Book Review: Motors for Makers – A Guide to Steppers, Servos, and Other Electrical Machines


Many months ago, I picked up a copy of Matthew Scarpino’s “Motors for Makers: A Guide to Steppers, Servos, and Other Electrical Machines” on a whim. I came across it while perusing Amazon. The reviews were good. And I’ve always been motor-curious. So I bought a copy.

Since then, it sat on my night stand. Each night, I’d pick it up and digest a few pages while enduring the stares from my wife, for she believed I may in fact be reading the most boring book ever written. That’s not a knock against Scarpino’s book. I’m fairly certain she thinks every successive book that graces my bedside is the new, most-boringist book ever written. But that’s neither here nor there.

As you might expect, the bulk of this book is about motors. Scarpino does a fantastic job describing the different types (e.g., DC, AC, Stepper, Servo, etc.). He covers the material in a very practical way, presenting theory where appropriate and without overwhelming the reader. There are lots of illustrations and photos. And for the math inclined, the formulas for things like power, torque, efficiency, etc. are all laid out with minimal fuss and fanfare.

But this book is more than just about motors. It has “Maker” in the title, after all. You’ll find chapters for controlling motors using the RaspPi, BeagleBone Black, and Arduino. An unexpected surprise for me was an entire chapter on building quadcopters and another on building your own ESCs.

The ESC chapter was a little over my head. And being a drone enthusiast, I found the quadcopter chapter a little underwhelming. But the rest of this book is great. Scarpino has a clear writing style and does a great job of making an otherwise dry subject matter a little more palatable.

If you’re into building things that move, or incorporate motors in some way, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book! Two thumbs up!

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