The US military have a number of excellent manuals for the use of their machinists -- and the text is public domain. Your tax dollars at work!

I've prepared some single-file PDF's which are a bit easier to deal with than the more usual single-chapter-per-file setup.

If you know of sources for other useful public-domain manuals, let me know and I will add them here.
Please link to this page so people can see what else is available (i.e. don't deep-link).

US Army Fundamentals of Machine Tools.pdf is 7Mb, 300 pages, 1996
US Navy Machinery Repairman Handbook.pdf is 15Mb, 430 pages, 1993
US Army Theory of Welding and Application.pdf is 20MB, 720 pages
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Phil B6 years ago
You can get the US Navy electronics course free here: It is almost 5,000 pages.
static6 years ago
Thanks for posting. I'm sure there is a lot more free public domain manuals available. The trick is finding them, I was lead to this instructable while searching for free clip art to use on a yahoo group I just created today.
clanger7 years ago
your a star love it
andreyk478 years ago
Also check this one out - - this is a great resource that is free for students and has close to 1,000 college textbooks for sale
vadvaro8 years ago
Bravo! If the www were a human being (and you agreed with Maslow), this would be considered a step up the self-actualization chain. Keep up the good work, and keep sharing.
nickp (author) 8 years ago
I just added the Army welding theory manual. They're not kidding about the "theory" part -- it's quite technical.

The PDF was very kindly provided by the folks at

which is an excellent resource for metalworking and related info.
The illustration for the definition of tensile strength (fig 2-1, pg 20) is a hoot! Thanks for bringing these doc's to my attention, I cant wait to delve through them. The risk assesment table is also something I think has general usefulness.
cartertools8 years ago
I really love these sites for machining info as well:

And I echo the sentiments on James Harvey's book, it is excellent.
oskay8 years ago
Thank you-- Those books are a fantastic resource!

It's not free, but another fantastic book for the beginning or intermediate machinist is Machine Shop Trade Secrets, by James Harvey. It contains different things-- hints that aren't in instruction manuals. I wish that I had all of these when I was learning to machine stuff!

Amazon link: