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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2010
I had gotten this book a year ago from a Japanese publisher and am happy to see it translated.

Funny thing is, this book didn't need much translating at all. Besides the introduction and bylines, everything else is visual. And that's the magic of this book. This is the last of the trilogy of LEGO Technic Idea books, so while it brushes on the techniques of the previous two books, it quickly goes into building working machines.

The models shown have been built with colorful parts which show how the assembly is done without instructions, so this is a guidebook and reference for old and new builders to make their models move. The overall design of the magazine is clean, only showing the models. No notes are shown, nor are they needed - there are a set of graphics that are diagrams of the movement of a model, but the photos are clear enough on their own without any further description.

The very raw builds also open up the reader to use and adapt the models inside to their creations - want to make a moving spider? Look it up in the contents, and build and then add your building to it. In that respect, the book lives up to its title as an idea book.

Looking through the book will be instructional to the older builder and inspirational to the newer builders. As a reference, this will be a useful book to people using the LEGO MINDSTORMS systems to develop robots.

I recommend the book to anyone who has a pile of Technic pieces and is wondering: What can I build? With this book, you'll be very surprised.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2010
I've been playing, building, and teaching with LEGO (particularly Technic and Mindstorms) for years, and am familiar with most of the books either directly or indirectly related to the Mindstorms range that have been published over that time. I am confident that Isogawa's work is unique. I bought Isogawa's Japanese "orange book" when it was published, and have found it to be an invaluable resource, for both my own designs and in the classroom. This series goes further though, and is in English! (Even though the core of these books require no translation, it helps to have the table to contents in English - and more readily available in the west.) The models are colourful, clear and very easy to follow.

Nobody is going to have all the parts to make each and every model in these books (except, presumably Isogawa!), but that's not the point. The value of these books is in the ideas that the models convey. Whether you're looking for a solution to a specific design challenge (eg. "How could I convert rotational movement to linear movement?"), or just flicking through for ideas of what to create next, these books are a great way of overcoming "designer's block".

All in all, a great series!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2011
Nice to browse these sample designs. However, it's hard to re-create since parts been used are rare to find and design steps are brief.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2011
Good inspiration book. Pictures from multiple views to see how it is built.

Could benefit from a part list.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2010
A few years ago I downloaded a free pdf version of these books and sent in a donation. I'm glad to see them in print and I quickly snatched up the collection (very reasonably priced too!).

If you've been into Legos for a number of years, especially in NXT robotics or the more advanced technics sets you might be staring at pile of weird Lego parts, gears, pins, cams and beams and wonder what can I do with all of this? Or you might be on a First Lego League team and be wondering how to get your Legos to do a certain thing like grab something or lift something.

These beautiful books provide a treasure trove of examples of how the more advanced Lego pieces work together. Overall the Lego systems has zillions of parts available but often it seems to the Lego fan that only select engineers at Lego can actually understand what the purpose of certain parts. By studying the photos in this book one can come to some head slapping moments like "ohhh, that's a way to make a gear change direction".

Of course the drawback of buying any third party book as opposed to buying a Lego kit is that of course you most likely won't have all of the pieces depicted in the book. But since the Lego system is so diverse you should be able to recreate what is shown in a different way or search Ebay or online Lego brick sellers for the piece you need.

The educational applications of this series of books is vast. It takes one into the realm of simply machines and engineering. Its a great resource or encyclopedia for anyone doing Lego robotics or First Lego League.

Thank you Yoshihito for sharing your Lego knowledge and your art!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2010
If you or someone you know is interested in expanding their LEGO building techniques or is seeking inspiration to build like a professional, this three book series is the answer.

While every book in the series is great, The Fantastic Contraptions book is the best stand-alone book as there's something in it for every LEGO builder. Isogawa offers up ideas for building with lights, magnets, pneumatic elements, pulleys and more.

Similar to the LEGO idea books from the 70's and 80's, these books are chock full of clever creations, but instead of specifically describing how to build things like houses, spaceships or vehicles, this series of books takes creativity to an even higher level by teaching the reader how to build foundational components that can be used to build practically anything.

Using full color photo illustrations and an intuitive icon-based index system, you can quickly find how to build mechanical walkers, automatic sliding doors, flexible vehicles, and much more. These books contain virtually no words beyond the first few pages, but this is no problem thanks to Isogawa's carefully arranged photographs that indicate where to place every piece.

Novice builders wishing to learn how to connect bricks in unique and interesting ways such as sideways, upside down or at angles will particularly enjoy the Simple Machines book, whereas Mindstorms robotics fans and LEGO Technic fans will enjoy the entire series.

Whereas the titles of these books aptly describe the bias towards technical creations, all three books should be on the shelf of every serious LEGO fan.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2012
My kids have tens of thousands of Legos, but the special pieces needed for most of the models in this book are very rare. We all went through the book trying to find buildable models to no avail. We also bought the book that comes with all the needed pieces, and the kids loved that one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2011
My 10 year old son loves it and has built many items using the ideas and directions in this book.
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on August 25, 2011
I was totally stunned and overjoyed by the nearly pure visual nature of this work. I've enjoyed things like the Merriam-Webster's Visual Dictionary so when I read that this was a visual book I was expecting a lot of pictures, not all pictures. It is an excellent and beautiful example of visual communication. I can see anyone who has touched Technics being able to learn interesting possibilities from this regardless of their ability to speak any language. It is also a testament to the value of a physical book. While I could see value in seeing this via an e-book reader, the higher resolution of paper lets you appreciate the vivid beauty of the pictures even better. Kudos to O'Reilly and the author.
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on January 16, 2014
I like the book a lot I think that you will to I would recommended this book to all.I think
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