Soft soldering jig in action

A project log for Soft Soldering Jig

Circuit sculpture jig consisting of a vacuum pump attached to a silicone pad to keep rods and SMD components in place when soldering them.

inneInne 11/10/2020 at 02:190 Comments

TLDR: Made an audio amp just look at the pictures.

Realizing that I haven't really posted anything about this jig in action, I took the opportunity to make this post. Not making an actual sculpture for the circuit sculpture contest left me a bit without pretty pictures. Though I actually use this jig quite often for soldering wires and components (i.e. non circuit sculpture activities). Thankfully the Remoticon gave me a nice opportunity to take some pictures of an audio amp I build.

During the remoticon I joined the "finding sound and making microphones" workshop. Part of the workshop involved making your own mic using a piezo element. On the required materials list was an audio amplifier which I managed to source before the workshop. However it turned out to be very much broken when I retrieved it from its packaging.

This being at noon while the workshop was in the evening it left me some time to build up anxiety about failing to meet the requirements. But also time to remember that I bought some LM358P OpAmp ICs once. At the time they were to complicated but turned out to be super welcome right now.

I googled a diagram for an audio amplifier and tried to match the value of the passive components as best I could. Which turned out to be only a capacitor that was 4.7 uF instead of 10. Starting with one of the LM358 pins I followed the traces in the diagram, adding parts as I encountered them. Sometimes having to take a minute to think how the pins/traces will interact, but overall its a quite relaxing experience. Even if you don't see the appeal in making pleasing art, I would definitely recommend you give this kind of "sculpture" a try. If only to experience this method of "getting things done".

In the evening the workshop came around. I will not pretend that this method saved my bacon, because at the time I was too scared to plug it into my computer. Luckily the piezos provided audible sounds even without amplification. after the workshop I spend some time finishing the mic and while staring at my brass rod structure masquerading as an amp I couldn't resist the urge to finish it and plug it in. To my complete amazement It turned out to be actually functional. The amp even boosted the mic in such a way to allow me to sit at an comfortable distance away from it.

Moral of the story. I guess that it is useful to have a general purpose soldering tool/jig. It feels amazing to promptly finish something with parts you have lying around. And please take a look at the pictures.

Building an audio amp 1
Building an audio amp 2
Building an audio amp 3
Building an audio amp 4