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The LEGO Technic Idea Book: Simple Machines Paperback – October 25, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • The LEGO Technic Idea Book: Simple Machines
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  • The LEGO Power Functions Idea Book, Vol. 1: Machines and Mechanisms
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Isogawa Yoshihito is a LEGO luminary with 42 years of experience. He began writing computer manuals while at the Tokyo University of Science and founded Isogawa Studio, Inc. soon after. He has twice won the grand prize in the Japan Manual Contest held by the Japan Technical Communicators Association and he has won outstanding performance awards many times. He currently lives in Tokyo.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Series: Lego Technic Idea Book
  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (October 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593272774
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593272777
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Justin G. TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
After building a few (OK, a lot of) Lego sets with my son, I've rediscovered my love for Lego and making custom builds. I've noticed that the more complex, mechanical Technic elements play a larger role in most Lego sets, so when I saw Yoshihito Isagawa's Lego Technic Idea Book - Simple Machines I decided to give it a shot in the hopes that I'd be able to incorporate some of its ideas into my own creations.

Unfortunately, this book is entirely free of text. I understand that Lego instructions are also text free, but this guide doesn't read like a Lego instruction book. You can get a general idea of the building sequence and parts involved, but it's not always clear. It's also not always evident just what the simple machine on each page is supposed to be used for. Perhaps more advanced Technic builders don't need that basic information, but as a novice (and as a parent), I didn't find this book nearly as helpful as I had hoped.

The Lego Technic Idea Book - Simple Machines has some useful information, but I'd only recommend it to more experienced builders. If you're looking for something that will help younger builders, this probably isn't it.
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Format: Paperback
If you are a LEGO builder like me, you have gotten pretty proficient at building what is called the System type of models. These are buildings and vehicles that are the scale of the minifigure and are the majority of the things that are built with LEGO elements.

However, there are other scales and other parts that are not the typical brick and plate. Once called Expert Models, these became the Technic theme, which are models that have working features, like working steering and gear systems. These are sets that are more complex, and as a result, are tough to explore building possibilities. With The LEGO Technic Idea Book: Simple Machines, using Technic parts becomes a much easier exercise.

As the first book in the LEGO Technic Idea book trilogy,Simple Machines explains the parts and their uses in a clear, easy-to-understand format. There are no words used in the diagrams: all ideas are explained with graphics and colorful photos of example models. This makes it really easy and fun to pick up on building. The simplicity of the photos and diagrams also allows the builder to adapt the model to his creations.

For the beginning builder this is a great guide to learning how to make working models. For the experienced builder, this is a good reference on building techniques. This book would also be useful for FIRST LEGO teams, as it explains how to use gears, which is useful for MINDSTORMS robot builders.
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Format: Paperback
There are hundreds of models in these books and, unless you've got a massive storehouse of LEGO Technic parts in your 10,000 square foot basement, you may not have all of the parts you need in order to build a particular model.

We want to help you find those parts. To that end, Yoshihito Isogawa has prepared a hyperlinked list of the more unique parts in the books to help you to find them at the Bricklink website. We can't post a direct link to that list here, but here's how to find it on our website:

(1) Go to the main No Starch Press website
(2) Search for the word "technic"
(3) Click the first search item that comes up ("LEGO Technic Idea Book Complete Set")
(4) When you reach that page, click the link that says "See the parts list for the books," which you'll see just underneath the red text that says "Buy the whole set and save . . ."

or, if you can read between the lines, try:

nostarch dot com /technic

Please remember that these are idea books; buying these books is not like buying a pre-packaged LEGO set. As such, you're encouraged to explore and invent with LEGO. Many of our readers draw considerable inspiration from the pictures of Isogawa's models alone and I hope that you will, too.


William Pollock, Founder
No Starch Press
11 Comments 78 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My 9 year-old son is a Lego fanatic, and especially loves to build with Technic and Bionicle pieces. He's awfully timid about creating on his own, however, so I thought this book might help to provide the inspiration and confidence he sometimes lacks.

This beautiful book is absolutely filled with useful information. First, there are hundreds and hundreds of pictures showing different ways to combine gears and other common Technic pieces to translate power and motion in every direction. Then, the author moves on to show examples of what can be built with these basic machines... doors that slide open and shut, motorized cars, and even simple musical instruments! There are no building directions or parts lists, but we found that everything was photographed clearly enough to allow us to replicate, and that almost all of the pieces were already in our fairly extensive Lego collection.

The one huge detraction from this book, I felt, was the complete absence of descriptive labeling on the photographs within. The author does so deliberately for effect; in his own words, "This is an idea book; it's about imagination. Rather than tell you what to see or think when you look at each photograph, I encourage you to interpret each one in your own way." I appreciate the sentiment, but I can't help feeling that the author has sacrificed usefulness in his pursuit of art. The well-organized table of contents contains very helpful titles and descriptions, after all... why not transfer these same few words to the corresponding pages to help identify the extremely beautiful, creative, and thought-provoking Lego constructs shown there at a glance? Thus, while I unhesitatingly recommend this book for Lego aficionados with the patience and knowledge it requires to really enjoy it, I do so with slight reservations for the lesser, more easily-frustrated mortals among us.
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