The internet, widely available throughout the world, can be used to control robots, machine tools, and other mechanisms. This paper will describe a low-cost virtual collaborative environment (VCE) which will connect users with distant equipment. The system is based on PC technology, and incorporates off-line-programming with on-line execution. A remote user programs the systems graphically and simulates the motions and actions of the mechanism until satisfied with the functionality of the program. The program is then transferred from the remote site to the local site where the real equipment exists. At the local site, the simulation is run again to check the program from a safety standpoint. Then, the local user runs the program on the real equipment. During execution, a camera in the real workspace provides an image back to the remote user through a teleconferencing system. The system costs approximately 12,500 dollars and represents a low-cost alternative to the Sandia National Laboratories VCE.