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Robot Builder's Bonanza, Third Edition Paperback – February 21, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0071468930 ISBN-10: 0071468935 Edition: 3rd
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover


Thousands of robot hobbyists -- and robots -- grew up on the first two editions on this book. Now Gordon McComb has partnered with fellow robotics enthusiast Myke Predko -- and together they've made this classic guide to building your very own robot more awesome than ever. Inside Robot Builder's Bonanza you'll find detailed plans for constructing robots that walk, see, feel, talk, listen, think -- and more!

Best of all, this book will make you want to build a robot -- and show you how you can! Packed with enthusiasm, fascinating science tidbits, field-tested projects, and modular organization to make it easy to invent and build your own designs, this best-seller puts it all together for anyone with the slightest curiosity about this fascinating hobby. Projects vary in complexity so everyone from novices to advanced hobbyists will find something to inspire and advance robot plans.

Follow a plan or create your own design

  • Robot Basics
  • Parts and Tools
  • Practical Robotics Projects
  • Money-Saving Hacks
  • Construction Techniques: Plastic, Wood, & Metal
  • Computer and Electronic Control
  • Power, Motors, and Locomotion
  • Sensors and Navigation
  • Robot Programming
  • Tips, Tricks, and Tidbits
  • Avoiding Common Mistakes
  • List of Sources for Parts and Ideas

NEW to the Third Edition:

  • 30 Completely New Projects!
  • Hundreds of Helpful New Illustrations
  • Customizability Added to Every Project
  • More Materials and Tools You Can Use to Build Your Robots
  • State-of-the-Art Advances
  • More Help with Microcontrollers for the Beginner
  • Developments in Remote Control
  • Advanced Locomotion
  • Information to Turn Toys into Automatons
  • High-Tech Sensors
  • Suggestions for Robotics Competitions and Competing
  • 75% Fewer Bad Jokes

About the Author

Gordon McComb is an avid electronics hobbyist who has written for TAB Books for a number of years. He wrote the best-selling Troubleshooting and Repairing VCRs (now in its third edition), Gordon McComb's Gadgeteer's Goldmine, and Lasers, Ray Guns, and Light Cannons.

Myke Predko has 20 years experience in the design, manufacturing, and testing of electronic circuits. An experienced author, Myke wrote McGraw-Hill's best-selling 123 Robotics Projects for the Evil Genius; 123 PIC Microcontroller Experiments for the Evil Genius, PIC Microcontroller Pocket Reference; Programming and Customizing PIC Microcontrollers, Second Edition; Programming Robot Controllers; and other books, and is the principal designer of both TAB Electronics Build Your Own Robot Kits.


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Product Details

  • Series: Robot Builder's Bonanza
  • Paperback: 733 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics; 3 edition (February 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071468935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071468930
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,023,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on March 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is the big book on robots. In its third edition, it is more than seven hundred pages of information. This information basically includes virtually everything there is to know about modern robotics from converting a toy into a working robot to fairly fancy electronics that handle functions like speech (systhesis and recognition) eyes, collision detection and avoidance through the computer programming that will be required to tie everything together and make it work.

The book is aimed at the robot experimenter. This could be at any level from the individual working in his basement to the student wanting a neat project for the science fair, and even up to the more advanced experimenter who may have great knowledge in one area but needs to know about other areas to be more complete in his knowledge.

If you're going to buy one Robot book, this is the one.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Why spend a lot of money on this year's big thing in robots - Roboreptile - and wind up with something that can only do a few basic commands and then falls over? Instead, buy this book, and you and your child can bond while building your own robots.

This is a very healthy update to the 2nd edition, and makes it well worth your while to purchase, read, and use as a reference book. The third edition has been updated to show most of the latest technologies that robot builders have been using. Gordon has done a very good job at organizing a wide variety of current information into his book, and Myke Predko is a welcome addition to the authoring team, bringing with him is vast knowledge of microcontrollers.

This book covers much of the basics of building robots, such as electronics, motors and motor control. There are plenty of diagrams, schematics, and details on the basics of building robots. There is even quite a bit of source code, and instructions on where to find and buy supplies for the projects outlined in the book. There are experiments with range finding, sound, ultrasonics, infrared, and a host of other popular technologies.

The first four parts of the book are on the technologies and skills needed to build robots, but part five gives you some sample robots to build where you can apply your knowledge. This includes a roverbot, a walking robot, and robots with arms that have gripping capabilities. The final sections of the book cover more advanced topics such as navigation, sensor integration, object detection, speech synthesis, and even computer vision. It's a great source for complete instructions unlike many other hastily constructed books on the subject that omit individual robot construction steps or get them wrong entirely. I highly recommend it for the budding robot building enthusiast.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By jkl song on November 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
I read the first 80 pages of this book at B&N, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of information. This book is not for beginners who are only somewhat interested in robotics. You have to make an effort with this book. But if you're looking to make science-fair quality projects or impress MIT, this book can't be beat.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Justin Mcfarland on May 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
I enjoy the 3rd edition of this book. What it does well is that it breaks up the problem of building a robot into multiple sections in which builders get ideas on what to change for their robots. This includes changes in anything from what sensors to use to recommendations and ideas about building your own chassis from wood to plastic to well, whatever. It also gives you a nice reference to places to get parts and also references to other books to get even more information on individual topics. It doesn't really get into the level that other McComb books did such as the Lasers, Ray Guns, and Light Cannons: Projects from the Wizard's Workbench by Gordon McComb - it instead just briefly surveys a great many topics across a very very wide spectrum of possibilities. It's great for ideas- but it seems to lack a bit of a universal thread such as a representative building example that goes through the whole design process. But then again, it's not an engineering textbook... it's a bonanza.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joseph A. Nickence on March 7, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good way to describe this book is a cross between a textbook, a trade journal, and a catalog. Being definately a large volume, it attempts to cover a lot of information in bite sized chapters. I would think the best use for this book is as a reference. You can build some of the projects listed in it as stand alone applications, but they work best when combining them with your own ideas, or supplementing info from other book projects.

All in all, this book is a good addition to a robot reference library.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Karl Kelley on December 12, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a old guy who has recently developed an interest in Robots. I knew just enough to be dangerous! I wanted to learn all I could as quickly as I could (OK...I'm an impatient old guy) so I bought this book along with "Building Robot Drive Trains" by Dennis Clark. These two books are a wonderful pair for the Newbie robot builder!
"Bonanza" covers every aspect of designing, building, and testing your robot creations. You learn about locomotion, sensors, programming, hardware, connectors, and controllers. Multi-legged and humanoid robots are covered. Servos, stepper motors, and DC motors are covered. Scavenging parts from printers, other robot toys, and yard sales is covered. A very thorough introduction for rookies!!
The presentation is interesting: the author suggests that you jump around in the book by listing other chapters that are related to the chapter you just finished. However that leads to the only fault I have with this book: its organization is chaotic, to say the least. I found myself searching the Table of Contents and Index very often!
On the other hand, this makes it an excellent reference after you have some robotics experience under your belt.
I suggest that those interested in learning about robots buy this book, read it more than once, then join a robotics club...locally, if possible, but at least an online club.
I recommend this book highly for newbies and experienced roboticists alike!
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