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Making Things Move DIY Mechanisms for Inventors, Hobbyists, and Artists

Making Things Move DIY Mechanisms for Inventors, Hobbyists, and Artists

Making Things Move DIY Mechanisms for Inventors, Hobbyists, and Artists
By Dustyn Roberts

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Book Description

A unique guide to practical mechanical design principles and their applications
In Making Things Move, you'll learn how to build moving mechanisms through non-technical explanations, examples, and do-it-yourself projects--from art installations to toys to labor-saving devices. The projects include a drawing machine, a mini wind turbine, a mousetrap powered car, and more, but the applications of the examples are limited only by your imagination. A breadth of topics is covered ranging from how to attach couplers and shafts to a motor, to converting between rotary and linear motion.
Each chapter features photographs, drawings, and screenshots of the components and systems involved. Emphasis is placed on using off-the-shelf components whenever possible, and most projects also use readily available metals, plastics, wood, and cardboard, as well as accessible fabrication techniques such as laser cutting. Small projects in each chapter are designed to engage you in applying the material in the chapter at hand. Later in the book, more involved projects incorporate material from several chapters.
Making Things Move:

  • Focuses on practical applications and results, not abstract engineering theories
  • Contains more than a dozen topic-focused projects and three large-scale projects incorporating lessons from the whole book
  • Features shopping lists and guides to off-the-shelf components for the projects
  • Incorporates discussions of new fabrication techniques such as laser cutting and 3D printing, and how you can gain access
  • Includes online component for continuing education with the book's companion website and blog (
Hands-on coverage of moving mechanisms
Introduction to Mechanisms and Machines; Materials and Where to Find Them; Screwed or Glued? On Fastening and Joining Parts; Forces, Friction and Torque (Oh My); Mechanical and Electrical Power, Work, and Energy; Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Motor? - Creating and Controlling Motion; The Guts: Bearings, Bushings. Couplers, and Gears; Rotary vs. Linear Motion; Automatons and Mechanical Toys; Making Things and Getting Them Made; Projects

Book Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #60561 in Books
  • Brand: MCGRAW HILL
  • Model: 81-3375
  • Published on: 2010-12-08
  • Released on: 2010-11-17
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.10" h x .80" w x 7.40" l, 1.37 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 368 pages


  • Price For: EachOrder Unit: Each 1

Editorial Reviews

About the Author
Dustyn Roberts is a traditionally trained engineer with non-traditional ideas about how engineering can be taught.  She started her career at Honeybee Robotics as an engineer on the Sample Manipulation System project for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, scheduled for launch in 2011.  In 2006 she founded Dustyn Robots after consulting for two artists during their residency at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in NYC.  She continued consulting projects for students and artists while working full time at Honeybee, and eventually moved to consulting full time on projects ranging from gait analysis to designing guided parachute systems. In 2007, she developed a course for NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program called Mechanisms and Things That Move that led to the book you see here.  She also participated in the pilot of Battle of the Geeks where her team designed and launched a rocket across a canyon in Africa, and has attracted media attention by Time Out New York, IEEE Spectrum, and local organizations.  

Dustyn holds a BS in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University with minors in Robotics and Business, an MS in Biomechanics & Movement Science from the University of Delaware, and is currently working on a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.  She currently lives in New York City with her partner, Lorena, and cat, Simba.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful.
5A classic for makers of all ages
By Dug North
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!

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful.
4Highly Recommended For Those New To Designing & Creating "Anything That Moves"
By Red Sand
I teach high school students how to design and create robots. Although I enjoy kits like NXT & Vex, I encourage students to build their own robots and other machines from scratch using microcontrollers like the Stamp or the Arduino. This book gives people a very good introduction to many important concepts related to how things work. This is very important because, based on my experience, it seems like most teenagers do not know how to properly use even the simplest tools, they aren't familiar with how to take something apart, let alone put it back together. Also, it could be true that most adolescents are completely lost when figuring out how to design and build reliable machines - even at the most basic level.

This book is very unique in content and I would highly recommend it to anyone who would like to begin building robotic, artistic, or any type of mechanical devices (including automata projects). The concepts are explained well and several examples are provided to help get people started. It's my opinion the information in this book is almost meaningless without experience. When people are engaged in creating the projects in the book they will build incredibly useful experience when they later design and create their own projects.

A few of the sample projects had various bits of information missing or perhaps unclear, however, most anyone with a little experience performing these projects will figure out how to "connect the dots" fairly easily (which could actually make the sample projects even more rewarding by self-discovery). I would probably have placed a little more information about obtaining a good quality set of essential tools and the value of collecting an inventory of popular materials. I would also let the reader know that no matter how much someone reads about how to play a violin, learning doesn't begin without actually picking up the instrument and playing it. Like obtaining any useful skill, nobody will really learn valuable lessons from this book simply by reading it - the return on investment comes when performing the sample exercises. Don't let my micro-picky comments deter you - overall, it's really a great book and provides essential information for many learners.

I highly recommend this book not only as a starting guide for anyone who would like to learn more about how to make their own device with moving parts &/or electronically controlled items, but also the book serves as a wonderful resource for lots of information which could be useful years down the road. The examples range from very good to excellent and the organization of concepts and delivery of information is logical. Probably my favorite part of this book is the way the author provides information with clear and concise terminology - she gives you enough to explain what's going on so you can understand and begin DOING something quickly. More information on these topics, if needed, is always available from other sources. And that's the real beauty of this book - it gives the reader enough explanatory information to make sense followed with well structured opportunities to DO many things. That's the best way to learn, by doing.

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
5A Real Gem of Knowledge You Can Use
By Cynthia A.
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.

See all 119 customer reviews...
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