Robot Whispering

The Unofficial Guide to Programming FANUC Robots

Traditionally learning how to program FANUC robots has been slow and expensive. You've basically had three options:

Option 1: Attend an Official FANUC Training Course

You could sign up for an official course (if it's not waitlisted), but you would have to pay thousands of dollars for it (if you're not an ASI) and wait weeks or months to attend. Even if you are a certified integrator, you'll have to pay for flights, rental cars, per diems, etc. That stuff gets really expensive quickly.

Wouldn't you rather start programming today?

Option 2: Read the Official Manuals

If you're lucky enough to have access to the offical FANUC manuals you'll find thousands of pages of documentation. Sure, these describe the many features and how to use them, but they're not a guide. (Some might even consider reading manuals boring...)

What if an experienced engineer (who's read all the manuals) could condense all that stuff into just the most useful and important parts?

Option 3: Trial and Error

Ah, the tried and true method of trial and error. I'm sure you could eventually get your robot up and running this way, but it will probably involve a lot of banging your head against the wall (and possibly crashing your robot).

Wouldn't you like to program with confidence because you've seen how an experienced robot programmer does it every day?

That's why I wrote this book. Over the last 11+ years I've worked with many programmers who had to blindly stumble around the Teach Pendant, guessing at the best way to get things done, even after attending a training course. I've done hundreds of code reviews where application errors were the result of just doing things "the hard way" when there was a much easier way.

With this book I've distilled these 11+ years of experience into the core tools, techniques and best-practices I use on every job. When you're done reading, you'll know how to compose programs from scratch that work every time, avoiding those common pitfalls that I'm always seeing in the field.

Armed with a firm understanding of how FANUC robots work and how an experienced developer works with them, you'll feel confident you can handle any application that comes your way.

This is a great book for anyone with a FANUC robot. It includes everything you need to know to simply touch-up points, or to write a complete efficient program from scratch. Jay breaks it all down into easily understandable pieces - and all without spending thousands of dollars for the OEM training or materials. Couldn’t recommend the book enough.

-David M.

What are you waiting for? Grab your copy and start programming FANUC robots today!


Or maybe you want more details... of course you do! Well keep reading, and I'll tell you more about what you'll find in the book.

About the Book

This book takes you from a simple "Hello, World" program (it's a programming book, isn't it?) to a robust and intelligent material handling application. Not only will the robot do what it's supposed to do under normal conditions, but it also checks and responds accordingly to a number of common error scenarios.

I'll guide you through the development of a material handling application from a "first principles" approach. We'll do things the easiest, most obvious (and sometimes wrong!) way before eventually implementing a better way and discussing why we made that decision.

This clear and concise book gave me a crucial boost in learning how to safely program FANUC robots. Full of best practices and advice on how to create well engineered programs, it provided a much better starting point than FANUC’s documentation.

-Jeremy D.

You'll learn how to be more productive with the FANUC teach pendant. We'll go over frames of reference and why custom UFRAMEs and UTOOLs are important. I'll describe many best-practices like back-checking your part-presence sensors and gripper I/O, using subroutines when it makes sense and making sure your WAIT-statements have appropriateTIMEOUTs.

And that's just the beginning. A large portion of the book is dedicated to "homing" the robot, making sure the robot can find its way "home" safely from anywhere within its normal cycle of operation. I consider this to be an absolutely must-have feature before a robotic cell can be considered complete. Too often I see production systems that have to be manually jogged out of errors when they should have just been able to press the green button. Let's make our customers' lives easy and handle issues before they happen.

The version 1.1 PDF of Robot Whispering: The Unofficial Guide to Programming FANUC Robots is roughly 100 pages and will make you a productive programmer in a day or two.


In the unlikely event that you're not happy with your purchase, I offer a 30-day refund policy. No worries.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. A Very Simple Program: Hello, World
  3. How TP Programs Work
  4. Creating a Program with Motion
  5. STEP Mode and Moving Backwards
  6. Control Flow
  7. Numeric Registers and Assignment
  8. Multiple Displays
  9. Modifying Positions
  10. Using I/O
  11. Subroutines
  12. Frames of Reference (UFRAMEs and UTOOLs)
  13. Motion Options
  14. Joint and Linear Motion
  15. Payloads
  16. Conditionals
  17. User Alarms
  18. Simulating Inputs
  19. Remarks
  20. WAIT-statements
  21. The END-statement
  22. Getting the Robot Home Safely
  23. Reference Positions
  24. Cycle Stop and the ABORT-statement
  25. Appendix A: Mapping I/O


Frequently Asked Questions

What level of programmer is the book written for?

The step-by-step instructions are make the book approachable for beginners, but the larger important concepts and best-practices are universal.

Robot Whispering is a great guide to learn the basic functionality of FANUC programming at your own pace. It will be a valuable tool in our beginner training curriculum here.

-Angelique O., Noble Plastics Inc.

Will I get updates automatically if content is added?

Yes! I will email you as soon as a new edition is released.

Can I share the book with the rest of my team?

Each purchase is for a single reader only. If your company or educational institution wants to use it for training purposes, please get in touch with me about a bulk license.

Your book has made a 100% difference in my robotics classroom, in addition to my own abilities with the robots and as a professor. Yes, I went through the official training, have the full 2000+ page official manuals, attended short training workshops. Yawn. All were less than helpful. Robot Whispering is laid out for the full spectrum of robot implementers & practitioners or even those planning to utilize robotics. It is a distillation of what works and what does not work, all laid out in a clear and understandable format, sans esoteric jargon. Robot Whispering is “essential” for a beginner to practitioner and even automation engineers who have been in the field for many years... most who do things not knowing really what one was doing. You covered the "theory" without causing blurred vision and headaches. Robot Whispering is written from a real-world person for real-world persons. We thank you for taking the time and expending the energy to develop an essential in Fanuc or even other robot implementation.

-Dr. Bandara Gamini, Automation Robotics and Electronics Program coordinator & Professor, University of Wisconsin

I've taken a FANUC training class. Is the book still for me?

Yes! A training class might teach you the basics, but this book contains a lot of real-world practical advice based on 11+ years of experience working on production applications.

As an OEM in the automotive business, we have reached a level of equipment automation where robots need to cohabitate with to maximise production. Your Robot Whispering book was really helpful to ramp up my electrical team rapidly to learn about FANUC robots. Reading it before the FANUC training classes helped guys to catch up more than the average knowledge dispensed, but also helped to refresh minds afterward when putting into practice on real applications. Also, some interested mechanics read it to catch up on some basics of programming in order to reach a better commissioning level.

-Patrice Roux, Team Leader, Automation Engineer at Conceptromec

Does the book cover KAREL programming?

No, this book is about TP programming only. For all I've written about KAREL, I actually almost never have to use it. TP is almost always enough.

Can I get a printed copy?

Not at this time. If you'd really prefer a hardcopy, please send me an email so I can consider it.

Is the book offered in other languages?

Not at this time, but please contact me so I can keep track of what other languages are requested!

Can I have a discount?

Maybe. If you are a student or live in a part of the world where this is just way too expensive for you, please send me an email.

Question not answered?

Please send me an email, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

About the Author

Jay Strybis

Jay has been programming for most of his life and has spent the last 11+ years programming FANUC robots. Lucky to begin his professional career at FANUC's headquarters in Rochester Hills, MI, he was quickly thrown into the fire and had to learn a lot via trial and error (but he is thankful for all the advice his wonderful colleagues gave as well!). Since leaving FANUC in 2011, Jay has been working as an independent contractor, primarily focusing on high-speed visual tracking applications (iRPickTool, iRVision) and difficult material handling jobs. He started writing about robot programming back in 2013 and has released many free tools and open-source projects along the way.

He's currently working on a number of side projects and keeps a steady backlog, helping some fantastic FANUC integrators and end-users.