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Book suggestion, Mech Eng. Handbook

  1. Jul 19, 2012 #1
    I just recently finished my mechanical engineering studies and i'm looking for an all around handbook that will help refresh my memory and find a general good paths to solving engineering problems.
    I have two books in mind and i would like an opinion on which one is more useful (both have good reviews).

    The Books:
    1. Mechanical Engineering Reference Manual for the PE Exam, 12th Edition. Michael R Lindeburg.
    2. Marks' Standard Handbook For Mechanical Engineers. Avallone, Eugene a. (edt) ,Baumeister, Theodore (edt), Sadegh, Ali m.

    I appreciate your suggestions and opinions. hank you in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 19, 2012 #2


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    High-school drop-out chirping up here...
    I've always believed that there's no such thing as too many books. I know nothing about the two in question, or even the subject that they cover, and I assume that they're probably very expensive. Just wondering though... can you afford both?
  4. Jul 19, 2012 #3
    Thanks for your replay Danger.
    I can't afford both, they range from 130-200 bucks a piece.. That sure isn't cheap. And they are both pretty general books, they don't go down to small resolutions or exotic subjects such as a FEA or Heat Transfer books that cover the entire (or most) of the topic ..
  5. Jul 19, 2012 #4


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    In that case, I'll back off and let someone with experience give you advice. I'm sure that both have their strengths and their weaknesses; someone familiar with them can help you weigh those out. Happy hunting.
  6. Jul 19, 2012 #5


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    Both are excellent references in my opinion, I've been meaning to add the Mark's handbook to my collection for a while just haven't gotten to it. Basiclly I would say Danger's opinion is right that you never have too many books, although if money's tight and you can only buy one you can't really go wrong with either. I find the EIT Reference to be a useful guide for most engineering topics, although for more advanced topics in things like Heat Transfer, Thermodynamics, and Fluid Dyanmics I refer to my text books in those specific topics instead.

    I personally find my most useful references are the Lindeburg EIT Reference manual, Industrial Press Machinery's Handbook, and of course the standard Roark's Formulas for Stress and Strain.
  7. Jul 19, 2012 #6
    <gray-haired grumpy old engineer response>

    Mark's, et al, are very general references. Not bad, for what they are. They look impressive on your desk. As a practicing engineer, I have rarely opened my copy of it. And usually failed to find anything useful to apply to my current problem. Almost all of "real world engineering" is much more standardized and watered-down than the analytical rigor with black-white results and compact solutions that is taught in the university. The real world is gray, chaotic, confusing, and often irrational. Thank goodness for engineers.

    What other suggestions? Really, it all depends on what you do in your work. Buy the specific subject. Plan your budget for buying some every year as "educational expenses." My most recent purchase was about $300 for a variety of books for the subject of "Precision Engineering." A very narrowly-scoped, eclectic branch of machine design. I needed to know some background in order to bid on a project, and this was the (justifiable) cost of gaining that knowledge. Some suggestions:
    • Machinery's Handbook...the most practical & useful book on my shelf. Gives one all of the "practical shop floor" information that is never taught in the university.
    • Roark's formulas for stress & strain. I don't have a copy, never need to do extreme stress analysis. But those that do, rave about this resource.
    • The "Engineering Applications" sections of many various vendor catalogs of <put subject of choice here>. One of the best sources of info I've ever found, and usually free.
    • HVAC guys love...ummm....ummmm..."Crane's" handbook(s). Can't quite remember, not my field, but I know the HVAC guys love that, too.
    • Occasionally one finds (or is given) a little handbook of just formulas for various fields, but without any explanation of theory. I've found those to be useful.
    • Business and management and accounting and finance and human relations and communications subjects. Engineering subjects will allow you to function day-to-day in your job. Those other subject areas will advance your career.
  8. Jul 19, 2012 #7
    Thanks both for your replies;

    I guess that i want to "pop my book cherry" so the first one i want to purchase is going to be something a bit more general and not quit specific, something that will cover a range of topics and give good a sense of direction.
    Both of you mentioned the Machinery's Handbook, I'll give that a look and take it in to consideration. As for more advanced topics books; as i adapt and see what my career demands and what my interests will be in the future i will buy a book accordingly.

    I appreciate the advice and references, thanks.
  9. Jul 19, 2012 #8
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