Monday, August 15, 2011

CNC Knowledge Levels

There are a variety of different levels of knowledge and skill with CNC. You need to figure out where you fit in to the topic. When you know your level, your learning on the subject will be much more effective.

If you are an expert in a subject, you can blow through most subject areas and only pick up what you need. You can readily see the new ideas proposed because you know the lay of the land. If you are a newbie, take your time and study intently. Then go back and re-read the topics again and again. With each new read you will be able to pick up more and more. This is very similar to the proverb, "the teacher will appear when the student is ready."

CNC Knowledge level
CNC Knowledge Levels:
CNC Newbie:
Hobbyist or student
You need to learn the general process of CNC
You have heard various CNC terms, but don't know what they mean or how they relate
You might have some end result idea of what you want to do with CNC

CNC Beginner:
You probably know the general process of CNC
You stumble across problems with programs or the machine on a regular basis
You have some learning "battle scars" and could maybe explain some basics to others

CNC Intermediate:
You know the process of CNC and have worked through it multiple times
You can see and recognize problems before you ever begin machining
You understand the software you use and all its nuances
You have machined multiple parts out of multiple materials.

CNC Advanced:
You know what "Fanuc, Mazak, Canned Cycles and Conversational Programming" mean
You probably work in a production environment with CNC technology every day
This book is probably not for you

Take a minute to score yourself before we move on. It will be valuable for you to know what level you are at and what level you are headed to next.

As a generalization this book was written for the Newbie to Intermediate CNC students. Everyone who works with CNC can probably learn a thing or two, but Advanced CNC users probably know most of these concepts like the back of their hands.

One last note before we get going:
From time to time I will get an email from an expert telling me this or that is not perfectly, technically correct. Usually I agree with them. What I have tried to present is how I learned CNC and how I made this stuff work in my mind. Think of it as a Layman's Guide to CNC vs. a PHD Doctoral Thesis with years of Data Collection and Analysis on the topic. My point is always to teach, not gain recognition in scholarly journals.

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