Best Machinist Books 2021 [Updated]

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List of Best Machinist Books For Beginners & Experts 2021 [Updated]

There are many books that detail how to select and operate a lathe properly Shadychiri, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The art of machinery requires a lot of hands-on work and knowledge of the equipment used to fashion metal workpieces into different shapes, cuts, and sizes.

This equipment can be quite intimidating to use if you have had no prior experience as a machinist.

Even if you are a skilled machinist or metalworker, it is always helpful to understand the ins and outs of how machinery equipment works and what tools you may need to efficiently create your workpieces.

The following list of machinist books includes a variety of information regarding the selection, installation, and operation of different machinery tools.

Reference books are also included in this list as they can come in handy while working on different projects.

These books will benefit machinists of all skill levels and will reinforce best practices for those who needed a refresher or a better foundation in some areas.

1) The Home Machinist’s Handbook

Home Machinists Handbook
  • Briney, Doug (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 02/01/1984 (Publication Date) - McGraw-Hill Education (Publisher)

Recommended for: Beginners

The Home Machinist’s Handbook written by Doug Briney is a very comprehensive beginner’s book on machining and setting up your own shop. This is a great book to help you get started on your own machining projects.

The information covered includes an explanation of the requirements for a machinist’s shop. This information ranges from the tools you need to purchase and how to actually use them and store them adequately.

Some of the tools listed in this book are the lathe and mill. The other topics and techniques covered are grinding, measurements, turning, and threading.

Although the information is relatively rudimentary, people who need a good refresher on how to apply machining principles and techniques could benefit from reviewing the information supplied by this text. Intermediate machinists can keep this book in their library as a helpful reference.

Pros Cons
  • Great book for beginners
  • Great reference book
  • Experienced author
  • Includes list of tools
  • Helpful guide for setting up your own shop
  • Very basic information

2) Machinery’s Handbook

Machinery's Handbook Toolbox
471 Reviews
Machinery's Handbook Toolbox
  • Hardcover Book
  • Oberg, Erik (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Recommended for: Beginner to Advanced


The Machinery’s Handbook by Erik Oberg is an amazing reference book that all machinists should have in their collection. This books is filled with a wide range and depth of information for all types of machining and metalworking-related topics.

Due to the breadth of information presented in this book, it can be useful for a lot of people with different professional backgrounds. This book will serve a range of people including machinists, metalworkers, manufacturers, industrial engineers, toolmakers, engineering students, designers, and home hobbyists.

The information covered in the text is accompanied by equations, tables, graphs, and illustrations of different topics. Some of these topics include powder metallurgy, sheet metal and presses, and fluid power. Many standards are listed throughout the book as well as helpful tables of measurements and constant values needed for certain calculations.

Despite the fact that this book is definitely not a quick read or a book that is even meant to be read cover to cover, the wealth of reference information can come in very handy while working on any type of project that requires machining to some extent.

Pros Cons
  • Amazing reference book for people of all skill levels
  • Helpful tables, equations, and illustrations
  • Updated standards
  • Great for anyone interested in machine shop projects or related work
  • Comprehensive information
  • Not an easy read


3) Machining for Dummies

Machining For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
  • Hanson, Kip (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 312 Pages - 10/23/2017 (Publication Date) - For Dummies (Publisher)

Recommended for: Beginner to Intermediate

Although this book is called Machining for Dummies, it only attests the fact that it provides a thoroughly informative take on machining. This book was written by Kip Hanson and it focuses on a both the operation of common machinists’ equipment along with pertinent content regarding CNC programming.

The author is an expert in the machining industry who delivers useful and practical information on how to become a skilled machinist yourself to embark your journey in this career field. He describes the tools and supplementary equipment you need to learn how to use for various types of machining applications.

The machining techniques included in this text are drilling, milling, and turning. Other metalworking techniques and skills are also discussed in detail.

The robotics aspect of the machining industry is well-presented in this text. This aspect of the trade is become incredibly important for up and coming machinists as it is the future of the industry. The text will show you how to operate the computer-controlled machines, which is an immensely lucrative skill for a machinist at this point in time.

The skills taught by this book can both improve your knowledge of machining and advance your skill level as a machinist. This information will help you compete in this industry as a formidable candidate for a machinist position, teaching you how to create precisions metal parts using the right tools and instruments.

Pros Cons
  • In-depth information about the machinery industry
  • Author is an expert in the industry
  • Great information about CNC programming and computer-controlled machining equipment
  • Covers operation of mechanically-controlled equipment
  • Great for people trying to start or advance their skill level in the industry
  • Not meant to be a machinery reference book

4) The Milling Machine for Home Machinists

The Milling Machine for Home Machinists (Fox Chapel Publishing) Over 150 Color Photos & Diagrams; Learn...
  • Hall, Harold (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 120 Pages - 04/01/2013 (Publication Date) - Fox Chapel Publishing (Publisher)

Recommended for: Beginner to Intermediate

The Milling Machine for Home Machinists written by Harold Hall is an incredibly detailed book that teaches you how to choose and operate a milling machine for your home workshop.

This incredible guide uses color photos and diagrams to emphasize the clear explanations and important information about milling machines presented in this book. Selecting a milling machine is one of the first steps of curating your own machine shop and this book does a great job helping you find which machine is right for you.

A remarkable aspect of this book is the way in which it takes into account different situations and scenarios for someone learning how to choose, install, and operate a milling machine. The author takes into account how difficult it may be to accommodate your milling machine for the different types of applications, shapes, and sizes of workpieces that your may come across.

The different types of applications are discussed in detail along with how to angle your equipment to optimize its performance for its applications. This book also goes a step further and also gives the reader guidelines on how to properly maintain your milling equipment and tools.

The information about milling machines in this book can be really useful for a novice machinist learning how to set up their equipment.

Pros Cons
  • Detailed information on how to to select, install, and operate a milling machine
  • Great for beginner to intermediate machinists setting up their own shop
  • Experienced author
  • Does not focus on professional machinery industry

5) Basic Lathework for Home Machinists

Recommended for: Beginner to Intermediate

Basic Lathework for Home Machinists by Stan Bray is an extensive book detailing the various aspects of the lathe and lathework itself for hobbyists building up their home workshop.

This book will help you select the appropriate lathe for the work you will need it to do and whether you need a new or used lathe. The author describes the various types of lathes available and the features that will define whether or not they will work for your particular needs. This information is accompanied by the tooling you may need alongside the lathe to facilitate its operation.

The advice on how to install the lathe in your workshop is equally useful. Setting up the lathe properly is an important step in setting up your home workshop. This step will help you determine which set up is adequate for the types of projects on which you will be working.

The topics regarding the actual operation of the lathe include common skills like taper turning, threading, and boring.

Along with information on cutting tools and modern applications of lathework, the author summarizes the important guidelines and rules you need to adhere to in order to operate the equipment safely. This advice will allow you to perform lathework in a safe and practical manner as a home machinist.

The information presented by the author will best serve the needs of a beginner machinist of home hobbyist and more skilled individuals who would like a better foundation in lathework.

Pros Cons
  • Great for beginner to intermediate home machinists
  • Cover how to select, install, and operate lathe
  • Describes the construction and components of the lathe
  • Experienced author
  • Not meant for advanced machinists or people who have extensive knowledge of lathework

6) Metalworker’s Data Book for Home Machinists

Metalworker's Data Book for Home Machinists: The Essential Reference Guide for Everyone Who Works with...
  • Harold Hall (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 200 Pages - 09/11/2017 (Publication Date) - Fox Chapel Publishing (Publisher)

Recommended for: Beginner to Advanced

Metalworker’s Data Book for Home Machinists by Harold Hall is another informative book about metalworking by this author. However, this book is definitely more focused on numbers, specifications, and data.

This books serves as a useful reference and guide on metalworking, filled with important data, tables, charts, formulas, and symbols that are commonly used in metalworking projects. This information will greatly benefit both machinists in the industry, model engineers, or home machinists completing their own projects.

This self-proclaimed data book will give you al lot of the relevant information you need in order to properly machine your workpieces. This information includes drill sizes, thread data, screw cutting combinations, electrical components, and even hardware dimensions.

The best aspect of this book is that it will aid in both the design and manufacturing stage of a workpiece. This information will serve machinist of all skill levels as a lot of it is useful reference material.

Pros Cons
  • Great reference book for machinists of all skill levels
  • Useful data in charts and tables
  • Experienced author
  • Does not describe a particular machinery aspect in depth, more broad information and data


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