It's Never Too Early To Start

A 6-year old designs his very own PCB.

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First off, Happy New Year everyone! We are very excited for all the possibilities that 2011 holds and we are looking forward to seeing some awesome new products and projects roll out in the next year. Good luck over the next few months as we all struggle to date things "2011" instead of "2010." And don't forget that Free Day is next week!

So if you're intimidated by the idea of creating your own PCB, perhaps the above video will help. Yep - that's a clip of 6-year old Charlie Mac soldering a board that functions as an electronic coin flip. First of all, the fact a 6-year old is soldering that well is impressive, but what makes it even more amazing is the fact that young Charlie designed the board himself. His dad then shipped the order off to SparkFun's sister-site BatchPCB. The result is what you see above - really cool! Great work Charlie (and nice teaching Dad)!

Comments 27 comments

  • obi-one / about 11 years ago / 1

    He will become Iron-Man.
    Yeah, that's right isn't it?? Tony Stark made his first pcb at that age, or was at four? And then a combustion engine at twelve

  • Frapsy / about 11 years ago / 1

    That's Great! I wish i had someone to teach me about electronics, i pretty much taught myself everything and even though it was a while ago i vividly remember figuring out all of the ways to get burned by soldering, the hard way. Im still only 16 and i learn another way to accidentally hurt myself every day now.

  • TBaumg / about 11 years ago / 1

    Very cool! My (6-yr old) boy is always watching me tinker around, you inspired me to add an SFE LED kit to my order to teach him to solder. Thanks!

  • PhilipH / about 11 years ago / 1

    Had my oldest son at the bench when he was 5, while I was working at a repair facility de-soldering caps for me, until the owners wife felt "He might get burned"; none the less several techs I worked with said he did a much better job of not burning a hole through the board, or searing off traces like some of the "Experienced techs".
    Great job Charlie! Keep it up kid, you will enjoy years of fun with moving electrons around!

  • Calif / about 11 years ago / 1

    He could have etched that in the kitchen instead of waiting 6 weeks. My dad had no skills.

  • drex / about 11 years ago / 1

    glad u guys followed my advice on the charity donations!!!
    so this is our collective vote.... come free day, do what you gotta do to get that donation to charity!!!
    thanks to sparkfun for the opportunity
    Walter Dreksler
    CEO / Electrical Engineer / Psychic Advisor to the Stars
    The Silicon Horizon Inc.

  • jmpattillo / about 11 years ago / 1

    I was having a bad day until I watched this. Awesome.

  • Bellmar / about 11 years ago / 1

    That is awesome!! Great job MacGyver!!!

  • TheRobberDotCom / about 11 years ago / 1

    Awesome! and he's a leftie too!

  • Chris W / about 11 years ago / 1

    That is really awesome. I have been working electronics for a little bit now and I am in college, but I have yet to use a soldering iron... Just breadboards for me :(

  • FLAKElabs / about 11 years ago / 1

    I remember etching my first board with a sharpie and the rshack board kit. I also vividly remembered the day i learned not to solder barefoot. Dropped solder off the bench onto the top of my foot. Sadly it stuck to my foot and transferred its energy to my foot! Ouch!
    Congrats, when touring SF I asked what the earliest age my kid could solder in one of their classes (i have a 6 week old). They said 8.. maybe time to rethink that?

    • SomeGuy123 / about 11 years ago / 1

      I solder static sensitive components with just a pair of underpants on.

      • Azayles / about 11 years ago / 1

        I often solder while wearing safety glasses.
        Just safety glasses.
        Enjoy that image! >:D

      • Nelson.r.o / about 11 years ago / 1

        After reading that I couldn't resist

  • mman1506 / about 11 years ago / 1

    i soldered for the first time when i was about 6 or 7 but i really wish i had someone help me use eagle even now

  • Larius / about 11 years ago / 1

    All these comments about soldering accidents remind me... Why isn't Charlie wearing safety glasses?
    I didn't wear them myself until I was hit in the face (not eye thankfully) with hot solder splatter.

  • SomeGuy123 / about 11 years ago / 1

    I like the idea of kids getting into electronics at a young age, but I see one problem with this. I may be wrong, but kids usually don't keep interest in things they do when they were young. Just try not to force electronics onto him. Encourage him, but don't limit his options.

    • ChristheCarpenter / about 11 years ago / 1

      @Nike --I can dig what you are puttin' down here but there is nothing to worry about. After this kid put down the iron, he probably spent 2 hours in a cardboard box or making blocks out of my scrap pile.

  • krish2487 / about 11 years ago / 1

    will you adopt me?
    hi5 to charlie for the awesome job

  • ChristheCarpenter / about 11 years ago / 1

    WooHoo! That's my Boy!!!
    You know, some fathers are stoked when their kid throws a touchdown pass, or runs the 100m in whatever time...
    My kid made the SparkFun front page. Beat that!
    Thanks, SF --Charlie is going to be so excited.
    (I should add that CharlieMac is Charles MacGyver --Yup, my wife let me name him MacGyver)

    • N.Poole / about 11 years ago / 1

      "My kid made the SparkFun front page. Beat that!"
      "Yup, my wife let me name him MacGyver"
      You, sir, are an epic father.

  • N.Poole / about 11 years ago / 1

    Good Man Indeed!
    Way to go Charlie!
    I remember my dad teaching me how to solder, in fact, the first injury I remember vividly was from sitting on the workbench and inadvertently touching an operating soldering iron, lol. I haven't made the same mistake since... much.

    • Kilo / about 11 years ago / 1

      heh heh, everyone seems to get a nice blister off an iron at least once in life...I sniff for heat -the proboscis is much more sensitive and less uncertain than fingers [or other parts of the body].
      Sometime in 1976 I observed a guy SIT on a 60 watt soldering iron...while wearing polyester pants -adding an interesting twist.
      we discovered another use for freeze-spray back in the days of aerosol CFC's.
      6 yrs old and soldering like that. That's great!!!
      he will need that [and much-MUCH more] to beat the Chinese.
      Please give MacG the best you can muster.
      Congrats to you both.

    • EasternStarGeek / about 11 years ago / 1

      Ah yes- Lesson #1:
      "Hot Soldering Irons look just like Cold Soldering Irons!"
      Thanx for the laugh!
      (Bravo, Charlie!!)

    • N.Poole / about 11 years ago / 1

      Might I also add that Charlie is rockin' that iron! I put together boards in Middle School that didn't look that good (Flooded with solder)

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