Soldering!

Our July meeting took place at the Elmwood Park Public Library where we all learned how to solder electronics!

Soldering seems like a pretty daunting undertaking at first.  It’s not unreasonable to be afraid of getting burned or damaging delicate electronics, but after taking the plunge and getting into it, our group of librarians really started producing good work!

We started with a starter kit from The Electric Goldmine that builds a cool Racing Robot.  It was a long and detailed project that took up almost the entire meeting.  Despite some poorly written instructions some of our groups actually managed to finish and get it working!

Here’s a video of what the finished product looks like:

If you missed our meeting and you’re new to soldering, basically what we were doing was taking a very malleable piece of metal called solder (with a very low melting point) and heating it up with a soldering iron.  Once hot, the solder drips and looks a lot like mercury.  We carefully dripped the liquid solder to join the connections on a circuit board so that when we applied electric current from our 9-volt battery the power travelled to each component on the board!

Sound complicated?  Check out this or any of the myriad soldering tutorial videos available online:

At Elmwood Park Public Library we teach 6th – 8th graders how to solder as part of our Project Next Generation class for teens.  You may cringe at the thought of giving a kid a hot soldering iron, but we’ve been doing it since last fall and have had nothing but success.  When the kids build something and switch it on for the first time there’s nothing quite as awesome as seeing their faces light up just like an LED!

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