Apr 14

Basic Electronics Skills: Soldering

Who is interested in learning some basic electronics and soldering skills? I will arrange a hands-on “maker” experience where we will build some small, cool little electronic thing that you will be able to take home with you afterwards. The cost will be in the $50 range, and is for materials only, all of which will be yours to keep.

The first thing you need is a decent set of tools.  I can provide some tools during class, but if you want to solder on your own, or don’t want to wait and share during class, you should buy one of these, or something like it.  Whatever you buy, it should have a 20-25 Watt soldering iron, some solder, a wire cutter and pliers. A solder remover and/or solder wick is a very good idea.  You can buy the tools seperately, or in kits like below, which are all less than $50, most less than $25.  I have lots of pliers and cutters, so the soldering tools are the most important part:

  1. Maker Shed soldering kit (has pliers)
  2. Think Geek Kit (has pliers)
  3. Ifixit kit (deluxe starter kit!)
  4. Elenco soldering kit (soldering only)
  5. Elenco Kit with project board (fewer tools, but it comes with a kit!)
  6. Radio shack soldering kit (soldering only)

Here is the menu of kits that I think would be appropriate. They are all less than $40, most less than $20. I don’t have any attachment to these companies, but they make nice kits.  Please choose one and order it so that you have it in time for class. Feel free to get something not on this list as long as it is a beginner kit (since this is a beginner class). You can read the description and decide for yourself what you want to build; keep it mind that kits with more parts take longer and have a higher chance of failure due to complexity.

  1. Weevil Eye (one of the simplest kits – good for smaller kids or unambitious adults)
  2. Digital Dice
  3. Simon Game (button version)
  4. Simon Game (tilt version)
  5. Blinky single-digit marquee (a little more advanced due to high part count); hackable
  6. Pico Paso noise maker (spectacularly annoying!); hackable
  7. Tiny Cylon LED blinking thing;hackable
  8. Music Game (Has possibility for more advanced hacking)
  9. Useless Machine (One of my favorite things, but actually not that much soldering involved; it’s largely mechanical)
  10. 1-gram piano (Has possibility for more advanced hacking)
  11. ClocKit (Has possibility for more advanced hacking)

Contact me if you have any questions.

 

8 comments

8 Comments so far

  1. Cynthia April 18th, 2014 4:47 AM

    Dan, it is so nice of you to help the community with your skills and a lot of fun.

  2. cynthia April 19th, 2014 12:53 PM

    I thought I left a comment. But maybe not. Anyway, it is a great idea to help the community with the workshop.

  3. Dan Greenspan April 19th, 2014 2:23 PM

    You did leave a comment – I just didn’t get around to approving it for a few days. Thanks! What could be more fun then spending time with people who like the things you like and want to learn?

  4. Arystarca April 29th, 2014 7:55 PM

    The ThinkGeek kit does have solder in it. Just FYI. I guess I could have waited till I checked the others….

  5. Arystarca April 29th, 2014 8:03 PM

    I mean to say, I think ThinkGeek does NOT have solder in it. Gah!

  6. Tim April 29th, 2014 10:42 PM

    I would be interested in this greatly! I have an arduino and other various electronic stuff too if you would like some other electronic hobby stuff?

  7. Dan Greenspan April 29th, 2014 11:42 PM

    Solder is not all that important – it’s cheap and i have lots of it. You can get it at radio shack. If you do buy it locally, make sure it’s electronic solder, not plumbing solder or jewelry solder.

  8. Dan Greenspan April 29th, 2014 11:44 PM

    Thanks, but I have enough stuff – for this class, it’s just for people learning to solder, so if you decide to come, just bring what you need for yourself. We won’t be tackling any programming or other kinds of general electronics tasks – just soldering during this class (although questions are welcome).

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