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Introduction to CAD, CAM, and Practical CNC Machining

Autodesk via Coursera


This course introduces you to the foundational knowledge in computer-aided design, manufacture, and the practical use of CNC machines. In this course we begin with the basics in Autodesk® Fusion 360™ CAD by learning how to properly sketch and model 3D parts. Before we program any toolpaths, we’ll explore CNC machining basics to ensure we have the ground level foundational knowledge needed to effectively define toolpaths. Finally, we explore the basics of setting up a CAM program and defining toolpaths to cut simple geometry. This is the same basic process that gets repeated for the design and manufacture of any part and is a critical step in learning and understanding the process.

Want to take your learning to the next level? Complete the Autodesk CAD/CAM for Manufacturing Specialization, and you’ll unlock an additional Autodesk Credential as further recognition of your success! The Autodesk Credential comes with a digital badge and certificate, which you can add to your resume and share on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Sharing your Autodesk Credential can signal to hiring managers that you’ve got the right skills for the job and you’re up on the latest industry trends like generative design.

Enroll in the Specialization here:


  • Autodesk Fusion 360 Foundational Design concepts
    • In Week 1, we’ll dive right into Autodesk® Fusion 360™ to learn all the basics of navigating, sketching, and modeling. This foundations of computer-aided design with Fusion 360 are the first steps to having a digital model that can be programmed and ultimately machined. We’ll focus our energy on learning the best practices for sketching geometry, creating 3D models, and understanding basic assemblies while designing our first part.
  • CNC and machining basics
    • In Week 2, we’ll expand our knowledge by exploring the basics of machining. This course can’t replace hands-on training and practical knowledge at a physical machine, but there are some basics we should really cover before we dive into programming toolpaths. We'll cover topics like coordinate systems, work holding devices, tools, and types of cutting.
  • Setting up CAM programs
    • In Week 3, we’ll explore all the details that go into setting up a CAM program. This involves defining stock, locating a coordinate system, and creating a digital tool library. We’ll also take a look at machine configurations, which allow us to digitally define the CNC machine and its parameters.
  • Creating our first CNC program
    • In Week 4, we’ll start creating toolpaths by exploring 2-axis cutting and 2.5-axis cutting operations. Starting with 2-axis cutting allows us the opportunity to learn about tool motion without focusing on too many parameters at once. With a solid foundation creating toolpaths for a waterjet machine we can begin learning about milling operations that position the Z-axis depth and cut only in X and Y. In these lessons, we’ll learn some of the most common operations needed to program prismatic parts.

Taught by

Autodesk Education

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