Circuit Classics’s Homage to Forrest Mims III

Electronic Hobbyists (at least those of us of a certain age), have undoubtedly encountered one or more of Forrest Mims III‘s wonderful introductory books on electronics, probably through their local Radio Shack. According to Wikipedia, Radio Shack commissioned 36 books from Mims between 1972 and 2003 (and have continued to carry several of his books). His books had a unique style, with hand-printed text and schematic diagrams, written using a mechanical pencil, as shown in the figure below:

Star Simpson’s Circuit Classics project brings three of his circuits to life in simple, elegant, well-crafted kits. The three circuits are a dual LED flasher, a stepped tone generator, and a bargraph voltage indicator. Each is a kit consisting of a blue circuit board and the parts to solder onto the board. The front of the board has a copy of the Forrest Mims’ hand drawn circuit diagram, and the back has a copy of his handwritten description of the circuit.  Also included is a copy of his signature. The kits are very well done, with a slotted wooden base for display and even four rubber feet to either use on the wooden base or on the bottom of the board if you prefer.

I purchased and put together the dual LED flasher kit. The kit is an easy to solder kit for beginners, consisting of a little over a half dozen through-hole parts to solder. It would be a good kit to give to a beginner, or (like me), to someone who has fond memories of getting started with one of Mims’ books, and likes the homage. Below is the front of the finished kit:

As mentioned above the back has a copy of Mims’ original hand-lettered circuit description. the circuit can either be powered from coin cell batteries using the battery holder on the bottom right, or by clipping power leads to the two copper corners.

Reverse side of the Dual LED Flasher

As of this writing, Mims is still going strong, conducting research and publishing books and articles in Make magazine. Many of his books are available on Amazon and you can learn more about him at his website:

The Circuit Classics project was fully funded Crowd Supply project, and the kits can be ordered through Crowd Supply.