Build Your Own CNC Machine (Technology in Action)
You probably picked up this book because you love tinkering with gadgets, from that train set you got as a kid to the motion-activated dancing monsters on display in the store aisles at Halloween. Not only are you intrigued by them, but you wonder whether you can build something like them yourself. Now that you own this book, yes, you can!
What Is an Electronics Project, Anyway?
Obviously, an electronics project involves electronics, meaning that you use electricity to make something happen. However, overlaps exist among electronics, mechanics, and even programmable devices such as robots. Here’s what we mean when we say electronics projects.
Electronics, mechanics, robotics: Huh?
Do you dream of building elaborate Erector Set-types of mechanical structures — perhaps a model of the Golden Gate Bridge with pulleys and levers moving objects around? Is your goal to create a robot butler with a programmed brain that enables it to serve your every whim? Well, those aren’t exactly what we categorize as electronics projects.
Certainly, electronics projects are often combined with mechanical structures that use motors, and a robot has electronic components driven by microcontrollers and computer programs. In this book, though, we focus on projects that use simple electronics components to form a circuit that directs voltage to produce effects such as motion, sound, or light. By keeping to this simple approach, you can pick up all the basic skills and discover all the common components and tools that you need to work on a wide variety of projects for years to come. For these projects, you don’t have to become a mechanical or programming whiz.
An electronic circuit might run a motor, light an LED display, or set off sounds through a speaker. It uses various components to regulate the voltage, such as capacitors and resistors. A circuit can also use integrated circuits (ICs), which are teeny, tiny circuits that provide a portion of your circuit in a very compact way. This saves you time micromanaging pieces of the project because somebody else has already done that job for you, such as building a timer chip that sets off a light intermittently.
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