What are the most important charts, formulas and references for Makers?

Makers, let’s say you could only have 4-5 pages of important charts, formulas and references – what would they be? Here are a few to get you started…

  • Resistor color code chart
  • Capacitor code chart
  • Key to schematic symbols
  • Simple circuits to build
  • Drill size conversions
  • Screw measuring card
  • Formulas to calculate areas and volumes
  • Common fraction to decimal conversions
  • Simple origami (cup, paper airplane)

What are some other handy ones? Diagrams, conversion tables? Post in the comments!

Pictured here, spiffy resistor code chart (along with others here)…

30 thoughts on “What are the most important charts, formulas and references for Makers?

  1. In addition to drill size (fraction, metric, letter and number) you need to have tap drill/screw clearance sizes as well. And don’t forget wire gage as well, if you can fit it in…

  2. Does anyone really use resistor color codes anymore? I just use the multimeter – faster and more accurate. Especially for caps.

    I’d say a list of pinouts of common ICs, and second the wire gauge sizes.

  3. I have three copies of the Pocket Ref. One in my desk, one in my shop, and one in my glove box. I can not recommend it highly enough. Virtually every chart, graph, table, and conversion factor I’ve ever needed in one small pocket sized book.


  4. I’d suggest a guide to component polarity and orientation. For example, how can I tell from a diode’s schematic symbol which way the physical part goes into the circuit? What about for LEDs? Capacitors? (These questions are rhetorical, BTW).

  5. I still use the color codes for resistors, especially when I scavenge for spare parts. I don’t always carry a multimeter. If you commit the chart to memory, one can spot what the need right away. For charts I would suggest common IC Pinouts too.

  6. The Moody diagram lets you calculate the head loss in a pipe or duct or channel. ASME B1.1 gives you the real dimensions of screw threads for stress computations and ASME B4.1 tells you what tolerances to use on round parts so they fit together the way you want.

  7. Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly.

    (i.e. Black Brown Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Violet Grey White)

    I can’t belive I remember that 21 years after Electronics I class…

  8. I learned the colors of the rainbow acronym a loooong time ago. Red Orange Green Blue Violet = ROYGeeBiv. So for resistors, I just remember BB ROYGeeBiv G. Easy to remember if you have that same stupid rainbow acronym stuck in your head. :)

  9. By far when asked, as a software developer, what is the most used mathematical formula I’d have to say: a/b = c/d

    Reduction of a fraction or making one numerical range conform to another is probably the most common “algorithm”. (think of all of those progress bars with arbitrarily long or short tasks, how often do you think that there is a 1:1 pixel per task ratio :P )

  10. super_J_dynamite, the bar on the diode schematic symbol is on the same side as the real component. if the bar-side is closest to the IC pin or whatever, the same goes in real life.

  11. I wouldn’t need a resistor colour code chart myself, having memorised it many years ago. But, I’m suprised that nobody has mentioned the ASCII code table yet! I’d certainly find that useful, along with an instruction set summary for one’s favourite microcontroller or microprocessor (Atmel AVR or 6809 in my case).

  12. Some other ideas:

    – Hardness scales for various materials (Mohs Scale of Hardness, and the others mentioned on that page (Rockwell, Vickers, and Brinell)

    – Melting points of various materials (nice chart here

    – Periodic table (not like I need to consult one frequently, but it’s fun to have)

    – knots reference (maybe the ten most useful knots and what circumstances to use them in)

    Some techniques might be interesting to include, but they’d need to be chosen carefully (things which can commonly be applied to lots of different projects, but don’t require too much detail — like “how to drill square holes”).

  13. I dont have the Pocket Ref, but I did find a copy of Electronics Pocket Handbook at a Barnes and Noble. Its got tons of stuff, including the Police Radio “Ten” Codes, common IC pinouts, and even a rudimentary summary of old computer punch card codes.

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