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Unscrewed: Salvage and Reuse Motors, Gears, Switches, and More from Your Old Electronics Paperback – June 1, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1569766040 ISBN-10: 1569766045

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Unscrewed: Salvage and Reuse Motors, Gears, Switches, and More from Your Old Electronics + 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer: (And Other Discarded Electronics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (June 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569766045
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569766040
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Tinkerers, do-it-yourselfers, and hobbyists will get a kick out of this new book...Great fun for the Popular Electronics crowd."  —Booklist


"Where others see trash bound for the landfill, intelligent tinkerer Ed Sobey sees gold, and Unscrewed is the bridge between useless junk and precious raw material."  —William Gurstelle, author of Backyard Ballistics


"Unscrewed by Ed Sobey is a great resource for computer geeks, techno-users, workbench hobbyists, DIYers and those who simply feel compelled to take things apart."  —BookPage

About the Author

Ed Sobey is the author of The Way Toys Work, The Way Kitchens Work, A Field Guide to Household Technology, and many other titles.

Customer Reviews

I regret wasting my money on this book.
Peter Bogomolov
Besides that, it's pretty much a brief description of how to take take each device apart such as, "unscrew the screw on the left."
David L. Hickman
Very basic over view of some parts you'll find in your gadgets.
Chris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 53 people found the following review helpful By David L. Hickman on September 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very short and after looking thru it for about 45 minutes, I'm done with it. The only real value to the book is the listing of parts that you might want to keep from each device. Besides that, it's pretty much a brief description of how to take take each device apart such as, "unscrew the screw on the left." This approach to taking things apart doesn't make sense to me because, for example, I'm pretty sure that not all brands of DVD players have a "screw on the left." There were a few little nuggets of value such as the description of the mirror and 2 lasers in the head of a DVD ROM but the nuggets are way too brief. I would have appreciated some info such as how much voltage does it take to operate the laser from a DVD player but there is none of that kind of info. In fact, at one point when talking about the fan from a PC, the author says, "it seems robust enough to handle running off a 9 volt battery." I'd like to know what is the proper voltage, not just that it seems to run when hooked to 9 volts. As far as ideas about what to make with the parts salvaged, the ideas in the book are simplistic, lame and worthless. One of the ideas in the book is to hook the computer fan to some PVC pipe to dry your wet socks. Well, I consider that a pretty shallow idea and that's probably the best idea I saw in the book. I regret wasting my money on this book.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
The concept is pretty good, I have long been a proponent of using parts from old junk to make or repair other things, but this book didn't make it. I have to admit it would be difficult to write a book that could show how to dismantle everything the reader might encounter. In this particular book the writer discusses vaguely how to take apart a few specific items. The information derived therefrom isn't enough for a novice to disassemble even the exact same items, and anyone who isn't a novice has already taken apart a sample of everything in the book. The pictures should have circles and arrows showing what screws to take out and where they are, not just '4 screws on the back' or 'cut the ribbon cable'. How many times does he write 'Lefty Loosens'? Too many times.
The DVD player I took apart last night had at least 5 ribbon cables that had to come off before I could remove the main board, and they all could be released without cutting. The author doesn't bother to mention that the spindle motor of a DVD player or a CD player has a cool magnet on it, or that some older CD players have a laser diode that can be removed for use. He talks about how a reader might experiment with a LCD clock display to try to get it to display numbers, but doesn't even mention that there is a polarizing screen in front of the LCD display that can be removed and used, or that you could flip it over and change the polarity of the digits and background. Not to mention that these days an LCD alarm clock is likely to be so highly integrated that you can't disassociate the display from the rest of the electronics. I could go on but I think you get the picture.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By firvo on July 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Thanks to all the reviewers who indicated this book was awful, I took it out at my local library instead. To sum it up ... this is a seventh grade english project that only passed because of the number of pages. Please, please, please don't buy this book. It will only encourage Ed to come up with a sequel and confuse him as to any value actually present in this book. If you know how to unscrew a screw and undo a nut ("lefty loosens" - thanks Ed) then you have already learned all you will from this book. Question to Ed, what ya smokin dude?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shawn Everette on November 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting to see what you can salvage from some old stuff, but unless you're a real DIY gadgeter most of it is pretty useless. Wold have been great if it also had some projects that you could build with the stuff you scrapped
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence D. McCabe on April 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My son was building a beam robot from scavenged parts really need something to help him identify parts on a circuit boards and described how they could be used. This book seems to limit itself to the most readily identified parts (ie motors and gears) and nothing more complicated.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Peter Bogomolov on November 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book teaches you how to waste your valuable time to take some junk apart to end up with even more junk. The ideas about what to make with the parts collected are absolutely worthless. For example to use the magnet from the brushless motor to put on the fridge to hold up your shopping list. I regret wasting my money on this book.
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Format: Paperback
I picked this book up from the library after it was featured in Make. I can't really recommend this book. He does attempt to cover the tear down of quite a few devices to recover parts of interest. However, he fails to deliver in two to three key areas.

First the good things. He does bring up safety considerations which sometimes are ignored by DIY'ers. He does cover quite a few devices to be tore down. He includes pictures in each teardown. So if your are looking for a particular type of DC motor for a robotics project, this book could guide you in that direction.

The bad things. He gives a general overview on how to take things apart. However, on some projects, he doesn't have practical suggestions on how to reuse some of these items.

While he has slight "tools needed" listing, it's lacking. For example, in more than one tear-down, he doesn't use the proper screwdriver to remove a security screw. He takes a rotary tool to the screwhead to bore it out. This is a failure to teach the concept of the right tool for the job.

Finally, the book could have benefited from a different layout. I would much preferred standard 8.5 by 11 pages so the pictures could be bigger. Also a binding that would allow for the book to lay open flat. This would make looking at the book while working on a device that much easier.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Ed is curious - he wants to see the world and understand how it works. So he travels (a lot) and takes things apart. And, he enjoys putting things together from building robots to writing books.

As a math and physics major, Ed likes numbers. He's traveled to 81 countries on all 7 continents. He has directed 5 museums (including the National Inventors Hall of Fame and founding the National Toy Hall of Fame) and written more than two dozen books.

He holds a Ph.D. in oceanography and has participated in 20 some expeditions, including doing research on sea ice in Antarctica. With his wife, he has sailed across the Pacific Ocean and has done a circumnavigation teaching oceanography for Semester at Sea. Ed is a Fellow Emeritus in The Explorers Club.

An avid outdoors person, Ed runs, bikes, swims, kayaks, and SCUBA dives. Along the way he searches for the unusual gizmo to take apart or at least figure out how it works.

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Unscrewed: Salvage and Reuse Motors, Gears, Switches, and More from Your Old Electronics
This item: Unscrewed: Salvage and Reuse Motors, Gears, Switches, and More from Your Old Electronics
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