Must Have Machinists Tools | Essential Machine Shop Tools List | CNCLATHING


If you are going to become a beginner machinist, the right tools will make sense in getting started quickly and smoothly. The work of each machine shop and every machining job differs from others, so there are no universal tools ideal for everyone. Know about the basic tools for machinists and choose the best one or create your customized toolbox that suits your needs. Here we put the recommended must have machinist tools for CNC machine shop or manual work.

Essential and Basic Tools for Machinists - Common Machine Shop Tools List

1. Calipers

The caliper, recommended by almost every machinist and related articles, is an essential machinists tool used to measure the accurate distance between two opposite sides of an object. To measure the object, adjust the caliper tip to fit the point to be measured, then remove the caliper and measure the distance between the tips using a measuring tool such as a ruler. Many types of calipers allow measurements to be read on a ruled scale, a dial, or a digital display. You can choose dial calipers or digital types, both have advantages and disadvantages, store them in proper conditions, as their quality will affect the precision of the machined components.


2. Dial Indicator

Dial indicator is a type of gauges, also known as dial test indicator, dial gauge or probe indicator, is an instrument provides a dial display with clock hands similar to a clock face, used to measure small linear distances. Dial indicator is a versatile tool with a multitude of uses, such as to measure deck clearances, crankshaft thrust and straightness, lifter travel, or square your vice with the machine axis, allows you to get a reliable measurement distance, the most common dial indicator reads in .001-inch increments over a range of 1 inch.


3. Edge Finder

Edge finder, also known as wiggler, wobbler, center-finder or laser-centering-device, it is a tool used in or on a machine like a mill, to accurately align the machining tool with the center, edges, layout markings, or already machined features of the workpiece during the set-up phase during machining or other operations. Edge finders are also acting well in zero setting on CNC machine, they are usually held in a collet, end mill holder or chuck mounted in a mill or drilling machine spindle.


4. Combination Square Set

The combination square set is a measuring tool designed to measure angles and lengths and serves for woodworking, metalworking, construction job, and more purposes, it is composed of a ruler and one or more interchangeable heads that may be affixed to it, the commonly used head is the standard or square head, which is used to lay out or check right and 45°angles. It also can be used to find the center on the ends of shafts. A good 6” or 12” combination square are good option. 


5. Micrometers

A micrometer, also known as a micrometer screw gauge, is a device incorporating a calibrated screw widely used for accurate measurement of mechanical engineering and CNC machining components, including the diameters, thickness, length, and other dimensions. Check out our article for a guide to micrometer involves how to read a micrometer, micrometer definition, components and measurement.


6. End Mill Starter Set

An end mill is a type of milling cutter used for the milling process. End mills from the drill bit in its application, geometry, and manufacture, it can be used to make various shapes and holes in varying sizes, as well as profiling, contouring, slotting, drilling, reaming, etc. End mill starter kit includes tools in different specifications, without it, you can’t complete lots of operations in machining.


7. Calculator with Sine, Cosine & Tangent

A basic machinists hand tool you should have in your toolbox. Scientific calculator is most used for trigonometry and working out your feeds and speeds. Choose any calculator or small inexpensive Windows-compatible laptop.


8. 6″ Scale (Ruler)

6″ scale ruler is a tool to measure lengths and transfer measurements at a fixed ratio of length, it may be the most used tool for every type job, measuring parts manufactured in different processes and other purposes. Many versions are available on the market.


9. Deburring Tool

Deburring tool is used to remove burrs and other defects from the inner and outer surface, hole edges, corners of narrow slots, and more areas formed in the machining and cutting process, it’s also useful when rounding out rough edges and removing chatter marks, more convenient and faster than using a file.


10. Machinists hand tools 

Some common hand tools you can consider:

– Metric & Standard Allen Wrench set (hex key): used for driving bolts and screws with a hexagonal socket

– 12″ Crescent Wrench (adjustable wrench): with a one fixed jaw, while the second jaw can move left or right, commonly used when addressing problems such as a loose seat on a bicycle.

– Ball-peen hammer (machinist’s hammer): good option for working with metal, used to drive cold chisels, set rivets, and bend and shape metal.

– Soft hammer: bend and shape metal without causing surface damage.

– Automatic Center Punch: used to mark the center of a point, such as hole center in drilling.


11. Gage

– Telescoping gauge: a measuring tool with spring-loaded plunges used together with a micrometer to measure the inside of holes or bores. 

– Radius gauge set: used to measure the radius of an object. 

– Center gauge: used in lathe work for checking the angles when grinding the profiles of centers.

– Feeler gauge: used to check spacing and gaps of dies or any machinery during set-up or repair and critical clearances of manufactured components.

–  1” gauge block: used as a reference for the calibration of measuring equipment used in machine shops, such as micrometers, sine bars, calipers, and dial indicators

In addition to these, there are many tools used in the machine shop, such as files, anti-fatigue mat, notebook, pencil, sharpie, grinding wheel, etc. Customize your toolbox according to the basic machine shop tools list for machinists and your requirements, of course, these tools also play a role in other fields and applications. uses a set of machinists tools every to check and measure our CNC manufacturing parts to ensure quality and accuracy.