What’s the best way to find answers to machine shop questions? Today, people use the Internet for just about everything. Although there are other search engines, Google is the go-to for many searches. Google is easy-to-use, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find what you’re looking for. Even in our digital age, there’s a reason that the Machinery’s Handbook is still called the “Machinist’s Bible”.
Google Searches vs. Machinery’s Handbook
About a year ago, I had questions about two projects that were in the shop. First, I needed calculations so that I could determine the developed length for a bending job. Winn Manufacturing doesn’t have its own bending equipment, so I planned to send out the work. Second, I needed the dimensions for the V-groove on a B-size pulley so that I could order the correct replacement.
Like many people who use Google, I looked for answers on-line. Very quickly, however, I realized that I wasn’t going to find what I needed right away. The bending formulas were available, but the format wasn’t the way that I remembered it from trade school. Even worse, there’s almost nothing on-line that explains how to measure a V-groove on a pulley.
It was about this time that I saw my copy of the 20th edition of the Machinery’s Handbook. This “Machinist’s Bible” has a copyright date of 1975 (I bought it new) but the book was sitting on the corner of my desk. Within about 10 minutes, I had the bending formulas that I needed. I was also able to find the standard method of measurement for the pitch diameter of the V-groove for a B-size pulley groove.
Machine Shop Q&A and Your Desktop
Thanks to my “Machinist’s Bible”, I solved both problems within minutes by picking up a 42-year old reference book. The 20th edition of the Machinery’s Handbook spans 2482 pages because it contains the special metric thread section. I also have the 23rd and 26th editions of this very valuable reference. Here at Winn Manufacturing, I use all three of them.
Today, many people hear the word “desktop” and think about where to find the icons that run applications like web browsers. With a computer right in front of you, it’s easy to click the icon for Google Chrome whenever you have machine shop questions. Yet I would never use the Internet to research, say, the pitch diameter of a thread or for a keyway depth. My handbook just opens to these pages when I pick it up.
We may live in a digital age, but the “Machinist’s Bible” doesn’t go out of style. Over the years, there haven’t been many times that I couldn’t find the information I needed. Maybe I need to use it as my starting point for every machine shop question – just like I did 42 years ago. It’s not on my computer, of course, but that doesn’t mean it’s not on my desktop.
Great post Steve, so true. Your Machinery’s Handbook reminds me of my late grandfather’s King James Bible. But I’m guessing his had even more use.
When I saw the picture of the calipers and the Handbook I had to look at the volume sitting on my desk, it’s the eighteenth edition. I still have and use the Craftsman calipers my parents gave me when I graduated from high school. I also still have and use everyday the King James Bible my wife gave me just before we were married 46 years ago.
When your son is your age, it will still be accurate and current.