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!
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!
I’ve been thinking about DIY CNC for quite some time, and it seems the more I dig into it, the more interested I become. The DIY/Maker movement is fascinating, and once you start down the DIY rabbit hole you discover there is a whole world of useful and exciting possibilities out there. One of the great things about DIY is the community and the sharing of knowledge, tips, and CNC hobby tutorials. I was digging around over my lunch break the other day and started thinking about software. Free software (free as in beer!).
Enter SketchUp (previously known as Google SketchUp). The FREE download of SketchUp allows you to create 3-d images with a highly intuitive interface. Think AutoCad but stripped down and simplified. I’ve known about SketchUp for a time but never toyed around with it, though I began wondering if the DIY CNC hobby machinist might be able to put this piece of software to good use. A bit more investigation revealed that with a bit of fortitude you most certainly can.
This tutorial, while looking a little dated, will give you the general break down on how you can utilize SketchUp for your own DIY CNC machine projects. A basic summary: You export your SketchUp file, which uses the same file type as Google Earth, and you upload it into another free software package: Blender. Blender is a powerful, and free (free as in beer) 3-d creation software package which will then allow you to export your file in DXF or STL format. According to the author, “Once created, these files can be loaded into MeshCam or CAMBAM Plus (or another similar program) and used to generate 3D G-code for your CNC.”
The article is a bit older, and looking at Blender.org leaves me to the conclusion that you no longer have to separately download the Python file. DIY made somewhat simpler.
Now since we have the software down, tomorrow I’ll be digging into building your own CNC machine. While we can often find good prices on used CNC machines and parts, some may be limited by financial and space constraints. We’ll look at that tomorrow, in the meantime, how about you? What software do you use for your DIY CNC projects?
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….
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.
For a lot of CNC machine operators the love of CNC machining doesn’t end once we clock out at the end of the day. Many of us go home to personal shops where we’ve mottled together used CNC machines and parts over the course of a number of years (some of us even buy new!). Maybe it’s for the simple pleasure of doing it yourself, making money on the side, or maybe your daily job is somewhat of a grind (pun intended) and you’ve a creative streak that needs more expression. Whatever it is, for those of us with home shops there is a vibrant and thriving DIY CNC community out there.
DIY CNC: It’s Not Just Machine Repair
For some, DIY means repair and replacement. It means learning about your machine and saving yourself time and money knowing how to maintain it’s upkeep and to repair it when it breaks down. They would be correct, but DIY doesn’t end there. DIY also means awesome projects, creating stuff for the sake of creating, or even hacking existing products to Make something new.
As Bob Warfield said recently over at his CNC Cookbook blog, manufacturing IS cool again. We owe some big thanks to the push of the DIY/Maker community for sparking a whole new generations imagination…and some older ones as well.
If you’re new to DIY CNC than take a look at some of the links above: they’re a great place to start and should lead you further along. If you’re already familiar, or actively engaged, why not share where you find great DIY related information and reading?
If you’re like me, when it comes to your Haas CNC machine maintenance and replacement you want to do it yourself. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing the in’s and outs of your machine. When you repair and maintain your own CNC machines you not only save yourself some real money, but you gain a better understanding of your CNC machines personality. Yes, as any operator worth his salt can tell you, each machine is an entity in and of itself.
Haas Automation has a faq column called The Answer Man that pulls questions from their CNC Machining Magazine. According to the site description these are legitimate questions posted by machinists and answered by their application engineers.
Now granted some of the questions are pretty basic, but if you’re just starting out in diy CNC, then you may be able to find some worthwhile information here. The site also has Haas CNC video’s, CNC tutorials, and links to other CNC machine related information and documentation.
If you’re like me you try to stay on top of the latest CNC machine news, tips, and resources. Whether it be locating good information and prices on a used CNC machine, finding repair and replacement tutorials, or entertaining yourself with a CNC crash video, the web has a wealth of information and resources.
Though, if you’re like me you also want to keep things organized. I cannot tell you how much valuable time I’ve wasted trying to locate sites and information I found on the web at an earlier date. I’ve begun putting together this site to organize the information I find valuable. I hope that it will be of a service to you as well.
What I hope for this site:
Resources for used CNC machines, CNC tools, and replacement parts
As you can tell from the title of this site, I like Haas. They’re high quality, affordable CNC machines and routers. There is also a slew of great aftermarket websites for the buying and selling of used CNC machines. I’m always on the lookout for great deals and have already begun adding some site links you may find helpful. I’ll build on this list over time and perhaps you have a recommendation? Don’t be shy, drop me a line and let me know what you recommend.
CNC Machine How-to’s and repairs and replacement tutorials
I’ve been in the industry for a while and even I forget some of the details from time to time. A quick link to a how-to or a Haas CNC tutorial is a great refresher.
Maybe you have a new guy fresh off the chopping block and you’re introducing him to some machine maintenance? Before he starts that ball bearing replacement you might feel more comfortable having him review some material.
I’ll be locating and linking to CNC tutorials and CNC how-to’s for just those purposes. I might even write a few myself.
DIY CNC Machine Community
We all have knowledge and resources to share. I hope we can bring together a wide range of experience and foster a well organized and reliable resource site we’ll all value and contribute to. If you have a CNC forum you participate in then please let me know. If you find a great site or DIY CNC tutorial dedicated to CNC repair and replacement then shoot me the link. Want to write your own DIY CNC how-to and feature it here? Heck, by all means let me know the details!
Once again, welcome to Paul’s Haas CNC Machine Resources. What resources would you like to share today?