AVML (Advanced Virtual Manufacturing Lab) is a web-based e-learning course that includes realistic fully functional virtual CNC milling machines and lathes; a 20 hour lecture on the theory and practice of CNC Milling & Turning; and step-by-step training on the basic operating procedures on CNC milling machines and lathes.


The key elements of the AVML system are:

  • Textured 3D photo-realistic virtual models of the machines and lab.
  • Machine simulator for the machines' controls, controller software and moving parts.
  • Semi-empirical model of the machining operation. This includes a geometric simulator with real-time solid modeling and a physical simulator which predicts the instantaneous cutting forces, tool deflection, surface errors, surface roughness, cutting sounds, and chip formation.
  • Hierarchical knowledge-base for process training.
  • Unstructured knowledge-base for lecture delivery.
  • Natural-language human-like intelligent virtual tutors. The tutors are lip and gesture synched. They can also answer the user's questions by searching the lecture knowledge-base.
  • Web-based framework. The AVML runs inside a web browser. The AVML uses the IVRESS (Integrated Virtual Reality Environment for Synthesis and Simulation) player and the LEA (Learning Environment Agent) engine, which are ActiveX controls that can be embedded in a web-page. The interface consists of six windows: a VE window, a multimedia instruction window, a speech window, a hierarchical lecture outline window, a hierarchical list of voice commands window and an agent-options window. All the windows can be moved and resized to suit the user's preferences.

The AVML fulfills the following education, training and research functions in a safe self-paced environment:

  • Education functions: Lecture Delivery: The AVML includes a comprehensive multimedia course on CNC milling and turning including chapters on CNC control, machining, and programming.
  • Training functions: Step-by-step process training for key operating procedures of the CNC machines. Students can be trained on key CNC machine operating processes such as: machine start-up; machine shut-down, set the program zero positions, defining the tools offsets, and load G-code from disk, and running an existing G-code.
  • Training/research functions: Access to near-realistic virtual CNC milling machine, including the machine manual controller and geometric/physical simulation of the cutting process.


Minimum hardware: Pentium-4 2 GHz or Pentium-M 1.5 Ghz (or equivalent AMD processor); 512KB RAM; DVD drive or 4 GB free hard-disk space; and Nvidia GeForce (or equivalent) graphics card. Our software runs on most PC laptops (that are 1-2 years old) and most PC desktops (2-3 years old).

Software: Windows Vista/XP/2000 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or 7.


AscienceTutor.com's academic partner in this project is the Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Laboratory (AEML) at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). The AEML is providing the expertise on CNC machines operation, machining process modeling, and manufacturing training.

The AVML was a 3 year project funded by NSF under an STTR grant (No. 0521710) and Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this page are those of AscienceTutor.com and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund."