Students Won Best CNC Learning Project Award

Written By: Bill Griggs - Jul• 31•12


 Students Won Best CNC Learning Project Award

Htec Best CNC Project 2012

The winning Display Included a CNC Endplate made on a Haas Machining Center

Morrisville State College Mechanical Engineering and Technology program students won Best CNC Learning Project Award at the 2012 Americas H.T.E.C. Conference. As I recently blogged, the Morrisville M.E.T. class senior Capstone project was to build a working CNC Router table.  After the project was competed, Educators John Giess and Michael Reeve decided to enter the project in the Haas Best CNC Learning Project competition which was held at the H.T.E.C. annual conference.

Students Build CNC Router Table
Students Build CNC Router Table

The Conference was sponsored by Haas Automation Inc. Haas is a major maker of Computer Controlled Machine tool here in the U.S. Haas created the H.T.E.C. network to brings together educators from all over the country  to share and learn the latest instructional methods for CNC. Bringing industry leaders together with educators allows them to formulate new plans and compare educational techniques. Currently there are over 1500 schools collaborating in the network throughout North America and Europe. Haas was giving away 6 standalone controller simulators. Morrisvilles M.E.T. project was fortunate enough to win one of the controllers (an $1800 value.).

The students project were judged on the following:

• The actual project, (which were displayed during the conference).

• Documentation: prints, programs, photos, videos.

• Outline of the Learning Objectives of the project.

• Student Skills developed.

• Technologies Used/Learned.

• Partners engaged.

In addition all participants had to agree to share their projects wih the H.T.E.C. Network & have photos and details posted on the H.T.E.C. website.

The goal of Haas Technical Education Center Network  is to “provide students with a relevant, high-tech and hands-on educational experience, and graduate work-ready CNC machinists and programmers for today’s industrial employers – and to meet the manufacturing challenges of the future.”. Our vision is to collectively develop and disseminate the best educational materials and techniques in the world for advanced manufacturing education.

Educator John Giess Accepts the Prize on behalf of Morrisville M.E.T. class


John Giess and I worked together on the Capstone project and I have great respect for his knowledge, patience and passion for education.  John is also very good at the programming and operation the Haas  machining center and Lathe.  John contacted me prior to the contest to ask if I would be willing to share some of the many photos and videos I took during the course of the project.  I gladly supplied copies to him which he used to create a slide presentation.  We used both the Haas machining center and Lathe extensively in the project. The gantry plates on the Y axis were made of aluminum plate which were designed in Solidworks, coded in Mastercam and machined on a Haas VF0 machining center.  The X&Z axis were machined from aluminum and include a Rack & Pinion Z axis. We also made V-Bearing spacers  and standoffs on the Haas Lathe. Prior to making all the aluminum parts, prototypes were made from PETG plastic sheets. Based on the tests using the PETG parts, modifications were made, followed by the final parts. By making the prototype parts first, the students were able to avoid costly mistakes in the expensive aluminum stock. Many compromises and new solutions had to be developed along the way to make this project a success. The team work needed to pull off a design/build this complex cannot be overstated..

When John called me and told me that the project had been chosen as one of the winners of the contest I couldn’t have been more pleased. The Control Simulator panel will allow students to become familiar with programming the machining center and watch a simulation of the parts that they design being made. The control panel  of a CNC machine can be pretty confusing for a novice user. Simulating a task prior to running the actual machine is a time proven method of learning.  Students can use the Haas Control Simulator for classroom training and/or on-site control demonstrations. The simulator is an aid which can teach programming and operations using a real, fully upgradable Haas control panel and keypad. The controller will simulate dry run graphics, tool length measurement. You can also program and download directly from the Control Simulator to Haas machines. Having the simulator will get more student proficient faster.

Congratulations to the students and educators of the Morrisville College M.E.T. course on a job well done. Training more young people to use CNC might just be the ticket for getting America manufacturing again.

If you would like to read more about the Capstone project Click Here:



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Haas Control Panel

Some of the many buttons on a working Control panel.

Haas VF0 Machining Center at Morrisville State College

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  1. Bill Griggs says:

    Shandi, CNC is not hard when you take it one step at a time. Good luck with your new job.

  2. Kade Paryag says:

    I am a Journyman who did CNC in school but now I have forgot is could you tell me what should I do to learn it over ???

  3. Bill Griggs says:

    Kade, Most tech colleges have classes for Industrial level CNC. If you want to teach yourself CNC then you will need a program like VCarve Pro or Cut2D.


  4. […] The student built machine was amazing. It was loosely based on the plans I made for the Warp Drive Project.  I advised them on the basic layout of the machine but the resulting design was their own interpretation. It was a win, win situation. The students made several changes to the machine which were improvements. They also made a couple of changes that weren’t improvements but as a whole the project was a roaring success. In fact they even won an award. […]

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