Circuit Classics

Exquisite printed circuit boards that bring to life Forrest Mims' vintage designs from "Getting Started in Electronics."

May 17, 2016

Project update 5 of 20

Forrest Mims Shows How It's Made

I want to share with you some of the wonderful things I’ve learned while creating this project.

One thing I’ve become even more intrigued by than ever is the story of the process of making something — knowing the story of what happened to create a product is just as fascinating and is inextricably linked to knowing how it was assembled, but far harder to discover just by looking at an object itself.

Learning about the process of making the books Getting Started in Electronics is one of those stories. I learned that Forrest wrote the book by dictating it into a recorder, which his wife Minnie transcribed. I learned that he hand-drew every page in the book and was finished writing it in 56 days flat, taking only Sundays off. That he worked through building up every single project in the book 3 times over from start to finish to check for errors in that timeframe.

Honestly, I was proud of myself for completing any circuit board design project from zero to launched in 4 months (the time I spent designing the boards for Circuit Classics) until I learned this! His work ethic puts mine entirely to shame.

Forrest was good to record a few clips of himself demonstrating the tools he used to draw the books. He used the same blue mechanical pencil to draw that first book and all the subsequent ones (The Engineer’s Mini-Notebook Series) and still has it today — he demonstrates that here:

As well as the stencil and eraser that have made it possible and easy for him to produce the crisp and error-free drawings:

(Seen also on Adafruit’s blog)

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