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Hi my name is Jeff and I am a Maker. In this "Introduction to Soldering", I share my technique and the tools I use to make a simple LED project.

Step 1: Required Tools

Soldering requires a few basic tools. The attached photos are the tools I have used since I was a kid. Buy quality tools and take care of them and they will last a life time.

  • Iron (mine is just a basic one but some day I will upgrade to a variable temperature soldering station)
  • Solder
  • Solder iron stand with sponge (wet)
  • Solder wick (not used in this project, but helpful for fixing mistakes)
  • Desoldering pump or solder sucker (not used in this project, but helpful for fixing mistakes)
  • Helping hands with magnify glass
  • Wire strippers
  • Wire cutters
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Electrical tape (not used in this project but should always be in your tool box)

*** Safety First **** Remember to always wear safety glasses and work in a well ventilated area

Step 2: Soldering Project - Maker Badge

A great first project to introduce someone to soldering is the Maker Shed's Makey Badge. You often find it as a demo at Maker Fairs or Maker Spaces.

You can buy it online for $3

Order Online

Step 3: Tinning the Solder Iron Tip

Before building the kit you first have to prepare the iron.

Tinning the tip cleans the tip of any buildup and ensure good solder flow and heat conduction.

Apply solder to the hot tip and let it flow all over, then wipe it off on a wet sponge.

The tip should look shinny afterwards.

Step 4: Install the Batery Clip

Now to start building. First we install the battery clip.

It goes into the slots in the back of the badge.

The helping hands hold everything in place while you solder. Also it helps prevent any accidental burns from the hot components.

The attached maker video at the end of the instructable shows my technique.

I apply solder to the hot tip. Then I put the tip to the two metal parts, conducting heat to both while applying more solder to the junction.

You are looking for a good flow of solder around both parts to make a good electrical connection.

Afterwards you should see a clean shinny bead at the junction.

If the parts wiggle, you will have to redo the soldering. Use the soldering wick and pump with a heated tip to clean off the old solder. Then repeat the soldering steps.

Repeat for the other battery connections.

It will take practice. Don't get discouraged if it is not perfect from the start. As a kid I would take old radios apart and re-solder them for practice and fun.

Step 5: Install the Lapel Pin

Next instal the lapel pin. It goes through the front and solders from the back.

Use the same technique outlined in the previous step.

Step 6: Soldering the LEDs

Next install the LEDs. A LED has a short leg and a long leg. There is also a flat indentation on one side.

  1. Anode = positive + (long leg)
  2. Cathode = negative - (short leg & flat indentation)

You use the same soldering method outline previous. But now that you are soldering actual electronic components, take care you do not overheat them. If they are heated to long they could be damaged. Work fast.

Step 7: Install Battery & Test

Test the circuit by inserting the included battery.

If the lights don't blink, go over each connection with the hot tip checking for good electrical conduction. Check for correct polarity of the battery and LEDs.

Please leave comments on your experience learning how to solder.

Step 8: Maker Video and Links

Please follow my Instructables to see past and future projects for wood working, electronics and 3D design.

My Blog covers the current projects on my workbench:

My Blog

And my youtube channel has other Maker Videos:

My Youtube Channel

<p>Pro Tip: lose the magnifier on your helping hands. It is worthless there. Optically those magnifiers typically leave a lot to be desired anywhere you might try to use it. They might be good for burning ants on a hot day, or something. But as far as looking through them goes, nah, get a better magnifier, and mount it on a separate arm.</p><p>I would also suggest getting a second set of helping hands. With the two clips on the one bar like helping hands are made, adjusting one clip, without disturbing the other is an object lesson in frustration. With clips on independent arms alignments are much easier to do.</p><p>I mounted my pair onto a scrap piece of plastic that I then mounted on a two arm stage, on a stand. It allows me a versatile range of configurations. I call it actual help.</p>
<p>Great Tips <a href="https://www.instructables.com/member/pfred2/" rel="nofollow">pfred2</a>. Creative Mod to the helping hands. Serious looking setup. </p><p>With aging eyes I have actually turned to wearing a magnifier head piece the last couple years as I work on electronics. But on my wish list is a lighted arm mounted large magnifier. </p><p>As an intro to soldering, working with kids, the projects are small boards and only have a few components. So the traditional helping hands has not been an issue. They also work great for teaching splicing two wires together. </p><p>I have a board vice that I use most often when building electronics. That thing flips and rotates so I can solder at the best angle. I will have to think about how to add individual adjustable arm clips. I will share when ever that mod is done.</p><p>Thanks for sharing. Jeff</p>

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Bio: My name is Jeff and I've been a Maker all my life. I will be posting Instructables of my projects covering woodworking, woodcarving, electronics ... More »
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