Week 8 – Soldering

This past Monday, we were taught by the awesome guest speaker Mitch Altman who is an engineering alumnae of UIUC and inventor of TV-B-Gone. He allowed for us to practice with soldering to create our Trippy RGB waves kit, capable of portraying light flashes in a sequenced pattern. 

Mitch says he uses these models to teach kids about electronics and engineering, which I thought was pretty cool. I had also never really heard of soldering before until this lesson, and didn’t even think about how each component was attached to the main frame. Through this lesson, I was able to properly use the soldering iron and attach all of the pieces myself. The most interesting thing I found about the process was that the soldering iron seemed to be a very basic tool, that was probably even used for decades if not centuries beforehand for various activities. I was pretty afraid to use it since I don’t really trust myself with tools like that, but Mitch’s guidance made me feel a lot more comfortable. His helpful tips like dragging the iron along the board helped me a lot as a first time user.

Going forward, I now know how to use the soldering iron and am able to make inferences on piecing together my own Trippy RGB waves kit. I find that after working with sensors in the FabLab as well as these kits, I’ve become very interested in sensory material and how it can be transmitted to either turning a light on and off or a motor run. Though this is not technology I plan to use in my final semester project, I am very curious as to what other uses we may possibly have for it. I just find it so interesting how something that seems so complex is actually really simple when you get down to the basics. Is this the same kind of technology used in our smartphones? Or is it at least somehow relative? I think I’ll do more research on this, just for fun.

2 thoughts on “Week 8 – Soldering

  1. Paige, great post. I think I’m with you on your point of never really thinking about how the small electronic components are attached to the main frame. It was nice to learn it!

  2. Paige, I am with you in that I was a bit intimidated to start soldering. I think this is a very interesting technology, one that I would like to explore in the future. Sensory material is also a really cool technology as well. Thank you for the post!

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