I like to make things, so why not expand into dangerous-making-things-territory?
I didn’t really have anything particular in mind when I decided on these separate projects. The soldering could have actually been part of jewellery or something else unrelated, I just knew I was keen to give it a go. Fortunately both came together in a neat little package!
I was initially really keen to make a nixie clock kit, but they are quite expensive – and the tubes burn out quickly and replacements are difficult to find. I really wasn’t enthusiastic to make something that wouldn’t be useful, so I sat on this for a while and idly searched for beginners electronics kits on and off – though the idea of sirens and animated bells and electronic dice didn’t really do it for me.
I can’t remember when it was (maybe August/September) when I happened upon the elenco fm radio kit – but, genius! I like to listen to the radio and don’t actually possess one outside the one in Panzo-the-car. I found the kit on amazon and I think it cost me about AU$30 (including shipping).
I’d been dithering since about getting started for a while, but time’s running out – and as I worked most of yesterday (pah!), I decided I needed a fun diversion.
Don helped out initially by giving complicated technical explanations of what each component did, providing moral support and handing me things (oh and saving us all when I carelessly soldered a capacitor in the wrong place – oops). Then he left me to it and went off to hit golf balls.
I hadn’t actually soldered before (though I had observed on occasion) – it all happens very fast things can go wrong pretty quickly. It requires a steady hand and rather brings to mind terminator 2 with all of that runny silver liquid.
Behold – my very first solder join (a bit too fat but did the job):
Passed the first test – the on light works! That IC at U2 was probably the most difficult – the pins were very small and very close together – and you can’t let one blob of solder connect with another blob – else Bad Things happen.
It was all extremely fiddly, but actually very enjoyable (definitely needed the reading glasses) – all that sewing seems to have held me in good stead for fine, close-up work.
There wasn’t much time for progress shots, but after a couple of hours – behold:
FIN! ZOMG! I BUILT A RADIO!
Will I build something electrical again? Possibly! Maybe even a clock.