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4.8 out of 5 stars51
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on 29 November 2012
Lego Technic is a system started in the 1970s that includes advanced components such as gears, electric motors and pneumatic actuators. These allow the construction of mechanisms and models that function similarly to real machines and vehicles, sometimes to a very high standard of realism. As someone who has made a contribution to this area in the past, I have been looking forward to the release this book for some time.

Pawel "Sariel" Kmiec is one of the foremost builders and exponents of Lego Technic. His goal was simple: In his own words, to teach you everything he has learned about building with Lego Technic over the last 20 years, and to use this to help you build your own models. However, he acknowledges that this was too much to include in a single book, and that certain omissions were necessary. But have these been detrimental to the overall quality?

The book has 5 sections; Basics, Mechanics, Motors, Advanced Mechanics, and Models. The first four are in a form that will be familiar to anyone who has read a mechanics textbook, as all the fundamental machines and mechanisms are included. Levers, mechanisms, pulleys, and their associated language such as efficiency, friction, torque, mechanical advantage and many others are all present.

These are clearly and simply explained, and are colourfully illustrated with models built from Lego Technic. Instructions are supplied for all of these, allowing the reader to build and see them working, just as they would in real life.

This is where the real quality of the book lies, and the chapter on gearboxes and transmissions is of particular note. It provides descriptions and instructions for many kinds, including one I had never encountered before, the orbital transmission. It's so wonderfully detailed and explained that it's easy to forget that Lego Technic was designed as a toy. If anything would prove that the system goes beyond this, it would be this chapter.

The book is a truly comprehensive and accurate introduction to mechanics, and would make an excellent "cookbook" for teaching engineering concepts in schools and elementary courses in colleges. Very few other textbooks and systems allow you to read about and implement mechanical concepts in a cost effective and simple way, and this could be a powerful combination to inspire and teach engineers, both young and old. As a youngster I would have loved this book for the same reason I do as an adult: it properly explains mechanical concepts I have partially understood through observation and intuition.

In a nutshell, this is a collection of engineering concepts realised in Lego. These are presented in a modular fashion, and by combining these modules it is possible to create a huge variety of fully functioning machines. For example, a chassis, steering axle, driven axle, transmission and motor could be creatively built into a functioning car model. The last few chapters give some insight into this process, but in nowhere near as much detail as the preceding ones.

I suspect this is one of the areas the author omitted due to space considerations, and he made the correct decision. To go into detail on whole model design would require an entire book to itself, and it is important to focus on mechanical fundamentals before detailing advanced topics. I sincerely hope he will consider writing another book to cover this - I will certainly be buying it if he does.

Highly recommended.
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on 12 June 2013
My 12 year old takes this book to bed every night. He has it fully indexed with post-its sticking out at his favourite sections. Need I say more?

As an automotive design engineer myself, I may be predisposed to the simple beauty of mechanical systems, but everyone who has seen this book can't help being amazed. From the most basic mechanical advantages of simple pulleys, levers and joints, to the most complex synchronised 10-speed gearboxes, it's all in this book. Explained simply, carefully illustrated and logically progressing from mechanical principle, to usage example to Lego build instruction.

If as a kid you don't fall in love with engineering reading this book, you never will. Better stick to banking...

Downside? Be warned. All the studless technic pieces to build these mechanisms don't come cheap. He/she will always 'need' more...
of course, you can always point them to the lego technic 3D build software (free download) where all pieces are available in unlimited supply. :-)

Focused a lot on mechanics of vehicles. Lacks a chapter on statics to understand bridges, arches, etc.

Bottom line: best £15 spent on my son, ever!
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on 25 January 2013
I was given a Lego Technic set for Christmas and it fired my imagination, such that I wanted to find out more about it especially all the types and sizes of components etc.

This is where this book (Kindle version) scored for me as I now understand about the basic stud-based ethos of Lego, the types and colours of components, axle lengths etc etc. The builds, whilst complex were well described and all aspects were well-illustrated. A tiny grumble about the Kindle version was that some illustrations were up 5 pages away from the relevant text, but this was not a problem.

As a novice (or really a re-starter in later years!) this was a great buy to get me going. I will have to start with simple designs first, though!!
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on 10 November 2013
As an older newbie to Lego Technics, and having a science and computing background rather than a mechanical engineering background, I found this an extremely enjoyable and interesting book. The author is clearly extremely knowledgeable, the layout is structured well and of a high production quality. You can read it cover to cover or just jump to sections you want. Glad I bought it.
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on 16 January 2013
Sariel is a veteran builder of Lego Technic Models and expert for vehicles.
In the same high quality his models are known for, he created this book.

If you attempt to create sophisticated Technic vehicles, this
book is a must-have. Not only Sariel introduces the basic Technic
parts and gives examples on how to use them, he analyzed hundreds of
mechanisms found in real vehicles and transformed them into Lego;
presenting the building instructions in this book.

I would recommend The Unofficial Lego Technic Builder's Guide to every ...

*Technic rookie - because he gets to know the basic Newton physics,
Lego parts and design principles

*Advanced Technic builder - because he finds proven solutions for
many mechanical problems he will surely encounter some day

*Technic pro - because Sariel also presents some unconventional ideas
experts can get inspirations from

A smart book, written by a real pro. What are you waiting for?
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on 19 March 2014
Other reviewers have said it better than I can and with far more comprehensive reviews.

I'm a relatively recent rediscoverer of Lego and this is just the thing for those who are slightly overwhelmed by the variety of parts available today as well as the many uses to which they can be put.

Excellent, buy it if you have any interest in Lego Technic.
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on 22 November 2012
Full of fantastic info on building Technic Lego. Would highly recomnend to any budding builder.
Hope it`s the first of many issues.
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on 18 January 2013
A great book- it's both useful and engrossing in its own right. Well written, with superb illustrations and a wealth ofmuseful info thisnis the indespensable handbook for anyone wanting to take their technics work to the next level.
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on 28 May 2013
A very in depth look at technical building. This is a book is for serious lego-ists which takes you through (with many illustrations) everything from simple connections to complicated building techniques.
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on 29 November 2013
I am an adult re-discovering the fun of Lego. As my 8 year old son is growing up and playing with Lego it has taken me back to my youth. I ended my Lego days as a teenager with the Technic range of Lego. Back then, Technic Lego was still quite simple (by comparison to todays standards). I have viewed some creations online and soon realised that modern Technic is enjoyed by adults and is far more sophisticated than it ever was. Just type 'Lego engine' into Youtube and you will soon see what I mean. I purchased a Lego excavator (8043) for myself and was blown away by the clutches, gearing and power transmission systems. However, following instructions to build a prescribed model is not the same as understanding how it all works. This book fills that gap and beyond. Whilst it does not explain individual models it does provide advanced building and engineering principles in an easy to understand way. I am sure a competent youngster would be able to make good use of the book but for enquiring adults, I would say the book is invaluable and certainly worth the cover price and some. New or old to Technic Lego, I would say this book deserves a place on your bookshelf.
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