“A tool is an extension of a person’s hand” be it a hacksaw or a screw gauge, there are several tools that enable us to do a variety of different tasks. Having the right tool at the right time can save a person lots of effort, time, and money.
Today we’ll see about the 17 tools you would frequently use as a Mechanical engineer.
And talking about tools, here are the 17 must-have tools for a Mechanical engineer:
- Vernier Caliper
- Measuring tape
- Angle grinder
- Wrench / Spanner
- Allen / Hex keys
- Spirit level
- Try square
- Powered Hand drill
- Duct tape & WD-40
- Personal safety equipment
#1 Vernier Caliper
The most common and highly popular precision measuring instrument is the Vernier Caliper. Be it for measuring workpieces on the shop floor or for inspection a vernier caliper is used because of its many advantages.
By using a Vernier Caliper you can not only measure the internal & external diameters but also you can measure the depth of a workpiece. It’s light in weight with a least count of 0.01mm.
Learn more about the Vernier Caliper and how to read it.
Mitutoyo is a renowned brand when it comes to measuring instruments and I myself have been using their products. The quality of Mitutoyo products is top-notch. This is a 15cm / 6 inch long basic Vernier caliper by Mitutoyo and weighs in at 165 grams.
The vernier has a fully stainless steel construction, which makes it resistant to small scratches. A fine adjustment knob and a lock screw are provided for better control during measurement.
Vernier Calipers come in manual as well as digital versions. The digital vernier calipers have a screen that directly shows the reading.
The digital vernier helps reduce the human error caused by using manual calipers. Also, digital verniers are quick and very easy to use.
The Vernier Caliper shown here is the Mitutoyo 500-197-30 Digital Caliper. This digital caliper is 200mm or around 8 inches in length. The digital vernier caliper comes is similar to its manual counterpart however it’s easier to use and beginner-friendly.
Vernier Caliper is a very good Gifting idea for a Mechanical engineer.
#2 Measuring tape
A must-have measuring device that a mechanical engineer uses to measure long distances is none other than the Measuring Tape.
And boy this tape is no ordinary one! it comes with a rugged build, a double end hook, and it does not bend when measuring long distances which makes it easier for one person to control.
#3 Angle grinder
An angle grinder is a tool every mechanical engineer should own. This machine can be used for so many purposes.
An angle grinder is a handheld power tool that is capable of performing different machining operations like grinding, cutting, deburring, finishing, and polishing. So many things are possible with just a single machine!
The angle grinder also eliminates the need for a hacksaw, file, polishing machine, etc. So in the long run, this could be a good investment and not to mention lots of valuable time saved.
One of the most popular angle grinders is the Bosch GWS 600. Just by changing the discs, you can choose whether to cut, grind, polish, etc.
Hammers have been with us for ages and are still being used. Be it for assembling something using nails or breaking up things, a hammer is a go-to choice. A hammer is a must-have, especially when it comes to mechanical engineers.
Thus investing in a good quality hammer that will last a lifetime is important. Hammers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here are some common types of hammers and their uses.
Cross Peen hammer:
These are general-purpose hammers that are used for riveting, striking, forging, etc. So if you’re going to use it for these purposes this is the hammer to go with.
Ball peen hammer:
The ball-peen hammer is also known as the machinist’s hammer is a hammer with a flat face at one end and a ball shape at the other. It is used to flatten or for riveting work.
The claw hammer is suitable for carpentry work, removing or hammering nails with the help of the claw design at its back. The claw at the back is where the hammer gets its name “Claw hammer”
How can we mention hammers and not mention chisels? It’s a simple piece of metal with a sharpened edge. It is used with a hammer or a mallet to shape, break open something, shaping a workpiece mostly made up of wood, metal, or stone.
This is a 16 piece Chisel and punches set by Amazon Basics made by Heat-treated, chrome vanadium (Cr-V) alloy steel construction.
Want to cut metal pipe? You just need a hacksaw. This cutting tool is very helpful when it comes to cut small metal workpieces and all workshops have it.
If you need a hacksaw for cutting once in a while & for personal use, then a simple manually operated one like the Bosch compact frame hacksaw would be an ideal choice to go with.
However, if your work requires cutting operations quite frequently and larger workpieces are involved, then you might want to invest in a power-operated saw.
The Bosch electric saw is a heavy-duty machine churning out a good performance. This electric-powered saw will not only save you lots of time but also spare you loads of effort and labor.
#7 Wrench / Spanner
Another essential for a mechanical engineer has to be the “Wrench”. They are quite useful when it comes to tightening or loosening nuts and bolts.
And talking about nuts and bolts, it is an almost everyday thing a mechanical engineer would encounter. In the market, there are different types of wrenches. One can get fixed-size wrenches as well as adjustable wrenches.
An adjustable wrench eliminates the need of carrying a set of wrenches. However, it might pose a problem while using in a tight space due to its size.
Fixed-size spanner set
Fixed-size spanners are quite useful, especially while working in a confined space with a small nut or bolt. This is because, for a small size nut or bolt, the size of its matching spanner is quite small and is easily reachable. However, that’s not the case with an adjustable spanner.
Apart from these tools, another very useful tool is Python for Mechanical engineers, check out our article where we give 10 reasons why mechanical engineers should learn python.
#8 Allen key / Hex key
Nowadays Allen bolts are getting popular among manufacturing industries, and to screw or unscrew these hexagonal-faced bolts, you will need an Allen / Hex key.
Take an example of bicycle manufacturing companies like Nukeproof or Canyon, almost all the latest & modern variants come with hex screws and bolts.
As you can see in the above picture an Allen key is in the shape of the letter “L”. This makes it easy to screw and unscrew by generating a large amount of torque at the shorter arm.
A single Allen key is small and very compact and can be easily carried as compared to a screwdriver.
We cannot deny the fact that we are surrounded by screws. Be it the smartphone you use to the car you drive, screws are everywhere. And in order to deal with screws, you would need a trustworthy screwdriver.
Having a set of screwdrivers is quite useful. However, if you go online to buy one, you’ll come across cheap magnetic ones with interchangeable bits.
Those are good if you want to do light work. But if you want a lasting one go for the single piece. These magnetic ones aren’t as sturdy as compared to a one-piece screwdriver, though you get the advantage of portability in the magnetic ones.
This 16 piece screwdriver set by Stanley might be your go-to choice if you want to be prepared for work or building your personal toolkit.
#10 Spirit Level
Want to know that the large job you just manufactured is perfectly level or inclined at 45 degrees or it’s perfectly vertical?
A spirit level might be the answer to your query. It comes in handy when setting up a machine or large workpieces. Also, there are apps that you can download, but it is riskier to use them in work environment especially when you have to use them quite often. Instead, you can get yourself a spirit level to do the task.
#11 Try square
A try square is an inexpensive yet very useful tool commonly used in carpentry to check 90-degree angles. However, it is useful while working with metals too.
Mostly the try square would be used as a marking tool.
For eg, you have to cut a metal pipe of square cross-section into two, with the help of a try square you can easily mark straight perpendicular lines.
This is much better than using a regular ruler as many a time the line tends to get inclined.
Another tool you might be familiar with is the plier. The piler is used to hold things firmly at a place or to compress or bend something.
In most cases, a single sturdy plier will be enough for you, hence, there’s no need in buying a set.
#13 Powered Hand drill
At the point when muscle power simply isn’t adequate, power drills can be the day saver. Power hand drills make the work a whole lot easier. Want to drill a hole through a metal pipe or In homes made with Mivan technology you cannot use a hammer to put a nail or screw into a wall.
You’ll need a power hand drill. Similarly, there are a lot of uses for having a power hand drill. There are mainly 2 types of power hand drill i.e. Cordless and corded.
Corded power drill
A corded power drill is suitable for people that need the drill for an extended period of time. This type of drill is reliable as there is a reliable source of power and you don’t need to worry about running out of batteries.
Apart from this, they are light in weight as they don’t have any batteries attached to them. Talking about their downsides, the cord of the drill may cause inconvenience and you cannot work at a place without an electrical point nearby.
One of the popular choices for corded power drills is the Bosch GSB 501 500 watt impact drill machine and it comes with a 10 piece drill bit set.
Cordless power drill
A cordless power drill is more suitable for light to medium-duty work. These drills are portable, good for beginners doing light work and they don’t need to be close to an electricity point, this gives a lot of freedom when working.
The limiting factor of this type of drill is that it relies on batteries, so a limited amount of work time is available. Also, the drill is heavier as compared to corded drills as the battery is attached to the drill itself.
The iBell BM 18-60 power drill comes with a 20v brushless motor with 2 batteries and a charger included for longer working hours.
#14 Duct tape & WD -40
The Duct tape & WD-40 is an awesome combination and is very popular among the masses. Be it for sealing, packing boxes, repairs, patching things and the list goes on. Duct tape can be the solution to most of your problems.
I still remember during our final year that there was some fixing required in our major project at the last moment duct tape saved the day!
You will find this simple piece of invention ranging from households to industrial workshops and it’s a quite useful one! Talking about WD-40 this too has a list of uses and another must-have for mechanical engineers.
Is the nut not coming off? Apply some WD-40.
Is anything that moves require lubrication? Use WD-40
Want to remove rust from a tool? use WD-40. There’s a popular saying about WD-40 and duct tapes especially mechanical engineers.
If it doesn’t move and it should use WD-40. If it moves and it shouldn’t then use duct tape.
To work in this modern age, you will need modern tools. And there’s no better modern tool for a Mechanical engineer than a good and powerful laptop. A powerful laptop helps us with 3D modeling or preparing reports for projects, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), assignments, and much more.
Also, it helps us run powerful software like Solidworks, Ansys, AutoCAD, Matlab, Catia, etc.
Check out: 9 best laptops for engineers
This is the Acer Aspire 7 laptop which is a capable laptop at a decent price point. It comes powered with the AMD Ryzen 5 5500u hexacore processor and a GTX 1650 4GB graphics.
It comes with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. A type C port and a backlit keyboard just add to its plus points.
Protect your ears with good-quality earmuffs. If working in noisy conditions or exposed to prolonged loud noise above 85 decibels, then the chances of hearing damage are quite high.
Therefore, a good earmuff like the 3M Peltor X series would be a good investment.
#17 Personal safety equipment
How can we talk about tools and not mention protective clothing? Working with tools can be dangerous, hence safety comes first. Most people will agree that it’s better to invest in good safety wear before working rather than saving a couple of bucks here & there.
Let’s start with eye protection. While working with drill machines, angle grinders, or any other machine it’s important to protect your eyes from the particles flying off the machine.
The second protection equipment is for your hands. These are cut-resistant & slip-resistant gloves that help protect you from minor injuries from tools.
Safety boots are essential when it comes to personal safety equipment. Wearing normal shoes or sandals cannot provide enough protection. Take for example, while working at a workstation a hammer by mistake falls on your toes. In this case, regular footwear won’t protect you.
However, a safety shoe like the one above comes with a steel toe that can withstand an impact of 200J. So there are more chances that you will walk away safely. They come with a double density sole and are oil & acid-resistant.
If you are a beginner or a person who wants to set up his personal tool kit, then instead of buying things separately you can get a toolkit that can save you money and you can get a good deal on it.
Also, they come with a box to keep your tools organized and you won’t need to buy one separately. However, you won’t get all the things listed here but you would get most of them. Remaining you can get them separately.
This is an iBell professional tool kit that comes with most of the things you need. It consists of:
- Power drill with drill bits
- Allen keys
- Spirit level
- Claw hammer
- Adjustable knife
- Measuring tape
- Adjustable spanner
- Digital tester
- Flexible shaft
- Digital tester.
While you get so many things with this set at a comparatively lower price, you would have to buy an angle grinder and vernier caliper separately.
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This brings us to the end of the article. Do let us know about a tool you think a mechanical engineer must have and why?
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Till then Keep learning!