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CNC Programming Class and Training Program Information

Computer numerical control (CNC) programmers create and write programs that are used to operate manufacturing tools and equipment. Applicable coursework can be found through certificate programs in CNC programming.

Essential Information

Many community colleges and technical schools offer certificate programs for aspiring CNC programmers, and some associate's programs may be available as well. Some colleges may also offer CNC training programs through their professional or workforce development departments. Given the hands-on nature of this field, nearly all courses are offered only on campus.

Here are a few common concepts taught in CNC programming classes:

  • Machine tool programs
  • Industrial environments
  • Software commands
  • Types of lathes
  • Calculating RPM

List of CNC Courses

CNC Machine Tool Operations Course

Students in this course receive an overview of the set-up and control of computerized numerical control (CNC) machine operations. Topics discussed include lathe and mill operations, inspection procedures and maintenance activities. Students learn to analyze program problems and utilize basic editing operations though G-code programs in the manual data input (MDI) functions.

Machine Shop Math Course

In this course, students learn to utilize mathematical calculations and concepts to write, save, retrieve and transfer calculations to CNC machine tool programs. Students learn to calculate RPM, feed rates, machining time, tap drill sizes, diameter and helix angle. Topics in the course include pitch and minor diameter, right angle trigonometry, sine bar calculations and Pythagoras Theorem.

Basic Blueprint Reading Course

This course introduces students to the various types of blueprints and schematics used in an industrial environment. Students learn to identify scales, symbols, notations, line types, dimensioning methods, orthographic projections and abbreviations used in industrial blueprints. At the end of the course, students should be able to interpret blueprints and the described designs.

CNC Programming Lathe Course

This course offers students an introduction to CNC programs for a two-axis CNC lathe. Students learn to design a CNC program that utilizes turning tool nose radius compensation. This generally involves drilling, grooving, facing and threading. Topics in the course include program space reduction, data input commands and dwell commands.

CNC Programming Mill Course

This course builds on the knowledge gained in the CNC lathe programming course. Students design CNC programs for a three-axis CNC machine. Topics in the course include functions, modal and non modal commands, machine axis, co-ordinate systems, program structures, program formats, preparatory commands, calculating RPM, and surface speed for tools and various drilling canned cycles. At the end of the course, students should be able to interpret and convert basic blueprints to a manufacturing operation specific with tooling documentation and plan sheet for the CNC mill.


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