Calling all Swift and Speedy Solderers! In a couple of months, we here at SparkFun Electronics will be hosting our inaugural soldering competition! On April 28th, we will be gathering at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids in Longmont for a day of furiously fast soldering antics!
For awhile now we've had the idea of getting out in the community and spreading the joy of electronics assembly. Something similar to our soldering booth at Maker Faires past, but with an added edge of competition! We saw the NYC Resistor hackerspace host a similar contest back in 2008 and decided that we should find out who has the quickest iron in the old west!
We wanted to do something away from SparkFun HQ and Oskar Blues turned out to be that perfect place. They have kindly given us their support and will be providing us with access to their large back patio area for the competition. Note: this will take place OUTSIDE. There is an awning for keeping out the elements, and we will do our best to provide wind breaks in the event of foul weather. This event will happen rain or shine, with the exception of a tornado, hurricane or similar act of Mother Nature.
The competition will go like this - Up to 100 contestants will be competing in 4 heats of 25, starting at high noon on Saturday, April 28th. From the 4 heats we will take the 16 fastest times and move those skilled few into our Sweet 16 round. From the sweet 16 will emerge the 8 fastest times. Those Elite 8 will then compete in the final round to determine who walks away with Gold, Silver, and Bronze! Medalist will also receive prizes for their great work!
For each round of the competition contestants will be soldering up a specified kit available on our website:
First round (4 heats of 25) - Simon PTH Kit
This kit is considered a beginners kit, it is simple in design and features all PTH (plated through hole) soldering.
Second Round (Sweet 16) - BigTime Watch Kit
This is a slightly more advanced kit, includes PTH and SMD (surface mount device) soldering. Contestants will only be timed on completing the soldering portion of this kit. Physical assembly will not be taken into consideration for final time. For the Final Round (Elite 8) we will be keeping the product a secret. You can expect a much more complex design incorporating a good deal of both PTH and SMD soldering.
We will also be featuring a Kids' Heat for the first 25 kids (under 12) who sign up the day of the event. This will be a one heat event, awarding gold silver and bronze as well. This mini event is separate from the main competition, however a kid can participate in both if he/she is signed up for the main competition and meets the requirements for the kids heat. The Kids' Heat will feature a simple beginners kit with all PTH components.
All contestants will be able to take home whatever they build up, so if you make it all the way to the finals you get three sweet kits with the possibility of a medal and associated prize! We will also have a soldering iron station set up for those who don't finish their kit in the allotted times. This way you can try to salvage any mistake you might have made in the competition.
This event is more than just your standard run of the mill soldering competition. We encourage everybody and anybody interested in coming out and partaking in the days activities. We will be raffling off prizes throughout the day and will also have some music and entertainment for your enjoyment. If you plan to attend just as a spectator please register on our EventBrite page to give us a better idea of how many people to expect. We also encourage you to show up to compete even if all 100 spots are reserved in the event that 1 or more contestants don't show. Thank you for your attention and we hope to see you out there!
Contestants, reserve your spot today!!!