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Robot and electronics books by author Gordon McComb.

  Robot Builder's Bonanza, 3rd Edition

New, and signed by the author! (Well, one of them anyway)

Robot Builder's Bonanza 3rd Edition is, well, the third version of my classic book on hobby robot building. I wrote the first one in mid-1985, using materials found mostly at the local Orchard Hardware Supply store. Back then there were no microcontrollers, and the best parts were available through a couple of mail order outfits that had only -- get this! -- printed catalogs. No Web, no Google, no nothing. Dark days, indeed.

The concept of Robot Builder's Bonanza was to provide "little nuggets" of inspiration for individuals with the same curiosity as myself about making a Metal Man. RBB has always been about inspiration, and one of the most gratifying things of my life is knowing several hundred thousand people have purchased and read my book, and were hopefully inspired by it.

In 2000 I updated RBB for a second edition, greatly expanding the coverage and bringing amateur robotics, at least my view of it, into the 21st century. McGraw-Hill, my publisher, wanted a third edition, but by then I was running Budget Robotics, and it was consuming all my free time. So they added a second author, Myke Predko, who has written numerous books on microcontrollers. He contributed all the new material for the third edition.

I have a number of copies of these available, and I'll ruin each one by signing it for you. Or, you can pay another $10 for an unsigned copy! (Just kidding.)

Price: $24.95

  Lasers, Ray Guns and Light Cannons

New, and signed by the author!

TAB, my old publisher, had a penchant for coming up with exotic-sounding book titles. For this book on experimenting with low-power lasers, they even added a wizard throwing some kind of quantum packet out of a light staff. I liked it, but some readers felt the cover was too comic-bookish.

Lasers, Ray Guns, and Light Cannons is actually a slightly updated version of an earlier book I did in 1987 called The Laser Cookbook. I updated LRG&LC; as continuous wave diode lasers were just coming on the scene.

Laser technology has developed at breakneck speed, and this book -- now out of print -- is more of a nostalgic look at how we had fun in the 80s and 90s. Most of the laser projects use bulky helium-neon laser tubes and high voltage power supplies that together cost $100-150, even surplus. Now you can do much of the same with a $5 penlight laser. Of course, it just doesn't seem as cool.

Still, there are some interesting optics experiments, such as a full step-by-step chapter on building a Michelson interferometer, and how to construct a laser light show using audio-fed galvonometers.

A very limited supply of these available. Some are hardback, and all are signed.

Price: $19.95

  Robot Builder's Sourcebook

New, signed by the author!

Robot Builder's Sourcebook was inspired by the Whole Earth Catalog, except that instead of a room full of crazy people writing about things, this book was created by one crazy person writing about things -- me.

RBS is the size and girth of a telephone book, and it leverages the Internet to expose some 2,500 sources for robot projects. Rather than just list things alphabetically, RBS categorizes them, and includes company names, Web site addresses, and often addresses and phone numbers. Short descriptions are included with most of the listings, and there are numerous articles and sidebars throughout the book that explain terms, products, and technologies. None of these things do you get from a Google search alone, and that was the idea behind writing the book.

Robot Builder's Sourcebook is getting a little on in age: it came out in August 2002. And while some of the companies and Web sites are no longer online, you'll be able to use the book as a springboard for locating listings for the latest offerings. Not everyone knows what things are called, and throughout RBS there are example Google searches on how to locate more resources.

Knowledge is power.

Price: $19.95

  Constructing Robot Bases

New, and signed by the author!

Constructing Robot Bases is the first of a series of "Robot DNA" books that are aimed at the advanced beginner 'bot builder. This book discusses the materials and construction techniques used in creating affordable and durable robot bodies.

Other books in the series include Building Robot Drive Trains (Dennis Clark and Michael Owings), and Programming Robot Controllers (Myke Predko). Myke and I served as series editor for these three books.

Price: $17.95

  Electronics for Dummies

New. Signed by author Gordon McComb.

I've always admired the Forrest Mims books and articles on electronics. For years Forrest contributed to the various electronics magazines, as well as several books for Radio Shack (as did I; I penned about six books for them over the years). When Wiley approached me to do Electronics for Dummies, I immediately accepted, seeing the book as a kind of homage to Forrest. I dedicated the book to him, as well as to my father, who gave me my first taste of electronics fever.

Joining me on this book is first-time book author Earl Boysen. Earl did a fantastic job, and apparently liked the process so much he's gone on to write two more 'For Dummies' books for Wiley. His Building Gadgets Web page serves as a support portal for his books.

Electronics for Dummies covers the very basics of electronics, including component types and identification, how to solder, how to use a meter, and other subjects you'd expect in a book of its ilk. It's for the raw beginner, and being a 'For Dummies' book, is written as a reference. There is a chapter on robot building, using the BASIC Stamp microcontroller as the main brain.

Price: $18.99

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