Review: Make: LEGO and Arduino Projects: Projects for extending MINDSTORMS NXT with open-source electronics

Make: LEGO and Arduino Projects: Projects for extending MINDSTORMS NXT with open-source electronicsMake: LEGO and Arduino Projects: Projects for extending MINDSTORMS NXT with open-source electronics by John Baichtal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had been waiting to mark this book as read until I finished all the projects, but the reality is that might take years; not because the projects are hard, but because I can’t quite get the wife to justify all the extra expenses for toys.

This book is GREAT. It reignited my love for embedded programming (I’ve now got some Arduino MKR boards that I’m using for a BBQ Thermostat project and a few other ideas in my head for various projects and home automations). It also gave my daughter and I a very fun project to do together.

The only problem (and the authors are up front about it) is that this book is written for someone who’s got a giant box of spare Mindstorm and Technic parts, which I don’t. This means that for each project I have to search the Lego-equivalent of Ebay or Amazon (which they link to in the first chapter/project) to find the pieces. Or 3D Print them. Which means each project involves spending more money for something that is just a toy. This is not why I didn’t give this book 5 stars. It’s not the authors’ faults that I’ve got umpteen million hobbies and the only one that doesn’t cost me more money is software programming. (Unlike embedded hardware, photography, BBQing, cooking, and general love of building gadgets)

The reason it’s not 5/5 is that I go by what the stars say as the tooltips in Goodreads and 5/5 is “it was amazing.” While I love that this book has great projects and helped me bond with my oldest, it was a book a really liked, not amazing. Also, somewhere around project 2 or 3 they stop providing links for the extra pieces you need to get, which makes it a real pain to go to Lego Ebay and try and get the right part. (In fact, for the first (and only – so far) project, I got a piece that was ALMOST, but not exactly the right part and it meant it didn’t quite grip things correctly, making assembly annoying)

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Published by Eric Mesa

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