Learn essential engineering skills with our Learn-to-Solder Workshop! These interactive soldering kits are designed to teach students, engineers, and makers basic soldering techniques and electrical component identification. This project is broken up into three lessons that gradually increase in difficulty as well as creativity. This makes for an easy learning curve with an exciting, finished board to play with at the end of each lesson.
Board #1 is a simple light-up board that uses the easiest components to solder. Short and sweet, this board makes a great starting point for learners who have never soldered before. The most important part of learning to solder is getting excited about making something come to life with one’s own hands, and this quick introduction board facilitates the very special "Eureka!" moment that takes place when a student sees something they made light up and work for the first time.
Board #2 is a carnival of color! The featured “running lights” circuit has two sets of lights that run towards each other. A few new components are introduced here, such as capacitors and IC's (integrated circuits). When the board is finished, you have a multicolored light-up display that you can customize to make the lights start, stop, and change speed at the push of a button. Turn the board into a stop light game by seeing if you can pause the lights on red, or blue, or whichever color you choose!
The final board is comprised of three unique circuits: Random Number Generator, Glow Circuit, and my personal favorite: the Star Trek Computer.
The Random Number Generator circuit uses a pushbutton that fills a capacitor (an electrical component that stores charge) to a random value. That capacitor then drives a clock which increments numbers on a 7-segment display. This 7-segment display and circuit that drive it are just miniature versions of the same circuits and displays that you see in sports arenas!
The Glow Circuit is a simple and widely used circuit to have lights gradually fade even after electric current stops flowing. When the button is pressed, electricity is allowed to pass through the circuit. When the button is released, the circuit is broken, but the lights slowly fade over the course of several seconds.
The crème de la crème of this board is the Star Trek Computer, which puts retro movie effects in the palm of your hand! A matrix of lights slowly blinks on and off in a seemingly random pattern, where the speed is easily adjusted by a dial. This circuit is often used in all of your favorite science fiction movies to make spaceships and computers come to life.