I'm familiar with several books that deal with the analysis and design of simple mechanisms (such as Norton's Design of Machinery), including four-bar linkages, gear trains and cams. There are also books that deal with the design of machine elements, such as shafts, springs, gears, bearings and so on, taking mechanical properties of materials into considertion (like Shingley's mechanical engineering design).

However, I haven't been able to find a book about combining those individual machine elements into complex machines to perform a specific task. It seems very obvious to me that designing a milling machine, a wood chipper, a bottling machine or other such systems one would need more knowledge than simply the design of its individual elements. Many even require knowledge of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics or electronics to have been designed.

Is there any book you know of that deals with the design of machines that are more complex than simple four-bar mechanisms or gear trains, like the ones mentioned? Preferrably with the same mathematical rigor found in machine element books. I have also seen books dealing with engineering design in general (like Dieter's Engineering Design) but they are far too vague, only including a general oultine of design practices such as identifying customer needs, prototyping, documentation, etc. that apply to any engineering product, not only machines.

  • $\begingroup$ This same question was asked recently, did it get closed and subsequently deleted? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 5:10
  • $\begingroup$ @SolarMike Yes, because recommendations like this aren't a good fit for the site. $\endgroup$
    – user16
    Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry @GlenH7, I really don't see how the question is opinion based. I'm simply asking if users know of books dealing specifically with a subject (design of complex machines). Wether a book contains information about something or not is not a matter of opinion. All I can think of is maybe the use of the word "good" in the question, and have edited the question accordingly. Could you please clarify? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 1:16
  • $\begingroup$ Book recommendations simply aren't a good fit for the SE sites. There are other sites that are much better suited for providing that. I can change the close reason to "too broad" or "off topic", but ultimately, recommendation requests like this don't work well. $\endgroup$
    – user16
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 2:18
  • $\begingroup$ @GlenH7 I made the comment because I thought I remembered the question but could not find it. I answered it hoping that the OP would understand the answer while I expected it ti be clised... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 4:24

1 Answer 1


The topics necessary warrant their own books and each topic is sufficiently large that the books already exist and are large already, so combining them into one book would mean you could not carry it.

The logical solution is to have books for each topic,: mechanics, thermofluids, tribolgy, control etc and you combine what you need according to the problem you face.

If the problem faced is large or very challenging then teams of engineers get put together to combine the skills necessary.

  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, but some universities offer a course, we had a 6 credits course machine design, mostly about lubrication. There are books that actually target the subject, but the prices are skyrocketing, the encyclopaedia of tribology is about 3000 €. $\endgroup$
    – user14407
    Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 11:20
  • $\begingroup$ @SamFarjamirad We had Thermofluids I and II, powerplant analysis I and II, vibration analysis, control theory inc digital... but our course was modular so you got to pick the modules that interested you. Less choice in the first year, but in the final year only one compulsory module... How to build an interesting degree :) $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 11:23

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