Soldering with Mitch

Last week in Digital Making, we had a lesson in soldering, something I would have never expected to do in a class about cutting edge technology. As insane as it seems, soldering is something that computer “nerds” have been doing since the early days of Silicon Valley. I almost felt like Steve Jobs and Wozniak working alongside my friend Jack in the impromptu lab we set up in Wohlers Hall. It was awesome to see how intricate and precise the work is that goes into making a computer chip. Unfortunately, I got so excited with the idea of making a computer chip, I missed a step of the production process and was unable to get the light on my chip to light up. Either way, not too shabby for my first attempt at soldering. Here is a photo of me and my failed creation (unfortunately is got crushed in my backpack on the way home).

Soldering itself was very interesting to me because the process of doing it right is so delicate. Pulling the soldering iron away from the chip at the exact right time is something that it took me a few tries to get right.

I also really enjoyed the meeting Aric the other creator of the UIUC MakerLab. We didn’t really have time to converse but it was cool to see the other mind behind the lab. Our presenter, Mitch was a bit eccentric, but was pretty good at explaining how to soldering properly. He spoke a bit fast at times, but was extremely helpful whenever anyone had questions. After spring break I will be sure to look into his other endeavor, Cornfield Electronics. I also could definitely use a TV-Be-Gone at the bar I work at because I am constantly having issues turning off and on all of the TVs.

Overall, the lesson from this week was empowering because it shows how, in two hours our whole class could go from knowing little about how computers operate internally, to creating motion responsive microchips in a classroom that would normally be used for Econ discussions.

One thought on “Soldering with Mitch

  1. Hey Nick, sorry to hear your light kit got crushed in your backpack! I also thought the guest professor was very entertaining but did not have the chance to talk to Aric, so it’s really cool that you got to talk to him as well. I did not expect to be learning so many different skills in this class and had the same reaction of being surprised that in just two hours we were able to learn how to solder (a crucial skill) in a small classroom in Wohlers.

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