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Machinery's Handbook Question.

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  • Machinery's Handbook Question.

    I was going to order it today, but Industrial Press seems to be out of paper. Anyway, should I get the companion guide also? Also, what about the cd-rom? Apparently they have moved some stuff from the book to cd-rom.


  • #2
    For the most part a HSMer really does not need the "latest & greatest" version of the Machinery's Handbook. Pick up a used copy from FleaBay or Amazon for a whole lot less.

    Instead of Machinery's I suggest finding a copy of the American Machinists Handbook as it is much more oriented to use on the shop floor. BTW, I just checked FleaBay and several are available. I bought mine new in the '70's but its been out of print for several years.


    • #3
      I bought the 'pocket companion' when I purchased my 28th Edition large-print copy. I never use the companion. On occasion, it has confused me to death whereas the normal MH makes perfect sense. Someone here will disagree, no doubt, but this has been my experience.

      If you were doing a lot of similar types of things in a production, maintenance or assembly environment, I could see its use. Who needs the whole book when all you're doing is Morse Tapers all day---or sorting out fastener head markings for grade & stength? When you're looking up something once and another thing entirely the next time around, the full handbook becomes the go-to item. For other, more often referenced information such as screw thread tolerances, there is more clear, concise reference literature than is found in the 'Pocket Companion'. 2ยข


      • #4
        There "was" a full version of Edition 26 (2000) Machinery's Handbook available online in PDF format. I stumbled across it a couple years ago on an Australian university site. I just tried it now and the link no longer works so they must have been forced to take it down. It comprises 41 separate files amounting to about 30 MB but it's pretty neat because it comes with an index file and if you place all the files in a single folder clicking on an item in the index will take you to the appropriate file and open it.

        I have version 23 of the Handbook which I keep at my desk for reference but the PDF version is especially handy because I can print out individual sections--Keys & Keyseats and Threading being two examples--and keep them in a looseleaf binder in the shop. When a page gets tattered or dirty I simply print out replacement pages as needed...
        Just one project too many--that's what finally got him...


        • #5
          I have three MH. One 21st ed bought in 1961 the first school week of my apprenticeship. My Dad's 21st he bought when he saw how cool mine was. The third was issued to me when I became a bureaucrat 1985. I have a 11th ed and a 9th that came my way in a box of books from the widow of a peer. And I have a dozne of so other trade compendia, (millwright, ironworker, electrician, etc) plus many volumes professional reference iand texts.

          I'm drowning in info so why am I so dense sometimes? Oh! I have to open them and read them? I hate to read. My lips get so tired and I have to use my nose finger to follow my place.

          Seriously, so much of the trade has to go by the numbers a home shop machinist almost has to have a small library on a shelf in his shop. Most everything is covered by a standard of some kind and these references (MH is only one) have the most frequently used condensed and printed, indexed for quick reference and connected by supporting information. It's the dryest sort of reading but once you've familiarized yourself with the book's layout and customized it with tabs or slips of paper, accessing refquently sought tables and passages becomes the work of a moment. References are not teaching texts. There is little explanitory narrative. They are references for looking up stuff the moment you need it; stuff you know but need refreshment and details for the immediate task.

          I keep a copy by the lathe and another by the computer. If you elect to get an older copy for reference, get no earlier than 1960 or so. There was a slight change in screw threads in the '50's and I think the earliest containing the revised standards was MH ed 19th. About there anyway.

          Not to say earlier versions and other compendia aren't interesting. I have on that addresses line-shafting and belting, the economics of stationary engines to power them, water based hydraulic power distribution in Victorian england. Hand forging carbon steel lathe tools etc. Old and maybe useless but interesting.
          Last edited by Forrest Addy; 07-08-2012, 07:39 PM.


          • #6
            This edition is still available on PDF:


            I stand corrected. That mediafire one is not available.

            Last edited by armedandsafe; 07-08-2012, 08:29 PM.


            • #7
              Audel's also publishes several trade books that are excellent. I have their machinist and millwright books in my library.


              • #8
                Originally posted by LKeithR
                There "was" a full version of Edition 26 (2000) Machinery's Handbook available online in PDF format.
                If one is interested enough to look, currently there are the 11th 15th, 27th and 28th editions on the web. Also the American Machinist handbook 1909 and 1914 editions. Probably more.
                The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                Bluewater Model Engineering Society at


                • #9
                  My opinion is that any of the older ones from the 1950's on up should be more than good enough from a HSM perspective. I did buy a large print 28th edition for the obvious reasons since the older versions weren't ever printed in the large format. And the same on a disk just to make it easy to print off the tables I would use the most. But any version of Machinery's Handbook is better than not having one. Used ones are dirt cheap, so there's no reason to not have easy access to all of that information.

                  A small selection of good reference books are just another shop tool that are a requirement, and just as important as anything else you'd buy for tooling.



                  • #10
                    Thanks guys! I know good reference books are awesome to have around. I have a bunch on welding. I have the complete set of Audel manuals on mill wright work I inherited from my great grandpa. I just need to start on the machining side. Already have the south bend lathe book on its way.



                    • #11
                      Despite it's title I'll highly recommend one more. George H. Thomas wrote "The Model Engineers Workshop Manual" ISBN 1-85761-000-8 It's mostly about machining while using the British HSM standard Myford super 7 lathe. That fact doesn't much matter since I'd have to judge old George as the finest writer of his day. Not only the how to do it, but a lot of examples of exactly why it should be done that way. I've learned far more from this one book than any other I own.

                      The Ebay rip off artists usually list it for $70-$80 in north america, It's much cheaper to order it from either Hemingway Kits or Tee Publishing. Both are in the U.K. Including shipping, it usually works out to about $40.

                      Last edited by uncle pete; 07-09-2012, 05:10 AM.


                      • #12
                        About twice a year, the handbook is helpful (not essential, just "helpful"). The rest of the time it takes up space (they do, really, I have 3 or 4 around in various places).

                        A few times I have tried to find data in it, but the info was not there. odd tapers, mostly.

                        I don't think you need it....... but no harm in having one.

                        Keep eye on ball.
                        Hashim Khan


                        • #13
                          I bought the MHB 27 (small print/desk-top) version as well as the CD - new from Machinery Publishing.

                          Ever since I got it I regretted not getting the larger print version.

                          I prefer the print version as there are sometimes problems with the CD version so I took it off my machines if for no other reason that it is tied to and will not operate with out a genuine copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. I will not let any Adobe software on my machine - hence no MHB on my machine.

                          There are plenty of "cracked" PDF versions of MHB27 "out there" but depending on your machine you may need the "Irfanview" (free)
                          screen capture" utility and save and print the page/s you want.

                          I will usually find the page/s I need in the printed copy and call it up in the "on-screen" PDF format.

                          The problem with MHB is not only that stuff can be hard to find but knowing what you need and limiting yourself to that alone.

                          In many cases you do need a bit more than a basic knowledge of your topic as well as being able to use the maths and tables etc. and limiting it to the level you need for the job in hand.


                          • #14
                            One plus point for the CD is that you can do keyword searchs. This can and has been useful when searching for some obscure issue that is not indexed.

                            The down side, at least with my copy, is that the security is so tight that half the time I can't get in without a lot of messing around.

                            Google now pretty much finds what I need most of the time anyway.


                            PS: It also has interactive equations. But then Google has a whole host of calcuators.

                            PPS: Now I'm beginning to understand why I haven't opened my handbook more than twice in the last year.


                            • #15
                              I figure my shop technology level is late 1950s at best, so an older edition of MH fits right in. I've got the 21st edition, I think,and a 6th edition.
                              Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                              Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                              Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                              There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                              Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                              Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie