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Engineering catalogs and reference materials

Engineering catalogs and reference materials

Engineering catalogs and reference materials

Hello all,

I just graduated and started my first engineering job as a mechanical engineer for a defense company.  I of course have all my old textbooks, plus Marks Handbook and Machinist's handbook.  My question is, where do I go or how to I find such things as screw quick reference cards, general supplier catalogs, standards, etc?  In other words, is there a way to accumulate some of the reference materials that my colleagues have easily (without letting the natural accumulation occur over many years), such as a website to browse through various catalogs, or somewhere to order quick reference cards?

Thanks for any help,


RE: Engineering catalogs and reference materials

I have found that the greater availability of information is thanks to the Internet is one leg up we have now from those who started out 15, 20, or 40 years ago.

But, probably the best source of reference material is going to be the senior guys who've been collecting it.  In my particular area, a lot of the information was published in various papers, magazines, and books that have been out of print since before I was born.  More experienced guys who have copies from way back when are, in many cases, the only source for passing the knowledge on to the next generation.

Edward L. Klein
Pipe Stress Engineer
Houston, Texas

All opinions expressed here are my own and not my company's.

RE: Engineering catalogs and reference materials

Senior guys are the best place to start, and they'd most likely prefer you going to their stash then getting something they don't care to work with.

Purchasing is another great place. They have qualified vendors and almost always have the latest catalogs. Befriend them and you'll get extra catalogs from them.

All else fails...Google works

RE: Engineering catalogs and reference materials

McMaster Carr's Catalog is very useful:
they have just about anything an ME needs

RE: Engineering catalogs and reference materials

The Thomas Register is also a good place to look for just about anything.  It has links to company sites and online catalogs.


There may also be an Engineering Library that you could use provided it it reasonably maintained.  Good advice as well by all the previous posters.


RE: Engineering catalogs and reference materials

Automationbabe is correct. A good start is hit the senior guys. Copy what they have. Then hit the internet, I find everything I need there.
www.matweb.com is a start for materials.
good luck

RE: Engineering catalogs and reference materials

And don't forget Amazon's used book section, as well as physical used book stores.

RE: Engineering catalogs and reference materials

Ok, so I'm late on this post, I just found this website.  If you're going to be working for a defense company here is a good website to get all those Mil-Specs that you'll need.


you don't need to sign up, just hit "Quick Search" and Type in the number you are looking for in the "Document Number" field.  Leave out the letters.

Here are some other sites that I have found very useful

This one is for searching Cage codes for manufacturers.


This one has a technical data section that can be useful.


This one is a good refernce site but you can only use it for free for so long, they want you to be a paying member.  It's ok, just go back the next day and it'll be free again.


And this one is for fun




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