In order to address the expanding manufacturing talent gap for skilled machinists and limitations with existing machining training programs, this study introduces an immersive Virtual Reality (VR) computer numerical control (CNC) machining training environment CNC machine setup processes with a novel error management-based training curriculum. Current machinist training programs typically require active mentorship from skilled individuals over several years and consume a large amount of materials and tools. In addition, mistakes and errors made during the setup process can create safety risks, waste material, and break equipment, which have not been considered by the existing VR CNC milling training environments. In order to address these operational challenges, a novel error-management based training in VR is proposed, which allows trainees to learn machine setup procedures, common errors and mistakes, and provides an opportunity to practice identifying errors. The training first introduces students to the setup procedure, followed by demonstrations of error cases and identification and management strategies culminating in practice opportunities. Through the VR system, trainees witness a spatial demonstration of the procedure, guided by auditory and text instructions with a realistic error identification practice session. In order to evaluate the impact of the novel error management curriculum and the virtual reality training environment, this study compared the efficacy of three training conditions; video based training, video training with an error management module, and VR training with integrated error management training. The results of the study indicate error management training increases the mistake identification and correction and task completion time. Participant feedback indicates that immersive training increases engagement and reduces distractions during the training phase. Furthermore, participants feel more confident by asking fewer questions in order to operate the CNC milling machine. These findings suggest further developments in error management training for CNC machining training in an immersive VR environment may improve training outcomes and workforce readiness.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Machine-tools--Numerical control--Computer-assisted instruction; Virtual reality in education

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Industrial and Systems Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Industrial and Systems Engineering (KGCOE)


Yunbo Zhang

Advisor/Committee Member

Denis R. Cormier

Advisor/Committee Member

Rui Liu


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes