If you have been browsing our website, you have probably noticed that we have
training materials available for three different types of CNC machine tools and
in four different types of media. Admittedly, this gets confusing – but bear
with us – there is some method to our madness. We’ve based our offerings on four
criteria: machine type, media type, affordability, and your current experience
You probably know that CNC technology (motion control) can be
applied to just about any kind of industrial equipment. Our
materials will help you master three popular CNC machine types.
CNC machining centers (also referred to as CNC milling and
drilling machines) – These are metal-cutting machines, and use a rotating
cutting tool to machine a stationary (or slowly moving) workpiece.
CNC turning centers (also referred to as CNC lathes) –
These are also metal-cutting machines, and use as stationary (or slowly moving)
cutting tool to machine a rotating – commonly round – workpiece.
CNC routers (also referred to as woodworking CNC machining
centers) – These machines are used to cut softer materials like wood, plastic,
and plywood – though there are versions of them that are used to cut stone (like
While our materials are specific to these three machine
types, they may also help you learn the concepts needed for
other CNC machine types. Many of the concepts required to master
CNC wire EDM machines, CNC plasma cutters,
CNC laser cutting machines, and CNC punch presses
are covered in our materials related to CNC machining centers.
Which machine type should I start with?
If you currently work for a CNC-using company, we recommend
that you simply choose from materials related the machine-type/s
being used in your company. If you don’t currently work for a
CNC-using company, we recommend that you learn about CNC
machining centers first – as they tend to be the most popular
type of metal-cutting CNC machine tool.
Training media type and affordability
Again, our materials vary with regard to price – and below we
list them in order from least to most expensive. Content is
quite similar from one type of media to the next –it is the
presentation method that varies the most.
Self-study manuals – Our manuals are written in tutorial
fashion (as opposed to reference manuals), using a building blocks approach to
help you grow your knowledge about CNC. While, of course, you must read them to
gain an understanding of CNC, everything included in other media types are
covered in our self-study manuals. Many of our self-study manuals include
practice exercises right in the text to help you confirm your understanding of
content. Self-study manuals range in price from $60.00 to $70.00. Workbooks and
answer books are available for some self-study manuals at an additional cost.
On-line classes – With our on-line classes, you print the
course text (manual) as you go through the class. Each lesson includes a portion
of this manual. In addition to the text you read during the class, each lesson
includes a PowerPoint slide presentation that provides another method of
learning. While these slide presentations are silent (no audio), there are many
fly-in-text-boxes that appear on key slides. After you study each lesson, there
is a test to take. Some of the lessons also include assignments (like writing
programs). Tests and assignments are graded by Mike Lynch. Email support is
available if you have questions during the class. A certificate is available (at
an additional cost) that confirms your successful completion of the class.
On-line classes range in price from $89.00 to $119.00 (with certificate).
CD-rom courses – These courses come with a (6-hour) CD-rom,
manual, workbook, and answer book. The manual is also sold separately – and is
one of our self-study manuals. The slide presentations on the CD-rom include
audio to explain the content, and are very easy to navigate. After each lesson,
there is an exercise (and possibly a programming activity) to be done in the
workbook. You check your own answers in the answer book. Phone and email
assistance is available if you have questions while working on the course. CD-rom
courses range in price from $189.00 to $399.00
Video courses – These courses have all but been replaced by
our CD-rom courses. They are only available in VHS video tape, a media that is
becoming less and less popular. While we do still make them available and
support customers who have them, we recommend that you purchase our CD-rom
courses instead. Video courses range in price from $797.00 to $1,979.00.
A note to educators: If you are
training several people, we recommend our CD-rom courses. They
are very affordable and can be used over and over again.
Additional manuals and workbooks can be purchased at any time.
While some companies ask students to share the manual (turning
it in at the completion of the course), we recommend that every
student has their own copy. And since students will be writing
in the workbooks, everyone must have their own copy. These
materials are also used in conjunction with our CNC curriculums
that help instructors teach live CNC classes.
Your current experience level
Many of our materials assume students already have an
understanding of basic machining practices (shop safety, shop
math, blueprint reading, tolerance interpretation, measuring
devices and machining operations). If you have no shop
experience, we recommend:
While the basic machining practice discussions in these
materials are not intended to replace complete texts or classes
on the topics they address, they provide enough information
about basic machining practices for students to understand
presentations in (all of) our materials.
The programming, setup, and operation
self-study manuals assume you have shop experience – and
contains all three tasks you must master in order to become
fully proficient with each machine type. A separate workbook and answer book is
available for these manuals.
The setup and operation manuals assume you
have no previous shop experience. It presents topics related to
getting a machine ready to run production and completing a
production run. The programming self-study
manuals can be used to continue your education, should you
additionally wish to learn how to program. Exercises and answers
are included in both the setup and operation and programming self-study manuals.