There are lots of multi-component mechanisms described in great detail in this four-volume set. For automata makers, it may be a lot to digest, but there are hundreds of mechanical elements that could be used.
These books offer multiple solutions for each category of machine. The organization of the material is a little funny; you will need to browse all four books to cover all the possible solutions.
The drawings are very good -- clear and well labeled line art reminiscent of patent drawings.
Be prepared to do some reading...these books require some careful reading of several pages to understand how a given device works. It's not exactly a quick reference.
I have not used much from these books directly in any of my projects, but I feel that they have greatly improved my understanding of complex machines.
The machines depicted are of an historical nature. This is not a shortcoming, however. Mechanisms of the sort found in these volumes were state-of-the-art at one time. They are a testament to a certain real-world ingenuity that most of us can't comprehend.
These book make an impression on one's bookshelf. Seriously: a numbered set of four hardcover books in bright orange. It's impressive and sure to attract attention.
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