All Over the Place




Check out this project from Engineer Chris. Using a WiFly Shield and Voice Box Shield, Chris built a battery-powered, wireless, talking page server. Check out the video! And just in...give the tutorial a read!



Speaking of videos, give the above video a look. This is a behind-the-scenes view of our latest ad shoot with Jamie Robertson - a Disney Imagineer turned interactive art specialist. In his latest art collaboration project, Jamie needed a small MP3 device that could respond smoothly to volume commands. What he created is now known as the MP3 Trigger, a new SparkFun product.  If the video above is too long for your tastes, check out this shortened version.

http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorial/LED_Helmet/front_view_small.jpg

Safety is important (right?). Check out this tutorial from Casey about his LED-laden bike helmet. This helmet not only protects your cranium from dings in the event of a crash, but is bright enough that even the most distracted of drivers will notice you cruising down the road. This tutorial is great for beginners just getting started with electronics!

http://static.sparkfun.com/images/newsimages/CRW_0208.jpg
Last year, people of all ages got to try a little soldering!

Last, but definitely not least, Maker Faire - San Mateo is right around the corner (kinda - May 22 and 23). Once again, we are a sponsor of the event, so we will have a booth and will be running soldering workshops. Last year, we had a great turnout and we are expecting an even better one this year. It is such an awesome experience to see people of all backgrounds and ages come out and try their hand at soldering! We hope to see you there!

Comments 36 comments

  • What’s missing from this picture? While it’s super cool to see a kid doing projects like this - it’s also important for you guys, in keeping it fun, to encourage good - SAFE practices - LEAD by example.
    EYE PROTECTION - it’re really no fun to do projects with missing or damaged eyes. PROTECT ‘EM!

  • I second that statement from cakeller98. Safety really is key! You guys should hand out safe glass and tell people to wash there hands after there done soldering. It would really sad to have an injury at one of your workshops!

  • I’ve had hot flux splash near my eyes before. Granted, I was using crappy, crappy solder, but still… freaked me right out. Also, I don’t know about y'all, but extended soldering sessions tend to leave my eyes watering - I assume from the fumes.
    SFE-branded safety glasses, I would buy in a heartbeat. Lab coats would be cool too - nothing says Serious Tinkering like a lab coat and safety glasses.

    • It’d be really awsum if SF sold safety equipment like lab coats and glasses, they’d sell like hotcakes :D
      I know you Sparkfun Staffers read these comments, so that can be a next line of merchandise to think about :D

    • I wear glasses full-time and I always get a little spooked when I clean them and notice the tell-tale bump of flux splatter on a lens I scratch off with a fingernail.
      That said, according to a Hakko informational video, in their testing, lead-free solder contributes to a wider flux splatter than leaded solder. I only use lead free so…
      Also, a fume extractor ought to be required equipment. It doesn’t have to be the fancy octopus deal, just a simple scrubbing fan like this one definitely helps. According to Weller, the fluxes tuned to lead-free solder tend to have more particulates in the fumes.
      Why can’t Pb just be rainbows and unicorns?

    • Lab coats would be totally cool!! That would the coolest to see a SparkFun lab coat with some cool design on it. I would buy it in a second!

  • I use to ride my BMX bike over dirt hills at a near by construction zone - WITHOUT PADS OR A HELMET!! Oh my gosh how unsafe!
    Good greef

    • I’ve had solder splatter into my eye before, not fun, its uncommon, but any moisture on the board contributes to nasty solder splatter. Up in Canada not providing people with PPE (personal protection equipment) leaves you criminally liable for any injuries. mmmmm lawsuit… Saftey should be part of any lesson.

  • Come on guys!
    Sure she’s a kid and all, but honestly, safety goggles for soldering? I have never heard of anyone who has managed to solder him-/herself in the eye.

    • There is also the possibility of smoke coming off from the rosin burning and getting in your eyes which probably isn’t good for you.
      I 4th using safety glasses for demos.

      • and teaching people

      • I was soldering about a year ago and a big piece of rosin popped of and flew into my eye. It hardened instantly and was attached to my eye until I could get to the optometrist on monday who could actually pull the pieces off of my eye. The emergency room said they couldn’t do anything about it.
        I know it is scary and gorse, but rosin flux scraping the inside of your eyelid is just NOT cool. I was no where near as close to it as this girl is.

  • Those solder burns will heal by the time she’s 16.

  • RWizard: Without safety glasses, there’s the possibility, however slim, that it might happen. With the safety glasses on, it reduces that possibility to zero.
    Due to a genetic situation, I only have one eye that is functional Let me tell you, having no depth perception is so not fun!
    Please, I don’t want to see anyone wind up viewing the world the way I see it.
    A $8 investment to save your vision? You’d spend more than that in two days at StarBucks.
    Aside: Hanging on my eye doctor’s wall is a pair of safety goggles, with a steel screw embedded in the middle of the right lens. His neighbor was out weed-whacking, and the edger kicked up the screw. Without the goggles, he would have been blinded, or worse.
    Are glasses clunky, dumb looking and uncomfortable? Sure. But let me assure you, being blind in one eye is worse.
    -Rich
    -Rich

  • cakeller98,
    Good grief. In the 50+ years I have been soldering, both professionally and for fun, I have never worn eye protection, or even seen it suggested by anyone, in any venue, before your silly post. I have breathed the smoke, and held lead solder in my mouth when I ran out of hands. I’ve even been known to solder in between grabbing bites of lunch. And all without any ill effect. (Not that I advocate all of those things.)
    I have been burned more times than I could count when I forgot that it was the pointy end that gets hot, but that’s about as bad as it gets.
    Safety is important, but so is common sense. I religiously wear eye protection when welding, grinding, running a metal lathe, shooting, using dangerous chemicals, juggling kittens, axe fighting, etc., but while soldering ?
    Besides, if you don’t let your kids run with scissors every now and then, they never learn why they shouldn’t do that. ;^)

  • Sheesh!!!! Maybe she needs a hard hat, knee pads, a face shield & welding gloves. That ought to spark her interest in electronics.

  • I don’t always wear safety glasses when I solder. Sometimes I wear a full face shield instead. :)
    I need to wear glasses to see up close and they are expensive enough that I’d like to protect them as well. I don’t like to wear safety glasses/goggles over them.

  • +1 to the SFE Lab Coat! :)
    Regarding interesting solder burns, I had a small burn on my lip for days after a flicked some solder. Thats about the time that I started to wear safety glasses at home as well as at work!

  • That lil girl soldering is adorable :D It’s wonderful that kids are getting into electronics at such a young age, and I’ll definitely be teaching my kids electronics! (When I have some :D)
    I definitely second (or third or forth…) the eye protection thing. Many times I’ve had hot solder spit at me and ending up with pin pricks of burning pain on my face :O

  • “I have never heard of anyone who has managed to solder him-/herself in the eye."
    I’ll tell you what I’ve done many times…rolled my workstation chair backwards not realizing that the irons cord was snagged on the armrest and suddenly a hot iron is rocketing towards me.

  • continued…
    Sparkfun, be proactive instead of reactive. Show a sense of responsibility and write a letter and ask them to impliment a safety protocol as this girl is only doing what she is told and she is too young to know any better. That is why adults should look out for her safety and demand better protection.
    I got hurt on the job and the deductible was five grand. You have very important customers and taking care of them for the rest of their life is expensive and you should model safety as you wish to be a role model in hobby electronics.

    • Thanks everybody for expressing your concerns. We wholeheartedly agree and will be taking protective eyewear with us to MakerFaire this year. We will also be sure to bring kid-sized glasses too for the future tinkerers of the world that may use a soldering iron for the first time ever while attending MakerFaire! That’s so cool. We’re excited to be going again and thrilled to be a part of such an awesome gathering of unique and creative people.

  • She is only six or seven inches from the soldering iron as she is almost right on top of it. Imagine what would happen if she burned her eye or if she had to wear contacts for the rest of her life. I went to college with a girl that had to do just that because her eye was burned in a college lab because they didn’t have enough safety glasses. Even my dad put on his regular glasses to solder.
    There are three kinds of accidents: I didn’t think, I didn’t know or I didn’t see. What we don’t think will happen may happen. What we don’t know may happen. “I didn’t know she would drop the iron.” “I didn’t know she would become distracted.” All kinds of errors could happen.
    Think and add safety glasses as a requirement. If she was a worker (someone is sponsoring a faire) it is an OSHA requirement to wear safety glasses. If she had gotten hurt, some of the smallest fines are around $7500. Then the hospital is going to ask how she got hurt and the state may step in and charge someone with neglect.

  • Azayles: It’d be really awsum if SF sold safety equipment like lab coats and glasses, they’d sell like hotcakes :D
    I know you Sparkfun Staffers read these comments, so that can be a next line of merchandise to think about :D

    Aaaaand, now they do sell them! :D

  • Safety aside I must say one thing…
    ..aww how cute…is that what the inside of a chinese sweatshop looks like?

  • Wow, the videos are great! I especially liked Jamie’s - how inspiring! Makes me want to reach for my soldering iron ;)
    Keep up the great work!
    -vcScott

  • The interview with Jamie was great. I would love to see more of those. Note that you could improve your audio at least 1000% with a little electret mic element and a 3-wire mini phone cord (both of which items you sell yourself). As an audio professional, I was cringing at the sound track, but Jamie was interesting enough to keep me watching.
    I gotta agree with the caution about the safety glasses. Whenever people (especially amateurs and kids) are soldering. I don’t believe that there is any significant threat from lead touching or fumes for casual soldering, but there is most definitely potential threat to the eyes from flying solder spatter. I have had droplets of molten solder flicked into my face (and into my eyes) enough times to guarantee that it is a hazard.
    I would love a SparkFun lab coat! And SparkFun safety glasses! And where are those SparkFun plastic pocket protectors? :-)

  • I really enjoy these “behind the scenes” videos–I hope you continue to produce them.
    One enhancement suggestion: when the background music has vocals and the interviewee is speaking it’s quite distracting, so it would be good if you could either drop the music out or use something that doesn’t have vocals at that point.
    Otherwise, I like it. :)

  • The community has spoken…safety glasses, check.

  • i would love to see the maker faire, but maybe next year(finances)

  • I am encourage to get off my butt and start working on some projects I have put on the back burner. That video from Jamie Robertson was exactly what I needed to slip out of the meh mindspace and start again to make and build.
    SF ++


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