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27thmashinsistshandbook.jpgHow many reference books are so well-known that they spawn their own Wikipedia entries?  Wikipedia has this to say about the Machinery’s Handbook:

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Machinery’s Handbook for machine shop and drafting-room; a reference book on machine design and shop practice for the mechanical engineer, draftsman, toolmaker, and machinist (the full title of the 1st edition) is a classic reference work in mechanical engineering and practical workshop mechanics in one volume published by Industrial Press, New York, since 1914. The first edition was created by Erik Oberg (1881-1951) and Franklin D. Jones (1879-1967), who are still mentioned on the title page of the 27th edition (2004). Recent editions of the handbook contain chapters on mathematics, mechanics, materials, measuring, toolmaking, manufacturing, threading, gears, and machine elements, combined with excerpts from ANSI standards.

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In 1917, Oberg and Jones also published Machinery’s Encyclopedia in 7 volumes. The handbook and encyclopedia are named after the monthly magazine Machinery (Industrial Press, 1894-1973), where the two were consulting editors.

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A single glance at the table of contents gives an idea of how much information has found its way into the ‘Handbook over the past 90 years leading up to the publication of the current 27th edition, including:

  • Mathematics
  • Mechanics and Strength of Materials
  • Properties, Treatment, and Testing of Materials
  • Dimensioning, Gaging, and Measuring
  • Tooling and Toolmaking
  • Machining Operations
  • Manufacturing Processes
  • Fasteners
  • Threads and Threading
  • Gears, Splines, and Cams
  • Machine Elements
  • and Measuring Units
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Amazingly, the ‘Handbook continues to gather momentum with expansions this year including 30% more math coverage and new or revised material on cutting tools, screw threads, symbols and abbreviations, threads and threading, disc springs, properties on materials, sine bars, and sheet metal.  Besides the new material, the 27th edition takes a leap ahead of earlier editions in terms of organization with new individual indices for standards, materials and interactive equations as well as improved page layout and graphics.

The classic format for the ‘Handbook is the toolbox version, measuring 5″x7″ for easy use in the field, but the 27th edition is also available in a large print format (7″x10″ and handly for reading without glasses or in the office) as well as contained on a single CD-ROM.  The CD-ROM version installs as a PDF — encrypted to prevent theft — which is text searchable.  New for the 27th edition are interactive math equations in the CD-ROM version.  By clicking on a small icon in the PDF, you can link to the Industrial Press website to plug in your own numbers and see the results in real time.  (Note: using interactive equations does require the download and installation of an ActiveX control.)

It’s hard to describe the ‘Handbook briefly as it covers so much information, but suffice it to say that in the last week alone, we’ve used our copy to pick out an air compressor, understand the properties of drill coatings, look up the proper flux for a brazing job, reference welding symbols on a diagram we received, determine what size chain to use for a lifting job, and perform more conversions than we can count.

Put simply, Industrial Press isn’t exaggerating when they characterize the ‘Handbook as “the technical Bible for the engineering and metalworking industries.” 

Pricing direct from Industrial Press starts around $90 for the toolbox version, with book/CD-ROM combos starting around $160.  However, we did find some deals online for new and used copies, so it pays to look a bit.

Oberg, Erik, et. al. Machinery’s Handbook. 27th ed. Ed. Christopher J. McCauley, et. al. New York: Industrial Press, 2004. (Hardcover) ISBN: 0831127376

The 27th Machinery’s Handbook [Industrial Press]
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2 Responses to Book Review: The Machinery’s Handbook, 27th Edition

  1. Stuey says:

    I just wanted to say – via google, this entry is what introduced me to Toolmonger.com.

    The book’s been enligthening, but not exactly what I had been hoping for/expecting. I also wish I bought the large print edition.

    Also of interest to me (which I picked up shortly after purchasing this one) is the Metals Handbook, and the separate “Engineered Materials” Handbook.

  2. [...] We reviewed the then-new 27th edition of The Machinery’s Handbook, an awesome tome that no Toolmonger should be without. [...]

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