Introduction: BeepBoop! 3D Soldering Kit

About: Nick Poole is a Technologist living and working in Boulder, Colorado. Poole is a self-taught programmer and circuit designer with a background in fabrication and has been honing his craft at SparkFun Electroni…

Thanks for buying one of Great Big Factory's 3D Soldering Kits. Now it's time to put it together!

Wait... have you bought a kit yet? If not, you can get one here!

The kit comes with all of the components that you'll need, batteries included! It is still a soldering kit, though, so there are a few other things you'll need on hand:

  • Soldering Iron (Any old thing will work, you don't need a fine tip)
  • Some Flux-core or rosin-core electrical solder
  • A pair of pliers and some flush cutters aren't strictly necessary but they help!

Let's get started!

Step 1: Snap Out the Parts

There are "mouse bites," or little rows of holes, anywhere that you're supposed to snap the boards apart. Some people can do it with their hands but we suggest using a pair of pliers and gripping as close to the mouse bites as you can. Just bend or twist the connection to snap them apart. You should end up with 13 pieces: Two body pieces, two legs, two toe-caps, two arms, and a bunch of different arm attachments!

Step 2: Soldering the Electronics

There are only six components to this kit: 2 LEDs, two resistors, a switch, and a battery holder. Let's start by soldering the electrical bits together and testing them before building the rest of the model.

The battery holder only has two pins to solder. Make sure that you install the battery holder on the backside of the robot as shown in the photos!

With the battery holder finished, you can move on to the switch! This part should be mounted on the opposite side from the battery holder! Just flip it over and solder the three legs in place.

Next up: Resistors. This is an easy one. It doesn't matter which way these one go in, just bend the legs so that they fit (as per the photos) and solder them in place. They go on the same side as the switch. Clip the extra length off of the legs so you don't poke yourself later.

Finally, it's LED time! It's important that they go on the same side as the switch so they're on the front of the robot! The LEDs (being Light Emitting Diodes) are polarized, meaning they will only work in one direction. Make sure they're turned the right way! The short legs of the LEDs should go next to each other through the holes toward the inside, with the long legs to the outsides! Solder them in place and then we can test...

Insert the coin cell battery into the holder with the + side facing up and flip the switch: the LEDs should come on! If they didn't, first check that you put it your battery correctly, then double check that your LEDs are oriented correctly. Finally, flip the switch a few times to see if it's functioning correctly.

When your electronics are working, we can move on to building!

Step 3: Fillet Soldering

Now you can start slotting things together. I recommend starting by connecting the front and back body plates using an arm and a leg. Make sure they're facing forward! Now flip the robot over and fillet solder the back side of the shoulder and ankle. Repeat this with the arm and leg on the other side.

Fillet Soldering Tip!

It helps to put a little dab of solder on the tip of your iron to transfer the heat, then you can use that to heat up one pad and add a big glob of solder to that. Once you have a glob of molten solder on one side of the fillet, just drag your iron into the corner to jumper the two pads and make your connection!

Then do the toe caps. They may seem silly but they make the model a little more stable and finish out the look. You can attach them by fillet soldering to the isolated bottom section of the foot.

Once everything else is connected, it's time to choose your arm attachments! As you'll see in the completed photo, I went for a gripper claw and a drill bit, but there's also a saw blade and a laser rifle to choose from! No matter what you choose, it simply slots into the front of the arm and attaches in place with a few solder fillets.

Step 4: Begin the Robot Uprising!

You've built your first tiny robot soldier, congratulations!

Also, thanks so much for building one of our kits!