CNC newbie

I am new to MakeICT. I have been to Maker Monday, signed the waiver, and looking to get checked out on using the CNC. I have 2 projects.

  1. I have some simple templates I need help in learning how to digitize for the CNC.
  2. I have paper drawings to make a puzzle box, need to digitize and need help in learning the CAD/CAM software for the CNC.
    I am retired and availble 24/7 to meet anyone anytime.
    Thanks and look forward to meeting everyone.

Which machines are you wanting to learn to use? That would help guide you to the right people or class.

If you are free on Thursday evenings 6:30-8:30 we have a CNC/CAD group meeting that exists for exactly this purpose.


I will be there tonight for the CNC/CAD group meeting.
Thanks for the quick response.


Awesome, see you tonight!

How did it go? I need to get permission as well. I guess I will go next Thursday, do I need to sign up for it? Or is it an informal meeting?


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It is an informal meeting. The eventual goal would be to have some lecture type sessions where we present demo or discussion of a specific topic. But at the moment, we just try to answer questions of those who come in.

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Hey Christian, I am new as well and attended a maker monday last night!

I have a few parts I was interested in milling on the Tormach. I don’t know how to run the machine or generate the Gcode for it. Thankfully, I am somewhat familiar with cnc equipment because I own a 3d printer and have used a laser cutter a few times. Part of my project will also require some lathe work to bore some holes. I don’t know if the tormach is capable but I have always wanted to learn to use a metal lathe anyway!

Will their be another class this thursday the 28th? and if so, would I be able to learn how to operate the Tormach and a metal lathe?


First off welcome. So glad to see new members with great enthusiasm.

To answer your question, yes there will be a CNC meeting tomorrow, we have them every Thursday evening. That being said, as you have just joined, and you are thinking of coming in tomorrow anyway, I would highly encourage you to sign up for the Metal shop Safety class instead. This is a requirement before you can do anything in the Metal shop. Since you just joined and your application is still in pending status, you will not be able to sign up for the class without it wanting to charge you. If you want reply back, I can add you to the class if you would like.

As for machining the parts, we can certainly work with you to get certified to use the Tormach. I will warn you that it is not a quick process, and can be expensive, as you generally need to purchase your own tools. Do mention that you do not know how to generate G-Code … do you have the parts in a CAD system yet? If not, do you have the ability to do so? If not again, that is the first place to start, and we can easily work with you on that. If you have CAD experience, then we just need to get you setup to generate the G-Code, and can have Jimmy work with you to get you certified on the machine.



How would I sign up for the metal shop safety class? Thankfully my application was approved last night and I signed up for 1 month of membership. What sort of prices are you talking about with the Tormach? I assume you mean the milling tools and raw material? I have access to both thankfully if that’s the only Issue. I have the parts already designed and planned around the aluminum stock i can source.

If the Tormach is too difficult to learn on, is there another machine like a manual mill i could use? I do have experience using one so that might be easier to learn. the parts I need don’t necessarily have to be created with CNC, but it certainly is less effort once the machine is running. Would it help to see some photos or a file of the parts I’m trying to produce?

thanks Steve!

Yes there are two manual lathes and a manual mill (really a mill/drill). Nowhere near the capability of a Bridgeport but still capable of turning out parts. You still need to take the metal shop class first. That is a good opportunity to see first hand what equipment is there. Of course, feel free to stop in any time, assuming you have your key already.

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Sorry, I missed that Security had already signed off on your account. There was another issue on it, which I just resolved. You are all good to go. I see that you are also already signed up for the class tomorrow night, so that is good.

For the parts, we would be happy to help you however we can. If you have something, photos or whatever, and want to bring them in tomorrow night, we will be in Classroom 1 if you want to discuss it before your safety class. Feel free to stop by and we can discuss it. A lot depends on your situation. If the parts are one-off’s (you don’t plan on making more than one copy), or you need them immediately, then you might be better off using the manual tools. But if you have time to learn the Tormach, then we would gladly work with you on that.

No matter what, feel free to catch us tomorrow night, and at least introduce yourself to us.


Alright. I will give this all some thought. I appreciate it! I will come with some answers on what my plans are tomorrow. thanks again guys!