Is there a universal guide-line for the mechanical dimensions and tolerances of Surface Mount packages across the industry? I'm very new to SMT machine programming (<1 year), so I've been trying to look for a copy of JEDEC's JEP95 that wouldn't cost me over $1,000 but to no avail. I have seen a few things related to IPC around the web, but I don't know what is most reliable and up-to-date, and would like guidance from someone more experienced than I.
There are many resources available on-line.
I use a service called "PCB Libraries" link. The link takes you their free version of Expert, which allows you to create symbols and padstacks.
The download page also gives you the option to download the IPC standards for free. This is only one of the many resources available for free from the download page.
Putting the string "PCB Libraries" into Google brings up many similar resources.
Usually, PCB designers will maintain a library of components which include their PCB layouts. This is done by analyzing the component datasheets.
For more generic usage see: IPC-7351B: Generic Requirements for Surface Mount Design and Land Pattern Standard
You can view the Table of Contents here: http://www.ipc.org/TOC/IPC-7351B.pdf