posts tagged with the keyword ‘book’

2016.10.20

Make Getting Started with CNC

I can’t remember the last time I did a book review… Have I ever done a book review? I should, because on rare occasions I do read books. While stuck on a plane last weekend (as well as a horse farm with no WiFi or cellular service) I read “Getting Started with CNC” by Edward Ford. I met Edward many years ago when he came to Milwaukee Makerspace, and I’ve helped build a few Shapeoko CNC machines over the years. So when I saw his name as the author, I was excited to consume his knowledge of CNC machines.

I should state for the record that I didn’t just see this book and buy it. It was part of a Humble Bundle where you pay some small amount and get a boatload of electronic versions of books. I tend to fill my old iPad with these, and read them when I get the chance. Seriously, if you are a fan of any of the Make Magazine books, sign up at Humble Bundle. You’ll mostly get emails about games (boring!) but once or twice a year you’ll get an email about an amazing book deal. Totally worth it.

Oh yes, on to the review! The book itself is about 160 pages, not too long, but just enough to introduce someone to the world of CNC machines. (We’re talking CNC routers, not mills, or 3D printers, or laser cutters, though some of the concepts apply.)

There’s good information about end mills, and toolpaths, as well as software (commercial and free options) and it even gets into G-code a bit. There are also some CAD exercises you can do even if you don’t have access to a CNC machine. There are a number of good photos and diagrams to explain concepts and machines, and there’s a walk-through of a complete CNC project which involves inside and outside cutting, pocketing, and milling down the surface. It’s written in a very approachable manner.

Now, I’ve done some CNC machining over the years, but I am far from an expert. Still, “Getting Started with CNC” was a worthwhile read, and something I’d recommend to anyone who has any interest in using a CNC router to make things.

Make Getting Started with CNC

I do have a few very small complaints. I found a few typographical errors, as well as some images that appear to have had FPOs put in, and never updated. These are things I think I can mention because I’ve served as a Technical Editor, otherwise I wouldn’t have mentioned them. ;)

2014.11.13

Robot Builder

Hey, it’s a new book! Robot Builder: The Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots is now available!

Last year after I served as Technical Editor for John Baichtal’s Arduino for Beginners I was fortunate enough to be asked to again fulfill the role for Robot Builder. (Obviously I said “Yes!”)

Books take a long time, and there’s a lot of reading involved, and for my part, a lot of research and checking on technical data. It’s definitely enjoyable though, and there’s a lot to learn along the way.

(I’m not currently working on any books, but if you’re in need of Technical Editor that’s near one of my areas of expertise, I may be available.)

2014.05.20

KickFailure

There’s a great post by Cameron Moll on Medium titled The Economics of a Kickstarter Project (or How Much I Didn’t Make) which breaks down the numbers and offers some good advice for would-be crowd-funders.

I don’t know much about Cameron, and I won’t speak ill of him or his abilities, in fact, I love the Brooklyn Bridge piece he created, but I’ve worked in the creative industry (and the print industry) long enough to understand the importance of proofing things. Oh, I call it “proofing” but Proofreading is the more correct term.

About 20 years ago I worked for the creative division of a printing company, and I just happened to be tagging along to a press check with an account executive and they thought I’d like that the brochure being printed had a domain name on it. (Hey, it was the late 1990s!) When I pointed out that the domain name being printed was not one the company owned, there was quite a bit of commotion. There may have been some swearing and yelling as well. (Note: printing ink on paper is often very expensive!)

Over the years I’ve seen time and time again that making mistakes in print is a sure way to lose money. Indeed, had Cameron hired someone to proof his work, and even if he paid them $1000, he would have doubled the amount he had left at the end of his campaign had the proofer caught his mistake.

Proofing is not the same as “checking you work” because you are often blind to your own mistakes. You need another pair of eyes, hopefully a well-trained pair of eyes, to see the things you can’t see. (I’ve seen artists get so obsessed with the details of the type they are designing that they spell their own names wrong!)

Don’t take this post to say I don’t make mistakes, I make plenty of them! I make spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes, though they typically aren’t in print. I made one earlier today on a Facebook post, and one of my coworkers caught it for me. That’s how it works. You can’t do it alone.

Note: I’m currently working as a Technical Editor for a book that should be out this summer. If you enjoyed the previous book I worked on, I think you’ll like this one too. If you need a Technical Editor, get in touch with me.

2014.01.27

Arduino for Beginners

It seems like just a week ago I mentioned a book, and it was, but here’s my confession: being a contributing photographer to a book is pretty simple. At least it has been in my experience. Writing a book is a huge beast, and while I did not take on such a herculean task, John Baichtal did, and somehow he convinced me to serve as the Technical Editor, and the result is Arduino for Beginners: Essential Skills Every Maker Needs.

The project took nearly a year, and my part consisted of getting chapters from John and checking everything for technical accuracy, and then passing them on to Rick at Pearson. Reading a book is one thing, but reading a book and closely examining everything in it for anything that may not be technically correct is another. I was also instructed to ignore any grammatical errors, which was hard for me, as I was only supposed to edit technical information. (Yes, there were a few typos. Just a few. ;)

Arduino for Beginners

My name is in print. I know, we’re in the future now, and dead trees are dead and what not, but I still like the fact that there’s ink on paper in a book and it’s got my name in it. Did I mention the entire process took about a year?

If you think this book would be useful for you or someone you know who is getting into using Arduinos, grab a copy from Amazon.

(Oh, and shortly after the book came out I was contacted about another book project, this one involving me writing the book, which I sadly declined. There’s just no way I’d have the time to do it right, and I didn’t want to give a partial effort to such a large project.)

2014.01.20

The Art of Tinkering

I recently got my copy of The Art of Tinkering and I must say, it is a beautiful book. It just looks amazing. It’s full of ideas and images and makers and artists.

I’ve only read bits and pieces so far, though I’ve spent a lot of time pouring over the images and admiring the layout.

And yes, I know you kids with your “e-books” don’t care about “dead tree editions” but I still love books made with ink and paper. They just have a certain quality a digital copy will never have. (And yes, you can hack the book! It’s got conductive ink right on the cover which you can build a circuit with.)

The Art of Tinkering

Oh, I should also mention that one of my photos is in the book! On page 183 is a photo of the MaKey MaKey Banana Pong I created last year.

If you’re at all interested in creating things, or perhaps you just need some inspiration from others grab a copy of The Art of Tinkering.

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