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Continuing Education

Mechanical Automation Online  

Online Training
2 Credits
Prerequisites: None, other than a strong interest in multi-disciplined mechanical and electrical/electronic systems
* Webcam and microphone are needed

Software Needed:
You can install if you like but at least check the system requirements.
Fusion 360 Design - * Installing this before class would be very helpful
Candle CNC Control

Class Times
In order to be sure students in our online programs get the help they need, the listed class times are broken into two sections. The first hour is for the typical class lecture and discussion of topics and the last hour is an optional period of time to spend working on projects with instructor oversight. If you feel you can complete the daily tasks on your own at another time you are welcome to. We originally planned for project tasks to be completed during off hours but this didn't seem practical and highly prone to errors so all future classes will have this structure.

Course Overview
This course teaches students the mechanical principles and software configuration of modern electromechanical automation otherwise known as mechatronics.

Mechatronics is a fairly broad term encompassing many areas, yet the overarching idea is that there are mechanical and electrical systems being controlled by way of software to perform tasks. This is essentially an easier way to say "electromechanical systems" and wraps up related disciplines such as robotics and automation. Nearly every class we do is in support of this concept.

First and probably foremost, we do not build the same machines as we do in the face to face, Mechanical Automation Systems Engineering course. There was no way we could get that into an online program. What we will be doing is building simple kits that aren't really anything that you could use for major production but it will allow us to use it as a working analog that we can use to test, upgrade and mill parts all together as regular class lessons.

Which then brings up the next portion of the course. We will be upgrading these machines to use the same professional CNC controller board and drivers that we use on our larger machines. These are actually 4 axis controller boards so if you want to upgrade further in the future you have that ability. The motor drivers are the same type used on the larger machines but lower rated for the smaller stepper motors. This still allows us to go through the typical configuration so if you do build your own custom machine, you'll know the process.

These reductions in build complexity will now give us the chance to incorporate Fusion 360 CAD/CAM design into the course which will allow us to go from digital model to physical part right on your own machine, during class. We've been wanting to do this for a long time and it will really help tie the whole process together.

Parallel to all of these topics we'll continually discuss how you can apply this to any custom machine you may want to build in the future. This will include all the costs, vendors, and websites associated with CNC design and what to consider while making your choices. It's a tough challenge to try hold all the various options in your head, with each specific combination of parts, where each piece you change can have a significant effect on the whole of the device. This is the "Systems Engineering" portion of the course's original name and key topic. It's easy enough to identify a part that could be replaced with one better, but how that decision will affect the totality of the system and it's longevity is where the difficulty lies.

Distance Learning Specifics
The online structure of class will consist of one hour live video conferencing for lecturing and questions, and a second optional hour to spend working on labs. We understand if you might have to miss a session and can usually work with you, but if you know you can't make a larger portion of the live times, please look for another time slot.

We will have pre-recorded videos for students to watch during off hours. These will compliment the live lectures and give students a learning source they can watch repeatedly. These videos and other important information will be held on a class website.

The class website will contain device documentation, vendor information, technology concepts and quizzes. The quizzes will be an important part of this online program which students will have to pass in order to complete the course. We will talk through all the quizzes during our live sessions and anyone that shows up for class will have no problem making it through. We will not blind side you with stray questions we never talked about yet expect you to know.

Currently we will we using Webex as our video conferencing software. You do not need to make an account to join the live sessions. An email will be sent out to all students including the time and dates, web link to the meeting and password. You will need to have a webcam and microphone for this class.

The class kits will have to be picked up from the school. In the future we will get a shipping process sorted out for those that do not live in the area, but for the moment local pickup only. We are very interested in being able to reach those around the country so this will happen eventually.

  • What is CNC and how to operate
  • Stepper motors
  • Breakout boards and controllers
  • Hardware drivers and motor control
  • Wiring
  • Various controller software
  • Framework assembly
  • Drive mechanics (Gearing, chain drives, cabling, etc)
  • Electrical systems (wiring, cable management, motor polarity)
  • Controller software configuration and calibration
  • Basic CNC mill operation
  • Basic Measurement (Tape Measure, scale)
  • Basic Precision Measuring Tools (Calipers, Micrometers)
  • Tolerance design for fit and function

* This is a very unique course that covers a broad range of skills so be prepared for several different areas of study. Computer hardware, electrical, mechanical motion, software, 3D design and machining are all a potential part of this process of automation.

Mailing List Signup - Get notified of upcoming classes!

To Register:
  • Click "add to cart
  • Create an account
  • Make payment online (Boeing people say PO or Check and write in "Boeing"
  • Complete the admission form below:

  • Admission Form
  • Call The BTC (425-640-1840) and give them the number of the class you wish to register for

Contact Damian Cianci at if you have any questions.

The Business Training Center of Edmonds Community College has been "off-campus" in the heart of the community providing practical industry focused education since 1998.


Mechanical Automation Online
Item: M542  Credits: 2.00   Brendon Seaver
11/9/2020 - 12/16/2020 No class 11/11/20 (Veteran's Day)
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM  
M W Fee: $1,999.00

Mechanical Automation Online  -- CLASS IS IN SESSION --
Item: M355  Credits: 2.00   Brendon Seaver
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM Location: Online Only - Advanced Aerospace
Sessions: 11 Tu Th  
9/29/2020 - 11/3/2020