New No Starch Press books: Mindstorms and Technic

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A couple of weeks ago I reviewed two new LEGO books published by No Starch Press.

Today I will take a look at two more: Incredible LEGO Technic by Pawel 'Sariel' Kmiec and The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Idea Book by Yoshihito Isogawa. All four books are listed at Amazon as being released at the end of November and can be pre-ordered now.

Incredible LEGO Technic

Pawel's second No Starch book is a pictorial showcase of Technic models. Around 70 models are covered which have been built over the years by around 40 builders. It's divided into chapters covering different types of model such as construction equipment, trucks, aircraft, automotive and so on.

As Pawel explains in the preface, the book includes models both in the style of modern Technic sets, where the builder has strived to replicate the look of official sets using only Technic pieces, and also those which look like they are more like LEGO System sets but with Technic recreating the workings of the real machine. This has resulted in a wide variety of building styles being represented which helps keep the book interesting.

As well as featuring models made in the modern Power Functions era there are also plenty that pushed the limits of what was available previously, such as Jennifer Clark's excellent JCB and Demag crane that were incredible feats of achievements when built in the early 2000s and which can hold their own against the best ot today's models.

The high quality photos of each model are accompanied by text that provides information about the model, the challenges that the builder had to overcome, and also about the original, real vehicle the model is based on. In some instances, there is also a cut-away diagram showing the guts of the model that exposes significant elements such as the motors and gear mechanisms. Although they are interesting, there is nowhere near enough detail to be able to learn much from them and certainly not enough to begin to replicate it in your own models. But then, I guess that's not the intention of this book.

I really enjoyed this book, perhaps more so than the other two I reviewed recently. Although it is essentially a 'coffee-table' book it has a bit more substance to it than the others thanks to the accompanying text and diagrams. You won't learn how to master the stud-less Technic system by reading it, but you will be in awe of those who have.

Incredible LEGO Technic

Incredible LEGO Technic

Incredible LEGO Technic

The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Idea Book

EV3 Idea Book

Yoshihito Isogawa is also a veteran No Starch author, having written three LEGO Technic idea books back in 2011.

This one is very much like those. It's packed with clearly illustrated instructions for building all manner of mechanisms from the parts in the EV3 kit. There is very little text, but like all the best instructions, it's not needed.

In contrast to most EV3 books, it concentrates solely on the mechanical aspects of Mindstorms and doesn't provide instructions for complete models: instead it contains hundreds (181 actually) of mechanisms that can form the building blocks for your own robotics. Its six parts cover basic mechanisms; vehicles; moving without tyres; arms, wings and other mechanisms; sensors, and even a tablet holder. Every one is clearly photographed enabling you to recreate it with ease.

It's a fantastic book which will empower you go beyond the standard robots featured in the EV3 kit and create your own to accomplish almost anything you can imagine.

If you're starting out in Mindstorms you will find it particularly useful and I highly recommend it.


EV3 Idea Book

EV3 Idea Book

These, along with Beautiful LEGO: Dark and Steampunk LEGO, are published at the end of November and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. Also, don't forget our LEGO books page which, at the top, provides an overview of all AFOL-friendly LEGO books published this year.

11 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Great, two books that will finding their way under our tree this December.

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By in United States,

The EV3 book looks more like the original (now I feel old... :P) RCX Instuctopedia than any recent books. Also looks rather basic, though I do like how the author constructed mechanisms that use the Bevel gears next to each other.

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By in United Kingdom,

The examples shown are very basic and not typical of most of the mechanisms.

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By in United States,

Is anyone else overwhelmed by the number of books they are putting out this year? It just seems the LEGO Movie bug has bitten everyone so they are pushing what they can while it is in the public's eye.

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By in United States,

wow these great books will be useful

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By in United States,

Although you are correct that the Incredible Technic book doesn't contain enough detail to replicate any of the models therein, don't forget that full instructions are available for 33 of the models and are linked in the back of the book.

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By in United Kingdom,

I didn't notice that but you're right, it does indeed.

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By in United States,

I preordered from no starch and received EV3 book today. So far I am very pleased, lots of good content.

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By in United States,

Got my copy of Incredible LEGO Technic yesterday and it is really well done...

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By in United States,

Fan of both!

Really wanting Sariel's.

I'll probably get these around early December because I'm too lazy to get out of the house. : )

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By in United States,

Not sure how I feel about the Technic one, however... I'd love that EV3 book for a simple explanation of Technic systems, which my understanding of is extremely basic.

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