I’ve been working on a few different mechanical projects for a while now. On the one hand, I’m severely limited by my complete and utter lack of mechanical engineering knowledge. On the other hand, I’ve got a 3D printer so I can always arrive at a decent approximation through enough trial and error.
Of course, it’s not like it would kill me to actually learn something about the basics of mechanical engineering. With a bit of googling, I found a page named, “Kinematic Models for Design” which links to a large number of historical texts relating to mechanical engineering – including works from Charles Babbage and Leonardo da Vinci. I found two to be particularly useful – Mechanisms for Intermittent Motion, by John Bickford, 1972, and Five Hundred and Seven Mechanical Movements, by Henry Brown, 1871.
Last, but not least, I want to mention that a friend of mine, Rob Gisebert, told me about the website 507movements.com which is an online repository of the various movements from Brown’s book. Even more interesting, many of these complex movements are are accompanied by animated versions of the drawings in the book.