Every area, from Craft to Metal to Jewelry, has a mixture of traditional manual machines as well as modern computer-controlled (or "CNC") machines. We teach a variety of classes on software used to create and translate models for these computer-controlled machines.
Graphic Art: We teach Inkscape, a free and open-source vector graphic program that is similar in function to Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator. You'll learn powerful techniques for creating drawings you can use on the laser, plasma cutter, ShopBot, and others!
CAD: CAD is used to create a flat (2D) or solid (3D) model on the computer. We teach a very nice program called Fusion 360. It's a full-featured 3D CAD package similar to SolidWorks or Inventor. (It has powerful 2D CAD abilities as well.) It also includes very powerful CAM, and for many people, it can be used at no cost! You can certainly learn this software on your own. Our class presents the program in an organized way that will have you creating robust designs that you can easily modify without breaking.
CAM: CAM is software that takes a 2D or 3D model plus information about the machine, tools, and materials you will use, and generates the file that you load on the CNC machine to make your part. We offer a Fusion 360 CAM class, will shortly be offering a V-Carve class (great for the ShopBot), and have tutorials available at our workstations for SheetCam and MeshCAM, two other somewhat simpler CAM packages.
Intro to CNC: Not sure how CAD, CAM, and CNC all fit together? Want the big picture? We have you covered. In this class you'll actually create a CAD drawing, use CAM, and run your code on a CNC machine.
Check out our Electronics Classes for Raspberry Pi and Arduino classes, too.