Gigantic Soldering Irons: Some notes on how to teach soldering to kids.

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This month has been super exciting and fun teaching people how to solder our Luminescent Night Light kit.  We have spent a lot of time developing our facilitation methods so that everyone can learn how to solder, so we thought we should share some of the things we learned.

The biggest challenge of teaching kids how to solder properly is that the electronic components are so small, and the work area is teeny tiny.  At first we considered using a video camera and a projector, but decided we wanted to make it more personal.  

So what did we do?  

We made a gigantic soldering iron, circuit board, and resistor out foam core!

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Justin is doing a great job acting as the helping hands.


By play acting the soldering process with huge props, this very tiny abstract process takes on fun, identifiable forms.  Its also funny to get parents involved and act your helping hands.

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Get the parents involved!

Another great thing is that its an easy way to show good solder joints vs bad solder joints and be able to explain why.  

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Good/happy solder joints look like hershey kisses and bad/sad solder joints look like lumps.

The other major consideration we thought about was the layout of each individual work station.  We have fume extractors, which are really important to remove and filter out solder fumes, but often times we were underwhelmed with how well they worked.  People would be soldering with their helping hands but the extractor would be across the table not doing much.  To fix this we made a very simple hack, and just attached the helping hands directly to the fume extractors with velcro.  Now, 100% of the fumes get sucked away because you are working directly in front of the extractors fan.  

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Our laser cut solder stations.

We also designed and laser cut these plywood solder stations to make set up and take down smoother. Gone are the days of setting out 10 different things from 10 different bins and losing plugs and cables.  Now everything fits neatly in a stackable box that you just have to plug in and turn on.

Hope to see you for some soldering fun this weekend!

Best,
-Reid

This awesome Make It At Home Challenge submission comes from Joanna.  She did her own take on Hot Glue Molding to create this Luminescent Night Light enclosure that now lives in her car.  Thank you Joanna!If you want to learn how to create you own glowing sculptures out of hot glue then you should check out the Maker Space this weekend, Saturday May 17th and Sunday May 18th.  We will experimenting with different types of molding and casting techniques using hot glue and creating geometric modular paper sculptures.  Both the geometric and goopy will then be illuminated with some simple circuitry!  Check our Weekend Programs section at the top of the page for more information.

This awesome Make It At Home Challenge submission comes from Joanna.  She did her own take on Hot Glue Molding to create this Luminescent Night Light enclosure that now lives in her car.  Thank you Joanna!

If you want to learn how to create you own glowing sculptures out of hot glue then you should check out the Maker Space this weekend, Saturday May 17th and Sunday May 18th.  We will experimenting with different types of molding and casting techniques using hot glue and creating geometric modular paper sculptures.  Both the geometric and goopy will then be illuminated with some simple circuitry!  Check our Weekend Programs section at the top of the page for more information.

Check out some of these great photos taken by Explainer TV at our Luminescent Night Light workshop this past Sunday!  Click here to see the whole set. 

There are only 3 more classes left to learn how to solder your own color changing night light, so make sure you get here on May 24th, 25th, and 31st!  For more information see our Weekend Programs section.  


Our first submission to the Make It At Home Challenge!  Sent to us by Benjamin K.  Thanks Benjamin!

Our first submission to the Make It At Home Challenge!  Sent to us by Benjamin K.  Thanks Benjamin!

Learn to solder Luminescent Night Lights!

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This past weekend we had our first workshop teaching kids and adults how to solder with our Luminescent Night Light kit and it went great!  If you ever wanted to learn how to solder or just wanted to make a cool little LED object, then you should stop by the Maker Space this Saturday or Sunday.  We have two classes each day, from 1:30-3:00 and 3:30-5:00.  Check out some photos from the class!

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We also want to remind anyone who took the class, or anyone planning on taking it, that we have our first ever Make It At Home Challenge.  This is your chance to win some awesome prizes and free workshops for making your own enclosure to the kit at home.  Check out this page for more details, and we look forward to seeing what you guys come up with!

Hope to see you there!!!

Best,
-Reid

LEARN TO SOLDER AND BUILD A COLOR CHANGING NIGHT LIGHT!
Tomorrow is the first day of our first month long learn to solder class: Luminescent Night Lights.  Stop by the Maker Space at 1:30 or 3:30 to learn how to make your own rainbow colored, light-responsive night light!  The workshop is for ages 10+ and costs $8 for members or $10+admission for non-members.  Click here to see our full schedule of workshops this month.We are also super excited about our first Make It At Home Challenge.  Once you take the workshop and have your blinky glowy night light we challenge you to make an enclosure for it at home with materials you have around the house.  We have had lots of fun experimenting with the effects of color, light, and shadow every day objects can create and we cant wait to see what you come up with.  See you tomorrow or later this month!-Reid

LEARN TO SOLDER AND BUILD A COLOR CHANGING NIGHT LIGHT!

Tomorrow is the first day of our first month long learn to solder class: Luminescent Night Lights.  Stop by the Maker Space at 1:30 or 3:30 to learn how to make your own rainbow colored, light-responsive night light!  The workshop is for ages 10+ and costs $8 for members or $10+admission for non-members.  Click here to see our full schedule of workshops this month.

We are also super excited about our first Make It At Home Challenge.  Once you take the workshop and have your blinky glowy night light we challenge you to make an enclosure for it at home with materials you have around the house.  We have had lots of fun experimenting with the effects of color, light, and shadow every day objects can create and we cant wait to see what you come up with.  

See you tomorrow or later this month!
-Reid

Have you ever wanted to learn how to solder?  Or how about make a project with sensors and microcontrollers?  Well if you said yes to either of those questions, you are in luck!  This May we will spending the whole month teaching visitors how to solder a beginners electronics kit called the Luminescent Night Light that we designed at the Maker Space.  BUT if you cant wait 1 more week to learn how to solder, check out this great comic about soldering and electronics called Soldering Is Easy.  We will be sure to have print outs on hand at the Maker Space through out the month of May as well.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to solder?  Or how about make a project with sensors and microcontrollers?  Well if you said yes to either of those questions, you are in luck!  This May we will spending the whole month teaching visitors how to solder a beginners electronics kit called the Luminescent Night Light that we designed at the Maker Space.  BUT if you cant wait 1 more week to learn how to solder, check out this great comic about soldering and electronics called Soldering Is Easy.  We will be sure to have print outs on hand at the Maker Space through out the month of May as well.

We are SO excited for May’s workshops that we just had to post a sneak peak right now.  May will be our first month long electronics theme where we teach visitors how to solder Luminescent Night Lights!  These are color changing night lights that only turn on when its dark and were designed in house by Reid Bingham, Maker Space Coordinator.  We are also excited to announce our first Make It At Home Challenge where workshop participants have the chance to get featured right here on our blog, NYSCI’s website, our Maker Space Monitor, AND win prizes like Learn To Solder kits and free workshops.  Check the above links ‘Weekend Programs’ and ‘Make It At Home Challenge’ for more information!

We are SO excited for May’s workshops that we just had to post a sneak peak right now.  May will be our first month long electronics theme where we teach visitors how to solder Luminescent Night Lights!  These are color changing night lights that only turn on when its dark and were designed in house by Reid Bingham, Maker Space Coordinator.  We are also excited to announce our first Make It At Home Challenge where workshop participants have the chance to get featured right here on our blog, NYSCI’s website, our Maker Space Monitor, AND win prizes like Learn To Solder kits and free workshops.  Check the above links ‘Weekend Programs’ and ‘Make It At Home Challenge’ for more information!

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April is upon us and Maker Space welcomes the much needed spring weather with open arms and some exciting new classes.  

On April 12th Maker Space will be participating in the Citizen Science Showcase demonstrating a variety of phone hacks.  We will be demonstrating two different tripod mounts for phones made out of binder clips, as well as how to turn your iPhone into a microscope!

Pay us a visit on Sunday April 13th, for our last Rubber Band Engineering: Propeller Cars workshop.  Or if you’re in the mood for something slightly more medieval, join us on Saturday April 19th and Sunday April 20th to create your very own rubber band powered catapults and wind up helicopters.  

We hope to see you here at the Maker Space, and we can’t wait to see the amazing things you’ll create with a propeller, some wheels, a handful of popsicle and a rubber band!

Exciting New (APRIL FOOLS) Workshops at the Maker Space this Spring and Summer

We have had numerous ground breaking workshops in the Maker Space since we opened, from sewing machines to simple robots - crayon candles and gravity racers to blinking plastic orbs and aliens. The Maker Space staff is thrilled to present today 7 brand new workshops that will push the boundaries of AWESOME beyond belief!  These are MUST SEE TO BELIEVE WORKSHOPS!!!

Working off the incredibly popular Color Block Crayon Candle Workshop that she designed, Maker Space Resident Janelle is further investigating the possibilities of what you can make with crayons. She will guide our visitors through the colorful cuisine of crayons, melting and cooking a delectable mix of possibilities.

Crayon Cuisine with Janelle

Our next workshop is equally ambitious, as it required the innovation of a whole new extreme sport!  Take this class with me this Spring, and learn how to hack a pogo stick and a skateboard to develop and design a whole new sport, Pogo Boarding!

Pogo Boarding with Reid

This Spring we are also happy announce that our awesome group of Maker Space Explainers have even started developing their own workshops!  Benjamin, Jennifer, and Justin have been hard at work for months, and well, we are just so proud of, and excited for, the workshops they came up with.  We guarantee that you will be blown away in more ways then one.  


Soldering Iron Juggling with Benjamin

DIY Human Cannon Ball with Jennifer

Bionic Hands with Justin



David Wells, the Director of the Maker Space, has also been hard at work, tinkering and developing a top-secret project that he just demonstrated to a fortunate group of kids this past week.  This photo from the event, really just says it all.


Jury-Rig a Jet Pack with David


Lastly, but certainly not least, Maker Space Resident Pritesh has created what may be our most incredible and experimental workshop yet. When he told us his idea, we said it couldn’t be done, because, well… science! But he was not deterred, his passion, vision and perseverance paid off, because what he made is truly unbelievable!  



Under Water Flame Throwers with Pritesh


So there you have it folks, 7 of the most amazing workshops any Maker Space has ever developed. If you are interested in attending any of these please write to rbingham@nysci.org and we will send you the appropriate safety and medical waivers to get the process started. Hope to see you at some of these classes in the future!

PS-  We have had some questions as to wether or not this whole post is an April Fools joke and we take that as a compliment.  We must be doing really innovative workshops in order for people to think these just may be possible.

Stop by Makerspace this month for our exploration into the rubber band and all of its possibilities.  We will be making propeller powered vehicles, catapults and other creative ways to use the potential and kinetic energy that comes with Rubber Band Play! 

About

The Maker Space is a learning environment where children, teens, adults and families can tinker, design, and create together.

In our workshops we use real tools to make real things and re-use everyday materials in exciting ways. From woodworking and plaster casting to electronics and 3D printing, we encourage experimentation, open-ended exploration, and believe that making mistakes is a great way to learn.

Our workshops are hands on and can get messy, so when you come to a class, don't wear your favorite shirt!


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