What is CNC Programming?

CNC programming or CNC programmer isn’t a familiar name for everyone. Maybe you know what actually programming is or what a programmer does. But, what CNC programming is? Or, what does a CNC programmer do?

Today, we’re going to know all about it. We’ll know what it is, what is the job opportunity of a CNC programmer, how you can also be a CNC programmer, what are the places where you can learn it, and much more about it. In one word, it will be a very expanded explanation of CNC programming.

What is CNC Programming?

The full form of CNC Programming is Computer Numerical Control Programming. CNC programming means creating instructions for computers to develop a CNC machine or a CNC tool.

Like any other programming language it’s also used to instruct a computer and that computer will control a machine, a CNC machine. That’s why it’s called CNC programming.

Methods of CNC Programming

There are three methods of CNC programming and those are:

  • G-code programming
  • Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software
  • Conversation software

What is CNC Programmer?

Who knows CNC programming is known as a CNC programmer. A CNC programmer is responsible to code for a CNC machine that will cut raw material instructed by the code that the CNC programmer wrote.

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How productively a CNC machine works depends on the CNC programmer. The programmer made the blueprint or model for the machine. In one word, CNC programmers create the instruction to control and direct a CNC machine.

Types of CNC Machines

There are eight different types of CNC machines out there. The machines are:

  1. CNC Routers
  2. Laser Cutters
  3. Plasma Cutters
  4. CNC Lathes
  5. CNC Drills
  6. Milling Machines
  7. Multi-axis Milling
  8. Water Jet Cutters

We are going to know all of them now. I’m going to give a big definition or explanation about all of them. I’m just going to tell a little bit about those machines.

1. CNC Routers

A CNC router machine is used to cut raw materials like wood, plastic, and metal. How the machine going to cut those materials is depend on the user who put instructions in the router.

2. Laser Cutters

Laser cutters are used to cut metal plastic and wood. But every laser is not the same. What kind of things a laser can cut depends on its power. So, a lot of powered lasers can cut wood but not metal plastic. To cut a metal plastic you may need a powerful laser.

3. Plasma Cutters

Plasma cutters are used to cut metals using a jet or hot plasma. Plasma cutters and laser cutters both use gas to do the work. But, the best part of CNC plasma cutters is that this machine offers high precision at a low cost.

4. CNC Lathes

CNC lathes are like a cutting machines. It rotates the workpiece and creates different parts with a high profile.

5. CNC Drills

CNC drills are used to make holes in products to assemble the product properly.

6. Milling Machines

A milling machine is a cutter that rotates and helps to remove a specific part from a workpiece. CNC milling machine cutter can move in three axes X, Y, and Z.

7. Multi-axis Milling

Multi-axis milling machine is also a cutter machine like Milling Machine. But the difference between those two machines is that the Multi-axis milling machine cutter can move in more than three axes.

8. Water Jet Cutters

CNC water jet cutters use a high-pressure stream of water to cut material. The water pressure is too much high that, it can cut anything in front of it. The best part of this CNC machine is that, the work can be done at a very low cost.

cnc programming

Clean Coder

The CNC programmer needs to be a clean coder or a clever programmer. Because the CNC machines are operated by the code that a programmer wrote. So, the CNC machine programming needs to be done properly, otherwise, with poor programming many problems can happen like tolerance issues, poor surface finish, premature tool breakage, and many more issues. That’s why a CNC programmer needs to write clean code and he also has to be a clever programmer or a clever CNC programmer.

Industries That Hire CNC Programmers

CNC programmer has a good career opportunity. Many industries seeking a good CNC programmer. The industry is very big although the supply of CNC programmers is meager. So, if you know to code in CNC programming then there is a very high opportunity that’s waiting for you. Now, let’s see which industries are there that hire CNC programmers.

  • Automotive: CNC machines are all about creating parts and automotive are the industries that do this kind of stuff.
  • Aerospace: CNC machines are used to make parts of many products as well as for airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft parts.
  • Machinery: CNC machines are used to make other machine parts and CNC programmer is also needed in the industry of machinery.
  • Education: To become a CNC programmer, we need someone who will teach others about this subject and if you’re a CNC programmer, you can help others become a CNC programmer by teaching them.
  • Government: Government also hire CNC programmer because CNC machines are used to create military equipment parts.
  • CNC Machines: CNC machines also need to be created and to do that CNC machines manufacturing companies need to use CNC machines and that’s why they also need CNC programmers.

In many other industries, CNC programmers are needed. I can’t write about all the industries but I can assure you that, CNC programming has a high demand in many industries.

Average Salary Of A CNC Programmer

The salary of a CNC programmer depends on many things like experience, location, industry, and the complexity of the task the programmer needs to do. But, from the knowledge of many sources, I can say that the average salary of a CNC programmer in the United States is around $35,000 to $85,000 per year.

How to Become a CNC Programmer?

There are many steps to becoming a CNC programmer. Let me give you a ride through the steps:

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree

Yes, we all know that degree doesn’t matter in the field of technology now a day. But, if you have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or relatable field it will be a great benefit for you. Your degree will give you a career boost.

If you have a degree in mechanical engineering it will be also a benefit for you to do something in the field of CNC programming or to become a CNC programmer.

2. Gain Experience

In the field of CNC work, you just need to have practical knowledge. You must have enough experience in the field of CNC programming.

But how you can gain experience? The best way to gain experience is by getting an internship in a CNC machine-related industry. However, you can also gain experience by doing a course in a college or at a place where someone will teach you about CNC programming practically.

3. Get a Certificate

If you are doing CNC programming then you are going to get a certificate at the end of completing the course (I hope so). Otherwise, you can join a course. If there are no facilities for learning CNC programming in your area then you can join an online course.

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Online courses are also going to give a certificate at the end of the course. I’m going to tell you about the best online courses in CNC programming later.

4. Build a Network

The field of CNC programming isn’t very common. Thousands of people are learning other programming languages like C/C++, Python, JavaScript, Java, or any other programming language and that’s why those programming languages community is also very big. However, the community of CNC programming isn’t that much big. That’s why try to build a network with other CNC programmers and it will help you in your career.

5. Find a Job

So, now you have the confidence that you know CNC programming very well and you have a little bit of experience in this field. Now, try to get a job.

Apply for a CNC programming job. Make a great CV before applying for a job and after getting a job it will be a new journey for you in the world of CNC programming.

cnc programming

Paid CNC Programming Course

There are lots of paid CNC programming courses. I try to find some of the best of them. No one pays me to give their courses on this list. I just research about it and found these courses and after seeing other reviews I think those paid courses will be best for you.

CNC Programming Paid Course Link 

CNC G-Code Programming Courses by G-Code Tutor

CNC Programmer Training Courses

Introduction to CNC Programming by Marc Cronin

Mastercam l CNC Programming by Swaylen CAD I CAM I CAE Expert

CNC Programming Online Course by CamInstructor Inc.

Free CNC Programming Course

If you don’t have enough money to buy a paid course and that’s why you are thinking that can’t learn CNC programming then you’re wrong. You can also learn CNC programming from YouTube and online docs. The free learning method is a little bit hard to follow but if you have total concentration then you can do that.

CNC Programming Free Course Link 


How to Convert a Manual Mill to CNC

Free CNC Training Courses by Titans of CNC

CNC Programming with G Code for Beginners (Must Check)

Machining Processes: Finishing Processes and CNC Machine


So, this is all about CNC programming. I hope you find your questions answered in this article. In the end, I want to say that, if you have a passion for programming and machine then I will suggest you check out the world of CNC programming. The field is very adventurous. You just have to be a quick learner and day by day you’ll turn into a clever programmer. If you still have any questions in your mind then let me know in the comment section. Happy Coding!

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