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Ingenious Mechanisms for Designers and Inventors (4 Volumes set)

Learn All About Mechanisms

These books are very comprehensive. There are lots of multi-component mechanisms described in great detail for mechanically inclined people. For automata makers, it may be a bit much to digest, but certainly there are hundreds of mechanical elements that could be used.

The drawings are very good -- clear and well labeled line art reminiscent of patent drawings.

Did I Mention Complete?

These books offer multiple solutions for each category of machine. The organization is a little funny, though -- since you will need to browse all four books to cover all the solutions.

Be Ready to Do Some Reading

These books will require some careful reading of several pages to absorb how a given device works. It's not exactly a quick reference.

If you are more of a visual-learner -- as I am -- you might consider Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook, Fourth Edition. This book shows an isolated mechanism and places one, short paragraph of text immediately next to it.

While I have yet to use much from these books directly in any of my projects, I am happy to read them for the joy of it. I feel that they have greatly improved my understanding of complex machines.

The machines depicted are of a decidedly historical nature. I don't see this as a shortcoming, however. Mechanisms of the sort found in these volumes were state-of-the-art at one time. There were no electronic sensors and computer controls at the turn of the last century. Everything had to work -- and had to work mechanically. It's a testament to a certain real-world ingenuity that most of us can't comprehend.

And they look good on my bookshelf. (Seriously...four hardcover books in bright orange. It's impressive.)

Learn more about Ingenious Mechanisms for Designers and Inventors (4-Volume Set)

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