Why CNC (Computer Numerical Control)?

Why CNC (Computer Numerical Control)?

It has been a privilege to be part of the Precision Machining
Technology Competition for the past 9 years. I am proud to have
the opportunity of working with the fine young people from all parts
of the United States. They deserve the best that the educational
system and VICA can provide to prepare them for a future in this
rapidly changing technological world and make their contribution
to the country’s economy.
My enthusiasm for VICA and the young competitors is still very
strong, however there seems to be a serious lack of preparation
for students from metalworking/manufacturing related courses in
the basic knowledge of CNC. CNC, not a new technology having
been around since 1957, is one of the key factors in the manufacture
of most products in the world today. A knowledge of CNC, for
a technology student, should rank in importance along with the
ability of speaking proper English and reading technical prints
As a former educator and now the Team Leader of the CNC VICA
competition, I feel so sorry for contestants in the Milling and
Turning who sit in front of a computer and do not know how to load
a program or the basics of CNC programming. These students are
naturally frustrated that an educational system has shortchanged
them by not realizing that metalworking technology has changed
dramatically over the past 40 years. That some schools prepare
students for the National VICA Precision Machining Competition
with 50-year-old technical knowledge is something very difficult to
The International (World) competition eliminated conventional
machine tools from the precision machining competition in 1996,
and it now consists of 100% CNC competition. To send our national
winner to the world competition without a good background
in CNC programming and machining would be a reflection on, and
a disgrace to the US educational system.
The educational community and National VICA must work
together to correct this lack of CNC knowledge and training.

The VICA CNC Programming Guide covers the basic CNC principles
and gives detailed explanation of each step in the programming
and turning a part. The time and money spent to prepare and
distribute this Guide will be wasted unless the metalworking/
manufacturing teacher is committed to introducing CNC as part of
the curriculum.

The following suggestions can be used to introduce CNC theory
and technology to metalworking/manufacturing courses:
1. Teach the basics of CNC using the VICA CNC Programming
Guide that should be supplemented by a textbook, visuals, videotapes,
etc. - COST approximately $200.00.
2. Use the VICA CNC Programming Guide and textbook along
with CAD/CAM software that allows a student to simulate the
machining of a programmed part on the computer screen. - COST
approximately $600.00.
3. Use the VICA CNC Programming Guide, textbook, CAD/CAM
software, plus a CNC Bench-Top teaching size machine. This is
by far the best method since students can actually produce a real
part that they can hold and take home to show their parents. -
COST approximately $6,000.00

For more information from a leader in CNC educational
courseware, software, and Bench-Top Teaching machines contact:
Denford Inc.
E-mail: sales@denford.com

The old argument that there are still many shops using old
technology is a fallacy used consciously or unconsciously by those
resisting changes. Over 90% of the machine tools manufactured
in the world have some form of CNC control, therefore conventional
(manual) machines should be used to provide only the basic
knowledge of machines and machining processes.

We must all do our part; State Directors, District Directors, School
Administrators, and Classroom Teachers to correct a problem long
overdue in technical education.

Steve Krar
CNC Team Leader
Precision Machining Technology

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