The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder's Guide by Pawet "Sariel" Kmiec (Second Edition) tells you how to build machines, models, robots, etc. that will work.
You need to construct these things in a way that ensures they won't easily fall apart, and that requires a certain amount of engineering. There are some fairly expensive and specialized Lego Technic pieces that you may not have on hand, and this book can help you emulate them. How do you matcha motor or servo to a specific task? You need to know some stuff to make that decision sensibly. How do you make a transmission? Or an independent suspension?
And, very importantly, how do you manage the backlash that is "the gaps between mating components." That seems important.
From the publisher:
This thoroughly updated second edition of the best-selling Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder’s Guide is filled with tips for building strong yet elegant machines and mechanisms with the LEGO Technic system. World-renowned builder Paweł “Sariel” Kmiec covers the foundations of LEGO Technic building, from the concepts that underlie simple machines, like gears and linkages, to advanced mechanics, like differentials and steering systems. This edition adds 13 new building instructions and 4 completely new chapters on wheels, the RC system, planetary gearing, and 3D printing.
You’ll get a hands-on introduction to fundamental mechanical concepts like torque, friction, and traction, as well as basic engineering principles like weight distribution, efficiency, and power transmission—all with the help of Technic pieces. You’ll even learn how Sariel builds his amazing tanks, trucks, and cars to scale.
This beautifully illustrated, full-color book will inspire you with ideas for building amazing machines like tanks with suspended treads, supercars, cranes, bulldozers, and much more. What better way to learn engineering principles than to experience them hands-on with LEGO Technic?
New in this edition: 13 new building instructions, 13 updated chapters, and 4 brand-new chapters!
We're only starting to mess around with techincs but there is a lot of hope for it. People are starting to combine arduino and traditional robotics, Lego and robotics, and arduino and LEGO Technic. Pretty soon, someone will be combining Arduino controllers, Raspberry Pi computers, LEGO technics, and the Cyberdyne Systems hardware, and we'll all be history...
But in the meantime, The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder's Guide will be our guide for the immediate future.