for learning purpose.
The question is a bit vague. Remember that you will need to generate a model in a CAD program (if you are working in 3D), then transform the model to G-Code using a CAM program, then use the G-Code to operate your CNC mill or lathe. For generating your 3D model, I recommend FreeCAD as an open source product. If you want to pay, you can use Inventor, or SolidWorks or many of the other commercial programs.
The next step is your CAM program. Unfortunately this step is the weakest in open source programs. You can try PyCAM to generate your tool path if you need a free product. MasterCAM is just too expensive; SprutCAM is a good program and costs just USD1500, but only runs under Windows.
The third step is you machine interface. Mach3 is very good; it costs USD150 and is widely used / pirated. EMC2 is great, it's free and runs under Linux.
There is no magical program to generate a cnc program, for each one I've try you have to know your way around and what you are doing to get a good results. Personnally I had good experiences with mastercam but i'm sure there is some other good software around.
tiny mini ?? you mean like an open source one that you can use for free ?
any tiny mini... :p
mastercam has an free educational version. Ask your local reseller he will be pleased to give it to you
thanx that helped. do they provide training too?
I use MasterCam everyday, it's versatile and powerful. I would recommand it without any doubt. I know delcam also make good product like powermill and featurecam, collegues had used these software and were pleased. The limitation of Mastercam is that it's not parametric, if you make a change to your model you have to reimport it insede mastercam and reasign the operations to the geometry. If possible try to go with something integrated inside your CAD software like mastercam for solidworks or delcam for solidworks. NX has a built-in cnc porgramming software wich is very powerful I used it at school
I just found out HSMXpress. It's free and integrated in SolidWorks as long as you have a legal version. http://www.hsmworks.com/hsmxpress/
I downloaded and tested the software without generating any code because the post-processor for my CNC does not exist.
The software is verry well integrated in SW and I could program simple 2,5D parts in just minutes.
MasterCAM is very expensive and extremely troubled software. None of the software mentioned in this thread is completely free because there are not many options and even fewer are of quality.
I will not make a recommendation based on the performance of the software as I have not examined the items on the following list. But these softwares are free or open source.
GNU Computer Aided Manufacturing
As Nicolas mentioned before HSMXpress is free for users of SolidWorks who hold a valid license and, honestly, it is the most viable option. The world of free Manufacturing software is a very ugly place and considering how ugly the commercial software normally is, it is safer to invest in a well-recommend inexpensive entry-level CAM solution.