Any book recommendations?

We are pretty new to robotics. We just completed our second competition this past weekend - a fundraiser at a local high school. This is in support of my 10 year old sons interest. Having finished this recent competition, his interest has been fueled further, and we would like to support it in any way we can. He is an avid reader - are there any books/magazines anyone would recommend (for adult, or younger reader)? Ideally I’d like to find something that explains pros and cons of different “system” choices (sorry for the lack of technical terms). Square vs. rectangular vs. other base; linear lift vs. arm vs. scissor lift; 4 wheels vs. 6; omni directional wheels vs. mecanum wheels; etc. Or magazines with new, up to date information? I’m not particular whether it’s Vex specific, or general robotics. Any suggestions greatly appreciated!


Well I do not believe that there are any vex specific magazines, other than the product overview book. Which gives a little insight on the parts. But there are many robotics magazines in general. For example, Linked and Popular Science are some good ones that include some pretty cool things about robotics.

there is a robotics magazine that I enjoyed for some time now.

they have even featured vex ( as seen as the example in the links.

the examples you listed are relatively limited to vex, and FRC to some extent, and I think you will have a hard time finding good reading specifically on those

the best advice I could give for info on the vex specific systems is the vex forums, start a thread, ask those questions, the vex forums are generally very helpful, and have always been kid friendly in every post I have seen

I wouldn’t say that there is any specific books/magazines that are only talking about vex. However, if you wanted to buy your son an arduino that would be great, it gives you programming experience. With that Arduino you can buy a starter kit and a getting started with arduino book.

When it comes to magazines I would just try makezine or popular science.

I am 13 and I love Arduino and recommend it for all ages, of course it isn’t totally VEX inspired, it still will get you programming experience and even some building experience.

Most of the items I have talked about can be found on:

Yes, absolutely
The best place to learn about VEX is right here

While not Vex, it does have a whole lot of helpful hints that you usually get with a few years of experience and associated failures. (Recommended to us and given to us by @Foster.)

I see Amazon has a robot C book but never read it. I wish @jpearman would get off his duff and compile all his useful knowledge into something he could publish. He’d be a thousandaire! :slight_smile:

This thread is James programming work that is here for free!

Ender’s Game
The Martian
Every single Harry Potter book
C++ For Dummies 7 in 1
OpenGL Superbible
Game Engine Architecture

What you asked for a book list? Robotics? Nah, buy a dremel / soldering iron and start burning things / blowing things up / catching things on fire. No other way.

I do recommend a book called Making Things Talk if you are specifically interested in things like UART, SPI, I2C, XBee, etc.

C programming:
Kerhnigan & Ritchie is the bible…

O’Reilly C book explains things a bit nicer.

For fiction my favorites are:
Of course the Harry potter books, Lord of the rings and all the usual ones…
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
#1 Ladies Detective Agency series (I know fluffy) by Alexander McCall Smith

Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook, 5th Edition this illustrated reference describes proven mechanisms and mechanical devices

507 Mechanical Movements: Mechanisms and Devices is full of drawings of mechanical movements.

1800 Mechanical Movements, Devices and Appliances

Also a big fan of the C Book from above. I’ve used it to teach C. If you are going to try to learn on your own the The C Answer Book: Solutions to the Exercises in ‘The C Programming Language,’ Second Edition will help if you get stuck on the examples.

Love FTC Robotics: Tips, Tricks, Strategies, and Secrets: 2013-14 Edition (from above), I bet across the years I’ve given over a dozen away to teams. (Now if some of them would read it :wink:

While not a book, Cornell’s website can be used to browse through many different mechanisms

Example, the four bar linkage…

Or a slider crank

Completely agree with many of the recommendations here.

Definitely, go ahead and pick up a book on C to aid in your programming journey. I just grabbed the first one from my local library and sat in a corner with a pen and pad for a few hours every day going though the different sections and writing my own sample code with the knowledge I had attained.

Use the forums! Even a quick search for your question will usually render many results consisting of Q & A’s and unofficial discussions. Both of which can be a huge help sometimes :smiley: Some notable threads include 8059A’s reveal (for this years game) and jpearman’s RobotC programming tips thread

Finally, the wider internet is a great place that holds a lot of knowledge. From “how to build drive bases” on youtube, to documents by industrial groups explaining things like PID loops. There is a wealth of info and knowledge out their.