In my CNC courses, I always ask how many people have access to the Internet. It used to be (as recently as last year) that only a small percentage of hands would go up. These days, almost everyone has Internet access, either at work or at home. If you've spent any time at all using the various search engines to look for CNC-related sites, you've probably been rewarded with countless sites that provide useful information. While half the fun of using the Internet is finding things on your own, I wanted to relate a few of my favorite CNC sites. All of these sites are free and can be accessed through the links page maintained on my company's site (www.cncci.com).
My company's site also includes several pages of interest to CNC users. There's a series of tips and articles related to CNC. If you like CNC Tech Talk, you're sure to like the tips we offer. We also provide a CNC jobs forum. There are free listings both for companies looking for people trained in CNC and for people looking for CNC-related jobs. We also maintain a free listing section to show people where schools that teach CNC can be found. We're always adding to our list, so if you teach CNC for a school in your area, be sure to stop by and fill in a school listing form.
Modern Machine Shop maintains an excellent site (www.mmsonline.com) containing articles from past issues of this magazine. You'll also find an Ask The Experts area to help you get your manufacturing-related questions answered. There's a lengthy Basics of CNC article to provide CNC novices with an introduction to CNC programming.
Associations such as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (www.sme.org) maintain pages with information related to the manufacturing spectrums they support. At the SME site, you'll find information on books and videos related to all facets of manufacturing, including CNC.
Several sites have information on how CNC programs are developed. Check out John Queenan's CNC Stuff(alpha.fanshawec.on.ca/cnc/cnc11.htm) and Stellar Programming (members.aol.com/away2422/2index.html). If you want to learn more about custom macro programming, go to the site Programming Unlimited (www.programmingunlimited.com). There's even a site dedicated to providing free CNC applications called CNC Freeware & Shareware (www.wokingham.demon.co.uk).
Darex International (www.darex.com) maintains a great classified section for people selling and buying tools, machines and other manufacturing items.
If you have access to newsgroups (ask your Internet supplier if you're not sure), there's a great CNC related newsgroup (alt.machines.cnc). If you have a question about a CNC function, if you're wondering what other people think about a machine or accessory your company is about to buy, or if you just want to share notes with others in your position, post a message to the group. You're sure to get a response!