How to grow your CNC programming skills

April 5, 2017

Is anything easy to learn at first? If it is, that’s an indicator you might be learning the right skill for you.

Some mistakenly believe learning CNC programming is “easy.” It’s easy to get started and nail the basics. But just like anything else, you can spend a lifetime mastering all the skills and nuances involved.

Here’s some tips for increasing your CNC programming skills:

1. If You’re Getting Started

For beginners, you’ll pick up CNC programming more easily if you’re naturally good at math – especially coordinate geometry. You can find the G-codes you need online, and watch plenty of YouTube videos.

A simple program contains definition statements, machining statements, and closing statements.

2. Stay After Your Work Shift and Do Some Practice Jobs

To really grow your skills, become a “sponge” as they say. Read machine manuals. Pick the brains of the smartest, most talented employees at your company, and give yourself every opportunity to practice.

Eventually, you’ll hit the limit of what you can learn at your job. Once you feel like you’ve done that, switch to a new shop. Every shop is different, so you’ll definitely learn some new things at each one.

3. Find a Mentor in Your Workplace

Ideally, you want to learn the specific thought processes that go into teaching the CNC machine the location of all the tools and how to make the necessary modifications to your work piece. Working with someone who’s made all the mistakes themselves in the past saves you a lot of lost time and effort.

You’ll still make mistakes of your own. But, you’ll have someone you can trust to set you on the right path.

4. Online/Technological Options

Of course there’s apps that help you learn CNC programming in your spare time. And there’s even free courses at sites like Udemy and Instructables. You can certainly learn both beginning and advanced CNC programming skills at both. There’s a number of private and independent operations that teach CNC programming too.

You have a long list of options when it comes to learning CNC programming.

Finally, What’s Your Why?

It’s important also to know why you want to learn CNC programming. Are you a hobbyist? Professional looking to get ahead? Or, supervisor who wants to learn how to better communicate with employees?

The reason why you want to learn CNC programming impacts how far in-depth you go, and what methods you use to learn.

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