June 14, 2016

SmartCAM, Training and Me by Mr. Casey Baker.

A Warm Welcome back J

We have something a little different for you in this post; an autobiography by the latest hire at SmartCAMcnc, our trainer for our SmartCAM CAM Software, Mr. Casey Baker.

Casey has written up for you a short recollection of his career with SmartCAM

It began before it all started, if you see what we mean
I have been around SmartCAM since before the beginning.  Jerry Blakely taught me G & M code while we worked together at Rear’s Manufacturing in Eugene.  Jerry wanted me to take over the programming from him, because he wanted to focus on a new PC-based computer-aided manufacturing software company, which he co-founded with  Bruce  Winegarden as Point Control Company in 1984.

Jerry Blakely in happy retirement in 2010

Alpha-Testing tester to welcome aboard…
Jerry sent me the latest software they were developing to try out, and report back. It was exciting to be in on the ground floor of this exciting new CNC technology! In 1987, Jerry hired me for SmartCAM technical support.  In addition to phone support, I did trade show demos, and delivered training both in our Oregon office and at customer sites. 

I liked training SmartCAM right from the beginning
I completely enjoyed being a trainer because it allowed me to learn and to continue learning the new capabilities in the product, while also helping to advance the knowledge and productivity of the trainee. 

One time I was training SmartCAM to a group of programmers, and a person asked me how long it took me to learn SmartCAM, I told him I had not yet learned it all. That was 20 years ago, and it still holds true today.

In my philosophy of training, I expose new students to a wide frame of reference guided by the questions they ask, and capabilities they wish to learn. Different people respond in a wide variety of ways to the challenge of learning a complex software product, and I always look forward to the questions. 

Here is just one example of a question I was asked that helped further my knowledge of SmartCAM.  I was training a group in SmartCAM Production Milling. On the "Split" panel there is a field labeled "Gap", and was developed for the fabrication industry to add shaker tabs to a sheet of parts, but ….

When we think of a gap, the number is always positive, right? A gap is the distance from one edge of the gap to the other. A trainee asked what would happen if we put a negative number in that field. Hmmm. I had never thought of that, and it was a very good question. So, we tried a negative number in the field... hit go... and wow! It gave us an overlap!

When machining a pocket, if the cut starts and ends at the same exact point, you get a little mark, but if you make an overlap, you get a much cleaner finish cut through the start point. This was VERY HELPFUL! We had just found a new capability for the SmartCAM milling products! 

While some trainers might have thought "That is a dumb question, as a positive distance is required for that field".  But as they all say, there are no dumb questions, and as a result we learned something new and very useful. That is one of my favorite aspects of training: learning new capabilities and techniques!

Interested and excited by the applications
Over the years, I have seen a wide variety of industries and in an even wider range of big and small companies, all making different products! It's always fun to see the countless ways SmartCAM is being used to make their companies more productive and successful.

Casey Baker, SmartCAM Trainer

I may get to meet and train you before long
I can’t teach people everything there is to know about SmartCAM, but I can help them build a foundation of SmartCAM knowledge that allow them to continue to learn and grow with it. That is also why I love my job training people to use SmartCAM!

Casey Baker
Applications Engineer / Software Trainer

Thanks for that, Casey. We’ve learned some stuff that we didn’t know before; about you, about SmartCAM CAM Software and about the history of the product of which we are all so proud. We just love having your infectious enthusiasm around the place!

Do you know Casey?
Why not drop us an email using the link below and say hello.

Have a really great day,

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