How to Crash Your CNC Mill (Responsibly)

Mistakes Happen: Turning Student Crashes into Teachable Moments with Your CNC Mill

College freshman are immersed in new experiences at the start of the fall semester – their first time away from home, shopping on a budget, and, many times, their first time coming face to face with a CNC machine. We’ve all seen them. Their hands shake terrified they’re going to break something. So – why not let them? Just like other parts of their first-year experience, freshmen are going to learn the limits of CNC machining by going a little too fast, pushing a little too far. In a controlled environment with you watching them crash a CNC machine, this can help them gain that level of confidence they’re going to need as they learn the theory of CNC milling and turning. Just like cars, some CNC machines crash better than others, and here’s a guide to not busting your budget as students learn to machine, the hard way. 

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PCNC 440 Meets Industrial Robots in Madison College’s Automated Manufacturing Program

The world of manufacturing and engineering is constantly changing and progressing, and so does the education to get quality workers in those industries. The Madison College Robotics and Automation program concentrates on preparing students for industry by giving them hands-on experience with a variety of tools and machines, including a Tormach PCNC 440.

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Robot, Meet Tormach

Earlier this week, we visited a local technical school, Madison College, to see what they were up to with their PCNC 440. As part of the automation integration program, an array of students have had the opportunity to use Fanuc robots for different programming and automation challenges. Students did everything from packaging candy to unpacking a CD. But, we’re biased, and our favorite took blank aluminum cubes and turned them into dice with our PCNC 440. The students created a system to make a Fanuc controller, PathPilot, and a PLC system all talk to each other. With an array of pneumatic fixtures and workholdings, and even an automatic door closer, these students have managed to create a robust metalworking/machine tending system in just a semester. Though the whole system is just a prototype, we’re excited to see new ways to integrate our machines with other forms of automation – especially when it’s students in the classroom. Keep an eye out for the full customer story on the Madison College students in the future.

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Making Meets Education: Teachers Using Tormachs

With their size and approachable design, Tormach machines have found their way into a number of classrooms at high schools and colleges around the nation. While the uses for a CNC mill or lathe in the classroom may seem obvious – teaching kids to machine parts – you may be surprised at how many teachers are doing much more than just teaching machining.

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Making of a Maker: Kent Myers on PCNC

IT Program Manager by day, maker by night, Kent Myers writes extensively about his interests and innovations on his popular blog, KentMyers.net. “I’m a computer network manager with a mechanical engineering degree that I never really used. I’ve always liked to build and create things, but in my day job I mostly sit at a computer. So, I started getting into woodworking and have done a lot of projects in the past 20 years. If you’ve been to my website you can see some of the work I’ve done,” Myers explained.

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