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Soldering class, blinkies

Last night Steve K and I did a class for the Dexter FIRST Robotics group (Steve is a mentor, I'm a very part time mentor with the Chelsea group). We used the soldering stations I bought (for classes like this) and some kits from my inventory. Also I came up with a 3D printed holster so that the blinkies fit well with their name badges that they use at competition.

This was a lot of fun as they always are, and hopefully it'll inspire me to get moving on doing new blinkie designs for next year (getting rid of 35 blinkie kits out of inventory doesn't hurt either). I think I may reduce my standard quantity to 100 instead of 200. I would really rather just have a new blinkie design every year instead of bringing the same ones back year after year. I am not doing this to make money so there's no point in me stocking older kits and trying to monetize a previous time investment. I sell my kits mostly at cost, or very little over, so carrying inventory gets painful if it lasts more than a year or two.

I was a little scatterbrained getting ready for this. I didn't bring my desoldering gun, could have used it but we got along OK without it. I was a little short on spare parts, could have used a couple of IC sockets and a switch or two. And mostly I forgot the pencil holder stands, though we did the work on a rough plywood standing level bench so it really wasn't a problem. I did go over to Harbor Freight and finally pick up one of their small 17" magnetic pickup things which helped cleanup a lot, and I picked up some wire cutters at the same time (I forgot that I only had 3 or 4 of my own).

I'm always really excited to do more blinkies when I finish one of these events. They're very fun.