are quite minor - usually just G and M code number
differences. For example, Fanuc's G code for tool length compensation is G43.
Okuma's G code for tool length compensation is G56. The function for each of
these G codes is exactly the same for both controls. If you understand
how tool length compensation works on a Fanuc control, you can easily relate
what you know to an Okuma control. While some control model programming
differences are somewhat more substantial, if you understand our key concepts,
and if you can relate them to one specific control (Fanuc in our case),
extending what you know to include other control types will be relatively easy.
Here are the key concepts:
Know your machine from a programmer's viewpoint
Prepare to write programs
Understand the motion types
Know the compensation types
Know how to format CNC programs
The special features of programming
Setup and Operation
Know your machine from a operator's viewpoint
Know the three basic modes of operation
Know the key operation procedures
Know how to safely verify programs
As stated, the key concepts are further broken into several lessons. Each
lesson includes visual/audio presentations you'll view from the CD-rom disk,
written material you'll read in the student manual, an exercise you'll complete
in the workbook, and answers to the exercise in the answer book. (The answer
book is simply an workbook with the answers filled in.)
While there is a great deal of information presented from the CD-rom (at
least six hours worth, depending upon the course), we urge you to also read the
material for each lesson in the student manual. At the very least, this will
force you to review the lesson at least once. And, you'll find that in many
cases, the information presented in the manual is presented in a slightly
different manner, meaning you'll have another way of considering the material.
On the CD-rom when you click on the lesson that you want to view, you'll be
shown an outline for that lesson. You can choose to view the entire lesson or
you can begin viewing the lesson from the beginning of each major topic
included in the outline. This is especially helpful when you want to review a
key topic - or when you're interrupted in the middle of a lesson and must
continue at another time.
For example, say you choose to view the entire lesson. The lesson will begin
with a lesson plan which lets you see what's going to be presented in the
lesson (this is similar to the lesson's outline, but you'll also hear about key
topics to which you should pay particular attention). Each major topic in the
lesson will then be presented, separated by a title page for each topic. You'll
see colorful computer-generated graphics and animations along with a audio
presentation (narration) of the material in the lesson. These presentations are
designed to get and hold your attention and are much like those you'd hear in a
classroom environment when you have a live instructor. Each lesson ends with a
lesson summary, which recaps the most important topics in the lesson.
Remember - from the lesson's outline page you can choose to view the entire
lesson or you can select a topic from which you would like the presentation to
begin. This is especially helpful when you need to review, or if you've been
interrupted and need to restart from where you've left off. If, for example,
you click on the topic Machine Configurations from the outline for
lesson number one, the CD-rom will skip all information prior to this topic and
begin from the title page for the topic you've chosen. The lesson will still
continue from your topic of choice to its end, so if you only want to view your
topic of choice (you are probably reviewing this topic), simply press the
return button - which is in the lower left hand corner the screen at all times
- when you see the title page for the next topic.
Once you have finished viewing the lesson, and even if you are quite
confident that you understand the material presented, you should read the
related material in the student manual. Note that at the end of each lesson
plan on the CD-rom, we tell you where the related material can be found in the
student manual. As you read this material, you may be surprised at how much you
miss when simply viewing the CD! Reading the manual will truly reinforce what
you learn from the CD rom.
At this point, you'll be asked to do the exercise for the lesson in the
workbook. Once completed, you'll check your answers against those given in the
answer book. If you're answers are correct, you'll go on to the next lesson.
But if they're not, you should go back to the lesson and view/read the topic
that is causing you trouble. Remember that we offer free phone/email assistance
if you still can't understand the material.
A note about checking your answers
For each exercise, you are provided with a total possible score as well as a
value for each answer you provide. To grade yourself after you complete an
exercise, simply multiply the value for correct answers times the number of
correct answers you have. If, for example, you have 18 correct answers and each
answer is worth 5 points, your score is 90. Compare your total score to the
total possible score. To come up with a percentage of correct answers, divide
your score by the total possible. If, in the previous example, the total
possible is 100, your percentage of correct answers is 0.9 (90%).
Strive for total comprehension! Remember that these courses
are related to mastering industrial equipment. A score of 90% will usually
qualify for a grade of "B+" in an educational institution - and a +B
is considered well above average. But what about the 10% you were wrong about?
Something in the 10% may be related to a critical part of the CNC machine
tool's usage. On the shop floor, this lack of understanding may have disastrous
results! Even if you are incorrect with but one answer in an exercise, we urge
you to go back and find out why you made the mistake.
About your presenter
Mike Lynch is President of CNC Concepts, Inc. Considered an expert in CNC
manufacturing for metal cutting operations, he has authored five CNC textbooks
three published by McGraw Hill and two published by the Society of
Manufacturing Engineers. His column "CNC Tech Talk" appears monthly
in Modern Machine Shop Magazine. Mr. Lynch has taught extensively about CNC. He
conducts seminars for basic CNC usage as well as more advanced CNC topics. He
has presented numerous in-plant courses for progressive CNC-using companies. He
has developed five CNC curriculums (including this one) that are being used in
over 50 colleges and technical schools to teach CNC.
Take inventory of course materials:
Courseware on 1 CD-ROM disk
Student manual (329 pages)
Workbook containing 24 exercises and 11 programming activities
What you also need:
Multi-media computer for viewing the presentations on the CD-rom disk
Calculator to help with calculations during practice exercises and
programming activities (no need for trig functions in this course)
Note-taking materials (pencil & note pad)
High-lighter pen (for highlighting key information in the student manual)
A quiet place to work
Install the software:
Even if you have experience with computer application programs and Windows
95/98/me, etc., we urge you to read this before getting started. While
its not at all difficult to install and begin, this courseware requires a
rather unique installation. This information will save you some headaches and
keep you from getting off on the wrong foot. If you do have problems getting
started, just give us a call (847-639-8847).
Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer All of the presentations in this
courseware have been prepared using Microsoft PowerPoint. In order to view the
presentations, you must have the Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer installed on your
computer. The Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer is freely distributed and is included
on the disk in the folder named PowerPoint Viewer.
Important point about PowerPoint Viewer! Even though you may
have the actual PowerPoint software installed on your computer (it comes with
most versions of Microsoft Office), you must install PowerPoint Viewer and
invoke our CD-rom courses from within PowerPoint Viewer. For an unknown reason,
the presentation timing is different between PowerPoint Viewer and PowerPoint.
If you run our CD-rom courses in PowerPoint, many narrations will be cut short
To install Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer: From Windows Explorer, find the
folder named PowerPoint Viewer. In this folder, find the file named
PPView97.exe. Invoke this file (by double clicking it from within
Windows Explorer). Follow the subsequent installation instructions for
By the way, if you have requested and viewed our
samples disk, or if you've
downloaded samples from our website (and
viewed them), you've already installed PowerPoint Viewer. Unless you have
removed it from your computer's hard-drive, you need not install it again.
Also, if prior to purchasing, you are questioning whether our CD-rom courses
will run on your computer, be sure to request the samples disk or download the
sample of the course you are interested in. If the sample runs properly on your
computer, so will the actual CD-rom course.
Start the courseware
First, start PowerPoint Viewer by clicking on Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer 97
from the Start Menu Programs. Next, direct PowerPoint Viewer to look
in the CD-rom drive of your computer. (This usually only needs to be done
once. PowerPoint Viewer should keep track of the last used folder.) Double
click on the file named a_startup to start the courseware. With most computers,
it will be the second item in the file list.
Getting around in the courseware
Youll find the series of hypertext links to be very similar to web
page text links. Once you first start the courseware, youll see the list
of 24 lessons, and when you place the cursor on a lesson, it will change from
an arrow to a pointing finger. When you click, the courseware will take you to
the information for the topic youve just clicked.
Once into the actual lessons, every page will have a return button (in the
lower left corner). This will take you to back to the page from which you
clicked the topic. Just like on the Internet, topics youve already viewed
during the current session will be shown in a dimmed color. Since most
individual topics are under ten minutes long, we provide no way to fast forward
through the topic.
Working through the course
As stated, each course is divided into ten key concepts and contains several
lessons. To get you off on the right foot, we include some suggestions about
viewing the first few lessons. The information we provide happens to be for the
machining center course, but applies nicely to our other courses as well.
Again, the activities in each lesson are quite redundant. You shouldn't need
much help understanding this structure once you're a few lessons into the
course. And again, you can always call for free assistance.
View the Orientation on the CD-rom disk (5:00 minutes)
Key concepts approach
In this short orientation, you'll be acquainted with presentation methods
for the course.
Key concept one: Know your machine from a programmer's viewpoint
Do exercise number one in workbook (true/false, multiple choice, fill in
the blanks, optional extension questions)
Key points of lesson:
Basic machining practices - The more you know about basic machining
practices, the easier it will be to become proficient with CNC machining
Machining operations performed on machining centers - Throughout the
course, we'll be assuming you understand hole machining operations (center
drill, spot drill, drill, tap ream, etc.) and milling operations (face mill,
contour mill, etc.).
Processing - You must be able to develop a workable step-by-step order
(process) for machining operations to be performed in a program
Machine configurations - While you don't have to be a machine designer, you
should recognize and understand the most basic machine components.
Directions of motion - All CNC machining centers have at least three linear
directions of motion called axes.
Directions of motion - There are two ways to view directions of motion:
from a programmer's viewpoint and from a setup person's or operator's
Programmable features - You must understand the functions that are
programmable on the machine you're going to be programming as well as the
programming words and commands used to activate these functions.
Lesson 2: General flow of CNC usage
Understand the big picture
Flow of programming process
View CD-rom presentation: 8 minutes
Read student manual from pages 1-17 through 1-18
Do exercise number two in workbook (true/false, multiple choice, fill in
the blanks, extension questions)
Key points of lesson:
Understand the big picture - You should understand the three types of
companies that use CNC machine tools.
Understand the big picture - It is important to know where you fit in when
it comes to your company's manufacturing environment.
Flow of programming process - You must understand the steps that are needed
to complete a job on a CNC machining center.
Lesson 3: Visualizing program execution
The importance of visualization
Visualizing program execution
First example program
Notes about program structure
View CD-rom presentation: 10 minutes
Read student manual from pages 1-19 through 1-22
Do exercise number three in workbook (true/false, multiple choice, fill in
the blanks, optional extension questions)
Key points of lesson:
The importance of visualization - In order to develop CNC commands to make
a cutting tool machine properly, you must be able to visualize the path of the
tool in your mind.
Visualizing program execution - We compare what a machinist must do to
drill a hole to what a CNC programmer must do.
First example program - Our intention is to acquaint you with the
sequential order by which a CNC program is executed as well as why
visualization is so very important.
Notes about program structure - With the first example program fresh in
your mind, we can make some key points about the structure of a CNC program.
Lesson 4: Understanding program zero
The rectangular coordinate system
A graph analogy
The XY plane
Where to place the program zero point
Absolute versus incremental
View CD-rom presentation: 20 minutes
Read student manual from pages 1-23 through 1-29
Do exercise number four in workbook (true/false, multiple choice, fill in
the blanks, complete a coordinate sheet, optional extension questions)
When you've finished one of our basic courses, you'll want to get some
experience under your belt before going any further. When you are ready,
however, we do have other CNC-related courses that will continue to develop
your CNC skills.
It is possible that you'll want to improve your basic skills with other
machine types, meaning you'll want to purchase another basic course. Or you may
want to develop your skills with
- and we have a Parametric Programming
CD-rom course available to help you learn. Or if you are trying to improve
CNC utilization for your company, you'll want to look in to our
setup reduction and
cycle time reduction CD-rom courses.
We also have a series of Mini-Vids (short VHS tapes
on selected CNC topics) aimed at a variety of CNC-relate issues.