Making Mechanical Marvels In Wood
In many ways, this book is not unlike Making Wooden Mechanical Models: 15 Designs With Visible Wheels, Cranks, Pistons, Cogs, and Cams. There are, however, some important differences between the two books.
Like Making Wooden Mechanical Models, this book isn't specifically written for automata makers. And, again, it's similar to the aforementioned book in that the models in the book are really about basic machines themselves as finished projects. In some ways, the projects in this book are simpler than in Making Wooden Mechanical Models and I believe that is its true strength.
Key Building Blocks of Automata
Making Mechanical Marvels differs in that many of the projects in this book are key building blocks to making contemporary wooden automata. For example, projects such as the cam and follower, the Scotch yoke, the fast-return actuator, and the geneva wheel are all key elements of many automata I have used these mechanisms I have used in my own contemporary automata.
The Same, But Different
The projects in this book are very handsome in themselves and would look great on a desk. There's something inexpressibly classy about machines made of wood.
I bought Making Mechanical Marvels bundled with Making Wooden Models from Amazon.com and I'm glad I did. The two books really compliment each other. I would consider this book to be Volume 1. This book has very clear instructions and drawings to get you up to speed making wooden mechanisms. Making Wooden Models is more like a Volume 2 in which you tackle more complicated projects that model more complete mechanical systems. They go together well. That said, there is a an ACTUAL second volume to the latter book called Making More Wooden Mechanical Models. Also good, and very much like its predecessor.
Less Lathe Work
One thing that really makes this book different from the others mentioned in this review is that it doesn't require the use of a wood lathe too complete the projects. This makes it useful to a greater number of people -- myself included. If you have a lathe and are good with it, by all means: buy the other two book mentioned!
I haven't made any of these models yet, but I have learned a great deal from this book. I recall finishing an automaton and then looking through this book. I wish I had done it sooner, for I found a design for universal joint that I could have used to great effect. I decided not overlook this book as a wood mechanism resource ever again.
The book has well-drawn line diagrams and a series of color pages in the center. The instructions are very well written; I would feel good about giving this book to a new woodworker or youngster looking for a science fair project.
The book concludes with some very handy shop tips and jigs. The book is particularly strong in this area. Special jigs will help you to make things right the first time. This can save a lot of heart-ache and frustration. Shop tips alone can make a book worth the cover price.
Here is where you can order the book Making Mechanical Marvels In Wood.