Online Resources For CNC Users

Every so often, I like to present some of the Web sites I’ve come across. Many have been submitted to me for placement on the CNC links page of my company’s Web site—www.

Columns From: 1/1/2006 Modern Machine Shop,

Every so often, I like to present some of the Web sites I’ve come across. Many have been submitted to me for placement on the CNC links page of my company’s Web site—www.cncci.com. In part, I’ve chosen these because they provide inexpensive, or in some cases free resources to CNC professionals. I hope you find them interesting and useful as well. Note that most of these sites are also posted on my company’s Web site; so if you have any trouble typing the URLs, please visit my links page.

James B. Higley’s CNC course (technology.calumet.purdue.edu/met/mfet/275/): This represents my favorite recent discovery. Professor Higley is professor of Manufacturing Technology for Purdue University Calumet. While I’m sure he originally developed this Web site for his students, he’s activated it for anyone who wants to visit. The course is comprised of 20 presentations, which include slide shows, lectures (audio files) and printable hand-outs. Also posted are assignments, including reading assignments, quizzes and programming activities. This is an excellent course that’s free of charge. If you do use this resource, be sure to e-mail Professor Higley to thank him for his willingness to keep this class active on the Internet.

Michael Rainey’s shareware site (mrainey.freeservers.com): CNC users can access some excellent, reasonably priced applications while perusing this site. Because it’s shareware, visitors can try before they buy. Be sure to check out ME Consultant Professional 1.30, a helpful time and cost estimator that will assist users in quoting jobs for CNCs.

CNC Machinist Software (www.machinist-toolbox.com): Home of the Machinist’s ToolBox, this resource provides relatively inexpensive shareware for CNC operators. The software is compatible with desktop and laptop computers, Palm PDAs and pocket PCs.

Machine Tool Help (www.machinetoolhelp.com): Containing a wealth of information, this site touts itself as “unbiased CNC machine tool help and advice all in one place. We’re an information source for buying, selling, automation, repair, troubleshooting, alignments, robotics and much more.”

Here are a two inexpensive simulation products that claim to support custom macro B: NCPlot, found at www.ncplot.com, and QuickLink 2000, found at www.microcimm.com/qlw.html.

Those interested in exchanging ideas about CNC should visit forums such as CAD/CAM Forum (www.cadcamforum.net) and CNC Zone (www.cnczone.com). The latter of the two offers forums that address virtually all facets of CNC manufacturing.

I’ve also composed a list of some of my favorite CNC-related Web sites: CNC Future (www.cncfuture.com); Deepak Manuel’s CAD/CAM/CNC Web site (www3.sympatico.ca/deepak/cadcam/), with links to various CNC Web sites; Programming Unlimited (www.programmingunlimited.com), which is helpful to those interested in custom macro B; and techspex (www.techspex.com). Free to potential machine buyers, this concluding site can be used to compare CNC machine specifications when shopping for new CNC machines.

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