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BEAM Techniques is a BEAM Reference Library site.

BEAM Techniques

One of the nice things about getting into BEAM is that it really doesn't require all that much in the way of specialized skills or techniques. There are really 4 things you need to get started:


  1. Simple electronics skills
    This really comes down to just basic electrical techniques (soldering, desoldering, and the like)

  2. Mechanical skills Your construction skills are primarily a function of your hand-eye coordination, and of a certain learned steadiness. All I can say is this -- practice, practice, practice...

  3. Patience (sorry, there's no way I can teach you this...)

  4. A little aesthetic sense -- Jim Mullins has a good article on Frankendaddy's pages here.


There are some additional skills you can work on later, to imrove your 'bots.

  1. Free-forming -- this allows you to build critters where the electronics are the structure. A number of folks have built some very artistic 'bots this way...

  2. Build your own ICs -- this allows you to swap some parts of your circuitry (solar engines, motor drivers, etc.) in & out of a circuit as needed. This is a big help if you're tinkering with a 'bot design (comparing its performance with various drivers, say), or if you just occasionally "smoke" parts.

  3. Build your own PCBs -- this allows you to build some really nice, "finished"-looking circuits


If you want to get really, really small, you can even use surface-mount components. These guys tax your patience, coordination, and visual acuity -- but allow you to build incredibly compact circuits.

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Page author: Eric Seale
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