References for newbies?

I just ordered a Nomad which I hope to use to make small parts for toys and gadgets, mostly from soft metal like brass and aluminum. I have no experience whatsoever with CNC. I’ve watched the short tutorials here and read “MAKE: Getting Started with CNC”. But I still feel ignorant. Are there any more detailed tutorials / books / videos that you recommend? I know I could go the route of learning through mistakes. But I just got done with that approach for the cheap Chinese laser engraver I recently bought. It works, but it’s no fun. I’d like to go into this new project with more intelligence. Thanks for any advice!

Well, there’s a wiki:

My suggestion would be to start with all the official Carbide 3D stuff:

and the more helpful pages such as:

A lot of what’s on the wiki isn’t that applicable to the Nomad though I’m afraid.

and then once you’ve gone through that, look through some of the more helpful resources on similar machines, esp.: the “Guerrilla guide to CNC machining, mold making, and resin casting”

At that time, you should have enough of a handle on things to be able to effectively search, research, &c… Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions, either here, or at

Also, there’s a standing offer to any Carbide 3D machine owner — if you have trouble with a CAD/CAM project using Carbide 3D software please feel free to send it in to and we’ll do up a custom tutorial addressing your difficulties therein (if possible, but we haven’t failed yet).

Just will add a few things to the reading list Will supplied that helped me:

#1 - just spend some quality time here on the forums clicking through some of the previous posts - almost for sure every topic seems to have been covered sooner or later, from the simplest Nomad question to some amazing modifications of the machine. It’s probably the best education you can get about the Nomad and it’s capabilities/limitations/common issues and how to run it. Keep in mind their are two models over time - the Nomad 883 ‘classic’ and the Nomad 883 Pro (which you should be receiving) so not all issues apply to both.

#2 - cnc cookbook is not Carbide3D specific, but provides some great articles for beginner CNC topics.

#3 - YouTube is your friend - search for ‘Nomad 883’ and there are some excellent (and not so excellent) videos out there showing how to use MeshCAM and the Nomad. Would also recommend the ‘NYC CNC’ channel of videos - follows a non-machinist who started with a CNC mill in his bedroom to where he is now with a full functioning CNC business. Particularly if you go back to his earlier videos he explains a great deal about what he learns about CNC as he is going along.

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Thank you both for this valuable info. I’ve already perused a few of these things, and bookmarked the rest. I hope to be as informed as possible before I even get the machine, and you have helped me get on the way.

I like “This Old Tony’s” CNC Basics and CNC Basics 2 and have been recommending both recently. Both are easy to digest and well presented (besides, the guy sounds like Alan Alda…once that’s been put in your brain, all you can picture is Hawkeye in a floppy green hat talking to his hands) In the first, he goes through a pretty basic cut. In the second, a little more complicated one, and works through some problems along the way. Did I mention he sounds like Alan Alda?

The “Guerilla guide to CNC machining, mold making…” (@WillAdams listed) is excellent at getting you an overview of what you need, how the different parts of the workflow go together (don’t get hung up on the mold making part), and what many terms mean.

I’ll second NYC CNC, especially when you want to get into things a little more complicated, or want to learn how to use Fusion360 (which is awesome, and free for hobbyists) He’s got much larger machines, so can do things we can’t on our SO machines, but all the basics are basically the same.

As @PhilG says, there have been a LOT of things covered here. Please, ask questions, everyone here shares a common interest. The Wiki does have a lot of frequently asked questions. The hardest part (I think) is learning the lingo. Once you have some of that, it’s a lot easier to find the answer to your question - You’re way more likely to find an easy answer to “Z-axis doesn’t move” than “The router thing doesn’t go up and down.” :slight_smile:


There’s also a board on Trello:

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