List of machine shops near me

List of machine shops near me DEFAULT has brought together all the tools, accessories, and replacement parts a bench top machinist needs.

What our customers say:

“I just wanted to give those of you at LMS a sincere “ Thank You” for providing the machines, accessories, parts and customer service to get me up to speed in this hobby! I just recently retired...and endless Frank Hoose videos convinced me that my life could not go on in retirement if I didn’t assemble a mini machine shop, even though I had zero experience at machining! Every order over the past several months...has been filled, shipped, and in my hands in consistently fast time...Thanks for being customer focused, knowledgeable, and conscientious!”

Tom T., 15-Oct-2020

What's New!

Closed Monday

Some people call it Columbus Day, others call it Indigenous Peoples Day. Whatever you call it, we're taking the day off -- Monday, October 11.

Our computers will work all weekend long taking your orders and we'll be back on Tuesday to ship them out.

Stand Cabinets in Stock

Stand cabinet for mini mill

For each mill and lathe we sell, we also offer a stand cabinet designed specifically for the machine. Each stand includes a chip/drip tray. In the stand itself is a storage cabinet with a door.

Perhaps the biggest news: For the first time since the pandemic began, we have all sizes of stands in stock! 

If you've been waiting to buy a machine until the matching stand was available, your wait is over. (That's a great way to save on shipping. When you purchase a machine, the stand cabinet -- along with any other tooling and accessories -- can ship with the machine at no extra charge.)

Check out the complete line of stand cabinets here.

HiTorque Machines In Stock

We have these HiTorque machines in stock and ready for shipment.

5100 HiTorque 7x16 Mini Lathe With its 500W brushless DC drive system, the 5100 HiTorque 7x16 Mini Lathe has the most low speed torque of any mini lathe. And features like the 4" 3-jaw chuck, cam-lock tailstock, full half-nuts, and apron gear shield make this lathe unique.

7350 HiTorque 7x16 Mini Lathe with DRO The 7350 HiTorque 7x16 Deluxe Mini Lathe incorporates all the goodness of our 5100 mini lathe, plus it includes an all-steel wedge-style quick change tool post set with five tool holders. In addition, the 7350 features digital readouts on the cross slide, compound rest, and tailstock quill, and it has metal handwheels instead of plastic.

Model 7500 HiTorque Bench Lathe The 7500 HiTorque 8.5x20 Bench Lathe features a power cross feed--a unique feature in lathes of this size. The 1000W brushless spindle drive motor provides tremendous low-end torque and continuously variable speed from 100-2000 RPM in both directions. It features our new control panel, which allows you to stop and then restart the lathe at a pre-selected speed.

Model 7550 HiTorque Deluxe Bench Lathe The 7550 HiTorque 8.5x20 Deluxe Bench Lathe has all the features of the 7500 bench lathe, plus it includes a DRO tablet that displays position of the carriage and cross slide; digital readouts on the compound rest and tailstock; an AXA quick change tool post set with five tool holders; anodized aluminum hand wheels, knobs, and levers with black anodizing in the hand wheels; and a full-length heavy-duty splash guard. In addition, the compound rest is modified to better accommodate a quick change tool post.

HiTorque Micro MillThe 4700 HiTorque Micro Mill features a powerful 250W brushless spindle drive motor, which offers tremendous low-end torque, speeds from 100-5000 RPM, and no gears or belts to shift. (No gears also makes it the quietest in its class.) And at 15.7" x 5.7", the mill table is huge! It has a 2 Morse Taper spindle for wide tooling availability.

Model 3990 HiTorque Mini Mill The 3990 HiTorque Mini Mill features an R8 spindle for wide tooling compatibility and a solid column for increased rigidity and reduced chatter. This mini mill has a larger X-Y table and more power (500W brushless DC drive) than its competitors.

Model 4190 HiTorque Deluxe Mini Mill The 4190 HiTorque Deluxe Mini Mill expands on the 3990 with a 3-axis digital readout (DRO) with Bluetooth and 7" tablet display, an electrically interlocked spindle lock for easy and safe tool changes, and machined aluminum handwheels and painted drill handles.

Model 6500 HiTorque Bench Mill The 6500 HiTorque Bench Mill is a step up in size, rigidity, and power compared to a mini mill. It provides a larger table (23.4" x 5.5"), more travel, and more horsepower (750W). The HiTorque Bench Mill incorporates a true quill and drill press-style handles for easy drilling. A button on the end of each handle reverses the spindle to make tapping easy. The new control panel, originally created for our 6700 large bench mill, includes a digital spindle speed display.

6700 HiTorque Large Bench Mill

The 6700 HiTorque Large Bench Mill is our largest mill -- a significant step up in size, rigidity, and power compared to a mini mill, or even our bench mill. This benchtop mill provides an even larger table (29.1" x 7.1"), more travel, and more horsepower (1000W). A simple belt change switches between low range and high range, giving you continuously variable spindle speeds from 80-5000 rpm. 

6750 HiTorque Deluxe Large Bench Mill

The 6750 HiTorque Deluxe Large Bench Mill is our top-of-the-line mill for home machinists. It has all the features of the 6700 HiTorque Large Bench Mill -- large 29.1"x7.1" table, powerful 1000W DC brushless spindle motor, and tapping mode, to name a few -- plus these deluxe features:

  • 3-axis DRO with Bluetooth and 7" tablet display
  • Power head lift system
  • Electrically interlocked spindle lock

Machines Currently Not in Stock

The machine you're looking for isn't shown above? Here is a list of the machines that we don't have in stock at the moment, along with their expected in-stock dates:

HiTorque Mills

  • 6550 HiTorque Deluxe Bench Mill, November 15

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5 Hard Lessons from a 28-Year-Old Startup Machine Shop Owner

The heart of the shop’s machining capability is this VMX42i machining center from Hurco. The machining center it replaced had what proved to be too small of an envelope — Mr. Donaworth had to turn away some opportunities to machine large tools. For his second machining center, he purchased as much size and capability as he could. Read the shop’s story below.

Do you like setup? That is, at the machine tool, in preparing for a job, do you like the work of thinking through how the part should be held, how the part should be machined and how to efficiently put the setup in place?

Dan Donaworth does. He likes setup, and he says this seemingly small preference is important to the success he’s had so far. He is the president, founder and sole employee of Dan’s Custom Machining in Williamsburg, Ohio, the four-year-old shop that became his only employment when he quit his day job late last year at age 27. (He is now 28.) And when Mr. Donaworth mentioned this characteristic about himself — that he enjoys setup — that was a moment in which I could immediately relate. I believe I understand, because when people ask me if they might be suited to my work, writing, I ask them: Do you like paragraphs?

To write is to make paragraphs. You ought to appreciate paragraphs, or you won’t enjoy what you’re working with moment by moment and day by day. In the same way, to be the owner of a startup job shop is to do setups, lots of setups, and success comes from doing them quickly and well. Trying to build a new business is so challenging. It is valuable, even essential, that the one who is building it at least enjoy the daily realities of the work.

Today, what it takes to launch and succeed with a startup machining business is arguably becoming a more important and relevant question. From a macro view, we need more machining businesses — we need more shops. Many decades-old job shops in the United States will close or be acquired in the coming few years, as their baby-boomer founders reach retirement without successors. New shops founded by millennial entrepreneurs could be a partial answer and could take up opportunities these shops leave behind. Yet from a more micro-level view, realizing this solution is challenging. New shops face high barriers to thriving. OEMs’ increased reliance on established and certified supplier networks keeps new shops from winning the kind of high-value work that can help them find stability and start to grow.

New shops face high barriers to thriving. OEMs’ increased reliance on established and certified supplier networks keeps new shops from winning the kind of high-value work that can help them find stability and start to grow.

Mr. Donaworth seems to be pulling it off. Business is growing year on year, and the variety of current customers and the work they are likely to bring suggests 2020 will be the shop’s most lucrative year yet. But there is no end to worries and challenges, and no sense that this shop has necessarily found a reliable, winning formula. Indeed, likely there is no certain formula for success as a startup job shop, just essential ingredients: good fortune, commitment and relationships. Mr. Donaworth leveraged all three. His experiences are worth sharing as an example of a journey many other young machinists aspire to take, and a dream many of them wish to see realized.

I visited him and spent time talking with him in his shop. Here is what living the dream looks like:

1. Part-Time Is the Hard Road That Comes First

On a resume, Mr. Donaworth would appear to have been a job-hopper. In 10 years, from ages 17 through 27, he worked in machining-related roles with seven different employers. Though he never stayed in one place long, he departed on good terms with all of these companies, he says. As evidence, some of the former employers are now his customers. In each case, it was clear to the employer he wasn’t leaving for a better wage, but instead he was leaving because the next job was more challenging and offered him the chance to experience still more about machining or machine tool technology. Through all this time, it was apparent to people around him that he loved machining, and they all knew it was the work of his life.

how the machine shop began: Mr. Donaworth bought this lathe

Here is how the machine shop began. Mr. Donaworth bought this lathe with the idea of manufacturing a friend’s invention. That product never materialized, but a new machining business did.

Even so, the dream to start his own shop was not one he was confident he would pursue. “The money scared me,” he says. The steady wage of an employee was more comfortable than the uncertain income of a small shop. But the dream was there; when he bought a house at age 21, he chose a property with a large shed that could house a small shop. Later, when a friend had an idea for a new product (a fishing reel design), he bought a manual lathe so he could manufacture it, and he had the building wired for three-phase electrical power. That new product never came about, but by that point Mr. Donaworth was far along with equipping a shop — far enough to continue. He bought a manual mill and won a customer, Superalloy Manufacturing Solutions (previous GKN, until Superalloy bought a local facility from this company), one of his former employers.

“The money scared me,” he says. The steady wage of an employee was more comfortable than the uncertain income of a small shop. But the dream was there….

What began then was a three-year period of working in the shop part-time in addition to working full-time as an employee elsewhere. The employer during this time was GE Aviation, where Mr. Donaworth worked as a machinist. And the “part-time” in his shop looked very much like full-time in its own right. For two years, he worked third shift at GE, then 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in his own shop. For one year after that, he worked a Friday-Sunday shift at GE, with Monday-Thursday devoted to Dan’s Custom Machining.

This period of time was often dismal, he says. His wife Chelsea Donaworth would frequently shake him out of bed, reminding him, “This is your dream!” Above, I mentioned good fortune as one of the ingredients for success. A big part of Mr. Donaworth’s good fortune is found here: in having found and married a spouse who reminds him what his dreams are.

2. Cash Flow Is the Life of the Business

The fact that Mr. Donaworth was scared about money simply reveals that he understood the challenge correctly. Income for a small shop is unpredictable while the expenses are numerous. Indeed, being a young startup shop is in some ways more expensive than operating as a shop that is more established.

Another important stroke of good fortune Mr. Donaworth enjoyed was this: Through ages 23-24, he had a lucrative job — annual income above $100,000 — involving fabricating parts in the field for machine service. The good fortune was joined with good sense; he saved much of his earnings from this work, and the savings became the cash foundation for the business he would ultimately launch.

RELATED: See Dan’s Custom Machining in action. “The Cool Parts Show” visited Dan’s for test machining with a 3D printed end mill. Watch the episode here.

Math told him when the moment had come when he could go out solely on his own. The production ramp-up of the F110 fighter aircraft promised to bring him a steady flow of work machining tooling for his customer Superalloy, and this flow by itself could be just enough to sustain the shop. A small amount of prototyping work from a major company in the area, Procter & Gamble, assured a little extra revenue beyond this minimum. With just this much, Mr. Donaworth could support himself and begin to grow the business.

But he wouldn’t be thriving. At present, he pays himself a salary of $24,000. His wife’s income helps support the household. Income from the machine shop largely goes back into the machine shop.

“People interested in the cost of a shop always ask me what machines I’ve bought,” he says. “The machine is just a fraction of the cost. The costs go way beyond this. There’s also workholding, gages, cutting tools. You’ll spend $6,000 just on dowel pins.”

“The machine is just a fraction of the cost. The costs go way beyond this. There’s also workholding, gages, cutting tools. You’ll spend $6,000 just on dowel pins.”

Cutting tools in particular are notably costly. Dan’s Custom Machining does aerospace-quality work, which requires high-end tools along with shrink-fit toolholding. Yet the shop is also a job shop, and a hungry one at that. It has to be ready for any job that comes, and it has to be ready to jump at short-lead-time opportunities. The only way to do this is to have a large and costly inventory of tooling on hand and ready to use, he says. This highlights how success can bring savings, because a well-established shop with steady production contracts could better predict its tooling needs and thereby spend less on tooling.

“Doing one-offs means you do not have the option to go cheap on tools,” Mr. Donaworth says.

3. The Machine Tools Are Both Too Much and Never Enough

He says he wanted to own his own shop so he could make his own decisions about the machining technology he uses — not muddle through with the resources chosen for him by an employer. He enjoys that privilege now, but getting to exercise this choice is demanding. His newest and most sophisticated machine tool, a VMX42i machining center from Hurco, “cost more than my house,” he says.

home and business are on the same property

One of the pleasures of being a shop owner in the case of this shop: The commute is a breeze. Mr. Donaworth’s home and business are on the same property.

Yet he has seen the importance of making the stretch — buying all the capacity he can afford. His first programmable mill was affordable, but he has to tend this machine. He can never get far from it while a job is running. His first full CNC machining center fit the financing he could get at the time, but its travels ultimately proved too small. There was potential tooling work from his primary customer he couldn’t accept. The Hurco machine’s travels are much larger. He notes this machine also has the rigidity to work faster by realizing heavier material removal rates, and its conversational control will be an asset to him when the day inevitably comes that he seeks to hire and develop an employee.

The challenge related to equipment financing is one that vexes him. His parents urged him to attend college, and he did so to honor them, but he knew he wanted to be a machinist and he continued in this work during his schooling. Later he discovered how the availability of loans seems to exert this very same bias and pressure. “I can easily get a college loan for any questionable subject I might want to study,” he says. Why is it so difficult to get financing along a different path, building an industrial business?

4. Business Comes from Relationships

Again, Mr. Donaworth was once employee of his current customer, Superalloy Manufacturing Solutions. A friend still working for Superalloy at that time connected him with the purchasing department there. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten the work,” he says. Indeed, his decade of job hopping was unintentionally a decade of establishing relationships with future clients. At the moment I paid him a visit, every one of his active clients except for Procter & Gamble was a former employer.

Relationships matter, he says. Relationships are practically essential. “The days of knocking on doors and getting business are over,” or at least this has been his experience. Ditto the promise of digital marketing — what effort he has been able to give to email and social media outreach has brought him little result. (Discounting the fact that you are reading this article now because social media is how I first became aware of him.)

Relationships matter, he says. Relationships are practically essential. “The days of knocking on doors and getting business are over.”

He attends to relationships because he knows how much the people he interacts with matter. “Purchasing people tend to like me. I get quotes back fast,” he says. Machine tool service people are also valuable; they visit a lot of plants. “I find connections through my connections,” he says. This is the only viable avenue he has found to finding new business.

Significantly, his machine tool supplier could say much the same. Mr. Donaworth was not committed to buying a Hurco machine. However, he appreciates the machine tool distributor representing this builder, Reynolds Machinery. He feels he gets the attention of this distributor despite the small size of his shop. The machine tool supplier would have to argue that relationship is the reason why it won business as well.

5. The Challenges Are Personal, So the Rewards Have to Be, Too

He likes setup. He likes the challenge of it — figuring out how to successfully hold and machine a part with difficult features. “There is no better feeling than overcoming an obstacle,” he says.

By contrast, what he hates is the stress. This never ends. Week after week, there is always the challenge of obtaining more work and the question of whether more work will come.

The shop once suffered through a two-month spell in which three small jobs were the only work. Cash in reserve let the shop endure. “I have enough that if I hit a three-month shutdown, I would be OK.” He hopes this never happens, but that much buffer is there. It answers the stress just enough to make the way forward manageable.

If the stress is greater, the heartache and the slog are at least reduced. Before he went out solely on his own, when he was working in his own shop while also working for an employer, there was nothing to do except to work all the time. It was understood among Mr. Donaworth’s family members and friends: He missed special occasions. He missed holidays. He had to keep working. Since going out on his own, that part is over. He takes holidays off and he makes it to special occasions now.

The income might not come. This is true for any of us, of course, but the startup shop owner works every day staring directly at that reality. On many days, something else has to come instead — some other reward. Mr. Donaworth finds it in the challenges of machining parts and the challenges of running a machining business. That is, he finds reward in what the challenges have given him. Since launching his shop, and in particular since making it his full-time employment, he says, “I have grown in my career as a machinist 100 times more than I could have imagined.”

Here is another reward: challenging, short-run parts. Many would say this is one of the difficulties of being a job shop owner, and it is that. But Mr. Donaworth loves the mental challenge of machining — finding the right setup and process for a machining a difficult part. This part is just one example; its challenges included holding it without distortion while machining thin walls and a thin floor. A workholding adhesive proved to be part of the solution in this case.

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Cylinder Heads Vacuum Test $ 13.50: Pressure Test: $ 45.00: Mill Head (4/6/8 cyl) $ 45.00: Jetwash Head: $ 22.50 Engine Blocks Sonic Clean Block

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We are a Full Service Machine Shop in Las Vegas. * We are not an automotive machine shop! We may be able to help individuals with projects but we do not build or repair engines or motors. we have CNC machining, WaterJet Cutting and conventional machining as well as welding and press service.

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Machine Shop

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Machine shop

"Machine Shop" redirects here. For the record label, see Machine Shop Records.

Modern machine shop workstation, 2009.

A machine shop is a room, building, or company where machining, a form of subtractive manufacturing, is done. In a machine shop, machinists use machine tools and cutting tools to make parts, usually of metal or plastic (but sometimes of other materials such as glass or wood). A machine shop can be a small business (such as a job shop) or a portion of a factory, whether a toolroom or a production area for manufacturing. The building construction and the layout of the place and equipment vary, and are specific to the shop; for instance, the flooring in one shop may be concrete, or even compacted dirt, and another shop may have asphalt floors. A shop may be air-conditioned or not; but in other shops it may be necessary to maintain a controlled climate. Each shop has its own tools and machinery which differ from other shops in quantity, capability and focus of expertise.

The parts produced can be the end product of the factory, to be sold to customers in the machine industry, the car industry, the aircraft industry, or others. It may encompass the frequent machining of customized components. In other cases, companies in those fields have their own machine shops.

The production can consist of cutting, shaping, drilling, finishing, and other processes, frequently those related to metalworking. The machine tools typically include metal lathes, milling machines, machining centers, multitasking machines, drill presses, or grinding machines, many controlled with computer numerical control (CNC). Other processes, such as heat treating, electroplating, or painting of the parts before or after machining, are often done in a separate facility.

A machine shop can contain some raw materials (such as bar stock for machining) and an inventory of finished parts. These items are often stored in a warehouse. The control and traceability of the materials usually depend on the company's management and the industries that are served, standard certification of the establishment, and stewardship.

A machine shop can be a capital intensive business, because the purchase of equipment can require large investments. A machine shop can also be labour-intensive, especially if it is specialized in repairing machinery on a job production basis, but production machining (both batch production and mass production) is much more automated than it was before the development of CNC, programmable logic control (PLC), microcomputers, and robotics. It no longer requires masses of workers, although the jobs that remain tend to require high talent and skill. Training and experience in a machine shop can both be scarce and valuable.

Methodology, such as the practice of 5S, the level of compliance over safety practices and the use of personal protective equipment by the personnel, as well as the frequency of maintenance to the machines and how stringent housekeeping is performed in a shop, may vary widely from one place to another business.


Until the 19th century[edit]

The first machine shops started to appear in the 19th century when the Industrial Revolution was already long underway. Before the industrial revolution parts and tools were produced in workshops in local villages and cities on small-scale often for a local market. The first machinery that made possible the Industrial Revolution were also developed in similar workshops.

The production machines in the first factories were built on site, where every part was still individually made to fit. After some time those factories started their own workshops, where parts of the existing machinery were repaired or modified. In those days textiles were the dominant industry, and these industries started to further develop their own machine tools.

19th century[edit]

Late 19th-century machine shop
Planning department bulletin, showing how the work for each man or each machine in the machine shop is mapped out in advance, 1911.
Machinists and toolmakers making experimental engine parts at the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory, 1946.

Further development early in the 19th century in England, Germany and Scotland of machine tools and cheaper methods for the production of steel, such as the Bessemer steel, triggered the Second Industrial Revolution, which culminated in early factory electrification, mass production and the production line. The machine shop emerged as Burghardt called, a "place in which metal parts are cut to the size required and put together to form mechanical units or machines, the machines so made to be used directly or indirectly in the production of the necessities and luxuries of civilization."[1]

The rise of machine shops and their specific manufacturing and organizational problems triggered the early job shop management pioneers, whose theories became known as scientific management. One of the earliest publications in this field was Horace Lucian Arnold, who in 1896 wrote a first series of articles about "Modern Machine-Shop Economics."[2] This work stretched out from production technology, production methods and factory lay out to time studies, production planning, and machine shop management. A series of publications on these topics would follow. In 1899 Joshua Rose published the book Modern machine-shop practice, about the operation, construction, and principles of shop machinery, steam engines, and electrical machinery.

20th century[edit]

In 1903 the Cyclopedia of Modern Shop Practice was published with Howard Monroe Raymond as Editor-in-Chief, and in the same year Frederick Winslow Taylor published his Shop management; a paper read before the American society of mechanical engineers. New York. Taylor had started his workmanship as a machine-shop laborer at Midvale Steel Works in 1878, and worked his way up to machine shop foreman, research director, and finally chief engineer of the works. As an independent consulting engineer one of his first major assignments was in 1898 at Bethlehem Steel was to solve an expensive machine-shop capacity problem.

In 1906 Oscar E. Perrigo published the popular book Modern machine shop, construction the equipment and management of machine shops. The first part of Modern machine shop, Perrigo (1906) focussed on the physical construction of the building and presented a model machine shop. With this model machine shop, Perrigo explored the way the space in factories could be organized.[3] This was not uncommon in his days. Many industrial engineers, like Alexander Hamilton Church, J. Slater Lewis, Hugo Diemer etc., published plans for some new industrial complex.

These works among others cumulated in the scientific management movement on which Taylor in 1911 wrote his famous The Principles of Scientific Management, a seminal text of modern organization and decision theory, with a significant part dedicated to the organization of machine shops.[4] The introduction of new cutting materials as high-speed steel, and better organization of the production by implementing new scientific management methods such as planning boards (see image), significantly improved machine shop productivity and efficiency of machine shops. In the course of the 20th century, these further increased with the further development of technology.

In the early 20th century, the power for the machine tools was still supplied by a mechanical belt, which was powered by a central steam engine. In the course of the 20th-century electric motors took over the power supply of the machine tools.

As materials and chemical substances, including cutting oil, become more sophisticated, the awareness of the impact on the environment slowly grew. In parallel to the acknowledgment of the ever-present reality of accidents and potential occupational injury, the sorting of scrap materials for recycling and the disposal of refuse evolved in an area related to the environment, safety, and health. In regulated machine shops this would turn into a constant practice supported by what would be a discipline known as EHS (for environment, health, and safety), or of a similar name, such as HQSE that would include quality assurance.

In the second part of the 20th century, automation started with numerical control (NC) automation, and computer numerical control (CNC).

Digital instruments for quality control and inspection become widely available, and the utilization of lasers for precision measurements became more common for the larger shops that can afford the equipment.

Further integration of information technology into machine tools lead to the beginning of computer-integrated manufacturing. Production design and production became integrated into CAD/CAM, and production control became integrated in enterprise resource planning.

A trainee machinistand his supervisor work in a machine shop in 1917. Note the "professional" dress, which would likely be superseded by more practical clothing in a modern setting due to the risk of entanglement within machinery.

21st century[edit]

In the late of the 20th century, the introduction of industrial robots further increased factory automation. Typical applications of robots include welding, painting, assembly, pick and place (such as packaging, palletizing and SMT), product inspection, and testing. As a result of this introduction the machine shop also "has been modernized to the extent that robotics and electronic controls have been introduced into the operation and control of machines.[5] For small machine shops, though, having robots is more of an exception.

Machine shop topics[edit]


Main article: Machine

A machine is a tool containing one or more parts that uses energy to perform an intended action. Machines are usually powered by mechanical, chemical, thermal, or electrical means, and are often motorized. Historically, a power tool also required moving parts to classify as a machine. However, the advent of electronics has led to the development of power tools without moving parts that are considered machines.[6]


Machining is any of the various processes in which a piece of raw material is cut into a desired final shape and size by a controlled material-removal process. The many processes that have this common theme, controlled material removal, are today collectively known as subtractive manufacturing, in distinction from processes of controlled material addition, which are known as additive manufacturing. Exactly what the "controlled" part of the definition implies can vary, but it almost always implies the use of machine tools (in addition to just power tools and hand tools).

Though not all machine shops may have a CNC milling center, commonly, they may have access to a manual milling machine.

Machine tools[edit]

Main article: Machine tool

A machine tool is a machine for shaping or machining metal or other rigid materials, usually by cutting, boring, grinding, shearing, or other forms of deformation. Machine tools employ some sort of tool that does the cutting or shaping. All machine tools use some means of constraining the workpiece and provide a guided movement of the parts of the machine. Thus the relative movement between the workpiece and the cutting tool is controlled or constrained by the machine to at least some extent, rather than being entirely "offhand" or "freehand".

Cutting tools[edit]

Main article: Cutting tool

Milling cutters of different sizes and profiles.

Professional management of the inventory of cutting tools occurs mainly in larger operations. Smaller machine shops may have a more limited assortment of endmills, keyseat cutters, inserts, and other cutting tools. The choice in the sophistication of the design of the cutting tool, including material and finish, commonly depends on the job and the price of the cutting tool. In some instances, the cost of custom-made tools could be prohibitive for a small shop.

Depending on the industry and demands of the job, a cutting tool may only be used on a certain type of material, that is, a cutting tool may not contact another workpiece made of different chemical composition.

Not all machine shops are equipped with a mill and not all machine shops are aimed to do milling work.


Some machine shops are better organized than others, and some places are kept cleaner than other establishments. In some instances, the shop is swept minutes before the end of every shift, and in other cases, there’s no schedule or routine, or the cycle for sweeping and cleaning is more relaxed.

When it comes to machines, in some places the care and maintenance of the equipment are paramount, and the swarf (commonly known as chips) produced after parts have been machined, are removed daily, and then the machine is air-blown and wiped clean; while in other machine shops, the chips are left in the machines until is an absolute necessity to remove them; the second instance is not advisable.


The remanent or residue of materials used, such as aluminum, steel, and oil, among others, can be gathered and recycled, and commonly, it may be sold. However, not all machine shops practice recycling, and not all have personnel dedicated to enforcing the habit of separating and keeping materials separated. In larger and organized operations, such responsibility may be delegated to the Health, Safety, Environment, and Quality (HSEQ) department.


See Category:Metalworking measuring instruments

Quality assurance, quality control and inspection, are terms commonly used interchangeably. The accuracy and precision to be attained depends on several determining factors. Since not all machines have the same level of reliability and capability to execute predictable finished results within certain tolerances, nor all manufacturing processes achieve the same range of exactness, the machine shop is then limited to its own dependability in delivering the desire outcomes. Subsequently, subject to the rigor declared by the customer, the machine shop may be required to undergo a verification and validation even prior to the issuance and acknowledgment of an order.

The machine shop may have a specific area established for measuring and inspecting the parts in order to confirm compliance, while other shops only rely on the inspections performed by the machinists and fabricators. For instance, in some shops, a granite, calibrated surface plate may be shared by different departments, and in other shops, the lathes, the mills, etc, may have their own, or may not have one at all.


Main article: Calibration

The standards followed, the industry served, quality control, and mainly the type of practices in the machine shop, will denote the utilization of precision inspection instruments, and the accuracy of metrology employed. This means that not all machine shops implement a periodic interval for calibrating measuring devices. Not all machine shops have the same type of measuring instruments, though it is common to find micrometers, Vernier calipers, granite surface plates, among others.

The frequency and precision for calibrating metrology instruments may vary and it may require hiring the services of a specialized third-party. Also, in some instances, maintaining all instruments existent in the shop calibrated may be a necessary requirement to not fall out of compliance.


The location and orientation of the machines are important. Preferably, some prior thought has been given in the positioning of the equipment; likely not as meticulously as in a plant layout study, the closeness of the machines, the types of machines, were the raw material are received and kept, as well as other factors, including ventilation, are taken in account to establish the initial layout of the machine shop. A routing diagram and daily operations may dictate the need to rearrange.

Profitability is commonly a driving consideration in regards to maximizing production, and thus aligning the machines in an effective manner; however, other critical factors must be considered, such as the preventive maintenace of the equipment and safety in the workplace. For instance, allowing room for a technician to maneuver behind the machining center to inspect connections, and not placing the machine where it would block the emergency exit.

Storage rooms and tool cribs[edit]

Some shops have cages or rooms dedicated to keeping certain tools or supplies; for instance, a room may be dedicated to only welding supplies, gas tanks, etcetera; or where janitorial supplies or other consumables such as grinding disks are stored. Depending on the size of the operation, management, and controls, these areas may be restricted and locked, or these could be manned by an employee, as by a tool crib attendant; in other instances, the storage rooms or cages are accessible to all personnel. Not all shops have a tool crib or storage room(s) though, and in many cases, a large cabinet suffices.

Hand tools[edit]

Main article: Hand tools

Also, the way hand tools are stored and are made available to the fabricator or operators depends on how the shop functions or is managed. In many cases, common hand tools are visible in the work area and at reach for anyone. In many cases, the workers do not need to provide their own tools since the daily tools are available and provided, but in many other cases, the workers bring their own tools and toolboxes to their workplace


Main article: Occupational safety and health

Safety is a consideration that needs to be observed and enforced daily and constantly; however, a shop may vary from other shops in strictness and thoroughness when it comes to the actual practice, policies implemented and overall seriousness ascertained by the personnel and management. In an effort to standardize some common guidelines, in the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues didactic material and enforces precautions with the goal of preventing accidents.

Fire extinguishers are a common requirement in a machine shop, and need to be inspected regularly.

In a machine shop usually, there are numerous practices that are known in relation to working safely with machines. Some of the common practices include:

  • Wear appropriate personal, protective equipment (PPE) - such as safety glasses.
  • Wear appropriate attire and shoes - like steel-toe shoes and short sleeves when working with machines that have a powered rotational feature such as a lathe.
  • Do not wear jewelry, including rings.
  • Do not sport unrestrained long hair.
  • Consult operations and service manuals of machines
  • Lock-out Tag-out (LOTO).
  • Correct use of fire extinguisher; types of fires and regular inspections.
  • Ergonomics. Rubber floor mats for support at the workstations.
  • Escape routes must be clear of obstacles and emergency exits must not be blocked.
  • Other.

Safety precautions in a machine shop are aimed to avoid injuries and tragedies, for example, to eliminate the possibility of a worker being fatally harmed by being entangled in a lathe.

Many machines have safety measurements as built-in parts of their design; for example, an operator must press two buttons which are out of the way for a press or punch to function, and thus not pinch the operator’s hands.

See also[edit]


  1. ^Henry D. Burghardt (1919). Machine Tool Operation. p. 4
  2. ^Arnold, Horace L. "Modern Machine-Shop Economics." in Engineering Magazine 11. 1896: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, and Part VI
  3. ^Anna Vemer Andrzejewski (2008). Building Power: Architecture and Surveillance in Victorian America. p. 77
  4. ^Frederick Winslow Taylor. Scientific Management. Routledge, 1911/1 jun. 2004; This work the term "machine shop" is mentioned 31 times during the book.
  5. ^Rex Miller, Mark Richard Miller (2004). AudelMachine Shop Tools and Operations. p. 389
  6. ^The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., 1985.

Further reading[edit]

  • Barnwell, George W.New encyclopedia of machine shop practice; a guide to the principles and practice of machine shop procedure. (1941).
  • Calvert, Monte A. The mechanical engineer in America, 1830-1910: Professional cultures in conflict. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1967.
  • Van Deventer, John Herbert. Handbook of Machine Shop Management. McGraw-Hill book Company, Incorporated, 1915.
  • James A. Harvey. Machine Shop Trade Secrets: A Guide to Manufacturing Machine Shop Practices. Industrial Press Inc., 1 jan. 2005.
  • Rex Miller, Mark Richard Miller. Audel Machine Shop Basics. 5th ed. John Wiley & Sons, 30 jan. 2004.
  • Oscar E. Perrigo. Modern machine shop construction, equipment and management. 1905
  • Raymond, Howard Monroe, ed. Cyclopedia of Modern Shop Practice. 1903/06/09. Vol, 1; Vol. 2; Vol. 3; Vol. 4
  • Moltrecht, Karl Hans (1981), Machine Shop Practice, Volume 1 (2nd ed.), New York: Industrial Press, 1981.
  • Moltrecht, Karl Hans (1981), Machine Shop Practice, Volume 2 (2nd ed.), New York: Industrial Press, 1981.
  • Moltrecht, Karl Hans (1981), Machining for Hobbyists: Getting Started," Norwalk, CT: Industrial Press, 2015.
  • Joshua Rose. Modern machine-shop practice: operation, construction, and principles of shop machinery, steam engines, and electrical machinery, Volume 1, Scribner's, 1887; 3rd ed. 1899
  • Roy, Donald. "Quota restriction and goldbricking in a machine shop." American journal of sociology (1952): 427-442.
  • Roy, Donald. "Efficiency and" the fix": Informal intergroup relations in a piecework machine shop." American Journal of Sociology (1954): 255-266.
  • Harold Clifford Town. Technology of the machine shop. Longmans, Green, 1951.
  • Albert M. Wagener, Harlan R. Arthur (1941). Machine Shop: Theory and Practice.

External links[edit]

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