Adventures in soldering!

Now that my thumb is (mostly) healed, I finally tried my hand at soldering, a skill I’ve wanted to pick up for a while, but and one I’ll need for the electronics projects I want to do.

After talking to the EE and others at work, I bought a decent adjustable soldering iron from Sparkfun for $40, along with some support parts (hookup wire, snips, etc).

The first project is a larger version of Make Magazine’s “Candy tin extractor fan” — I used a larger plastic pencil box from Walmart ($1) so I could use an 80mm fan instead of the small 20mm from the guide.

Things I learned tonight:

  1. Thin stranded wire (like 9v battery leads) isn’t easy to solder…or strip.
  2. 22 gauge solid hookup wire, on the other hand, is really nice to work with!
  3. The “third hand” I got sucks. Going to just solder on a flat surface I think… maybe using a couple of small weights to hold things in place.
  4. It is easier to solder without my glasses, even with progressives… I’m really nearsighted!
  5. I need a better (as in “not $3 from harbor freight”) multimeter with a continuity mode (yes, I can and did just use resistance, but the buzzer would be useful)… and a cheat sheet on its use/symbols.

BUT…the extractor fan works! I need to figure out a switch, and but I’d call tonight and success!

I’ll update with a few pics once I shove everything in the box and figure out the switch!