10 Timeless Books Every Machinist Should Have

October 4, 2018 10:08 am


In machining, as in any other field, knowledge is power.

No matter how intuitive technology becomes, the ability to manufacture a good part lies in the expertise of the machine operator and his understanding of how the machine, the tools, and the material work.

Although expertise comes from practice and hours spent making chips in the machine shop, a good level of basic knowledge is required to get started in any trade, and there’s no better way of learning the basics than digging into an old-fashioned book.

There is certainly no lack of machining books in the market.

From generic publications to machine-specific manuals, the choice is nearly endless and selecting a good book can be tricky.

We decided to ease up your selection by putting together a list of what we think are the best machining-related publications available, a collection of manuals, books, and textbooks that should be found in any machine shop.


As always, to compile our list, we based our research on the various feedback that we collected and we combined them with the recommendations that we found in several different threads that we found in the forum.


Here are the top 10 books that every machinist should have, and read.


Machining Fundamentals

The machinist Bible. This textbook provides an introduction to all the different machine operations, setups, and procedures. If you don’t have it already, this is definitely the first book you will want to get.

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Machinery’s Handbook

For more than 100 years, Machinery’s Handbook has been the most popular reference work in metalworking, design, engineering and manufacturing facilities, and technical schools and colleges throughout the world.

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The Machinist’s Bedside Reader

The machinist’s bedside reader is a trilogy of books published with the aim of providing technical information to machinists in a more relaxed style. The first volume contains hints, tips, and anecdotes about the trade.

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The Machinist’s Second Bedside Reader and the Bullseye Mixture

Like the first book, the second volume of the trilogy is filled with hints, tips, and projects. Among the various topics: Cutting Multiple Start Threads, How to Make a Square Hole Sleeve, How to Design Self-Holding and Self-Releasing Tapers and much more.

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Machinist’s Third Bedside Reader

The last volume of the trilogy contains even more pages, photographs, and technical how-to info.

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CNC Machining

A book that focuses more on the modern side of metalworking. One of the most used textbooks in technical schools. It extensively covers topics related to CNC milling machines, lathes, and electrical discharge machines.

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Machining for Hobbyists: Getting Started

Although this book might be more for hobbyists and beginners, the amount of information, illustrations photographs, and tables make it a great read also for more experienced machinist.

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Machine Tool Practices

A richly illustrated collection of the best practices related to machine tool technology, measurement, reading drawings, computer numerical control and much more.

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Modern Metalworking

Modern Metalworking provides a comprehensive introduction to the various tools, machines, and materials involved in metalworking. The text covers both traditional and modern metalworking technologies.

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CNC Programming Handbook

One of the best-selling readings covering CNC programming at all levels. Used daily by CNC programmers and machine operators, and adopted as a textbook in CNC classes all over the world.

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Full disclosure: Practical Machinist LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Our recommendations, however, come from our experience and research and are not influenced by anyone other than our editors.


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