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Cheap way to learn G-code/CnC?

awaqa909

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#1
I'm looking to learn how to code and in general use a CnC machine... Other then pressing the cycle start. (I do a bit more but not much more) I'm also curious if you use something like 360 Fusion? I wonder how much advantage I would have over the other workers if I used something like this, as I don't think any of them do. It also seems like people on youtube are milling things way faster, like I have yet to see that where I work.

Haas mills and a Allen Bradly 8400mp retro fit mill are what I have any chance of using. I think I still have a pdf copy of the manual for the Allen Bradly. But I don't know if that will teach me.

Can anyone recommend any books for G-code or CnC machining? I'm looking to take a small step, without going to college or something.

Thanks,
Awaqa909
 

Wreck™Wreck

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#2
I program everyday yet rarely in straight G-Code for simple work, as most machines have a conversational language in the control, use it, Haas has an excellent one.

Conversational is limited however and may require coding to get the machine to do what you require.
 

burtonbr

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#3
I've been able to learn a little in a few months with Fusion 360 using it to generate the G code files for some simple tool paths and then reviewing the file and breaking it down to understand what each line does and which command does what with using the programming section of the Tormach manual, it explains what each command is and does and the proper order or sequence for each.
That may help you a little, I've been able to follow along and successfully edit g code files when I needed to. A copy of a manual can be downloaded here https://www.tormach.com/uploads/897/UM10349_PCNC1100_Manual_0916A_WEB-pdf.html
 

dpb

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#4
Straight G-code is not particularly difficult. I believe you can download the Haas user manuals from their site, which should provide an excellent overview, and many relevant examples.
 

Cadillac STS

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#5
Download and learn to use Fusion 360. There is lots of support on how to use it. Most of it is the "CAD" part, drawing the part. Then the "CAM" part is the tool paths made by the program and run on the machine. That is the G-code. The code is generated by the CAD drawing.

Learn Fusion 360 and you will have a leg up on the other guys. EVEN BETTER find out what software your shop uses to generate the tool paths to run and learn that. Depending on which they use there may be a demo to download and use.
 

awaqa909

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#6
Download and learn to use Fusion 360. There is lots of support on how to use it. Most of it is the "CAD" part, drawing the part. Then the "CAM" part is the tool paths made by the program and run on the machine. That is the G-code. The code is generated by the CAD drawing.

Learn Fusion 360 and you will have a leg up on the other guys. EVEN BETTER find out what software your shop uses to generate the tool paths to run and learn that. Depending on which they use there may be a demo to download and use.
Fusion 360 is something I do want to learn. But I'm thinking about learning this G-Wizard tutorial I found first. I wonder if Fusion 360 gives feed rates and stuff? My shop has some kind of software but think it's just a 3d CAD. I would probably have to talk the shop into buying/renting me Fusion 360 every year. Quite expensive to be paying for every year. Especially on my rate... But I do need to climb up the chain a bit faster.
 

JimDawson

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#7
Fusion 360 is free to hobbyists, students, and startups. You qualify as a hobbyist or a student, you belong to the Hobby-Machinist forum don't you and you're still learning. ;)
 

Cadillac STS

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#8
Fusion 360 is something I do want to learn. But I'm thinking about learning this G-Wizard tutorial I found first. I wonder if Fusion 360 gives feed rates and stuff? My shop has some kind of software but think it's just a 3d CAD. I would probably have to talk the shop into buying/renting me Fusion 360 every year. Quite expensive to be paying for every year. Especially on my rate... But I do need to climb up the chain a bit faster.
If they are not optimizing feeds and speeds with G Wizzard or something like it that may be your way up the chain. I have used this and it is excellent.


It is good the shop uses some simple CAD program. Find out what it is and learn it. Post up here what it is and someone might be able to help point you where to learn it better.

Learn G Wizzard cold very very detailed so you can go over and tell them you know how to use it and want to apply it to a tool path for them. If you are the expert there you might get a new job with them. Key is to present yourself confident and really know what you are talking about.

You want to know their software in advance so you can sit down and change the tool paths in the CAM side then tell it to make the G Code for the machine. So you can offer to help with speeds and feeds and sit down right then and do it for them.

You could be really on to something with G Wizzard and found yourself a way up. And a good skill to know for another shop if you change jobs. Guys get scared off things that use numbers and some calculation so if you got that you are in.

G Wizzard is helpful for ANYONE using a mill of any type. Because it gives the precise speed and feed depending on which material, which cutter (How many flutes, etc..), diameter of tool. So even or especially the hobby person would be able to know exactly the speed and feed to get the most out of a cut. AND most CAD programs do not optimize this factor so something like G Wizzard is used. Otherwise people use general numbers of what has worked before, etc.. Mathematics and precision are far better.
 
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awaqa909

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#9
I installed both Fusion 360 and G Wizard. I've only tried Fusion 360 and I'm not doing that well. I'm trying to use their learn Fusion 360 in 60 minutes and am on the sketch part. I have minimal idea what he's talking about and he's a pretty fast pace... This is when I love books. Can read at my own pace and am not constantly rewinding the video just to have tons of instructions spit back out and rewind again...

What is a good way to learn Fusion 360? Is there something easier to learn that will help me understand Fusion 360? Should I try G Wizard instead? Worried I will have bad luck with that too.
 

JimDawson

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#10
Maybe we need to help you better define your goals. CNC machining and G-code creation are really the end steps of a much longer process. The CNC machine won't do anything until you input some G-code, but you can't create useful G-code until you have a part drawing or at the very least a rough sketch on the back of a cocktail napkin.;)

While it is possible to program many machines through ''conversational'' programming or to simply sit down and handwrite raw G-code and type it into the machine, it is not normally done that way except for the simplest of parts. G-code itself is really quite simple. You can make a machine run and make most parts with about a half dozen commands. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-code You can cut a complex part using only F(feed speed), G1, G2, and G3, in fact you could do it using only G1 and setting the feed speed with F. All of the rest of the codes just make the process more efficient by allowing you to automate some of the processes and to speed things up.

It's the CAM software that turns the part drawing into G-code, but the CAM software is useless without a drawing in a format it can understand, normally a dxf file, but could accept other formats depending on the software. The CAM software figures out the tool offsets and applies the other setting that you specify. Settings like cutting depth, stepover, feed speed, spindle speed, and others. G Wizard is a tool that provides guidelines for these parameters, but as a machinist you should have a pretty good idea of what your machine and tooling is capable of and the cutting parameters that are compatible with your machine.

So I guess the questions really are: Where do you think you need to start and what skills do you already possess?

We'll try to help you out.:)
 

Cadillac STS

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#11
I would find out what software they use at your place. Then try to get confident with that. Sounds like it may be simpler than Fusion 360.

A good way to use the tutorials is to put a second monitor on your computer next to your usual one. Then play the tutorial on the second screen to be able to start and stop it as you do what it says in the actual software.

G Wizzard is for making tool paths more precise with exact speed and feed data. You draw the part in CAD then use the CAM side to make the tool paths in G-Code and this has the speeds and feeds in it (And this is where G Wizzard comes in to make it better.) I would wait until you had a handle on some CAD/CAM software before going to G Wizard.

The reason G Wizzard can be helpful is because it can speed up the entire operation and be healthier for the tools. Less tool wear, better final finishes. Sometimes with G Wizzard you can buy a different end mill (Maybe cheaper tool too.) that would do the job better. All saves money and helps final part outcome. That is why your company might be interested. Also why the hobby machine shop guys can find the best feeds and speeds at home and have better outcomes.
 
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