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IndustryArena Forum > OpenSource CNC Design Center > Coding > How long does it take to learn to feed G-code through a machine?
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  1. #1
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    Sep 2011
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    How long does it take to learn to feed G-code through a machine?

    I know this is going to sound like a lazy or naive teenager's "can I learn CNC in a few days without any effort" type of post, but I have a unique opportunity to work in a situation that fits the rest of my life perfectly right now.

    What I would be doing is taking the program/G-code for the part (supplied by another person working somewhere else) and feeding it through a desktop or slightly larger machine (Taig, Sherline, or possibly a Tormach) and making the same part over and over, basically watching it run, watching for problems, and swapping out fresh stock when each part is made.

    How long would it take for someone to learn enough of machine operation to do this? I know it's a vague question, but a general idea is what I'm looking for. I would make it a point to learn it in some kind of local classes (that would take some driving, etc.) or something online, if that sounds like a possible solution, depending on the advice given here. I would have the option to ask general questions from the program/G-code supplier, but being able to run it through the machine would be up to me.

    I'm 50 years old, generally mechanically inclined, but no real CNC experience, other than enough of an interest to watch a ton of videos on YouTube of machines running.

    Any kind of general guess of how long it would take or input from those experienced, or suggestions as to how/where to learn this, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: How long does it take to learn to feed G-code through a machine?

    Hi Chris - Gcode can be a black box, you don't need to know about it but you do need to know how to set up a machine, set up the job (feeds speeds etc) then fix issues. The job you are describing would be better done by a machine shop. The machines except the Tormach are hobby level machines and not very efficient in production if your client has lots to do. If the project/client has the time and interest to get through the learning curve maybe 6 months to get comfortable in the environment with good mentoring and help. Ask a machinist how long it took to become a machinist? Even though the gcode is supplied you still have to make a part to the specifications and making a part to tolerance is not easy for a beginner....Peter

  3. #3
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    Dec 2003
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    Re: How long does it take to learn to feed G-code through a machine?

    Looking at it another way,you are most unlikely to ever need to program by typing Gcode into a controller.It is useful to know what a few commands mean and really you could print out a "cheat sheet" listing the meanings of a few useful functions.In everyday use about 12 crop up with any real frequency.Speeds and feeds can be found in Machinery's Handbook but for a machine which is a lightweight by industrial standards you may have to scale down a touch.From the description it seems that the job under consideration won't need a deep knowledge of programming but will require the ability to set up a piece of material and enter a fixture offset into the controller to basically tell the controller where the part datum is located in x,y and z relative to the machine's home position.Having loaded the program there shouldn't be anything to do until you remove the finished part for deburring,which you will probably do when running the next part.Once in a while you will have to switch tools to replace a worn example and you may need to keep a record of how long each tool has been in use.

  4. #4

    Re: How long does it take to learn to feed G-code through a machine?

    Getting started is easy, 2 weeks to 1 month should be okay.
    http://cncmakers.com/cnc/controllers/CNC_Controller_System/CNC_Retrofit_Package.html

  5. #5
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    Sep 2011
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    Re: How long does it take to learn to feed G-code through a machine?

    Thank you for the input everyone! Most seem to think that one month to six months puts this in reach, which is fantastic. My concern was that it would be a few years of experience, to even get started.

    If anyone has any suggestions about how/where to learn this, I'd appreciate suggestions. Cost is not an issue.

    Thank you.

  6. #6
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
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    5648

    Re: How long does it take to learn to feed G-code through a machine?

    Here is a good place to start. https://academy.titansofcnc.com/

    It is free, and will take you from zero to making parts in a few lessons. It is pretty good if you have no machining experience at all.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

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