Most of you probably have several bookshelves filled with reference texts such as Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers and at least one for stress calculations. Another useful text to consider is the Machinery's Handbook 27th Edition in digital form. It's almost the same book you might lug around, but in CD form it's a lot lighter.
The CD version comes in 15 sections and Adobe's portable document format (pdf) which allows skipping around the text faster than you could with the paper version. Opening the CD book puts the table of contents on the left and text on the right.
As you might expect, several features in the digital version are not available in the paper one. Quick searches, for example. Hit the Search icon in the toolbar and a field comes up that lets users enter search terms and preferences, such as searching on whole words and phrases. A search on "bolt preload," for example, pulls up 18 locations in which the term is used. The search finds the term along with a portion of the sentence in which it's used. Then picking on the sentence fragment that seems closest to the required information pulls up that page and highlights the term for easy spotting.
Interactive equations are another advantage of the CD, especially for complex expressions. The operation, however, does not seem as simple as you would imagine. It works like this: Picking on the red light bulb next to an equation calls up a Web page with the variables and the equation. To change a variable value, highlight it, and pick on the tiny Input Math tag at the page top. This calls up a window that looks like a calculator. Pick the preferred numbers. Closing the window updates the equation. Do that a couple times and it becomes old hat. There are hundreds of potentially active equations throughout the text.
What's more, over 350 bonus pages that do not appear in the printed version include math tables, cement and concrete data, and surface treatments for metals. Other bonus-section topics include manufacturing, symbols for drafting, and gears and gearing. The publisher says Guide 27, a $12.95 separate purchase, elaborates on the Handbook topics with hundreds of examples and solved problems along with detailed explanations.
The CD-ROM edition of the Machinery's Handbook 27/e is available in its full version at a list price of $89.95, and in an upgrade format (for owners of prior editions of the the CD-ROM Handbook) at a preferential price of $65.00.
The handbook on CD comes from
200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016,