InvENting 101: 10 Books to Help You Build Your Next Prototype

InvENting 101: 10 Books to Help You Build Your Next Prototype

In this edition of InvENting 101, we’re helping you build your next prototype!

As a follow-up to our 10 Great Books to Help You Be a Better Inventor post, we’ve curated a new book list designed for anyone from experienced prototypers and makers to those who are just getting started! These books can be a great resource for your next idea!


Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing

By Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman

Fabricated tells the story of 3D printers, humble manufacturing machines that are bursting out of the factory and into homes, businesses, schools, kitchens, hospitals, even the fashion catwalk. The magic happens when you plug a 3D printer into today’s mind-boggling digital technologies. Add to that the Internet, tiny, low cost electronic circuitry, radical advances in materials science and biotech and voila! The result is an explosion of technological and social innovation.

Fabricated provides readers with practical and imaginative insights to the question “how will 3D printing technologies change my life?” Based on hundreds of hours of research and dozens of interviews with experts from a broad range of industries, Fabricated offers readers an informative, engaging and fast-paced introduction to 3D printing now and in the future.

Getting Started with Arduino: The Open Source Electronics Prototyping Platform (Make)

By Massimo Banzi & Michael Shiloh

Arduino is the open source electronics prototyping platform that has taken the Maker Movement by storm. This thorough introduction, updated for the latest Arduino release, helps you start prototyping right away. From obtaining the required components to putting the final touches on your project, all the information you need is here!

Machine Shop Essentials, Questions and Answers

By Frank Marlow

A comprehensive and detailed presentation of manual machine tools and methods, machine shop know-how and practical shop tips. Machine Shop Essentials is for a wide range of users including machinists, engineers, model makers, R & D lab technicians, instrument makers, prototype builders and product designers.

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

By Chris Anderson

In an age of custom-fabricated, do-it-yourself product design and creation, the collective potential of a million garage tinkerers and enthusiasts is about to be unleashed, driving a resurgence of American manufacturing.  A generation of “Makers” using the Web’s innovation model will help drive the next big wave in the global economy, as the new technologies of digital design and rapid prototyping gives everyone the power to invent–creating “the long tail of things.”

The Makerspace Workbench: Tools, Technologies, and Techniques for Making

By Adam Kemp

Create a dynamic space for designing and building DIY electronic hardware, programming, and manufacturing projects. With this illustrated guide, you’ll learn the benefits of having a Makerspace—a shared space with a set of shared tools—that attracts fellow makers and gives you more resources to work with. You’ll find clear explanations of the tools, software, materials, and layout you need to get started—everything from basic electronics to rapid prototyping technology and inexpensive 3D printers.

Practical Electronics for Inventors, Fourth Edition

By Paul Scherz

Advance your electronics knowledge and gain the skills necessary to develop and construct your own functioning gadgets. Written by a pair of experienced engineers and dedicated hobbyists, Practical Electronics for Inventors,Fourth Edition, lays out the essentials and provides step-by-step instructions, schematics, and illustrations. Discover how to select the right components, design and build circuits, use microcontrollers and ICs, work with the latest software tools, and test and tweak your creations. This easy-to-follow book features new instruction on programmable logic, semiconductors, operational amplifiers, voltage regulators, power supplies, digital electronics, and more.

Prototyping and Modelmaking for Product Design (Portfolio Skills)

By Bjarki Hallgrimsson

Building prototypes and models is an essential component of any design activity. Modern product development is a multi-disciplinary effort that relies on prototyping in order to explore new ideas and test them sufficiently before they become actual products. A comprehensive modern prototyping approach is crucial to making informed design decisions, and forms a strategic part of a successful designer’s toolkit.

Raspberry Pi IoT Projects: Prototyping Experiments for Makers

By John C. Shovic

Build your own Internet of Things (IoT) projects for prototyping and proof-of-concept purposes. This book contains the tools needed to build a prototype of your design, sense the environment, communicate with the Internet (over the Internet and Machine to Machine communications) and display the results.

Raspberry Pi IoT Projects provides several IoT projects and designs are shown from the start to the finish including an IoT Heartbeat Monitor, an IoT Swarm, IoT Solar Powered Weather Station, an IoT iBeacon Application and a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) IoT Inventory Tracking System. The software is presented as reusable libraries, primarily in Python and C with full source code available.

Make: Tools: How They Work and How to Use Them

By Charles Platt

Whether you’re interested in becoming a handyman or developing artisanal woodworking skills, the place to begin is by learning the fundamentals of using basic workshop tools correctly. The place to find out how is right here. Make: Tools is shop class in a book.

Usability Assessment: How to Measure the Usability of Products, Services, and Systems (User’s Guides to Human Factors and Ergonomics Methods)

By Philip Kortum

Usability Assessment is a concise volume for anyone requiring knowledge and practice in assessing the usability of any type of product, tool, or system before it is launched. It provides a brief history and rationale for conducting usability assessments and examples of how usability assessment methods have been applied, takes readers step by step through the process, highlights challenges and special cases, and offers real-life examples. By the end of the book, readers will have the knowledge and skills they need to conduct their own usability assessments without requiring that they read textbooks or attend workshops.


While Edison Nation does not require our innovators to have prototypes to submit their ideas, we hope you enjoyed this list and found it helpful for the next time you create a prototype!

Happy InvENting!

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