CNC Machine History & More

Continuing with last weeks post on CNC machine education, I thought I’d drop a link to the CMS North America Inc. site which contains an article entitled:  “A Brief History of CNC Machining”.  The article highlights John Parson’s work on the precursor to CNC – numerical control – and how this work led to developments at MIT in 1949.  As the article states, while these beginnings were rudimentary compared to today’s machines, there is still much commonality: the requirement of a command function, a drive/motion system, and a feedback system.

An interesting, though brief read, for anyone interested in the history and development that has led to their CNC machine center.  Now just imagine finding that humongous bad-boy at your local used CNC machine outlet?  Sheesh…

CNC Machine Manuals

Keeping with the resource nature of this site I came across a post over at the Practical Machinist forum earlier today that led to a trove of CNC machine manuals.  While I had hoped to come across a bounty of Haas related manuals and resources, this could be a valuable and helpful list for those of you out there with different types of CNC machines. I don’t recognize all the types, but could be helpful for the DIY CNC or hobby CNC crowd out there as well.

One quick caveat, and don’t let it discourage you: this is a French site.  Just use your Google translate and you should be good to go.  Say you want a milling manual.  Select milling from the category, select the manual type, and you’ll find a link at the top that should lead you to a pdf or a download.  Much to be searched and discovered here.

A trove of CNC machine related manuals

CNC Shop/Business Tips

Last but not least for this glorious Friday afternoon is  “10 Tips for Growing Your CNC Machining Business” from  Some decent, general advice here for the self-employed shop owner.  It’s never a bad idea to read up a bit and see if there are aspects of your business you’ve neglected, or ways to improve and expand your business that you may have overlooked.

Your Turn

How about you, any related bits you’d like to share regarding the history of CNC machining, links to manuals, or shop and business tips that should be included with’s list?  Let me know in the comments below!


CNC Machine Documentation

English: An example of a 5-Axis waterjet cutti...

English: An example of a 5-Axis waterjet cutting head used to cut complex 3-Dimensional parts on a CNC waterjet cutting machine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m sure most of the more seasoned CNC machinists and operators out there have their go to places when looking for CNC machine manuals and the like.  We’ve all encountered a situation where we needed a quick reference after the shop brings in a used CNC, or that “new guy” misplaced the manual.  Though if you’re relatively new to the field, just starting out, or simply doing some investigating after being inspired by a DIY CNC project, you may not yet know where to go.

You’d think these companies, especially in this day and age, would make their manuals readily available on-line, but they seem to be few and far between.  Sure, there are plenty of shady looking websites where you can pay but we know we don’t want to do that.  Really, what good is a manual if you don’t own the machine.  Here are two places that are a sure fire bet  that’ll give you up to date information, specs, manuals, you name it.

CNC Machine Manuals and More

Just as the name say’s, I’m a Haas guy even though this site has a broad reach.  So naturally I’ll often drop into Haas Automation’s site.  You’ve got to be impressed with a company that has this much coverage.  YouTube channels, manuals, News, Facebook pages, etc.  More than I care to parse myself but I’m sure it’s all very useful.  What I wanted to specifically point out are the : Haas Automation Manual Updates. Great resource for our Haas folks out there.

Keeping with the broad reach of this site: has a huge collection of Fadal manuals on line for your convenience   Fadal CNC machine parts manuals, operator and quick reference manuals, maintanence manuals, and more.  Hey, for our CNC brothers in Mexico they have manuals available in Spanish as well.

Forums.  Don’t forget to check the CNC forums.  There are a lot of persons looking for and sharing manuals on just about all of the CNC machine and DIY CNC hobby forums.

Your Turn

How about yourself, do have a favorite place to locate CNC machine manuals?  Let us know in the comments below!  To all my stateside brothers and sisters, have a great Memorial Weekend and remember to take some time to observe those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our well-being.


Update:  From the G+ CNC Machining and Manufacturing Community I’ve an addition to the list:  CNC where you can look up  CNC Machine Alarms and error Codes for Fanuc, Mitsubishi, Yasnac and more.

New to CNC Machining? Haas CNC Mill and Lathe Training Manuals

As part of the CNC machine community I often see threads in forums and  groups from fresh CNC upstarts.  These are young guys and gals just starting out in school, or an on-the-job training situation and they typically ask something along the lines of : “Hey, advice for someone new to CNC…”, or ” Help!  I need to understand this g-code…”.  I mention this not as something derogatory, but as something great!  These are persons with the drive and due-diligence to seek out help and advice from a knowledgeable community.  It’s also a sign of a person who is passionate about their learning and driven to excel!  Below I’ve jotted down some quick advice and linked some training manuals I came across.

DIY CNC: It’s An Attitude That Starts On Day One!

Computer Numerical Controls (CNC)To me, DIY CNC is not only about hobby CNC machining, or installing your replacement parts on that used CNC machine…it’s an attitude.  It’s a git-r-done, all-in, results driven attitude.  So you’re new to CNC, you’re taking courses at the local college, and you love what you are learning.  Are you hanging up your hat at the end of class and calling it a day?  No! You’re taking the extra step of immersing yourself in CNC machining.

So what does that mean?  You’re joining communities and forums and you’re asking questions.  You’re learning about the industry and machine operation: reading articles, watching training video’s, and devouring news related to CNC machining.  You’re finding out how CNC machine shops run their businesses.  You’re learning G code and M code before you even begin those classes!  You’re reading up on how to repair and replace parts on a CNC machine.  And as you gain the knowledge and the expertise YOU GIVE BACK to the community that helped and inspired you!

Haas CNC Mill and Lathe Training Manuals

Today I came across a couple of Haas training manuals from Productivity Inc.  I wasn’t particularly looking for Haas manuals, but hey, I like Haas so it doesn’t hurt.  If you’re a student, or someone looking to learn more, or even expand on what you already know, these manuals just may well come in handy.

Haas CNC Mill Programming:  This training manual is specific to programming a Haas CNC Mill.  A great resource for any student out there learning G and M code, or looking to get a head start.

Haas CNC Lathe Operator:  This training manual is specific to running a Haas CNC Lathe.  Another great resource for a student or anyone looking for a refresher.

Do you have suggestions or advice for those men and women new to the CNC machining industry?  If so, let them know in the comments!

Haas CNC Machine Operation Tutorial

As I was traversing the web this morning looking for CNC machine resources I came across an interesting site.  This falls perfectly into the DIY movement and involves building a robot. Yep, I’m not joking, building a robot. The Society of Robots covers all the angles to build a small robot: parts and hardware needed, tools, and tutorials (though it appears he charges 50$…looks legit to me but do so at your own discretion). Best of all, there is a section dedicated to creating robotic parts with a Haas CNC machine.


DIY CNC Machining: A Quick Boilerplate Intro


Now, I can’t say I completely agree with the persons assessment that you can only find a Haas CNC mill for 100k (a quick jump over to All-Haas proves that you can find a used CNC machine for about half that) but this little no-frills intro could be interesting for someone just starting to get the itch for a little homegrown DIY CNC.  All you need is the inspiration (albeit the robot) and a person can be on their way to learning a whole host of new skills.

I have to admit, after perusing the site I’m interested in building a little robot of my own.  Maybe something that could grab me a Bud Light from the fridge and bring it to me when I’m watching a ball game.  Hmmm….


Bonus: 2007 Haas Mill Operators Manual


Okay, so maybe you’re not interested in buying a used CNC machine or building beer wielding robots, but I’m constantly hearing calls for operators manuals.  If you do have a used CNC mill resources like this can be very handy.  I came across this today as well and thought I’d toss in a link. I hope you might get some use out of it.  How about yourself: do you have any CNC operators manuals you’d like to share?  They don’t have to be Haas specific.  In the end, I’m trying to build a CNC resource location.