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Soldering with kids

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:24 pm
by muc
I'm running an electronics event for kids involving learning to solder. 15 kids would be using soldering irons in a large well ventilated room for no more than an 30 min at a time.

I've scoured the HSE website and others.

Can anyone offer any best practice safety advice or tips ?

Do you think I should provide additional ventilation?

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:43 pm
by asandford
muc wrote:I'm running an electronics event for kids involving learning to solder. 15 kids would be using soldering irons in a large well ventilated room for no more than an 30 min at a time.

I've scoured the HSE website and others.

Can anyone offer any best practice safety advice or tips ?

Do you think I should provide additional ventilation?
When I learnt to solder in electronics class back in 1983, if I burnt myself then it was my fault. Now it will be yours...

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:43 pm
by morphy_richards
Goggles, good stout stands and the cables should be well away from any possible snag hazards.

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 12:31 am
by DougieLawson
morphy_richards wrote:Goggles, good stout stands and the cables should be well away from any possible snag hazards.
If you go that way you'll also need kevlar armour, respirators and fire retardent boots, you can't be too cautious with a small object at 180 degrees that could burn the building down. Don't forget to get the risk assessment and the parent's disclaimers prepared. Also have an AED handy in-case anyone gets an electric shock.

On the other hand a healthy dose of good, old-fashioned, common sense and none of this stupid politically correct health & safety nonsense may be a better bet.

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 12:37 am
by electronicsguy
One thing I would suggest is - teach them the protocol of not assuming the soldering iron is not hot. I have seen kids try to smell the tip or quickly touch it to see if its hot or not, and hurting themselves or others. Teach them no matter what, the soldering iron must be kept in its stand, preferably away from hands of nearby kids.

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 6:58 am
by morphy_richards

On the other hand a healthy dose of good, old-fashioned, common sense and none of this stupid politically correct health & safety nonsense may be a better bet.
I was going off the practice I've seen the guy who teaches GCSE electronics use, tbh I thought goggles was a bit extreme too.

Making sure cables are safely out of the way of harm and that the soldering iron will stay put in its stand when you rest it is a no brainer, especially considering you cant watch what 14 kids you don't know well are doing when you are bending down to help one.

This has some pertinent stuff


https://www.data.org.uk/frequently-asked-questions

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:12 am
by clive
We like The Soldering is Easy comic:

http://mightyohm.com/blog/2011/04/solde ... omic-book/

My tips: don't touch the iron; don't eat the solder; hold wires when snipping them.

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:41 am
by DougieLawson
clive wrote:We like The Soldering is Easy comic:

http://mightyohm.com/blog/2011/04/solde ... omic-book/
+1
Lots of common sense presented in an easy to use format.

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:05 am
by Ravenous
morphy_richards wrote:Goggles, good stout stands and the cables should be well away from any possible snag hazards.
I was a bit surprised when someone disagreed with this, because in my experience all of these things have caused mishaps.

I've had solder flux "spit" and throw stuff into the corner of my eye. Only happened once and didn't do any harm, but after that I always either wear my regular glasses or put on a cheapo pair of chemistry-lab style glasses. It's not an extreme precaution; those who don't wear glasses really should have some sort of protection

A proper stand (on an uncluttered bench) is mandatory too. Just putting an iron down on the bench is a bad idea, residual twist in the cable or something snagging the cable elsewhere can cause it to move suddenly, and the instinct is to try and grab it to stop it rolling off the desk. Burned my palm that way... :lol:

In my opinion these things are far more serious matters than fume extraction.

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:34 am
by blc
Ravenous wrote:
morphy_richards wrote:Goggles, good stout stands and the cables should be well away from any possible snag hazards.
I was a bit surprised when someone disagreed with this, because in my experience all of these things have caused mishaps.

.....

In my opinion these things are far more serious matters than fume extraction.
I agree. I've snagged a soldering iron cable or two in my time and it's pretty hairy when there's a piece of metal at 380 degrees C flying around the bench. Fume extraction is still pretty important IMO though: flux fumes are pretty nasty over long periods of time.

Also, are you going to be using leaded solder? If so beware hygiene issues - no food or drink after handling the solder, unless they've washed their hands.

None of this is overbearing if you ask me; just sensible precautions when you're dealing with stuff that's potentially pretty nasty.

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:35 am
by RaTTuS
I usually find that you cannot get a kid up to the right temp to do useful soldering with .... ;)

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:36 am
by Ravenous
(But at least they're Lead Free!)

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:26 pm
by blc
RaTTuS wrote:I usually find that you cannot get a kid up to the right temp to do useful soldering with .... ;)
I think getting up to temperature isn't the problem, it's their thermal capacity: as soon as you try and solder anything bigger than 0805 the pads just suck all the heat away.

:lol:

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:43 pm
by jamesh
RaTTuS wrote:I usually find that you cannot get a kid up to the right temp to do useful soldering with .... ;)
Use ones with red hair.

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:49 pm
by Burngate
bertwert wrote:To test if the iron is hot enough; you grab it with your hand and if your hand is black, smoking, black and smells like charcoal or cooking meat the iron is probably hot enough.
Am I right, or have I always been doing it wrong?
Actually, you'll get a sizzling sound first.

Picture the scene.
A bunch of us have been out in the hills. It's been snowing, and the temperature is so low the brass monkeys have emigrated.
When we get back, the coke stove is glowing nicely, so we all gather round it.
Well, the rest do. I'm last in, so there's no room to get close, but being taller than most, I just stand at the back and lean over, putting my hands on the chimney.

Now there's an odd thing about the mechanics of leaning on something - to stop leaning, you have to shove against it first, so it takes a large fraction of a second to get your body moving in the right direction before your hands come away from it.
During that time, I was aware of the sound, though there wasn't any pain. Until later.
Being an all-male group, the lack of sympathy was not unexpected, and the language I used was not suitable for this forum.

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:36 am
by Burngate
I don't think it was quite that cold even on Tryfan. Britain is kept warm by the North Atlantic Drift (Gulf Stream), so our winters aren't nearly as bad as they would be without that. However, our summers are cooler and wetter than BC, and our mountains are a bit smaller than yours.
(There's a theory that global warming could shut down the Thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic. If that happens, the North Atlantic Drift would also stop, and British winters would get colder)

Interesting that you smelt meat burning, while I heard sizzling. I think the damage to flesh would depend on the temperature of what it's touching.
We need a biologist to tell us what would happen at various temperatures between 200C (soldering iron) and 500C (red heat). Or a cook.
What's surprising is the delay between the application of heat and the sensation of pain.

And, yes, it does hurt, doesn't it.

Re: Soldering with kids

Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:43 am
by Ravenous
bertwert wrote:I was learning how to use a tiny MSR stove and forgot to follow one vital instruction: Leave for five minutes before packing away.
Back on topic, I usually put my (cheap, fixed temperature) soldering irons in a plastic toolbox, so yes be careful to let them cool for a while before coiling up the cables and packing up! :lol:

(I think we've scared the OP away though, so we'll never get to hear how the kids get on. Hopefully they have fun anyway.)