Here is my review of the book Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook, 4th Edition by Nicholas Chironis and Neil Sclater.
Though I like my 4-volume set Ingenious Mechanisms for Designers and Inventors, I like this book even better. I am man enough to admit that I fell deeply in love with this book the moment I opened it in a bookstore one day. I resisted buying it, but not for long.
Short and Sweet
My interest in mechanical devices does not typically involve elaborate multi-stage industrial machines. Rather, in the course of building an automaton I will come upon a design challenge that is limited in scope: How do I convert this motion into that motion? I wonder how one might use a gear here?
There are typically any number of potential solutions. This book gives you a great reference tool to explore your options. I find that by browsing this book, my brain is jogged into finding a solution, even if it does not come directly from the book.
I'm one of those visual learners. This book is ideal for me. The text in this book accompanies a very nice graphic or two. It's concise; that means I'll actually read it rather than just skim over it.
Easy to Use
My favorite method of searching through a book of this sort is to leaf through the pages randomly. However, I should point out that is book has both an excellent table of contents and a full index. (You can see the entire index at Amazon.com if you click on the 'Look inside this book' link above the book cover image.)
In Sum, Highly Recommended
This book is really, really, good. I know it's a little pricey, but it is pretty cheap as engineering textbooks go.
In addition to the stately hardcover, Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook is also available for you Kindle at a greatly reduced price.
I encourage you to order a hardbound copy of Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook, Fourth Editionat Amazon.com.