Design of Machinery by Robert L. Norton 3rd Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2004.

While accepting the 2002 Machine Design Award presented by the Design Engineering Division of ASME, Robert Norton argued passionately for the preservation of a machine theory course as the gateway to a mechanical design curriculum. The days of separate courses on kinematics, dynamics, and the design of machinery, followed by a project course seem long gone for many university programs, and Professor Norton meets this challenge directly with the third edition of his book. From beginning to end he focuses attention on design including many project ideas, as he presents the analysis and synthesis of machine systems constructed from gears, cams and linkages. The result is 850 well-written pages packed with useful examples and illustrations. The material covered in this book includes the fundamentals of design, the kinematics of mechanisms, as well as force analysis in machines. Graphical techniques for both analysis and synthesis build visualization and insight to the meaning of the algebraic formulations, and the complex vector approach provides a compact notation for the study of planar machines. I like his matrix form of force analysis because it reflects a modern approach to machine analysis. A candidate design requires analysis to measure performance, but even the simple slider-crank is a nonlinear problem solved by the intersection of a circle with a line. The iterative analysis of these nonlinear problems is a job for computer-based tools. Professor Norton responds by providing a CD with Working Model and by my count about 150 example files, TKSolver with about 30 examples, and some 100 examples of his own programs and handouts. This patchwork of software is a valiant attempt to fill a critical need for software tools for machine theory education. Most engineers use a computer for analysis, drawing, and report generation, so why are computer algebra, drawing and animation not more a part of our machine theory curriculum? This book is clearly the result of an ongoing commitment to excellence in engineering education. The sequence and scope of the topics and examples are tailored to maintain relevance to students. The content is also broad enough to be shaped to meet the needs of a wide range of introductory courses, which, in some cases, may be the only course on machines. I am pleased to recommend this book to my university colleagues, and to working engineers, who are looking for an excellent introduction to machine theory.

University of California, Irvine