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My daughter Jane told me she wanted to build something “electronic,” and luckily, I had a sample of the Solder: Time kit. It looked like a fun thing to make, and it turned to be so.

Solder-Time1-1

It’s a large digital wristwatch and the $35 kit (available in Maker Shed) contains everything you need except the tools (a soldering iron and wire cutters).

Solder-Time2-1

Jane is eight years old so I decided to do all of the soldering, but she enjoyed loading the printed circuit board with components.

Solder-Time3-1

She loved the way the components looked and asked a lot of good questions: What is a resistor? Why do resistors have different colored bands on them? What is a capacitor? What is an integrated circuit? I answered the questions as well as I could.

Solder-Time5-1

It took about 45 minutes to put the watch together. I feel like Jane got a lot out of doing this. Maybe she is ready to try a little soldering on our next project. Do any of you have kids aged eight or younger who can solder?

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder is the editor-in-chief of Make magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.


13 Responses to Fun Beginner's Electronic Project – The Solder: Time LED Watch

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  1. I started soldering at around that age… some silly cheap soldering iron and a base made out of a plate and a standard sponge too.

    There were many small burns at first, just like when you start writing with a pen and you make mistakes more, etc. but I learnt how to hold the iron better as I went, and my joints got better…

    She will be fine :)

  2. Everyone loves this watch, even if they didn’t build it. Gotta love what Mark at Spikenzielabs is doing here. Mine gets comments all the time, while in flight sometimes too :)

  3. Robert Merithew on said:

    Great project, and great that she initiated it! Re: soldering – at this age, I think it’s all about her interest and maturity (i.e. is she able to take the safety precautions seriously — eye protection, putting the soldering iron into its holder right away rather than hanging onto it with a few fingers while fetching the next part, etc.) My 6 and 8-year-old girls started soldering around ages 5-6 (with lots of help at first). With the 8-year-old, I’ve let her do all the soldering herself on a project similar to this one (except for the IC, because I was worried about her overheating it). They’ve not had a single burn, which probably means I’m being overcautious…

  4. not really me on said:

    My daughter started soldering at eight. To be fair we have also work with her on cooking and cutting in the kitchen for many years so she is very comfortable with the personal injury possibilities. Overall I think it’s great to get them started as early as you feel comfortable, of course you always want to monitor them closely, but I don’t think anyone has ever gone to the hospital over a soldering iron burn. Just my opinion though.

  5. My daughter did her first soldering project when she was 7 years old with the LED Blinky Heart kit. She even got to debug a bridged solder joint, which was a fun puzzle for her!

  6. I started soldering around the age of 7-8 as well. Didn’t have much supervision but rarely burned myself. Better ventilation would have been a plus.

  7. My father was a tv repairman and taught me to solder when I was about 8. With supervision it shouldnt be a problem. With kids that young you have to make sure they do it safely (eye protection is a must), understand the dangers, and of course, only do it with mom or dad. There are tons of kits out there, but you can always take stuff apart. See what makes that stupid toy hamster work and then teach her how to make a frankenhamster or whatever.

  8. Xaetognath on said:

    My 9 year old started soldering at 8 at Maker Faire Detroit. She has since become a very good solderer, and makes good, clean, connections that rarely need cleanup.

  9. Both my daughters learned to solder at the ages of 5 & 7 at Maker Faire. They loved it, and have been soldering ever since.

  10. Pingback: Review – The Solder: Time LED Watch « adafruit industries blog

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