Open Circuits coffee table book

Read about this on It’s not a book of circuit designs as the name might suggest, but a book of beautiful photographs of dissected electronic components. You could put it on your coffee table and finally explain to visitors that you assemble such things for a living, or for fun. Here’s the book’s website:

and a link to Chapter 1:

Shop around, I managed to get a substantial discount of about 35% off the RRP here by applying a series of offers. The book is hardcover so shipping accounts for a significant portion of the price.


I fear the visitor will politely glance at the photographs on the first few pages then try to disguise a look of incredulity over how anyone could find those pictures interesting, by uttering complimentary noises of approval, after which, the book will be closed and replace on the coffee table.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I’m a beholder, and I find the photos beautiful, quite remarkable, even; unlike the unknowing, unconverted, unwashed hoards out there in the big wide world.

Maybe someday, someone will publish a coffee table book of interesting snippets of Code so software enthusiasts can show their visitors examples of their pastime. :slightly_smiling_face:

You need a better class of friends/relatives. :rofl:

Friends and relatives aren’t the problem. They just give me that “sympathetic but understanding” look when the conversation turns to “what’s new out in the shed?”.

I was really impressed with the photos though.
A couple of questions ran through my mind about the cross sections…
How many attempts to get a photogenic example?
How did they mount the audio plug, or did it end up a case of well manicured finger nails? :laughing:

Better than an agressive and bellicose look I suppose. :crazy_face:

Well I see two problems with calling this a coffee table book.

  1. I do not drink coffee.
  2. I do not see the photos as beautiful in the pure sense.

But, knowing what they are, someone was able to deliver some really first rate images; particularly the section views. How did they cut the components so perfectly without them tearing apart or without leaving visible dust particles? I wonder whether some very fine diamond cutting tools were used. I would not bother showing these images to an interior decorator or an accountant, (I guess a surgeon or machinist might be interested somehow) but the quality of the images make them interesting to us electronics enthusiasts.

I don’t even have a table. :rofl:

My friend’s late father was a micrographer; plant stem sections, crystals, that sort of thing. He even once had a well-attended exhibition. These are not as attractive but I think electronic components are marvels of precision engineering and should be appreciated more. Especially by ourselves, otherwise who will?

Joke, or not really: How can you know it’s an engineer promoting a product? They start telling you about all the drawbacks. :wink:

My understanding is that most of them are not cut apart but wet-sanded down with a very fine grained sandpaper.

I bought a copy for the office a while ago. It’s great!

The authors are interviewed on The Amp Hour:

And on CuriousMarc:

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I’m 55 years old. Started messing with electronics when I was in high school as far as education goes. I was always taking things apart before that, sometimes fixing things. Keep in mind, vacuum tubes was the big thing back then. I cracked open a lot of vacuum tubes to see how they were made and how things interact and sometimes how they failed. That was easy enough to do. When semiconductors came along, it was mostly a mystery device. Sure, a book explains how when you do one thing it affects another but one couldn’t see what was actually in there.

Decades later, I find out about this book. While I’m sure most people could care less, I find it very interesting and quite neat to look at. It also helps me understand the limitations of some components as well and how some things can easily fail.

I agree with another poster, people should appreciate what goes into making components. Some people can’t survive without their cell phone in their hand. Yet they have no clue all the work that goes into making one. Millions of transistors and other components and every single one of them must work flawlessly. Given the knowledge some of us have on this forum, it is a truly amazing accomplishment and we know that. Others should as well. While I mostly work with electronics, I understand how a car’s engine works, transmission etc. I’ve built things with wood so I understand about how much load you can put on lumber. I don’t have a degree in any of that but it helps me take care of things. My car is a antique and runs great. Part of the reason it does, I understand how it works. A lot of people could take better care of things if they understood how they worked. They could understand the cost of things if they realized what all it took to make them, be it a TV or a car.

Thanks for posting this info. Very interesting.


Heck an iPhone has Gigabytes (?? I forget) of memory. (Note that I forgot the memory…)

I will be 71 soon. My first college EE course was in 1970. I think they had just quit teaching vacuum tubes. In 1969 I had built a vacuum tube AM radio tuner which had an “infinite impedance detector” which I had adapted from the Amateur Radio Handbook. It was a complete kluge, built almost entirely with parts from old TVs. It worked when I powered it up, and if it had not I would not have had much idea as to how to fix it.

Late news in the media discusses AI and chat bots. I used to think that AI could never do creative electronic circuit design but now I am thinking otherwise… Is it possible that we will get electronic circuits which only AI can understand?

Edit: I have posted a photo which (no doubt) belongs in the book!!

More photographs, mostly semiconductors (discretes and ics), are found here: .


There were times when people enjoyed photographs of HUMANS, real humans. Remember?


Would I find them in a BGA or QFN package?
On second thoughts, maybe with this hint:

I should look through the DIP packages.

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My memory is not what it used to be.

Also, my memory is not what it used to be.


@jmk @retiredfeline LOL

Windell and Eric were also on the podcast back in June