Must-Have CNC Books
Are you looking for the top cnc programming books? Are you an aspiring cnc operator? We get a lot of emails from readers asking us for our recommendations, so without further ado, here are the books you should be looking at:
1. CNC Programming Handbook, Third Edition (beginner)
This is the de facto solution for many cnc programmers starting out and the number 1 book that I would recommend. This ‘textbook’ is used in many cnc programming courses and there are many good reviews for this particular handbook. This also goes great with the Fanuc cnc custom macros book mentioned later in this list.
The CNC programming handbook also contains a fully functional shareware version of NCPlot – I’m a big fan of this as cnc programmer software (to convert files to G Code) can be extremely expensive. This is well worth the price of the book, as the software can perform many different tasks – including a macro interpreter that can simulate Fanuc and macro toolpath programs.
-Image files of actual parts that are used as examples
-Section on cnc lathes as well as routers
-Section on 4 axis routers as well as 3 axis routers/ lathes
-Projects available on included CD-Rom
2. 7 Easy Steps to CNC Programming. . .A Beginner’s Guide (beginner)
This is a great beginners cnc ‘cookbook’ too. There are plenty of illustrations for the beginner. I’d say this one is for the beginner or perfect for even someone that has zero knowledge in cnc operator programming.
The only downside to this book is that it isn’t too comprehensive. At only 66 pages long for $25 – I say go with the cnc programming handbook mentioned first.
3. CNC Control Setup for Milling and Turning: Mastering CNC Control Systems (beginner to intermediate)
Written by the very knowledgeable Peter Smid, this is a great cnc programming book that covers a ton of cnc control setup in especially practical detail. The book starts with the basics but really goes into detail describing working with offsets for milling and lathe applications.
What I really like about this particular book is the solid sections on troubleshooting the many issues that come up for the typical cnc operator. There are tips for preventing common mistakes as well as helping with programs that a typical beginner cnc operator may run in to.
4. CNC Programming: Basics & Tutorial Textbook (beginner- intermediate)
This is a great textbook for understanding G Code (we have a guide to beginning in G Code here). It’s a bit on the thin side- but definitely good for someone that does want a good base for G Code – as it contains pages for writing notes – much like a tutorial that you can follow along with an actual machine.
5. Fanuc CNC Custom Macros: Programming Resources For Fanuc Custom Macros B Users (intermediate – advanced)
This is an invaluable resource and a definite must to go along the cnc programming handbook – which was actually written by the same author. This book helps any cnc operator get a solid handle on custom/ user macros.
There is also a CD that comes with this book that contains some sample programs.
6. CNC Machining and Programming: An Introduction (beginner to intermediate)
This book – while a little outdated – is actually fairly useful. There are plenty of design and cnc definitions here for the beginner including examples and coverage on topics such as different axis, motion, foam cutters, carbide grades, spindles, feed rates and other technical details of different routers and cnc lathes.
It’s a great start, but because it’s outdated by all the new tech that is coming out, I’d recommend some of the other books higher on this list first. There is something to be said about some of the old school cnc books though, and if you like going a little retro – this book is the one to go to.
Some others to consider:
The cnc cookbook is a MUST HAVE for the cnc hobbyist, enthusiast, beginner or pro. It covers many different cnc routers, tables and lathes. It’s the definite go to resource alongside some of the other must-have textbooks above.
There are also some solid tips on how to avoid some expensive mistakes when running your cnc router or cnc lathe machinery.
Build Your Own CNC Machine (Technology in Action) (all skill levels)
For our readers that want to build their own cnc machine. This is a great addition- whether you already have cnc kit plans or not. Using common materials and around $500-$1000 dollars – you can get yourself on the road to making your very own cnc machine.