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Thread: Machinists handbook.
01-28-2012, 07:44 PM #1
a few people have told me that this is indispensable. Is this an appropriate thing for a beginner? Will i understand it. Is there a better referance for someone starting out? Worth the money? what kind of information will i get from it?
01-28-2012, 07:53 PM #2
Absolutely, especially to understand how cutting tool profiles work. I use a 1940s version of Audels Machinists Handbook, it STINKS to high heaven, and its a "bible."
I used it to solve a parting tool problem by carefully studying the tool angles and what each one did.
It includes comprehensive Shop Math including basic Integral Calculus in a way thats easy to understand.
01-28-2012, 07:59 PM #3
I think it's worth owning. If you want instant 'how to' answers, you're barking up the wrong tree. It is full of all of the technical aspects of the world of physics, math, metallurgy and almost every other school machinists deal with.
Buy it, read it and refer to it when you can, it has all the answers. You will have to search them out but they are in there. It's great reading!
01-28-2012, 08:00 PM #4
Doesn't matter if you understand all of it. I doubt there has ever been a single machinist alive that understood the entire book. That said... sooner or later you will have to understand some of it. Mainly how to look up the stuff you need to know in order to do what you want to do. Only way to do that is to get a copy and start looking stuff up. It is NOT something you try to read cover-to-cover. It is not laid out that way.
You don't need the latest revision. Any edition from about the mid-1930s should be fine for 95% of the stuff you will need to look up. There is even a workbook for some of the older editions which is kind of a self paced learning guide that has lots of problems and references the MHB. I forget the title (mine is at work) but it would be handy to have the workbook that matches your edition so you can work through examples when you have nothing else to do.
Even a casual home-shop-machinist/hobbyist should have a copy. Most every machinist I have ever met in person or on line has a copy.
There is an alternative book, I forget the title (mine is at work), that Milacron often touts as being "better" than the MHB. Either one would be fine.
You can find used copies of MHB on eBay and other places for not much more than $30.
01-28-2012, 08:00 PM #5
I'm just a patternmaker,and do very little machining of metal, but I am always using mine.
I would definitely get a copy if I were you.
You might be able to find one in a used bookstore. Even an outdated one would be very useful.
01-28-2012, 08:01 PM #6
Do you mean Machinery's Handbook?
I've been a beginner for 30 years, and I've found it appropriate and indispensable.
01-28-2012, 08:16 PM #7
The American Machinist's Handbook is similar to Machinery's Handbook, but is out of print. The last edition is 1955, although some copies were reprinted in 1980's? but these were not updates just a reprint. I treasure mine as it contains a lot of information on tooling not covered in Machinery's Handbook.
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01-28-2012, 08:48 PM #8
This is an alternative.
Modern Machine Shop's Handbook For The Metalworking Industries
Books : Modern Machine Shop
I have 3 copies of Machineries Handbook from 3 different eras so I never felt the need, but have seen it in Barnes and Noble and it looked pretty good.
As long as R-8 collets have been around it's unbelievable its not in the handbook, but other less common tapers are.
01-28-2012, 08:50 PM #9
The New American Machinists Handbook..(Genuine 1955 edition) My copy was reprinted after 1983 (when copyright was renewed.)
ISBN 0-07-037065-6 McGraw Hill publishing
I use it about 25% of the time.
Machinerys Handbook, as flawed as it is, still has more useful info packed into it.. Plenty of not so useful info though...
Another book I grab a lot (sits by lathe) is Machinists' Ready Reference
01-28-2012, 09:30 PM #10
Well I am going to go against the grain and say there are far better books out there for a beginner..
If you are starting out means you are learning under a mentor who should be showing you the basics, something machinery's handbook is not about... It is a reference book..
If you do not mind a metric book, I would buy this one Fitting & Machining - RMIT Publishing far far better and was written for beginners..
01-28-2012, 09:42 PM #11
The handbook is great. I have two different versions on the shelf with a 30 year spread. Both have a wealth of information that the other does not.
The one book that I truely got the most from as a absolute beginner (teenage days) was "How to Run a Lathe" this book was published by South Bend and is available on ebay from time to time and there are reprint versions out there as well. If You are a rock-bottom 101 beginner, it is well illustrated and well versed HSS tools with regards to grinding and setting
Just my two cents!
01-28-2012, 10:22 PM #12
Count me as another naysayer. Machinery's Handbook is chock full of what-to-end-up-with, but there's scarcely a word of how-to-do-it. For that reason, I consider it far more appropriate for the person who already has a good grasp of machining practice.
My own choice for Best Beginners' Books are 1) a 1960-or-so edition Machine Tool Operation by Burghardt, Axelrod, & Anderson, and 2) Machine Shop Practice by Karl Moltrecht. Both are two-volume sets.
Machine Tool Operation has been out of print for a while, which means tracking down a used copy. Machine Shop Practice, which is going on thirty years old, is still in print and downright cheap as textbooks go . . . US$ 50 or thereabouts should get you both volumes from a mailorder bookstore or mailorder machine-shop supply house.
AND if you should stumble over a copy at a fair price, the spiral-bound Machinists' Ready Reference is a small volume that, for most people, has 95% of the day-to-day utility of Machinery's Handbook in an easier-to-use format. Back when I bought mine, Machinists' Ready Reference was common and cheap, but it doesn't seem to be that way today.
01-28-2012, 10:50 PM #13
The machinists ready reference is a great reference book. I keep mine that I bought when I went to school at work. Handy for both the design and machining aspects of my work....
I also use MH from time to time for more obscure things, we have an electronic copy on the server at work.
01-29-2012, 02:19 AM #14
This book was written for machinists, engineers, draftsmen...all of those within the trade. This is not a book that is filled with the shortcuts and simple ways around common problems in the shop, however it will tell you how to properly handle 98% of common machining and mathmatical problems. As an example, it will not explain how much to feed in with the compound set at 29 1/2* to obtain a thread form, but it will explain how to properly measure that thread form using reliable methods while giving hard number limits both high and low.
I've picked up several machinist books along the way for years, but this is the one that I consistantly go back to. It always has what I need when I need it...it's paid for itself a hundred times.
01-29-2012, 03:42 AM #15
You can download a PDF of the 1914 second edition for free from here:
American machinists' handbook and dictionary of shop terms : a reference book of machine shop and drawing room data, methods and definitions : Colvin, Fred H. (Fred Herbert), 1867-1965 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
01-29-2012, 04:10 AM #16
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01-29-2012, 04:49 AM #17
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01-29-2012, 05:25 AM #18
Machinery's Handbook is probably not the greatest thing for someone just starting out due to the fact that it can be intimidating due to the sheer volume and complexities it gets into on some subjects. Although as one advances in the trade it becomes sort of a bible. If you have a clearly defined question there in lies your answere, you have to become familiar with how it is written and use some common sense as to when to stop reading and get back to making chips.
There have been occasions in the past when I went looking an aswere to a question and 45 min later realized I found the answere in the first 10 min. of looking, it is easy to get side tracked. Were the 35 min lost ? no, I learned a lot of other info.
At some point your gonna need it, and when you do there is no other book that fits the bill. Some will say just google the question or look up the formula on the net. From my years in medicine I have realized that net is full of wrong info written by some yahoo who has no idea what they are talking about. Better to get the answere from a respected and known source. I'm not saying the net is all wrong but it is easier to get led astray, but there are exceptions such as here, a wonderfull resource with knowlegeable people who have gained expierence from the real world. I look at PM as a bunch of machinists gathered round a fire exchanging info and stories, after all isn't that how man started out spreading knowlege and techniqes for making the wheel?
After going off on that tangent yes I think at some point everyone should have one, no need for the one hot off the press, I just got editon 28 and found it not much different from 24 that was the first one I bought. As for the copies on CD, what are going to do drag the computer out to machine?? FYI I reallly dislike books on the computer, my computer doesn't smell or feel like a book I cant put stickies on the parts I use the most, and my wife gets VERY cross when I highlite on the screen .
01-29-2012, 07:06 AM #19
01-29-2012, 07:10 AM #20
Sorry but this exact subject has been discussed to death here already and therefore closing the thread. Do a search in this forum for more insights on the subject.