Customer Reviews: Making Things Move DIY Mechanisms for Inventors, Hobbyists, and Artists
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on December 4, 2010
As a paper engineer and artist with some electronic experience, I have found that learning about gears, pulleys, motors, and the actual mechanics of getting things to move somewhat daunting. There are basic books geared towards beginners as well as books filled with inspiring complex examples that are impossible to navigate unless you already have a high level of expertise. This book is the book I've been looking for. It is really useful and very comprehensive in its approach and scope. It starts with the basics, but, takes you through a wide array of materials, techniques, and examples. Its section on motors (and arduino control) is great. I think its a fantastic book for students and individuals with varying skills, experience, and interests. Highly recommend it.
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on December 26, 2010
I'm sure the way you respond to this book will depend heavily on your experience level as a mechanical and electronics tinkerer. I happen to be right in the bullseye of the author's target audience: this book is perfect for where I am in my informal education in those areas. My favorite part is that Ms. Roberts makes specific recommendations for tools and for parts and materials sources. The information is presented in a very logical order. It is intentionally not too deep - just the bare essentials to get you started experimenting. But with plenty of information about how to go further. If you want to learn how to build machines that move, this is a great place to start.
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on December 7, 2010
I have been waiting for this book! I teach product design at a local university, and my students often have questions that I can't answer about topics discussed in Making Things Move. The language here is perfectly suited for this purpose, the information is very clear and the example projects are nicely explained and documented. The hand sketches are great, because they capture the excitement of making things, and put one in the mood to start sketching and inventing! Thanks to this author for producing a needed book that will help many non-professional people as they try their hand at mechanical design and robotics.
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on December 6, 2011
If you have a maker or aspiring maker in your life and they don't own this book, this should be your gift to them. You won't just be giving them a book, but a fundamental education in machines and fabrication techniques that they will be able to use for the rest of their life. No, that's not an exaggeration.

In 'Making Things Move', Dustyn Roberts explains mechanical design principles and their applications in non-technical terms, using examples and a dozen topic-focused projects.

The book is a wealth of information:

* Introductions to mechanisms and machines
* Finding and using materials such as metals, plastics, & wood
* Basic physics
* How to fasten and attach things in a bunch of different ways
* Info on different types of motors and how to use them
* Converting between rotary and linear motion
* Using off-the-shelf components
* A wide variety of fabrication techniques
* How to have things made, if you can't do it yourself
* A primer on Arduino micro-controllers
* There is even a section on automata!

This is an outstanding book with a ton of useful material presented in a very accessible way. I believe it to be a classic-in-its-own time for makers. I wish I had owned it years ago!
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on March 12, 2011
I deal mainly with the age groups of 8 to 15, so this book is a welcome addition to my library. While many of the concepts in the book do require some math skills and the language/style of the writing isn't geared towards the 8-12 age group, the concepts by themselves are explained fairly easily and in simple language that I believe most kids will be able to follow (or at least spark enough curiosity to hunt down a parent or teacher to ask for help). Starting out with a good discussion on the 6 basic types of machines - lever, pulley, wheel and axle, inclined plane/wedges, screws, and gears - it just gets even better from there.

She covers:

* materials
* Fastening techniques
* Friction and Torque (I learned a LOT in this chapter)
* Power/Work/Energy
* Types of motors and how to control them
* Bearings, couplers, etc...
* way much more...

10 chapters in all, with projects galore to test what you've learned... it's an outstanding book. (She even throws in a breadboard and Arduino summary/primer in the back of the book.)

With lots of photos and great hand sketches, this book would make a great gift to any budding engineer, tinkerer, robot fanatic, and/or DIYer. I read it in a few days and am amazed at the amount of information packed into this book.
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on February 9, 2011
I have a PhD and teach Electronics at a university and this is a great introduction to mechanical movements. Most of my students are interested in robots and this book provides easy to understand explanations and sources for the materials. I have also helped FIRST Robotics teams and again this is a great reference. I was also impressed with the projects in the book. These would make great starting points for science fair projects or class room demonstrations. Each of the many topics is covered in enough depth to cover the basics with references listed to find more information. Many examples are given of actual parts with detailed descriptions of the specification sheets.

I did notice one mistake. On page 101 of the paperback version, it says that alternating current fluctuates between 0V and 120V. It actually fluctuates from about 169 V below ground to 169 V above ground. It supplies the same average power as a 120 V DC source, which is why it is called 120 V AC. This is a minor mistake in an otherwise great book.
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on December 31, 2010
This is an amazing book that really delivers what it promises. Excellent reference material. I had never learned physics in a way as interesting as the one presented by the author. Recommend.
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on June 5, 2011
This book is a very fun and approachable book to getting started and excited about building/making things. I find this book is great for building the vocabulary needed to understand and build things. It's an easy read and is very digestible.

My biggest complaint is the disappointing electrical sections. The author spends effort trying to build intuition on mechanical devices; however this treatment stops when it comes to electrical design. The primary effort to give the reader intuition on circuits has a grotesque error (pg 102 fig 504) in the circuit diagram where the capacitor is misconnected (should be in parallel, not series!)

The author presents some basic equations such as ohms law, but does not provide examples on how it's used. A missed opportunity is when she explains diodes; instead she simply states a 220k resistor with 5V supply should be fine with most LEDs. The reader is lost what to do in any other situation.

While she provides detailed information on how to read mechanical data sheets for browsing McMaster; on the circuit side, all of this is missing on basic devices such as resistors, leds, transistors or capacitors. The reader will be completely lost attempting to browse the dizzying array of parts at digikey or mouser. The reader is pointed to canned solutions provided in the text with little intuition to expand or modify.

The author advocates the importance of sketching out mechanical diagrams, yet does not mention or even show any circuit schematics. Without understand how to read a schematic, it is difficult, if not impossible to communicate design and debug broken ones. Instead she attempts to communicate circuit diagrams with black and white pictures of bread boards...

Finally, she introduces the reader to Arduino, but again the discussion lacks depth. She provides canned examples of how to control a motor, yet the reader is left to wonder how to do anything else.

In short, this book is great intro to mechanical design and getting things moving; however, as for building and understanding the electrical side, the reader will be left in the dark (pun intended).
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on October 16, 2011
I bought this book when I saw it promoted on a DiY website (maybe MAKE?), and ever since it's never left my side. It's a practical resource to get anyone building their favorite project or self-conceived idea in no time. I didn't want get stuck in the formulas and rhetoric commonly flaunted in engineering. Let me "Build something now!" I thought. Start learning by doing! And, I read this book. It distills those theories and calculations into compact, accessible language that lays out what you need to know to get up and running. I've had a blast throughout this whole learning process. It's one of those books in which the author actually gets her audience (maybe because she has been a teacher). She incorporates modern practices, so you're not stuck in an ice age somewhere. She jumps write into content in the Introduction, and every chapter matters. If you want to build on the math and science, you could, because the author does introduce some of those concepts. If at any point you want to dig deeper into an area, such as, 3d modeling and manufacturing, you could (and it's to be expected if you want to better your design skills.) Don't be fooled. This is not a book for dummies kind of project. As someone who has studied engineering and design in college, I find that a book like this (which is a rarity to find) essential for developing the hands-on knowledge to getting things made and working, simply and quickly.

This book, however, is not a programming or electrical design book. One reviewer criticized the book's lack of depth in those areas, to which I respond, "Didn't you read the title?!" So, if you think, this book or any book could sufficiently cover mechanical, electrical and program design, expect it to be an encyclopedia. For what this book is written for - mechanisms for the DiY crowd - Making Things Move beats expectation.
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on January 31, 2011
I really really enjoyed this book. For me, the best part was that it made all of the concepts seem attainable a a non-technical person like myself. I'm working on building my first robot right now and so far the ideas I've picked up here and coming in very very handy.
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