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13 Gifts Every Machinist is Sure to Love

The quest for the ideal gift can be tricky for those with a machinist among their loved ones. Machinists have unique interests and preferences, often leaning towards practical and functional items to use in their work.

Whether you’re searching for a gift that supports their machining craftsmanship or one that acknowledges their passion, many options are available online and in stores. Here are 13 gift ideas that are sure to be a success for Christmas, a birthday, or another special occasion – five of these machinist gifts are on the low end (<$50), five are mid-level ($50 to $150), and three are on the higher end ($150+). Put a smile on your machinist’s face this year!

1. Personalized Machinist Coffee Mug

Personalized machinist mug from DNGear

A personalized coffee mug makes an excellent gift for a machinist for several reasons:

  • It’s a practical gift they can use daily during coffee or lunch breaks.
  • Personalizing the mug with their name or a relevant machinist-themed design adds a thoughtful touch that shows you understand and appreciate their profession. This personalization creates a connection between their passion for their work and their everyday life.
  • A robust, well-crafted mug can mirror the machinist’s dedication to quality and precision, further enhancing the relevance and appeal of this gift.

Available from the DNGear Etsy store for $13.

2. Vernier Caliper Keychain

A Vernier caliper keychain is under $10, and it’s an ideal gift because machinists often use Vernier calipers to provide precise measurements, making this keychain a novelty item and a symbol of their profession. It serves as a constant reminder of their skills and passion, and as a keychain, they can carry it daily. Furthermore, it’s a small, affordable, thoughtful gift showing you understand and appreciate their metalworking (or woodworking) craft.

3. Funny Machinist T-Shirt

Teepublic Machinist t-shirt

A funny t-shirt makes an excellent gift for a machinist for a multitude of reasons:

  • It adds a dash of humor to their often challenging and technical routine, acting as a conversation starter and a catalyst for workplace camaraderie. It can break the ice and lighten the mood in the machine shop.
  • It’s a practical, functional gift that they can wear regularly. A t-shirt with a witty slogan or joke related to their profession shows thoughtfulness, demonstrating that the giver understands and appreciates the skill involved in their work.
  • This gift serves as a token of recognition and respect towards the machinist’s craft, all while keeping things light-hearted and fun.

4. CNC Machinist Tumbler

CNC Machinist Tumbler from Printerval.com

A tumbler is practical because it provides a convenient solution for keeping beverages hot or cold during long hours in the shop. Also, a sturdy tumbler matches the machine shop environment, promising long-term use. Many tumblers come with customization options, offering a great way to make the gift more personal. You could have it engraved with a CNC-related design or a meaningful quote. It’s a thoughtful, practical gift acknowledging the recipient’s passion and career.

5. Noise-Canceling Ear Protection

Earmuffs from Uline

Noise-canceling ear protection makes an ideal gift for a machinist due to its practicality. The day-to-day operations on a milling machine, lathe, or any other machine tool often involve high levels of noise that can lead to hearing damage over time. These ear muffs use advanced noise-canceling technology to significantly reduce ambient noise, protecting the machinist’s hearing. Additionally, they help increase focus by cutting out distractions and increasing overall efficiency on the job. Their comfortable fit and durability also make them a tangible expression of care for the machinist’s well-being.

6. Compact Portable Workbench

Black + Decker Workbench

A portable workbench is the perfect gift for the machinist who works from a home workshop. For around $100, you can get a bench that is compact and easy to store – yet also robust and able to handle several hundred-pound loads. You’ll want to find a workbench that can withstand the rigors of machining tasks. The portability feature allows the machinist to quickly move a workstation within their existing workshop or to a new location. This aids in creating a dynamic workspace that is adaptable to different tasks.

7. Precision Measuring Tools

Starrett Dial Caliper

Precision measuring tools make an ideal gift for machinists due to their integral role in the machinist’s craft. These tools, which may include micrometers, calipers, and gauges, allow for exact measurements down to the thousandth of an inch, essential for achieving the level of detail and accuracy that machining requires. A gift of high-quality precision tools shows an understanding of the recipient’s profession and their passion for precision and quality in their craft. Consider a versatile, stainless steel Starrett 6” Dial Caliper for $150 available at MSC.

8. Machinery’s Handbook

For more than 100 years, the Machinery’s Handbook has been an invaluable resource – it is a comprehensive repository of reliable and essential information for every aspect of mechanical work available for $85. The book encompasses a wide breadth of knowledge, from detailed diagrams to nuanced technical data and practical application techniques to troubleshooting advice. Often referred to as the “machinist’s bible,” it is a tool as essential as any piece of machinery or equipment in a machinist’s or machine operator’s arsenal. Giving it as a gift symbolizes recognition and respect for the recipient’s craft.

9. Comfortable Steel-Toe Work Boots

Wolverine Hellcat Fuse Durashocks with CarbonMax Toe

Steel-toe work boots make an excellent gift for a machinist, offering both practicality and thoughtfulness. The boots protect machinists’ feet from heavy machinery and falling objects, a standard risk in their workplace. Plan to spend between $100-200 on a good pair of boots. Look for high-quality work boots that offer comfort for long hours of standing and slip-resistant soles, providing better grip and preventing accidents on oily or wet surfaces. Check out these Hellcat Fuse Durashocks at Wolverine.

10. Premium Quality Screwdriver Set

Although a screwdriver set might not seem like the most appropriate present for a machinist, it’s an excellent gift due to its practicality and utility. Machinists tackle tasks requiring precision and reliability, both provided by high-quality tools. A top-tier screwdriver set not only lasts longer, minimizing the frequency of replacements, but also ensures the efficiency and accuracy of their work. Furthermore, such a thoughtful gift underscores recognition of their craft in a skilled trade, making it a perfect blend of personal and professional appreciation. The Klein Tools 85078 Screwdriver Set is made in the USA and has 4 Phillips and 4 Flat Head Tips, all with non-slip cushion grips. At Amazon for $70.

11. Professional Grade Machinists Tool Chest

Kennedy® 11-Drawer Machinist Tool Chest

With its superior craftsmanship and enduring quality, a Kennedy Machinist Chest is worth every penny, particularly for those who appreciate the value of organization and the convenience of having all their tools in one easy-to-access spot. These chests are built from high-grade steel, ensuring a gift lasting for years. Their impeccable design sets them apart with many compartments and drawers catering to large tools and small accessories. Kennedy makes the best machinist toolbox – one of those great gifts that shout “We think you’re awesome!” to your favorite CNC operator or programmer. This one is available at Global Industrial for $886.

12. A Portable Welder Complements a Home Machine Shop

PrimeWeld multi-process welder

A portable welder is compact, easy to use, and offers the flexibility to undertake a broader range of projects at different locations without the constraints of a stationary welding machine. Its versatility extends to various welding processes, making it suitable for professional and personal tasks. With features designed for user comfort, such as adjustable settings and ergonomically designed handles, a portable welder complements a machinist’s skills and enables repair tasks and fabrication work for additional income avenues. This Multi-Process Portable Welder (MIG, TIG, and Stick) from PrimeWeld is available for $399

13. A Desktop CNC Machine that Works as Well as a Full-Sized Model

CNC Masters Jr. Table Top CNC Mill for general CNC machining, 3D surface milling, and mold making

The CNC Jr. Table Top Milling Machine from CNC Masters is a gift any machinist would be thrilled to receive! Compact yet highly efficient, it’s perfect for hobbyists and professionals operating in smaller workspaces. The machine offers precision and control with its user-friendly computer system that allows operators to create intricate and detailed pieces easily. Furthermore, sturdy construction ensures longevity and promises years of dependable service. This milling machine is a gift – and an investment in their profession, helping them expand their capabilities and explore new project possibilities. With numerous features, the American-made Desktop Jr. starts at $5893.
With the help of this guide, you’ll be sure to find a gift your loved one will appreciate – Now the only thing left to do is to start shopping!

About Peter Jacobs

Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters, a leading supplier of CNC mills, milling machines, and CNC lathes. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights for various blogs in CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn.

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29. Create a Peck Drilling Program in Circular or Rectangular Patterns
Using the Circular or Rectangular Drilling Wizards, you can program the machine to drill an un-limited series of holes along the X and Y planes. Program it to drill straight through to your total depth, use a high-speed pecking cycle, or deep hole pecking cycle. You can program the cut-in depth and return point for a controlled peck drill application to maximize chip clearance.

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20. Change up to 30 tools with compensation, and store your tool offsets for other programs
The MX supports…

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21. Use the optional ATC rack up to 8 tools for milling, drilling, and rigid tapping applications
The CNC Masters Automatic Tool Changer Rack and Tools (US Patent 9,827,640B2) can be added to any CNC Masters Milling Machine built with the rigid tapping encoder option. The tutorial will guide you through the set-up procedure using the ATC tools.

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22. Use the optional Rigid Tapping Wizard without the need for tapping head attachments
When you order your CNC Masters machine, have it built with the optional rigid tapping encoder. You can take any drill cycle program and replace the top line with a tapping code created by the wizard to tap your series of holes up to 1/2” in diameter.

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23. Use the optional Digital Probe to scan the profile and/or pockets of your fun/hobby type designs to write your tool path program and machine out a duplicate of your original design To “surface” scan an object, you can program the probe along the X or Y plane. The stylus will travel over the part starting on the left side front corner of the object and work its way to the end of the part on the right side. Depending on how the stylus moves, it will record linear and interpolated movements along the X, Y, and Z planes directly on the MX Editor.
To “pocket” scan an object containing a closed pocket such as circles or squares, the scan will start from the top front, work its way inside of the pocket, and scan the entire perimeter of the pocket.
Under the Setup of the MX software you will find the Probe Tab which will allow you to calibrate and program your probe. Your “Probe Step”, “Feed”, and “Data Filter” can also be changed on the fly while the probe is in the middle of scanning your object.

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24. Use work offsets G54-G59 for nesting applications
The work offsets offer you a way to program up to six different machining locations. It’s like having multiple 0.0 locations for different parts. This is very useful especially when using sub-routines/nesting applications.

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25. Create a Rectangular Pocket / Slot with our selection of Wizards to help you build a tool path program
The Cycle Wizards for the mill or lathe makes it easy to create a simple tool path without needing to use a CAD and CAM software.
On this Wizard, the Rectangular Pocket / Slots, can be used to form a deep rectangular pocket into your material or machine a slot duplicating as many passes needed to its total depth.

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26. Create a Circular Pocket Wizard
Input the total diameter, the step down, and total depth and the code will be generated.

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27. Do Thread Milling using a single point cutter Wizard

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28. Cut a gear out using the Cut Gear Wizard with the optional Fourth Axis

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19. Disable the axis motors to manually hand crank each axis into place
Easily de-energize the axis motors by clicking [Disable Motors] to crank each axis by hand, and then press [Reset Control] to re-energize the axis motors.

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30. The MX interface can easily be interchanged from Mill Mode to Lathe Mode
Use this interface for your CNC Masters Lathe. It contains all the same user-friendly features and functions that comes in Mill Mode. Simply go to the Setup page and change the interface.

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31. Use Tool Change Compensation or the optional Auto Tool Changer Turret if your application requires more than one tool in a single program
You can offset the length and angle of each tool and record it under Tools in your Setup. The program will automatically pause the lathe’s movement and spindle allowing you to change out your tool, or allowing the optional ATC Turret to quickly turn to its next tool and continue machining.
On the MX interface, you also have four Tool Position buttons. Select your desired T position, and the auto tool post will quickly turn and lock itself to that position.

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32. Use the Lathe Wizard Threading Cycle to help you program your lathe’s internal or external threads in inches or metric

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33. Use the Lathe Wizard Turning / Boring Cycle to help you program simple turning and boring cycles without having to go through a CAM or writing a long program with multiple passes

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34. Use the Lathe Wizard Peck Drilling Cycle to help you program your drill applications or for face grooving

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35. Facing / Grooving / Part Off Cycle Wizards – with Constant Surface Speed
These cycles can be used with Constant Surface Speed allowing the spindle speed to increase automatically as the diameter of the part decreases giving your application a consistent workpiece finish. With CSS built into the wizard, there is no need to break down the cycle into multiple paths and multiple spindle speed changes.

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36. This is our list of supported G and M codes which can be found under Tools > G Code/ M Code List in the MX
If you plan to use a third-party CAM software to generate your tool path program, use a generic FANUC post processor and edit it to match our list of codes. As an option, we also sell Visual mill/turn CAM software which comes with a guaranteed post processor for our machines to easily generate your tool path programs based on your CAD drawings.

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37. Our pledge to you…

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10. Run each tool path independently to study its movement
1. Run the machine on Trace mode. You can run each tool path independently, one line at a time to study the tool path movement on the machine to verify the position of the application and if any fixture/vise is in the way of the cutter’s path.

2. You can also verify your program by clicking on the Trace and Draw buttons together. This will allow you to view each tool path independently one line at a time in the Draw Window.

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2. Clutter Free Interface
The MX is engineered for the CNC MASTERS machine so you do not have to fiddle with a detailed complicated configuration that can be overwhelming. Just load in the MX and start machining!2. Clutter Free Interface
The MX is engineered for the CNC MASTERS machine so you do not have to fiddle with a detailed complicated configuration that can be overwhelming. Just load in the MX and start machining!

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3. Features Tour and Tutorials Included
The Features Tour will give you a quick run-down on all the features the MX can do for you. The Tutorials are easy to follow even for the first time CNC machinist.
Feel free to download the MX on any of your computers. We recommend downloading the MX along with your CAD and CAM software there at the comfort of your office computer to generate your tool path programs. You don’t need to be hooked up to the machine either to test your program in simulation mode.

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4. Navigate and Edit Your Program through the MX interface with Ease
With a few clicks of the mouse or using touch screen technology, you can easily navigate through the MX interface importing saved programs into the Editor from the File drop down menu. Using standard windows features to edit your program you can then lock the Editor Screen to avoid accidental editing, and if you need to insert a line in the middle of a program, just click on [ReNum] to re-number your tool path list.
You can create a program or import CAM generated G-code tool paths into the Editor
The X Y and Z W arrow jog buttons are displayed from the point of view of the cutter to avoid confusion when the table and saddle are moving. You can also adjust your spindle speed and coolant control while jogging each axis.

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5. Feed Hold – Pause in the Middle of your Program
Feed Hold lets you pause in the middle of a program. From there you can step through your program one line at time while opting to shut the spindle off and then resume your program.
You can also write PAUSE in the middle of your program and jog each axis independently while your program is in pause mode.

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6. Hot Keys
Hot Keys is an alternative method to easily control your machine using your hard or touch screen keyboard. One can press P to pause a program, press S to turn Spindle On, G to run a program, Space Bar to Stop, J to record your individual movements one line at a time to create a program in teach mode.

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7. Pick Menu – for conversational mode programming
Write FANUC style G-codes directly into the Editor or select commands off the [Pick] menu and write your tool path program in conversational mode such as what is written in the Editor box. You can even mix between conversation commands and G-codes in the same program.

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8. Pick Menu List of Options
Use commands such as MOVE, SPINDLE ON/OFF, COOLANT ON/OFF, PAUSE, DELAY, GO HOME…. to write your tool path programs in conversational mode.

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9. Draw the Tool Path to verify it before pressing Go
Hit Draw to view your tool path program drawing, check out its run time, or even simulate the tool path in 3D mode. This can be helpful to quickly verify your program before running it. You can also slow down or speed up the drawing or simulation process.
You can also hit Go within the Draw Window itself to verify the cutter’s position on the machine. The current tool path will be highlighted and simultaneously draw out the next path so you can verify what the cutter will be doing next on the program.

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MX Software – Easy to Use, Easy to Learn – Included with your machine purchase
The MX software is designed to work seamlessly with your CNC Masters machine. It is made to work with Windows PC – desktop, laptop, or an all in one – on standard USB. Use it on Windows 8 or 10 64-bit operating systems.
No internal conversion printer/serial port to USB software or additional conversion hardware is used with the MX.

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11. Counters display in Inches or Millimeters – Continuous Feed
1. When running a program, the counters will display a “real-time” readout while the machine is in CNC operation without counting ahead of the movement.
2. The current tool path is highlighted while the machine is in operation without causing slight interruptions/pauses as the software feeds the tool path to the machine. The MX internally interprets a program ten lines ahead to allow for “continuous machining” avoiding slight interruptions as the machine waits for its next tool path command.
3. “Run Time” tells you how long it takes to run your tool path program.

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12. Use the “Go From Line” command to start in the middle of your program
If you ever need to begin your program from somewhere in the middle of it, use [Go From Line] which you can find under Tools. The Help guide will walk you through how to position the cutter without losing its position on the machine.

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13. Exact Motion Distance without over-stepping on an axis while jogging
Use “Relative ON” to enter a specific coordinate to jog any of your axes to an exact location without having to write a program. It’s like using “power feed” but easier. You can jog an exact distance on any of the axes without needing to keep the key pressed down and mistakenly over-step the movement releasing your finger too slowly off the jog button.
Let’s say you need to drill a hole exactly 0.525” using the Z. So you enter 0.525 in the Z box. Next, adjust the JOG FEED RATE slider for the desired feed rate. Then “click once” on the +Z or -Z button to activate the travel. In this case you click once the -Z button first to drill the hole exactly 0.525”. Then click once on the +Z button to drive the axis back up 0.525”.

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14. Teach Mode – Jog Input
You can create a tool path program by storing each point-to-point movement by simply jogging an axis one at a time. Click on either of the Jog Input buttons to store each movement on the Editor Screen. You can then add Spindle ON, feed commands, and press GO to run the new program as needed. This is a great feature to help you learn to create a program by the movements you make on the machine without necessarily writing out an entire program first.

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15. Override on the fly to adjust the Jog Feed to Rapid or the Spindle Speed during the middle of a program
1. Jog Feed and Rapid with Override: You can adjust feeds using the slider from slow minimum 0.1″ per minute to a rapid of 100″ per minute of travel. You can even micro-step your jog as low as 0.01”/min. The [-][+] buttons allow you to fine tune feeds in 5% increments while the program is in motion.
2. Spindle Speed with Override: You can adjust speeds using the slider from a slow minimum RPM to the max RPM according to the machine setup. The [-][+] buttons allow you to fine tune feeds in 5% increments while the program is in motion.

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16. Adjust Counters using Pre-Set if you cannot begin the program from 0.00
In a situation where you cannot begin your cutter at it’s 0.00 location, you can “Pre-Set” directly into the counters by typing in your beginning coordinate. You can press Go from here to run your program. You can also “zero all” or “zero” your counters independently. With one click of the [Return to 0.0] button, all axes will travel back to its respective 0.0 on the machine.

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17. Set and Save your 0.00 position for future runs
Set and save your 0.00 position on the machine. These coordinates will be recorded as the first line of the program in the Editor Screen. Should you desire to return to this program at a later date, you only have to click on the Set Zero Return button. This will command the machine to automatically jog each axis to its saved “set” 0.00 position according to the recorded coordinates at the first line of the program.

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18. Create a “Home” position to clear your application and run multiple times
Let’s say you need to machine one application times 100 pieces. This usually requires a jig to retain that physical 0.00 position. But in this case, you want the program to end with a clearance of the axes to easily switch out the next piece of stock and start again. With Save Home, you have the ability to save this offset (home) position while still retaining your Set Zero position where the machine will mill your part out. Pressing [Save Home] will record this new position under the Set Zero line in your program.
Pressing [Go Home] will jog your axes back to your “saved home” position where you originally pressed the Save Home command. You can also input GO_HOME from the Pick Menu as its own tool path in your program. At the completion of your program the axes will end at your Home position. Replace your part, then press [Return to 0.0] button to allow the axes to return to its zero position, and press Go to start your next run.

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