Working at the Fab Lab, Yeah

My title is based off the song working at the car wash, because when I hear that song I think of a fun experience of being at a car wash.  I chose a play on words of that song, because visiting the Community Fab Lab for Week 10 was a blast.  Going into the day I did not know what to expect and thought being at the Fab Lab might be boring and nerdy. I spent the majority of the day in the electronics section of the lab learning arduinos and how to solder electrical wires.

Learning arduinos was simple and fun thanks to instructors Virginia and Colten.  We starting off learning how to rig the arduino to have one LED blink, next we added a light sensor, and finally a speaker.  The most interesting part for me was changing the code to have the light blink faster or slower, and changing the code to make different pitches and volumes come from the speaker.  Below are a few pictures of my progress, including the code for the LED blink light, a preassembled arduino, and the assembled LED blink arduino.





After learning arduino, Virginia taught a few of us how to solder an electrical wire to an electric component.  I had never soldered before, so it was a cool experience.  Solder is the material used in between the wire and the metal on the electric component.  Soldering differs from welding in that it does not melt the metal component or the wire, but only the solder.  After melting the solder in between the wire and the metal component, you take off the hot soldering tool and let the solder harden around the wire and metal and boom you have an electrical connection.  Soldering was wild to me because the melting and hardening all happens within seconds.

My overall experience at the Fab Lab was filled with fun, engaging learning.  I look forward to the next opportunity I will have to solder and work with arduinos.