Must-have Machinist Tools for Your Workshop

For every machining project, there are always multiple machinist tools that can be used for them. However, only an ideal tool can provide the best in terms of efficiency and productivity. Most people would expect a universal tool for working on such intricate projects. However, different jobs require different tools.

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. Now, let’s get right into the machine shop tools list.

Category One: Precision Measuring 

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’s a tool used to measure the distance between an object opposite two opposites accurately. 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. 
  • Dial Indicator – A dial indicator has a dial display with clock hands used to measure small linear distances. 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 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. 
  • Combination Square Set – A combination square set is also known as a combination square. It’s 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. 
  • Edge Finder – An edge finder is a handy and cheap machine shop tool that should be in everyone’s 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.

Category Two: Hand 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 – 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 tool to make driving them in easier.
  • 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. 
  • 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 used in tapping the center punch and marking a workpiece with letters and numbers.
  • Center Punch – A center punch is very cheap. Yet, it’s an integral shop tool 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 Tools

Here are the three power tools that are very important to have as a machinist.

  • Deburring Tools – Burrs are concentrated parts of a workpiece found majorly in drilled holes, corners, 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. Generally, deburring tools are better than using files. 
  • Grinding Wheel – Depending on the operations, there is a huge need for a grinding wheel. A grinding wheel is a wheel made up of an abrasive compound used for grinding and other abrasive processes.  
  • Belt Sanders – 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.

Category Four: Basic 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.

  • Calculator with Sine, Cosine & Tangent – A very good machinist cannot do without a calculator. A scientific calculator is vital in your toolbox because it is needed for trigonometry. 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 – 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. 
  • Pencil, Paper and Sharpie – The three tools listed might not seem like tools to you. However, as a beginner, they will undoubtedly smoothen your job, thereby increasing efficiency and productivity. Paper and pencil come in handy when you have the habit of writing things down. Sharpies or permanent markers 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. 


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 introduced 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 Custom Tool with your machining operations.