Where to start with machining with CAM?

Hey there!

I purchased a new 1100Mx recently, my first step into CNC machining. I’ve been manual machining for 10 years now. I started with teaching myself G-code and now that I can make some basic parts, I want to start CAM machining. Ive been using CAD for 10 years and very proficient in that. I have Fusion 360 and some parts I want to make modeled.

I just have no idea where to start with CAM. Can anyone suggest a step by step process how I should go about learning? There seems to be a lot of information out there but its almost overwhelming trying to figur out how to start. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

I started with early NYC CNC videos and worked my way up. https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9tn9rGywKUW0K4_KIyCTKOFU8ELXzcnV

The above resources are very good. In addition, I have found Kevin at Mechanicaladvantage.com the most helpful as I improve my fusion 360 skills. Take a look at his videos here https://www.youtube.com/@MechanicalAdvantage/videos He also does training and was THE CAD/CAM trainer at NYCNC’s hands-on training when they were doing that.


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I am right there with you in terms of having parts modeled and struggling to turn chunks of metal into useful parts…

If you are using Fusion, I would strongly suggest that the most professionally developed training you can get your hands on, for free, will be everything you can find in the Autodesk training catalog:

It seems to be an iterative process. First time through, you are overwhelmed, then the more you use it and play with it, the less foreign it seems.

I can develop CAM strategies but my issue is that the speeds and feeds end up being useless. What works seems to be really slow and when I try to push closer to expected MRR and performance for the machine horsepower, I end up stalling the spindle. I have even purchased three different “calculators” and none of them seem to be able to provide a reasonable way to estimate speeds and feeds. What I’m now finding is that most of what I’m doing in CAM are adaptive strategies and the math for a traditional pocket (which is what I think the calculators seem to do well at) do not translate directly…

I teach CAD/CAM at a high school in southeast Wisconsin and I use Titans of CNC to get kids started. What I like about this resource is they teach step by step CAM specifically for Tormach mills. Start with the Titan-1M and click on the “Tormach Cam+CNC video”. TITAN BUILDING BLOCKS | TITANS of CNC: Academy

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I am sorry but Titans of CNC have a reputation for not allowing free thinking. If you so much as question their practices because of something you have experienced you get banned. Not a big fan. If you don’t mind lock step education then go for it. When I was an VoTech instructor we used mastercam academy.

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I think the models are great but I’ve come to understand the way they draw and CAM things is not necessarily the best or most efficient. That said, I’ve been doing them and found it helpful to get started. I never had any interaction with them other than downloading their drawings.

This isn’t exactly an answer to your question but over the years I’ve always been a fan of CamBam. It’s a pretty minimalist CAD/CAM software, it’s very inexpensive, but it’s also pretty straightforward and avoids a lot of the menu/decision/information paralysis that’s (understandably) common with more sophisticated CAD/CAM packages:

Draw a DXF file, import into CamBam, pick the side of the line, the tool diameter, and the depth increment/target depth and you have code you can run.