An economy option isn’t even worth mentioning. That said, buying a set isn’t very expensive. I’d recommend starting with three if you can. Socket head cap screws are extremely popular in a machine shop, and those socket heads need Allen keys. You probably don’t need a big one, but a little one that fits in a drawer in your toolbox is extremely handy. Personally, I like having a set of 4, but you’ll need at least 2 in your toolbox. Obviously, you’ll need somewhere to put your tools. My recommendation: Ball peen hammer – practical option. These are tools that you need to rely on, and cheap ones tend to mangle bolt heads pretty bad. Overall this project will help the beginner learn basic things like slotting on a mill and threading on a lathe. That’s what you’ll use for the 1/2-13 SHCS (possibly the most common fastener you’ll ever come across). Always have a full set and keep them in good shape. My personal preference is the heavier 5-lb hammers, but you get whatever makes you happy. They’re not expensive, and generally machinists will use them regularly. My recommendation: Pliers set – good option – economy option. Two with a mag base, one with a mag back. You’ll use them all the time. They’re not expensive, though, and they’re really handy when you need them. The problem with that is that everyone will know that you’re compensating for something. This is how you handle round pieces, and you’ll use yours both for machining and inspection. And guard them with your life). A guy that works primarily on lathes repairing hydraulic cylinders is different from the guy that works on mills, overhauling and re-boring engine blocks. He quickly found that he could not do it alone and he brought Tony Wells on board as administrator to handle the … These hammers usually have sand in the head that’s loose and prevents the hammer from bouncing back. This is how you mark up your workpieces and (hopefully) don’t make dumb mistakes. You will notice a difference between cheap and decent files. Center punch – good option – economy option (I’d go economy just to save some cash). You’ll always notice the difference, and it’s miserable to have worn out or splayed jaws on pliers. Spending more isn’t worth it, this is a very simple tool. If you work more with manual machines or in repair, then you’ll use them more. My recommendation: Prick punch – good option (already cheap, don’t spend less than that). ), you’ll also likely use them for all the normal reasons that one might want pliers. Keep in mind, though, that every shop is different. Aside from pulling apart shipping containers, you’ll likely use this for pulling workholding apart and getting heavy things to budge. Make It From Metal also participates in affiliate programs with Bluehost, Clickbank, CJ, ShareASale, and other sites. Buy the better one if you can manage. I’d vote for the good option. Trying to measure anything reliably with a telescoping gage to better than half a thou is for the elite only. Ask any Question here from beginner to advanced. IMHO, this is one upgrade worth doing to any toolbox: Adding good quality casters. I have both and can notice a definite difference, but I can also make do.). They’re not as accurate as an ID mic, but they’re also a fraction of the cost. Here are my personal recommendations (links to Amazon): 8″ calipers – good option – economy option (definitely get one of each, use the cheap ones for marking lines and abusing, expensive ones for real measurements. The basic tools you need don’t really change much whether you’re a manual or CNC machinist, or whether you’re a tool and die maker. You’ll use them daily. Pro Tip: Never store micrometers with the jaws closed all the way, especially if they’re not carbide tipped. My recommendation: Standard file set – good option – economy option. Even 10 years in the trade later, you’ll be referring to it daily. No need to get fancy. This is how you can pick up your offsets and figure out tool position without leaving marks on the part. Actually, you can never have enough dials. My recommendation: Machinist’s ready reference – get it here – it’s an absolute must-have. Pro Tip: Always make sure that you’re able to read fractions before setting foot in any machine shop. If you’re a millwright you might want to tweak the list a bit, but they’re still all good tools to have. Get the one with a 12″ steel rule. My recommendation: Screwdriver set – good option – economy option. Again, get the set. Let me help you get your parts sourced globally the easy way. Make sure that all of your files have a proper handle that is well secured. Since it’s cheap, just get a better quality one that won’t break when it falls on the concrete floor. My recommendation: Oil-resistant industrial Sharpies – These are a must-have. Get both metric and SAE, from 1/4″ or less up to 7/8″ ideally. I have this exact same set and I like it. You can make your own, too. My recommendation: Pry bar – good option. Again, something that is generally used daily. Technically speaking, you can just measure threads with calipers to check their pitch, but this is seriously just so much more practical. Daily use. Plus, internal threads are a pain to check without one. I just went through my own toolbox and made a list for you. Threads 5 Messages 26. Again, extremely practical tool. Definitely handy for getting chips out of workpieces (never use these on rotating workpieces! This is 10x faster and more convenient that using a file on everything. My recommendation: Combination wrench set – good option – economy option.This one’s a tough call, you can spend even more than this but I’d lean towards the good option. Then this is exactly what you’re looking for. Plus or minus one thou is more realistic. You should be spending your time making chips, not breaking sharp edges. Make It From Metal is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Otherwise, you may be escorted out. I’d recommend getting ones that are better than the cheap bulk boxes, though. I’d get the good option. They’ll wipe off of metal easily with acetone or isopropyl, but mark will stay on until you clean them. My recommendation: Dial indicator set (x3) – good option – economy option (I’d get one good one and for the other two, the economy dial sets). Every other kind will just kind of instantly die as soon as it comes into contact with oil. Please add “OT” to the title of any off topic thread. The 8″ calipers and the 0-1″ micrometer. Since this isn’t a particularly expensive item, it’s worth it to just pick one up. A set for a machinist should include a mill bastard, double cut, single cut, half-round, round, and a triangular file. My recommendation: Scribe – economy option (expensive ones are a total waste of money in my opinion). This is important for marking and checking angles, finding center on the ends of shafts, and checking square to a reasonable degree. Thinking of becoming a machinist but don’t know what tools you’ll need? These things can get trashed (especially when you’re just starting) so just get the cheap ones and replace as needed. You’re better off with your own set that you can keep in good shape. The Beginner Machinist’s Basic Tool List. My recommendation: Torx wrenches – good option. My recommendation: Deburring tool – good option – economy option. Regular use. Thinking of becoming a machinist but don’t know what tools you’ll need? My recommendation: Tape measure – good option – economy option Definitely go with the good option, economy isn’t worth it unless you’re really desperate to not spend money. Not all shops will let you use your phone on the floor, either. Cheap to buy and very useful. My recommendation: Scientific calculator – just pick up whatever, you probably already have a preference. You should already know what these are for. These tools will be used daily, and the quality of these tools will often determine the quality of your work. The reason for needing them should be fairly obvious. My recommendation: Deadblow hammer – practical option. For whatever reason, I’m leaning towards the better set even though it has less pieces. Personally, I have a ratchet set with hex drives, which allows me to use either a ratchet wrench or a breaker bar when need be. If you’re going to be wearing them every day, spend a few extra bucks to get something with an anti-fog coating and a few other handy features. You’ll wreck it. This wonderful online community has grown far beyond anything that he could have hoped for when he first registered the hobby-machinist domain name. Which is best for you depends on how much you use them. This might seem like a weird one, but hear me out. Again, daily use. This is rarely used for extremely precise measurements, but you will use it regularly. I swear by these things. Seriously, if there’s one thing that you remember from this entire post, that should be it.