I decided to take an Intro to Soldering class to learn how to solder, so I could start building another kit I bought recently. Ironically, when I was a kid I had a soldering iron / wood-burner combo, but I only used it for wood burning. So, at Tampa Hackerspace we made this fun soldering project: Minty Boost.
A few things I learned (besides how to solder):
Soldering is more difficult than I anticipated
I never really thought about it, though it makes sense that soldering is a dexterous skill which requires: good eyesight, hand-eye coordination, and a steady hand. When I first started I was a little annoyed that I couldn’t do it perfectly. However, it became easier the more I practiced.
Soldering requires patience and attention to detail
The instructor warned us the soldering iron was hot (it can go up to 700°F). Despite that, I ended up burning my finger a few times, grabbing the iron too close to the heated tip in my haste to finish.
Also, I accidentally soldered the wrong resistor not paying attention to the color coding. Unsoldering it was a pain!
Helping hands was tedious to use, though the magnifying glass was practically required
Using the helping hands to hold the component was tedious! The instructor also lamented his displeasure with the tool. Though I really needed the magnify glass to see the tiny posts for soldering.
When I buy my own equipment for home I’m definitely skipping the helping hands and I’ll try something like a vise.