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Looking for a forum or similar place to learn about CNC machines


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I am trying to dig deeper into my programming and learn how to set up our router for full 3d work. Currently it is set up as a 3 axis machine, but it was designed with 4 axis equipment present. By my current understanding, I simply have to plug in the other axis and figure out how to program it. I don't know if I have to do anything additional to the controller or not. I have tried looking around for info, but it's confusing. Does anybody have recommendations on a forum where I can learn more about this? I was hoping CADTutor would have a section for it, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Alternatively, I would love to receive links to some tutorials on how to get started.


On the other side of things, I've been looking to change software. Does Solidworks offer a demo version? We have an old version of Mastercam, but I'd like to get into something more recent. I'm also looking to test out other programs before buying anything.

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Off hand I dont know of a forum but the info you are looking for is generally specific to your controller. For example on a HAAS cnc machine you plug in your 4th axis but then you need to go into the controller settings to enable a few things. It's usually listed in the supplied documentation.


On the CAM side what version of mastercam are you using and what "level" do you have. You will need multiaxis if you want to program 4axis. Mastercam is great software. There are dozens out there from a few hindred dollars to several thousand.


Solidworks is great. It will set you back several thousand dollars for the basic"standard" license plus yearly maintenance fees. You will need to get CAM from another vendor still. The only cad software I use that has built on CAM is Fusion360. It has HSMworks built in but its only 3axis currently. There is a 30day trial and a full license is $25-$40/month if you do yearly or month to month.


In Cam you will be looking for the A axis. In mastercam you will need a post processor file to support it and make the associated machine and control definitions. I currently have Mastercam x9 and 2017 pre release. If you are on something like x7 or back the setup is similar but the UI looks very different.

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