Category Archives: Reviews

Machinist Square – What Shape Are Your Parts?

If you’re a new or home machinist, learning how to “square your parts” is one of the first things you should learn. There’s quite a few common tools that a machinist should have in their toolbox, and a Machinist Square is one of them.

Learning how to machine a part on a manual milling machine should be one of the first things in school. Eventually you will need to make parts with tighter tolerances, and flatness/perpendicularity are a big part of it. If your parts are trapezoidal because of tool deflection, I can guarantee that your parts will be rejected.

Machinist Square Set
Machinist Square Set

A good machinist square should be perpendicular/flat within .0002″ tolerance, and should be periodically calibrated so that it stays within spec. However, some squares have a different rating that depends on how accurate they are. A & B are the most common, with B being for the average consumer that doesn’t need extremely close tolerance parts.

A is the higher grade, and while it will cost more, it is what you will want for machining. Don’t skimp out and get the cheapest one you can find. You get what you pay for, and in CNC manufacturing these days, you want every advantage possible.

If you drop it and can see a dent or bend in it, it’s worthless. That’s why it’s critical that you take care of not only a machinist square, but all of your machining tools.

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Machinery’s Handbook – Every Day Machinist Tool

If you want to be any kind of a Machinist, or an Engineer for that matter, the first tool you should buy is the latest Edition of the Machinery’s Handbook. It is chalk-full of information, formulas, charts, and many other things that you will use on a daily bases.

The first edition was published back in 1914 for mechanical engineering and practical shop mechanics. Every few years a new edition is published with more/updated information about mathematics, formulas, materials, threading, and many other things involved in machining.

Any time you need to find a thread size/pitch, surface foot for a material, or just a mechanical formula for machining, this book covers more of that than any other book out there. For such a small amount of cash, you’d be losing without it.

Need to solve a trig problem? How about calculating thread dimensions? The machinery handbook is an engineer’s or machinist’s dictionary, and is filled with endless content that is relatively easy to find.

Machinery's Handbook - 29th

It may seem difficult to find things at first, but after using it a few times you will start to remember where each chart and specific pages are.

The 29th is the latest edition of this handbook and it just came out within two years ago. Do you need the latest edition? No. If you already have one that’s recent, there is not a NEED to get one. However, if you want to be updated on the latest threads, formulas, charts, and other new information that is coming out yearly, it would be a good idea to buy the latest version. Besides, it’s only about the cost of one half-inch end mill these days…

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CNC Machinist Tools

There are a lot of tools that a CNC Machinist will use over the years. Some only cost a few bucks, but tools that are required to check close tolerance parts can be hundreds of dollars a piece.

Having the right tools can be knowing the difference between having good parts or bad parts. If you have cheap or faulty equipment that’s giving you inaccurate readings, you are going to lose a lot of time after you find out your parts are rejected. We’ll go over some of the basic tools that a machinist should have.

Caliper

While a caliper isn’t the greatest tool for measuring precision parts, it’s good for getting dimensions within a couple thousandths. They’re relatively cheap, easy to easy, and easy to store. Every machinist should have a dial or digital caliper in their toolbox. It can be used in Inches or Millimeters.

Micrometer

If you want a more accurate reading than a caliper, you should have a set of micrometers in your toolbox as well. They are just about as easy to use, and some of them are accurate to the tenth.

Machinist Calculator

If you’re doing a lot of set-ups, you will NEED a calculator. Even if you’re a genius at math, some equations are better left solved with a calculator. If you really want to save time, the Machinist Calc pro is money well spent if you’re doing any kind of programming, as it has built-in formulas to give you proper feeds and speeds for each material.

Gage Blocks

Gage blocks are a must, whether you’re calibrating a part, or need a precise measurement. These blocks should also be calibrated once a year so you know they are accurate. They are also useful for setting parts up, as they can be used for a reference.

Gage Pins

Have close tolerance holes? To make sure your boring bar or reamer is doing its job correctly, you will need a box of gage pins covering every size hole up to the largest you need in .001″ increments.

Thread Gages

Thread gauges should also be in your tool line-up if you are putting threads in your parts. Go-no-go gauges are popular and easy to use. Having oversize threads will get your parts rejected, so having thread gauges is cheap insurance.

Drill Size Chart

Having a drill size chart will save you a lot of time and possibly scrapped parts in the long run. A drill size chart shows all the number and size drills you use with each thread size and pitch, and can be hanging on the wall next your your machine.

Machinist Calc Pro – The CNC Machinists Calculator

Are you looking for the latest technology in manufacturing? Tools, parts, and machines are advancing rapidly, and the speed of things have multiply in a matter of years. The Machinist Calc Pro is a perfect addition to your tool lineup, whether you’re an engineer, programmer, or CNC Machinist.

Trigonometry Math?

Struggle with right triangle math? Basic trig is a must in the Machining industry for calculating angles and part lengths. Fortunately, the Calc Pro can solve the equations for you. Uses trig functions, and you can operate with U.S. standard and metric units, saving you time and headaches.

Speeds & Feeds

If you want to succeed in Machining, efficiency is key. And to be efficient, you must have the best possible feeds and speeds set in every part program. If you don’t, you’re either wasting time, or you’re breaking tools too often (which is also wasting time). The Machinist Calculator automatically calculates the RPM speeds, cutting speeds, feed rate, and chip load. All you have to do is plug in the material, tool, machine info.

Advanced Drill And Thread Size Tables

No more need to look for your drill and thread charts. They’re right on the calculator, saving even more time.

Bolt Pattern Layouts

Have a hard time with bolt patterns? If you need to quickly trig out a bolt circle, just punch in the start angle, diameter, offsets, and number of bolts. It gives you all the x and y coordinates you need!

If you’re programming parts and want to save time, which equates to money, this calculator should be the next thing on your list of tools to buy. It’s very affordable, and you won’t need to dig through pages and pages of the machinist handbook to find drill sizes.

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