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Checklist: Must-have Machinist Tools for Your Workshop

Table of Contents

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    For every machining project, there are always many machinist tools that can be used for them. However, only an ideal tool can provide the best in terms of efficiency and productivity. Being a machinist means having access to different projects. Most people would expect a universal tool for working on such projects. However, different jobs require different tools. Therefore, it is ideal to know about the list of machine tools that is ideal for every project type.

    This article will show you the important machinist tools that you will need for your projects. To make it easy to get, we will divide it into three categories. Each category contains extremely needed and relevant tools. All you need is to read the article, get a quality toolbox, and buy those within your budget. Let’s get right on the machine shop tools list.

    Categories One: Precision Measuring Machinist Tools

    This category contains a list of machine tools that are vital in measurement. Below are important ones that you will want to include in your toolbox.

    ·        Calipers


    The caliper is one of the important machinist measuring tools for those just beginning into machining. It is a machinist tool used to measure the distance between an object opposite two opposites accurately.

    To measure using the calipers, fix the tips on the two points in the area of measurement. Remove the points and measure the distance between the tips without a ruler or other available tools.

    There are many types of calipers. Some even allow measurement reading using other tools such as a ruled scale, a dial, or a digital display. Depending on what you want, you can choose between a dial or digital caliper. However, both have merits and demerits. Therefore, you should store them properly since bad storage can affect their precision.

    ·        Dial Indicator

    dial indicator

    A dial indicator is another tool of the many machinist measuring tools used in many machining operations. It has a dial display with clock hands used to measure small linear distances.

    We mentioned the dial indicator in the last tools, which shows how versatile they are. Their versatility has little boundaries. For example, they are important in deck clearances measurement, crankshaft thrust and squaring of vice with the machine axis.

    ·        Micrometer


    A micrometer is one of the most common machine shop tools and equipment needed by beginners. It is not the most common because they know the tool’s use, not from machining, but because we all remember physics.

    It is also called a micrometer screw gauge and has wide incorporation in accurate measurement of diameter, thickness and length of objects.

    Like machinist tools such as calipers and dial indicators, micrometers also come in digital, dial, and vernier styles. Each one differs in price. However, our recommendation is to use a digital type since it removes the likelihood of errors during reading. It would be best to tailor it to the size of the project you are handling and the price. If you have a non-digital micrometer screw gauge, you can click here on how to use the micrometer screw gauge.

    ·        Combination Square Set

    combination square set

    A combination square set, also known as a combination square, is another machine shop equipment tool you must have in your toolbox. It is a general tool, however well applicable in machining where it is used in measuring angles and length. Some people also find it ideal for checking for the center of a shaft’s end and checking the square. However, this is to a reasonable degree.

    ·        Edge Finder

    edge finder

    Edge finder is a handy and cheap machine shop equipment that should be found in a machining toolbox. While they may not be acutely necessary, their handiness and price make them an ideal part of many machining processes. They are suitable for figuring the tool position such that aligning is an easy process.

    Categories Two: Hand Machinist Tools

    Hand machinist tools are another set of tools that should make your machining shop tools list. Below are a few important tools.

    ·        Allen Wrench Set

    allen wrench set

    Hexagonal sockets are common sights in many machine shops. Driving nuts and bolts into them is not easy. However, with an Allen wrench set or Allen key or hex key, you have a small handy machine shop equipment used in driving them in

    ·        Adjustable Spanner

    adjustable spanner

    Depending on where you reside, you might have this under another name. The adjustable Spanner, also known as a Crescent wrench, is a spanner with an open end and a movable jaw. The jaw can be adjusted to accommodate different sizes. Therefore, it makes a better option than conventional spanners.

    ·        Hammer


    Hammers are not directly precision machinist tools. However, they are important tools that can help in achieving the right results. A hammer can be used to tap on parts of a workpiece such that they can fit. They are also be used in tapping the center punch and marking a workpiece with letters and numbers.

    ·        Center Punch

    center punch

    A center punch is very cheap. Yet, it is an integral machine shop equipment that you should have. They are ideal for marking positions on workpieces. Therefore, it is easy for the operator to note the position for drilling and other jobs.

    Category Three: Power Machinist Tools

    Three power tools are very important to have by a machinist. Below are the three:

    ·        Deburring Tools

    deburring tools

    Burrs are concentrated parts of a workpiece found majorly in drilled holes, corners and narrow slots, etc. Anywhere there is a cutting action, there is a huge tendency to have burrs. To remove such burrs, you need a deburring tool.

    Depending on the tool’s sophistication, there might be ease of removing the burrs in the inner and outer surface, hole edges, corners of narrow slots, etc. Generally, deburring tools are better than using files.  

    ·        Grinding Wheel

    Depending on the operations, there is a huge tendency to need a grinding wheel. A grinding wheel is a wheel made up of an abrasive compound used for grinding and other abrasive processes.  

    ·        Belt Sanders

    belt sander

    If you work with materials that need the human touch to shape and finish, you undoubtedly need a belt sander. A belt sander is made up of a rotor turning a drum mounted with sandpaper. Before using a belt sander, you should know about their aggressive actions on materials. Therefore, you should use them at the beginning stage or acutely when required.

    You can again go through our list of machine tools to know about tools such as the mills, gear, cutters, etc., that you might need for CNC machining to get top knowledge about them. 

    Category Four: Basic Machinists Tools

    This category contains a list of machine tools that are vital in day-to-day machining activities. While they are integral in daily machining activities, it does not mean they are universal tools. They are simply the tools you need in the majority of all projects. Below are the important ones you should take note of during your next tool shopping.

    ·        Calculator with Sine, Cosine & Tangent

    calculator with sine, cosine & tangent

    A very good machinist cannot do without a calculator. This is not the same as a grocery calculator. It must be a scientific calculator with special functions such as the sine, cosine, and tangent.

    A scientific calculator is vital in your toolbox because it is needed for trigonometry and speedy working out. Choosing one depends on what you need. You can choose a small and portable calculator or a scientific calculator installed on a PC. However, do not use a smartphone for such a project. A recommended approach is to use a laptop since it can sit in your workplace while improving access and getting the job done.

    ·        6” Scale Ruler

    6″ Scale (Ruler) as machinist tools

    Measuring parts of a workpiece is an integral process in any machining job. Therefore, the 6″ scale ruler is a tool that can measure the length and transfer the measurement at a fixed ratio of length.

    The 6″ scale ruler is arguably one of the most used tools in machining. It can measure different parts manufactured using different processes and for different purposes. There are many versions of the  6″ scale ruler, and you should choose the one with the right and required properties.

    ·        Pencil, Paper and Sharpie

    pencil, paper and sharpie as machinist tools

    The three tools listed might not look like tools to you. However, as a beginner, they will undoubtedly smoothen your jobs, thereby increasing efficiency and productivity.

    Paper and pencil come in handy when you have the habit of writing your things down. Sharpies are permanent markers, and they make writing on any surface an easy task. For example, sharpies are ideal for writing on greasy surfaces. Other types of markers will fade when they come in contact with oily surfaces. You can also wipe them off with alcohol-based solvents. However, the mark will still be on the surface.

    Outsource to Us at Rapid Direct

    rapid direct machining operations

    Getting to know the necessary machine shop tools and equipment you need is the right step if you have a workshop and want to get things done efficiently. However, if you want something different, what you must give your trust must be worth it. If you sincerely want the best, you should outsource to us at Rapid Direct.

    By choosing us, you have placed your assignment in reliable, capable and experienced minds. In Rapid Direct, we have a heightened understanding of machining operations, and it is easy for you to request our services. Therefore, it does not matter your schedule. You can easily use our online quotation and have your quotes delivered as your internet deems. At Rapid Direct, you are assured of quality, reasonable price, and faster lead time.


    As a beginner, it is important to know about some machinist tools to keep ahead of others. Whether you own your workshop or work in a workshop, knowing the right tools to buy can set you aside in productivity and efficiency. In order to make it easy, this article introduces three categories of machinist tools that are vital in every machining operation. We believe that you’ve gained something from the machine shop tools list. We also want you to experience the best by trusting us at Rapid Direct with your machining operations.


    What tools does a machinist need?

    There are many tools ideal for use by a machinist. However, the most important ones are the calipers, center punch, edge finder, dial, micrometer, 6″ scale ruler, etc. You can check them and other recommended machinist tools by going through the article.

    What is the job description of a machinist?

    A machinist is an individual that can operate machine tools towards producing metals and plastic parts accurately. A machinist can set up and operate different machine tools towards making a specified part during a production process.


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