Book and Parts Resources/was Any good books for a beginner?

My post grew to include everything I know :-) so I changed the subject line.


I've got the earlier edition of McComb's Bonanza book and found it interesting (he's posted here occasionally, and he's written many other books on technical topics). If you want get several robotics books, this (or perhaps the newest, second edition) should probably be one of them, but I think this book has recently been outdone... At the local club <botlanta.org> I've paged through "Robot Building for Beginners" by David Cook and it looks really good, it goes into a bunch of practical ideas and problems that I'd never really thought of (mundane but important stuff like how to attach wheels to shafts and to motors...), and tells how to get through them. Here's Amazon's entry with reviews: (Amazon.com product link shortened) He also has an "intermediate" book. I usually look at Amazon's reviews when deciding on a book even if I don't order it from them. Here's a few other sites for finding the cheapest new and used books:
http://www.bookfinder.com new and used http://www.addall.com/ new http://used.addall.com/ used
Full disclosure (and cheap blatant self-promotion): I've got a few dozen used books for sale on Amazon, though none specifically on robotics: (Amazon.com product link shortened)_comi_spgl/002-8807506-1636053

Probably the "most reputable" source of electronics parts is http://www.digikey.com. Download their .pdf catalog or order their free print catalog (it's like Byte Magazine in the early '80's or so, it's approaching phonebook size) and peruse to see what they have. Also reputable, but not neccesarily reliable in that what you want could be sold out at any time, are electronic surplus stores. I think all have good online catalogs and ordering systems, and they generally know how much of what's in their inventory, so if you order over the web you're pretty sure to get what you ordered. The one I like the most is http://www.allelectronics.com but there are many others. That one and a few others, BG Micro and Goldmine, have had ads in the back of electronics magazines for probably 20 or 30 years that I know of. Here's my "seekrit" list of links to interesting places for robotics-related parts. The ones I describe are sites I've ordered from in the past five years (I got everything I ordered except from digikey which was once backordered on a part, I got it later).
http://www.digikey.com new electronics distributor http://allelectronics.com/ electronics surplus, http://bgmicro.com http://goldmine-elec.com http://www.surplussales.com / http://www.mpja.com / http://www.meci.com/ electronic and mechanical surplus http://www.alltronics.com http://www.hoffind.com / http://www.sciplus.com / http://www.scientificsonline.com http://www.edmundoptics.com http://www.anchoroptical.com http://www.sciencekit.com http://www.harborfreight.com Mostly import (Chinese) wood/metalworking and measurement tools http://www.smallparts.com new mechanical parts and materials http://www.mcmaster.com/ Giant industrial-products warehouse
These all shipped to my home address. About four years ago I put in an order, I forget whether it was with Grainger or MSC (the two other Giant industrial-products warehouses), and got an email that they couldn't find any evidence that I was a business (I didn't see where they actually NEEDED such evidence when I ordered - my credit card was good), and requested I send a copy of a business license. I didn't bother, as I didn't think it was worth it to get a business license just to have that order. Apparently they don't want to do business with 'hobbyists' whereas others have gladly taken my money.
It helps have a few hundred megs free disk space and a high speed net connection to get all those .pdf catalogs.
And I might as well throw this in, I've used their software and ordered PCB's from: http://www.expresspcb.com /

----- http://mindspring.com/~benbradley
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