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Basic Machines and How They Work

I've had my eye on this book for a long time. I decided that it was about time that I bought, read, and reviewed it.

Another oldie...or is it?

This little gem was produced by the Navy in 1994. The line art and vintage black and white photographs make it seem like something written in the 1950s. The graphics -- cover included -- lack a little in style. This is not to say that the images are of poor quality; they are clear and helpful.

Basic machines, yes.

This book is an excellent introduction to basic machines. The Big Five -- levers, block and tackle, the wheel and axle, the incline plane, and the screw -- each gets its own chapter. The chapters include the mathematical formula associated with each machine and work out at least one example problem for each one.

Gears are the subject of chapter 6. The chapter is short, but a good overall introduction to gears types, speed ratios, and mechanical advantage.

Some Simple Physics

The book proceeds into three chapters of basic physics, covering work, power, force, and pressure. These chapters are good...and short. I doubt any automata maker will ever need to work out the math behind a mechanism, but it doesn't hurt to understand such concepts.

Later Chapters: machines

The later chapters deal with topics such as hydraulics and the internal combustion engine. If you want a good intro to these topics, this book does it well.

The Bottom Line: I like it

For someone who is curious about the principles behind basic machines, but knows very little, this book is essential. It's very direct, clear, and it covers a great deal in very few pages. A great place to begin your mechanical engineering reading.

There is no doubt that this book -- like 507 Mecahnical Movements -- is a great value for the price

Here's a link to Amazon's page for Basic Machines and How They Work

When you purchase from, you can help me support my site and my art by navigating there from any of the links on this site.

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