Kids and soldering irons

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Hi,  My nephew is 10, mad keen on electronics. What minimum age do people
think is appropriate for owning a soldering iron?



Re: Kids and soldering irons


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Depends how careful he is and how worried his parents are...

I got my first soldering iron when I was about 7, but only used it with a
parent there at first. It is likely that at least minor burns will occur
unless he is a very careful person. I thought I was pretty careful but still
burned myself quite a few times (once right across 4 fingers). I think 10 is
ok with an adult in the vicinity.

Daniel



Re: Kids and soldering irons


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people
still
is
Agreed. We all learn how hot the tip is the hard way ("The man who never
burnt his fingers never made anything!") so for a youngster supervision is
really a must for some time.

Ken



Re: Kids and soldering irons


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I got my first soldering iron when I was 10. Admittedly I've hever
actually burned my fingers. But I did burn my foot when I accidentally
knocked my soldering off the table.
--

Wing Wong.

Re: Kids and soldering irons


I started with one heated on our gas stove when I was about 9 or so - at 10,
if he is sensible, he should be OK but naturally supervised when he starts


David

bruce varley wrote:

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Re: Kids and soldering irons



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Interesting topic this one. I think I first got a soldering iron at 9 or 10,
but then again at the same time my brother (2years older) and I were also
using lathes, welders, griders etc, and used to drive our go-kart that we
re-built along the back street. My father owned a car dealership and the
workshop was a matter of metres from our backdoor so we grew up with, and
were taught, that all these things can be dangerous (That and I think we
were too scared to injur ourselves because we knew dad would kick our asses
and never let us in the workshop again). For the most part we were actually
unsupervised, and never seriously injured ourselves. Just the occasional
scratch, bruise, burn or small cut.

That said I'm pretty sure I wont be so keen to let my kids loose
unsupervised in my workshop when they're 9 & 10, but I'll certinally
encourage supervised usage of power tools etc....how else are they going to
learn the proper way to do it.

Yeah I know I'm just rambling on but it really got me thinking.

James



Re: Kids and soldering irons

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I was about 8 years old when Dad taught me how to solder up a crystal set
with a soldering iron. I also got one of the old Radio Shack 50-in-1kits
when I was about 10. This had a panel which was loaded with all sorts
of components, and had springs attached to the components. You just
connected up the springs and made all sorts of projects. Jaycar has a
similar kit called "Short Circuits Book and Project Kit" for $36.95. (KJ-8502).
This eliminates the need for a soldering iron, and can lead the way for more
complex circuits later on.


Re: Kids and soldering irons


I think I was about 9 or so too. I still remember I got a whole kit
including multimeter and other stuff. That was great! I still have the tool
box it came in.

I had a close call when I was about 13 when I was installing an alarm system
to my room. I was soldering two wires together at ceiling height and a blob
of solder fell onto my face about 2cm away from my eye!! From then on dad
made me wear eye protection every time I soldered. That lasted about a
couple of months before I reverted back to no eye protection.

One thing I am a little worried about is lead poisoning. For many years, my
bedroom had all of my electronics in it and I would often not wash my hands
after working with solder. Also, it wasn't an ideal place for solder fumes
either. It must be stressed that lead is terrible for the health of
especially younger people, so make sure the message gets across and stays
that way. I'd recommend a designated area- not a bedroom and not the family
table- for soldering.







Re: Kids and soldering irons


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    My close call was unsoldering a jumper wire in a phone exchange:
some clown was too lazy to replace a jumper and had stretched the wire
guitar
string tight and then soldered it on, some years later I touch it with a
hot iron and it lets go flicking molten solder into my eye: If I hadn't
blinked at that moment it would have got me in the eye but as it was it
flowed around the eyelashes and stuck the eyelid shut over the eye with
a hiss.

     You'll find you are more likely to suffer from sinus problems from
the flux fumes which condense into a dust on cooling, than from lead
poisoning, I had a test recently done which showed nothing after 30
years of soldering. You can take calcium tablets when working with lead
which helps with heavy metal exposure somehow.


Re: Kids and soldering irons


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people

10 should be plenty old enough, just teach them the basic safety rules.
Eg, it's hot, solder splashes (wear eye protection), and don't sniff
the fumes (use a fume extractor if possible). Purists will of course
say that's all half the fun :->
Although you don't need to solder to play around with electronics. The
Tandy/DSE/Jaycar "100 in 1" type kits with the spring terminals are
excellent, and you can do endless stuff with a breadboard.

Dave :)


Re: Kids and soldering irons



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He will burn himself (once)
It will not threaten his life or limb, but will be a useful learning
experience.
Insisting he wear glasses will be the best thing anyone can teach him.



Re: Kids and soldering irons



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G'day Bruce.

I'm with Daniel and Ken.  That's a perfectly good age if he has the keen
interest AND someone is going to supervise initially.  Might also pay to explain
how to make a decent joint and how to spot a dry joint.  Sounds like Uncle Bruce
has a bit of work there ...

At ten I didn't have a soldering iron, but was busy melting lead and pouring it
into all sorts of moulds.  One was a concrete mould and was wet.  The molten
lead spat back at me in spades and left me with little splatter marks over
face/arms/feet etc.  You learn from these little life experiences.  He WILL burn
himself, but with that initial supervision and cautionary advice he'll be right.
Shite, I probably still burn myself while soldering at least once a year.

Re: Kids and soldering irons


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My first irons at about 9 were a Wahl Clipper
rechargable and a Scope iron. Both needed a
finger on a button or level to operate them
which would make it a bit safer as the power
is cut if you drop them. The Wahl had such a
tiny tip it cooled down almost immediately
power was cut.


Re: Kids and soldering irons


One has to get used to the burning curve, I'm afraid. Start him off with no
more than 20W.
Make sure supply cord  is not clumsily kinked or hairpinned or, ugh!,
heavier than the lightweght iron itself.
A good, non-slip solder iron stand with a wet sponge tray, and remove any
inverted-U hook on the waist of the iron so it has to be parked. A solder
reel on a steady dispenser. Wear safety glasses and have good ventilation.
Be aware of melting points or susceptibility of various plastics and
coatings to direct heat when working inside a project.

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Re: Kids and soldering irons


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no

Cmon, start him out with an 80W iron and a roll of 1.6mm solder.

Then tell him he has to *not* destroy the LED or rip tracks off PCBs =)

-mark



Re: Kids and soldering irons: THANKS


Guys,  Many thanks to all who responded to this thread. It's provided me
with all I needed to know, plus a good deal more. This is a really good ng.



Re: Kids and soldering irons: THANKS


I think most of us who replied are glad to see a kid learn to build stuff, and
acquire useful skills instead of just watchin tv and gameboying etc.

And it is great to see a kid being given support and encouragement -
goodonyamate

David

bruce varley wrote:

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Re: Kids and soldering irons



bruce varley wrote:
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people

Rosin flux fumes gradually sensitise the lungs, eventually producing
instant
asthma at the faintest whiff of rosin fume.  Once sensitised, a person
basically cannot solder ever again, unless they have fantastically good
fume
extraction.  TAFE and Uni and many workplaces use good extraction to
prevent rosin sensitisation.  You can get extraction at the iron,
extraction
by a "funnel on a pipe" and extraction by fan with absorbent pad.  I
also
recommend low flux solder - not the stuff from your local retail shop -
low
flux solder produces remarkably little fume and works OK provided you
are
not soldering tarnished old component leads.  Farnell and RS etc have a
range of low fume solders.

If you Google for *Solder Fume* you can find more.

As far as lead exposure goes, always wash the hands after working with
solder and before meals.  I recommend plenty of soap and a scrubbing
brush
for the fingernails.  If your nephew is a nailbiter, you will have to
enforce nail scrubbing after soldering.

I have been soldering since my childhood, and as a result I have
permanent
asthma and basically cannot solder anymore.  And I knew nothing about
lead.  In those days nobody gave safety a thought.

Roger


Re: Kids and soldering irons


These are valid points which are rarely given thought. I am only in my mid
twenties and never had any safety lessons about lead smoke, lead contact and
various fumes. Admittedly I only get the soldering iron out when its time to
do some wiring or repair a PCB, but I've never been taught/told to wash
hands after use and I started using the iron just under ten years of age.


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Re: Kids and soldering irons



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 > a person basically cannot solder ever again, unless they
 > have fantastically good fume extraction.

Great. Now I find this out. Blessed with a bad chest all my life, in the
early 70's I accepted a PMG traineeship which was then at North Sydney,
where the first four weeks were learning how to solder.

Dropped out because I had a uni offer, but spent the first year at uni
on asthma medication that basically left me with the shakes and any
notes as crap.

Still able to solder, if I sit over a fan, so can still do hobby stuff.

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