Introduction: The Geek Group - CNC Revolution

The Geek Group is bringing a manufacturing revolution to the United States by helping share the incredible power of CNC Engineering with the general public.

The Geek Group has many other videos that you can view on their YouTube channel here. You can also check out their website here. There are forums on the website, So why not join up, You could chat to me, The dork in the videos, and heaps of other geeks whom may like the same things as you!



NEIL_H_1978 (author)2011-05-07

I have worked as a manual lathe operator a good few years ago now and, like the guy says, being a manual lathe operator is a fairly highly skilled job.
Some years ago now I got a job as a CNC Operator, and from there progressed to a Setter, then a Programmer. In my current job I program, set, and operate a CNC Lathe with milling capabilities, producing mostly components for the oil and gas industry.
I would kindly disagree with the guys claim that it is easier, or you do not have to be as highly skilled to produce parts on a CNC machine compared to a manual machine. In fact, I would say that being a good CNC machinist is probably a MORE highly skilled job than being a manual machinist.
To be a CNC machinist you still need to understand the basic fundamentals of material removal, i.e speeds and feeds for cutting tools for cutting all different kinds of materials / selecting the best tool to carry out any particular operation / how to cure problems with materials not chipping or stringing up / tools cutting oversize / Also, when using a manual machine you can 'feel' when something isn't right, when a tool isn't cutting properly whereas a cnc will melt the tool before you realise that something isn't right, and actually learning how to program and operate these machines is not something that everyone has even the capacity to learn. Different people are good at different things, and CNC part production isn't for everyone. It is for people who are technically minded, preferably with some kind of engineering understanding or qualification. Small mistakes in this game can be very expensive. A guy in a place I used to work had a little lapse in concentration and crashed a CNC lathe. The bill for repair came to £30,000.
Also, CNC lathes are more expensive than you claim, more than a few thousand dollars. The haas lathe you show in your video is an automatic toolroom lathe, not a serious cnc lathe which would at least have a 12 station automatic tool turret. If you had 10,000 of your 'great inventions' to produce, I'm pretty sure you'd get sick of manually changing tools every minute or so.
A proper CNC Lathe or Machining Centre is prohibitively expensive to Joe Public. The cost of tooling for these machines is huge also, thousands of £'s. You usually need a decent size air compressor to run one as well, which isn't cheap to buy or run, and cnc's also use a fair bit of electricity.
If you want to learn how to use these machines, do a college course in preferably manual machining first to understand the fundamentals, then cnc machining, or try and find an engineering apprenticeship.
If you just have an idea to make something like the guy in the video says, you'd be better just making up an engineering drawing, and paying your local job shop to produce a prototype for you. If you then decide that your little invention is going to sell by the million, you'd better be pretty sure, 'cos you'll be looking at spending £70,000 to get yourself a half decent new CNC Lathe or mill, or £250,000 on a good one if you've got money to burn, and these prices are for a fairly small machine, for example a lathe able to turn components a maximum of 700mm long. You could go second hand and save some money but remember - you've got no manufacturers warranty, and you'd better hope it doesn't break down, 'cos I promise you they ain't cheap to fix.
If your part has turned features and milled features then you'll be looking at spending a minimum of £100,000 for a new machine, and that's a cheap Taiwanese machine, by no means Rolls-Royce material. We're not talking pocket change here.
And all this is before you think about tooling the machine up, or running it. And like I said, if you took the cheaper second hand option, you maybe got a half decent little cnc lathe for £25,000 or so, but you'd better hope it doesn't break down.

It is a good skill to have, and can be a fun and rewarding job to do, but it is prohibitively expensive to set up for yourself without large financial backing, or a big bank loan.

If it was straightforward to set up yourself, then I'd be working for my own company, not someone elses. But it isn't, so I'm not.

Don't let that put you off if you want to learn though, because if you find a decent company it can be a fairly well paid job.

xhoni (author)2011-01-16

what a wonderful idea and I wish you all the best with it I have dabbled with this sort of an initiative in the past if you can really give people the time and share the knowledge at a cost that the target audience can easily afford then it will work getting funding and setting up this type of project is inspirational and often the easy bit after that is where the real work begins good luck and I look forward to hearing how it proceeds if you can create a working model this would be very welcome all over the world

tomblik (author)2010-10-11

Over sell much? While I appreciate the enthusiasm for CNC, You cannot put one of these in your garage and start a business without any sort of training. His schpeil gives the impression that you don't need much training. He actually says you can buy the HAAS TL-1 for "a few thousand dollars". Good luck with that purchase. You can barely buy a Southbend lathe like the manual one he has just to the left of the HAAS for a few thousand. He is right about one thing. You don't have to be "that guy" anymore. You have to be a totally different guy. You have to have loads of knowledge about programming and operating these things. Your ordinary private home individual is not going to be able to put this in their garage and do it all alone. Lofty goals. Wish you well with it. Hope you don't kill any dreams with your overly enthusiastic sales pitch.

thermoelectric (author)tomblik2010-10-11

You can send your hate mail to info (at) thegeekgroup (dot) org. It'll likely give Chris a laugh.

tomblik (author)thermoelectric2010-10-17

Not meant as hate mail. It was simply meant as constructive criticism. I am myself a HUGE fan of CNC and find the idea that others share that enthusiasm to be a great thing. However, this seemed a bit like a used car salesman's pitch. It should be known that a considerable investment in learning is required. You can't just plop one of these in your garage and make millions. There is no such thing as getting rich quick. Even if it seems to have happened overnight, more often than not there has been considerable time, effort, money, blood, sweat, and tears invested in reaching a person's goals. I do not believe that you have to be an engineer to do this. I do, however, believe that competent training is something that is required and will not be a short process. Sorry if I came across as being a hater. I am anything but a hater. I just don't want people thinking they can be an overnight industrial magnate.

thebacons (author)2010-06-24

Absolutely fantastic! This is a brilliant initiative and you have load of enthusiasm. I'm certain it will be very popular and I hope you all of the success. Cheers Colin

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Bio: I am a high school student in Cairns, Queensland. Most of the time I am either at school, sleeping, doing stuff on my computer, making ... More »
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