NYC Soldering Championships

[Matt] let us know about the New York City Soldering Championships. They’ll be happening during the Ignite talks on July 29th at 7pm. 25 people will race head to head to assemble a fully functional electronics kit. Participants have to register in advance and are encouraged to bring their own iron. The kit hasn’t been chosen yet so people can’t practice. We hope they at least consider using a few SMD parts just to keep things interesting. Shout out if you’re planning to attend or compete!

[photo: Nick Bilton]

13 thoughts on “NYC Soldering Championships

  1. yes – smd parts… – perhaps they could also throw in an soic package ic chip, or some small piezo discs (need good temp. control techniques or you burn through them)

    perhaps some crazy point-to-point as well, just to keep things interesting.

  2. Until you solder a QFP-NL (NO LEADS!) You are still an amateur!

    And for whats it’s worth, i will wipe the floor with anybody brave enough to challenge me to a solder off in FL. (No way I’m flying to NYC to solder!)

  3. Hell, just soldering some 0204 resistors. If you don’t confuse them with dust, and have good tweezers, and have a good magnifying lamp, you’re fine.

    I’d bring my soldering station, but at $4500 it’s on the expensive side and it’s definitely on the bulky side (Weller WRS7000X). On the other hand- how many soldering stations have multiple foot pedals?

  4. would be nice to see some rules.
    if this were my competition, id make it as hard as possible. I dont think allowing contestants to use their own equipment would qualify as “may the best solderer win”
    Consistancy among equipment and conditions is the only way to prove you are the best.
    The best can get the job done with the worst possible conditions (a toolbox $5 Weller, on the hood of your car, in july, at dusk, with a thunderstorm coming, and an smd part to be installed with no tweezers… make that happen and you are a solder god)

    My rules:
    1: no helping hands of any kind.
    2: no clips. no hold down tape.
    3: no elevated tables. contestant is allowed to squat next to the table if they must.
    4: no magnifying lenses to inspect work
    5: all contestants have the same lighting conditions: terrible (i.e. the room’s overhead flolamps. no desk lamps of any kind. Flashlight held in the mouth is the only accepted additional lighting)
    6: contestants are provided solder, and iron. xx cm of solder (just enough to finish with a bit extra for finger holds) and the cheapest Weller the organizers can buy in bulk. No solder stand. A rotten wet sponge will be provided. (variance in rot will occure. contestant is welcome to cut a patch of material from their clothing to serve as a sponge substitute).
    7: xx cm of solder wick is provided for repairs or cleanup (sm dips will be included in the circuit.)

    I would expect some contestants not to finish in time with those constraints, and at least a few failed circuits.

    no challenge? no point!

  5. I hope someone does a video report of the event, that’s something I’d like to see, I’m a fairly competant solderer as I do a lot of SMD work, but I’d like to see just how many magnitudes better a pro solderer is.

    One of my two iRiver H140 mp3 players is a frankenstein’s monster job, built from the parts of 3 ‘broken’ units off eBay, swapping over the joystick proved tricky because I accidentally desoldered a couple of grain-of-sand-sized resistors, I did manage to solder them back on after a mishap where they dropped onto carpet, and vanished… stickytape works wonders for finding miniature things fallen onto carpet :) the unit still works fine after over a year of daily use.

    Have to agree with mre though, there should be a MacGyver/A-Team competition where contestants are given the worst possible conditions & cheap basic equipment.

  6. Speaking of MacGyver; I think an “Extreme” contest should give a pile of “useless” junk with which to fashion some sort of soldering device out of. It should include items like: Paperclips, Electrical cords, lighters, blowtorches, Chewing Gum, Solder, and of course Duct Tape, and also anything they happen to have on them at the time (besides soldering irons, etc)..

  7. Transplant a 200+ pin 0.5mm spacing TQFP from one board to another with nothing but a fine point 25W low end Weller, a dental pick, no-clean solder, some rubbing alcohol, and a Swiss Army knife with a magnifying glass. Go.

  8. I did some contract work porting the Linux kernel to a dual-PPC board for a large storage company several years ago. One of the boards we were working on was missing a row of SMD resistors when it came back from assembly, so we had to bring the board over to the re-work station before we could continue…

    Their rework tech was *amazing*. Best I’ve ever seen. She cut a length of tape off the roll of resistors, started to peel back the plastic, and did this thing with the tape, the solder, and the iron that resulted in 8 resistors perfectly soldered to the pads on one side in about 5 seconds. All straight, and evenly spaced. A few seconds soldering the other sides and the job was done…

    I used to think I could hold my own with an iron….

  9. I’d take y’all on in a soldering contest. I mastered the art of soldering 208 pin PQFP devices with a regular old Weller… Not the station, I mean the iron with the cord on it. 0402 devices, TQFP, TFN… no worries, and fast. The trick is flux and a good tip. :-)

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