Book Review: Open Circuits

Not related to RetroComputing, but as handling electronic hardware is part of retrocomputing, some people may be interested in this book. A review by Andrew ‘Bunnie’ Huang.

Eric Schlaepfer (@TubeTimeUS) and Windell Oskay (co-founder of Evil Mad Scientist)’s latest book, Open Circuits, is a celebration of the electronic aesthetic, by literally opening circuits with mechanical cross-sections, accompanied by pithy explanations and illustrations. Their masterfully executed cross-sectioning process and meticulous photography blur the line between engineering and art, reminding us that any engineering task executed with soul and care results in something that can inspire feelings of awe (“wow!”) and reflection (“huh.”): that is art.
One of my favorite tricks of the authors is when they slice through optoelectronic devices: somehow, they manage to cut through multiple LEDs and leave them in an operable state, leading to stunning images such as a 7-segment LED still displaying the number “5” yet revealed in cross-section. I really appreciate the effort that went into mounting that part onto a beautifully fabricated and polished (perhaps varnished?) copper-clad circuit board, so that not only are you treated to the spectacle of the still-functional cross sectioned device, you have the reflection of the device rippling off of a handsomely brushed copper surface. Like I said: any engineering executed with soul and care is also art.

Sample book image:


And with a discount coupon code too!

I’ve had this on pre-order for a while. NoStarchPress send you a very handsome PDF of the book, and Bunnie’s review is not exaggerating: it’s beautiful


But the international shipping charge … ouch! :slight_smile: