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I must be a total duh!


Is it just me? Am I the only one that finds all this programming and software and computer stuff so frustrating. I think I can build anything, take apart and repair anything, look at stuff and see detail and problems easily.
When it comes to this stuff I seem to be a total duh!
Please help me, what is the secret for understanding and picking up this technology that we are so reliant on these days.

1/16/19       #2: I must be a total duh! ...
Mark B Member

Probably need a little more specificity for any pertinent help

1/16/19       #3: I must be a total duh! ...
rich c.

Curious of your age. Even 35 year olds usually fly through software and programming. No one HAS to bring in a computer. But depending on product line, it sure makes it easier to present to the customer and make money. If you market yourself as an old world craftsman, and screw old cast iron legs to the bottom of thick slabs, you can do well in some markets and never touch a computer.

1/16/19       #4: I must be a total duh! ...
Mark B Member

Im not so sure of that. I have had a few 35 year olds.. one of which raves about having done spread sheets in his head (perhaps addition and subtraction) yet has little to know practical ability to cross adapt knowledge from one discipline to another.

People who truly "get it" are the ones who quickly realize that the entire world, regardless of wood, metal, paper, hanging files, is simply a matter of math. Tri-folding an invoice is no different than cutting a sheet in the shop. Some people can make that leap, some people just cant, regardless of age.

Its been something I have always seen as so obvious and so simple, but the simple fact is a lot of people just dont see it that way.

In turn, I welcome the fact that my aptitudes for seeing things the way I do, are not a guaranteed recipe for success. Bringing in the other manner of thought is pretty much essential for growth for many us with the erector set mindset.

My ability to see my way through software and hardware hasnt made me a millionaire. Maybe it has you. I'll take it from anywhere it comes.

1/16/19       #5: I must be a total duh! ...

My experience is that age isn't the barrier, but a certain mental type / talent set lends itself better to understanding and working within the rules of technology, and it is not necessarily a learnable trait. Sure, you can take a class but if the concepts are bouncing off bone, hire someone that it resonates with. It doesn't make you inferior.

1/17/19       #6: I must be a total duh! ...
james e mcgrew Member


Learning curves are not easy, They are not impossible.

I would consider looking for a forum on the particular software you are having trouble with, If not available then look for someone who has the software and may be just a little ahead of where you are. you can use a Phone and Teamviewer or Skype to see each other online and teach each other up.

Many hands make light work.

Machine or Software forums (Specific) are there to create teachers for sales, Techs do not have nights and weekends to teach the product yet We want to learn at odd hours as we are making cabinets (Money) during the same hours the tech is.

When the Student is ready the teacher appears,

Try being more Specific Your post appears to be a upchuck after a bad hour or two, If you tell someone what the problem is WE may can help.

Dr. Phil is on tv and is Free..

And i mean that in the best Humor !

1/17/19       #7: I must be a total duh! ...
Tom Gardiner

I think it is more a case of attitude over aptitude. When I bought my CNC I had spent more than a decade without using a computer. I had to learn and fast. It was frustrating but I soon was engaged and fascinated with the discovery of process. I had the luxury of being on my own so I didn't have a boss breathing down my neck
I got some good advice at the start in the purchase of software and hardware and continue to get a lot out of forums for my software and woodweb six years into the process.
One of the biggest hurdles for me was the simple stuff that every one expects you to know - how to save and move files around in windows etc. Until I got comfortable with Windows, I was afraid of losing work messing up the computer.

1/17/19       #8: I must be a total duh! ...

Here is the biggest tip I can give you, since I was in your shoes a few years ago (and still am, just further along than I was).

Buy only machines and software that have a support base that will help you fill in your knowledge gaps.

It will definitely cost you more. But as long as you stick with reputable manufacturers, vendors, and developers, it will pay off for you.

If our CNC breaks, we fix what we know how to fix. But if it goes over our head, we only have a short phone call to make to our Tech Support (the CNC manufacturer). If our software goes haywire, we either call our representative or we get on the web forum (depending on the software).

We have one machine we intentionally bought from Stiles, because Stiles sells TONS of them, knows how to fix them, and has a really good support base.

1/17/19       #9: I must be a total duh! ...
David R Sochar Member

No, you are not dumb. You also are not alone. I just spent 3 hours sweating over a computer set up gone wrong. Called my 38 yr old shop whiz in, and he had it fixed in about 7 minutes.

Some people have it. Some don't. Those of us that don't are blessed with a life devoid of digits. We get to play with real wood, real aroma, real everything. Let someone else try to make it go on the little screen.

Jeff is voicing a common opinion, but most people that feel like him would not dare say it lout loud. Conversely, there are lots of folks good to great with computers but they cannot join two pieces of wood. They just don't get it, and never will. Occasionally you can catch a glimpse of them in the Forums, asking why wood moves, or describing some calamity driven by wood movement.

1/17/19       #10: I must be a total duh! ...
Mark B Member

Heres my perspective. How bout all of us luddites,techno-savvy's, long and short term-ers, start really populating this place with content as it pertains to the OP.

The hard part is a lot of posts here go unresponded to by the OP, maybe that because they just toss that stuff out in a moment of frustration or maybe its because they are met by a bunch of responses from people who are too busy making it to the end of year IRS filing to really engage.

I personally thing the OP's question could be a great exchange whether they ever replied or not. Way too vague for specifics but plenty there to start a conversation.

1/17/19       #11: I must be a total duh! ...
james e mcgrew Member


I do this every day, I moderate CAMheads forum for a few thousand Camaster machine owners.

Yet there are 30K plus members who research listen, learn and contribute to specifics daily.

I advocated all machine companies do this in 2008 and on Yet it fell on deaf ears way to many times,

Now Camaster is a good size company, loyal following, and has put thousands of machines in small garages up to medium size shops and a few large facilities along with machines on Aircraft carriers, in Universities Manufacturing plants and around the world !

1/17/19       #12: I must be a total duh! ...

Hey thanks for the information. I guess my frustration is all based on computer hardware and software.
I like to use Mac for surfing, pictures and music, etc.
When it comes to software for machines, drafting, accounting, nothing works on a Mac.
So you go the PC route for all those things, and every time you turn it on it does updates, and then I try to down load a program and it wonít open.
The icing on the cake was when I had a machine go down, and the operating system is old, so nothing current will work with that operating system, even woodweb only the home page would open and that is it, nothing else will work. The solution is buy new software, ok good idea letís go for it. Oh oh, next problem, computer wonít run new software, ok get a new computer.
Ok we have to do what we have to do, guess what, new computer is windows 7, we are currently on windows 10. How long will it be until I have to go down the same road. Anyways it was a frustrating time and I always feel so helpless when I get on the computer as I have troubles figuring stuff out and getting it to work.
Some people mentioned age, I am in my early 50ís. I love computers when they work, not so much when they donít!

1/17/19       #13: I must be a total duh! ...
Tom Gardiner

David, "devoid of digits " might not be the best phrase for woodworkers. :)

1/17/19       #14: I must be a total duh! ...
Alan F.

Some machines have better user "front ends" Biesse and Weeke come to mind.
Some machines require 3rd party software.

There isn't a person out there that can tell a machine what to do that isn't something you already know how to do.

If you want to drill a hole in a board you mark a location by choosing some distance from each edge to the center.

The machine software wants you to tell it that location using x,y,z coordinates, you figured out x and y with your tape and depth (z) you know if you are going through or not.

Same thing with a route or a saw kerf.

Start here, end there go this deep.

If you had a kid that could program that didn't know wood you would have to show him how to figure all those points.

I think you just need a little help on learning how to layout onscreen using a different "language"

Or you can choose to buy a machine, have someone train to run it and just learn how to turn it on a run a program as a backup operator.

When you get to doing irregular shapes from a cad file or photo then you need a better front end or someone who knows cad.

You could also buy Cadcode, use excel to create your geometry for standard parts and export to the machine.

Then when you buy a new machine that is a different brand spend 3-8 hours setting up the tool file to run that machine and use everything you already know.

Either way you can do it, its a small bump.
Feed speeds, tool rotations, cutter depth,joint tolerances, you know all of this.


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