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Author Topic: How old should a child be to handle a soldering iron?  (Read 22751 times)
W3TTT
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Posts: 235




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« on: March 21, 2017, 07:13:50 AM »

What age can a child be trusted with a hot soldering iron?  What would the group recommend?
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KD0REQ
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Posts: 1998




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« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 12:42:32 PM »

I was doing it at 10 with minimal supervision.  the occasional yowch was a trainer supreme for flailing fails.  I have no permanent scars.

supervision consisting of occasionally burning something up in a carefully controlled manner is needed.  some kids take to tools quickly, some become "golden screwdriver" operators.  how I would do it if I had kids is when junior came over with "whatcha doin?" I would exaggerate my procedure and do it slowly as a demonstration.  when I got to a noncritical area, I would sneak the little nipper in by holding a heat sink, or the solder.  eventually get a little gutless noncritical project started and let him have a couple licks at it.

remember, rosin is an irritant, molten metal hurts, and lead is a hazard.  this would be a good time to get a little air cleaner on the bench, intake towards the soldering station.
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N3HEE
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2017, 08:51:51 AM »

I turned my grandkids loose with soldering irons when they were 10 years old.  We put together a little blinking LED Christmas tree kit.  No major problems.  They caught on quickly. 
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Joe
N3HEE
CW Academy Advisor (Level II)
K0OD
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2017, 01:13:54 PM »

When I was little -- long ago-- woodburning kits were popular gifts. I was given one when I was about 6 years old. About the same as a soldering iron. Miracle I didn't burn down the house.

http://www.woodburning.com/
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K0OD
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2017, 02:03:27 PM »

"Eight Wildly Irresponsible Vintage Toys"





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AB3TH
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Posts: 194




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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2017, 03:17:20 PM »

A kid can be trusted as soon as he has the maturity and coordination to use a soldering iron safely.  That could be 5 years old or 50.  I built my first Heathkit when I was 9 or 10.  A VTVM.  I already had a scope.  My father wasn't competent with anything mechanical or electrical.  I learned it all on my own.  I made a lathe with old washing machine parts and brazed stuff by sticking it into the burner on the gas water heater or the furnace.  My parents never knew most of the stuff I did.  Some was fairly dangerous but I'm not dead yet and I still have all my appendages.

I would have liked one of those glass blowing kits.  Maybe they still sell one.
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W3TTT
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2017, 01:33:44 PM »

"Eight Wildly Irresponsible Vintage Toys"

Those darn chemistry sets!   I had a couple of them.  Neither one had the chemical that I wanted . . . Potassium Nitrate!

 Roll Eyes (innocent smiley)
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AB3MO
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2017, 06:07:39 AM »

Old enough to recognize that one skin burn, one scorch mark on the work bench, and one hole in a shirt or pair of pants with high polyester content from a flying hot solder droplet is enough.  Could be as young as seven or maybe 12.  [Wear safety glasses!]
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KD0REQ
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Posts: 1998




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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2017, 08:33:54 AM »

"Eight Wildly Irresponsible Vintage Toys"

Those darn chemistry sets!   I had a couple of them.  Neither one had the chemical that I wanted . . . Potassium Nitrate!

 Roll Eyes (innocent smiley)

when I was a kid, they sold saltpeter at the drug store... open shelf...  K2N*10H2O.  a little light cooking out and it's dehydrated. a little charcoal, a little sulfur, and it kept one of my friends busy for hours.  nowdays, doctor hands you a prescription, you might only be able to fill it at the hospital pharmacy.
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2017, 06:19:01 AM »

When they can grasp (no pun intended) this important concept:

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G3RZP
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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2017, 01:48:23 PM »

I started at age 9, although Dad supervised at first. My XYL didn't start until 14, but she had obtained the highest licence class when she was 16, when I met her at the radio club. Now 41 years ago and 34th wedding anniversary this year....
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N3QE
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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2017, 09:34:54 AM »

When they can grasp (no pun intended) this important concept:



RF burns smell surprisingly like chicken, too!
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DRBEN
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Posts: 316




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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2017, 09:05:39 PM »

"Eight Wildly Irresponsible Vintage Toys"

Those darn chemistry sets!   I had a couple of them.  Neither one had the chemical that I wanted . . . Potassium Nitrate!

 Roll Eyes (innocent smiley)

when I was a kid, they sold saltpeter at the drug store... open shelf...  K2N*10H2O.  a little light cooking out and it's dehydrated. a little charcoal, a little sulfur, and it kept one of my friends busy for hours.  nowdays, doctor hands you a prescription, you might only be able to fill it at the hospital pharmacy.

Potassium nitrate is sold without restriction for small quantities at most garden supply stores, where two forms are available:

--Fertilizer with an NPK rating of 13-0-44
--Post stump removal products are totally or primarily potassium nitrate.

If you have time and access to manure, ashes and urine, you can make your own using the pre-industrial "French method".

Guano from bat caves is a reliable substitute.

A solution of potassium nitrate works well as a cleaner for aluminum antenna masts or elements.
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ONAIR
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2017, 02:40:48 PM »

"Eight Wildly Irresponsible Vintage Toys"






   I remember a mineral kit that I had.  It came with an actual piece of Uranium rock!
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DRBEN
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Posts: 316




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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2017, 11:12:26 PM »

"Eight Wildly Irresponsible Vintage Toys"






   I remember a mineral kit that I had.  It came with an actual piece of Uranium rock!

I just noticed something strange about the chemistry set. The three square enveloppes on the right have been photoshopped. The top one says "Rolling Papers". I can't make out the middle one, but the bottom one says "Latex C----m.
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