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Machinery's Handbook

Which Edition to buy

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Gray6223/08/2013 12:30:45
1053 forum posts
16 photos

I've been looking at buying a copy of machinery's handbook (my mate wants his back!)

Any suggestions on which edition is best to go for.

There are plenty to choose from on flea-bay.

Or does anyone have a copy they are willing to part with at a reasonable sum?


David Jupp23/08/2013 12:41:38
790 forum posts
17 photos

Be aware they come in different sizes - I struggle a bit with text size in my own 'Toolbox' copy (even with my reading glasses). 'Larger Print' version or even CD-ROM version could be worth considering - CD version has extra content.

As for Edition - I suspect relatively little changes each year, but probably worth aiming for a fairly recent one.

Edited By David Jupp on 23/08/2013 12:42:22

Roderick Jenkins23/08/2013 13:00:45
2129 forum posts
586 photos

I've got the 25th edition. In the preface it says that information on British threads has been restored in this edition at the request of agricultural engineers - suggesting that this had been removed from some earlier editions. You might want to look at the Amazon marketplace. Mine was supposed to be second hand but when I got it it was still shrinkwrapped from new. In general I think the earlier editions are more suited to the model engineer in that they give information on production methods that are no longer used in industry.



Trevor Drabble23/08/2013 15:36:44
265 forum posts
5 photos


Have got a number of these to sell. Will check prices on flea-bay. Would aim to be below these, and will then PM you.



IanT23/08/2013 15:50:27
1917 forum posts
185 photos

Hi CB,

I've got both the 10th and 19th Editions.

Although I tend to use the 19th more, I've found that there are some things not covered in the 19th, that are in the 10th, so I've held on to both of them.

As far as I can tell, they both cover just about everything you are likely to need routinely in normal work but I guess as newer 'technology' comes along, the older stuff gets slipped out of the latest Editions. On this basis, I think any version would be pretty useful but strangely enough, the older versions might just have some info, that whilst long obsolete in Industry could be very useful to a Model Engineer (as Rod says).

I guess a fairly recent Edition would be a good choice but you certainly don't need the latest/newest one. I didn't pay a lot for either of my two copies, so I'd probably look out for one in a S/H bookshop (19th) or Charity Shop (10th) and be guided by the price.

I also use the Tubal Cain reference book very regularly although there is nothing like the depth of detail as there is in a Machinery's Handbook. My TC is well thumbed (e.g. black!) in certain areas and for simple things (drill tapping sizes etc) it tends to be the first thing I turn to on the bookshelf when I can't find the Zeus Tables anywhere (because i've put it down and the little man has moved it!!)



Bazyle23/08/2013 16:20:03
6081 forum posts
221 photos

A few months ago i was making some calculations on a spreadsheet concerning something designed a hundred years ago and kept getting a small but important error. Then I tried using the 5 figure tables in MH instead of the whizz bang computer and it suddenly agreed spot on with the old design. Sometimes we can be caught out by modern methods.

That little man has nicked my Zeus tables too. I wonder if someone could produce wallpaper printed with useful data.

jason udall23/08/2013 17:06:48
2030 forum posts
41 photos
Bazyle..that leads me to share a suspicion that I have.
The various Morse taper s..why are they nearly but not the same?angle. .and why does the error step and reduce though out the series...
I think rounding error is the explanation. fits the cyclic nature of the error or variation between the taper and the notional angle ..the start diameters are arbitrary and the length and final diameter are finite precision.

Navigation trig tables of the 19th and early 20th century carried the warning to report all errors found ( they may still) seem to remember 6 figures. I
NJH23/08/2013 17:18:48
2314 forum posts
139 photos


Like Rod I too have the 25th edition and mine, also bought S/H, looks to be new. There is all the information in it that I can conceivably need ( and quite I bit that I doubt I will ever need!) It sits on the shelf behind me in my study. I agree too that Tubal Cain's Model Engineers Handbook provides a speedy reference for most things and , of course, the ubiquitous Zeus for the workshop. In addition I have printed out lists of my most used tapping/clearence drill sizes, comparative imp/metric drill sizes- with the sizes I have highlighted- and mounted them behind clear acrylic sheet on the workshop walls.



Metalhacker23/08/2013 18:37:53
76 forum posts

Tubal Cain and for that matter Harold Hall's reference book are most likelyallyouwill need, but... I have a 21st edition, redundant library stock when I lived inOz, which is very rarely used, aand the latest pocket edition which is already well thumbedsince it came for my birthday at thebeginnig of thismonth. Son is a marineengineer....... It even has gcode tables in it if that is your bag.

sorry about the elliterations. Touch screens hate me. Perhaps I am a bad conductor!



ps my stuff from Tubal Cain is printed out and laminated. Really useful thing to do.

Stub Mandrel24/08/2013 10:27:35
4311 forum posts
291 photos
1 articles

I have an 18th edition, given to me by a colleague who came into work one day and said "you're into engineering stuff aren't you?"

Much that is very useful, as a modeller the information on older stuff is perhaps more useful than knowing a lot of stuff a modern design engineer would find essential. For example it allowed me to work out what size of chain would be appropriate for a 1:12 scal model of a crane, knowinmg its safe working load.

Alas, my copy isn't old enough to cover ziggurats.

I suspect the ideal is to have a relativelty recent copy to cover macjhing processes and materials, and an old one for better understanding the whys and wherefores of the design of old machines and mechanisms.

I also have a copy of the Country Gentleman's Association handbook from around the Great War. It introduces concrete as if it is a new and unfamiliar material for most - strange given that the Romans used it.


David Standing 115/01/2018 10:08:49
1296 forum posts
50 photos

If anyone is considering reporting the above as a bit of apparent commercial advertising (and his other post, also plugging ebooks), I have just done it.

Gordon W15/01/2018 10:49:12
2011 forum posts

I have the 11th edition, found in a bin about 50 yrs. ago. I still use it and still read it for fun!. Lots of info. about old methods which are still useful for model engs. etc. I would get as old as possible and a general modern book for actual information on fits, threads etc.

Brian H15/01/2018 10:51:58
2239 forum posts
113 photos

If you do buy the CD version please make sure that it will play on your version of Windows, some of the earlier ones will only work on Win 95 and the system that Microsoft uses for compatibility doesn't work on newer versions of Windows.


Muzzer15/01/2018 11:49:20
2904 forum posts
448 photos

I've got a hardback copy of 28th but it seems the copyright isn't well policed, given the number of PDF downloads out there.

I suspect most copies have had very little use if any. Perhaps a half dozen pages have been opened and the rest have never seen the light of day. But like most reference books, when you need them there is no simple substitute, - apart from the internet these days....


J Hancock15/01/2018 13:44:15
776 forum posts

Have you tried abe , a very good website for books like this.

HOWARDT15/01/2018 13:47:15
799 forum posts
28 photos

I use the 10th edition, 1941 fourth printing. In the fly leaf it say's total issue 370,000, so should be plenty out there. Also a Newnes Engineers Manual, also fourth edition but 1942. Both still smell of old engineering workshop.

Dunc15/01/2018 14:45:27
138 forum posts

Google has an online version of the 5th edition, c.1915 for d/l - must be out of copyright

Martin 10015/01/2018 15:29:25
274 forum posts
6 photos

I've got a copy of Machinerys Handbook 'indoors' maybe 20 years old and rarely used.

These get far more use



Both are available from elsewhere, the latter is a lot cheaper on ebay (£20 ish) and in an 'international edition'

There is also a link near the back of the black book and a code on a hologram to get a free drill/tapping wallchart.

Enough!15/01/2018 16:13:08
1719 forum posts
1 photos

Another 5-year old thread.

I really think it would help if the "Latest Posts" listing would give the Original Creation date as well as the title-creator-topics info.

richardandtracy15/01/2018 16:17:27
943 forum posts
10 photos

I use the 22nd edition at work. That & Roark 6th edition (for stress analysis) covers everything I need.

There is a 30th edition online at the internet archive. Not sure how kosher the copyright is on that one. I suspect it's not legal.



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