Everyone has books, magazines, and catalogs they wouldn’t give up under any circumstance, so I want to share my “picks” with you as they relate to mechatronics:
1. You cannot beat Small Parts, Inc. as a source for mechanical components useful for design, development, and prototype work. The company calls itself, “The Hardware Store for Researchers and Developers,” and that description will resonate with most engineers. A quick flip through a recent online catalog turned up a variety of adhesives, machine screws and nuts in English and metric sizes and materials, washers, O rings, metals and plastics in various sizes and shapes, springs, drills, and bearings. You can find even more items at the company’s Web site, www.smallparts.com. Sign up for the email newsletter. The company’s online catalogs are not as nice as its old printed ones, but everyone wants to “go green” these days–as well as cut printing and mailing costs.
2. Stock Drive Products/Sterling Instruments produces a set of catalogs that cover all types of drive components such as gears, pulleys, timing gears, timing belts, bearings, shafts, universal joints, couplings, pins, cams, encoders, and so on. The catalogs provide a lot of useful reference information that mechatronics engineers will find helpful. The catalog “package” also comes with a Linear Motion Components catalog from Techno, Inc., and a Handbook of Fairloc Components. The latter parts use a shaft-lock technique the company claims as superior to clamps, set screws, pins, and keys. It’s worth a look. You can request copies of these and other related catalogs at: www.sdp-si.com/Catalogs.htm.
3. When it comes to reference materials, “Machinery’s Handbook” is difficult to surpass. This tome contains encyclopedic information for, “…the mechanical engineer, designer, manufacturing engineer, draftsman, toolmaker, and machinist.” Amen. The 2600+-page reference work costs about $115 for the latest (28th) edition, but you can find earlier editions available at lower cost. Most of the information on this book does not go out of date. I have no plans to replace my latest handbook, the 26th edition. A partial table of contents for the 28th edition lists: Mechanics and Strength of Materials; Dimensioning, Gaging, and Measuring; Machining Operations; Fasteners; Threads and Threading; Gears, Splines, and Cams; and Machine Elements. The publisher, “Industrial Press,” sells many other books that will interest mechatronics engineers. Visit: new.industrialpress.com/node/976.
4. “The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications,” might seem like an odd pick for a must-have list of mechatronics references. After all, the American Radio Relay League (www.arrl.org serves amateur-radio operators and enthusiasts. Although aimed at this community, “The Handbook” provides a lot of basic electronics information that you’d have difficulty finding in many other books. And unlike many books, this one stresses the practical application and use of electronics. So even if you don’t have a “ham radio” license, this book deserves a close look. I still use my 2005 edition, although I might put the latest edition (2009) on my shopping list. You can buy the 2009 edition via the ARRL Web site for $US 44.95 (paperbound) or from Internet or local bookstores. When I checked on 8 June 2009, the ARRL site listed limited quantities of the 2007 Handbook for $US 19.95. Each handbook comes with a CD-ROM that includes all the book’s information.
OK, that gives you my top-four picks, now it’s your turn to add the mechatronics references that mean the most to you. –Jon Titus