Ian Smith watches over the work of a CNC router at North Platte Community College. He will teach a class on the use of the machine beginning Jan. 14.
Now anyone interested in machine etching and engraving can learn the process. North Platte Community College is offering CNC Router Construction Training from 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays, Jan. 14-March 3.
The course will cover the basics of operating a computer numerical control machine, otherwise known as a CNC. The computer-controlled machine can be used to cut designs in everything from wood, plastics and glass to composites, foam, aluminum and steel.
"Whatever you can design on the computer, you can cut out with the CNC," said Ian Smith, class instructor. "Signs, 3-D sculptures, tools, airplane propellers – even desks, the things that can be created with the router are almost limitless."
Students in his class will learn how to use the designing and control software on the computer and cut out their projects with the CNC. They are required to take a board that is one-inch thick by six-inches wide and four-inches long. Aspen or Poplar wood is preferred. A second one-inch thick board of any type of wood is also required.
"CNC routers are the future of modern production for woodworking," Smith said. "Cabinets, cutting boards – they are all created with these machines. If you want to make it anywhere doing woodwork, you have to be fast and efficient. This machine allows users to compete with anyone on the market. Knowing how to use a CNC can be a real advantage when it comes to employment."
The class will also include use of a shaper router, basically a handheld CNC, and a Handibot. Instruction will be completely hands-on and is limited to the first 10 who sign up.
The fee is $149. Registration can be done online at bceregister.mpcc.edu, by calling 535-3678 or by emailing email@example.com.