Top critical review
35 people found this helpful
Good intro to mechanical design
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).