You may remember that I had an LED strip that I needed to separate, so I visited my hackerspace to venture into the desolder realm. I set up at the solder station and followed the step-by-step instructions given on Adafruit's site. Yes, I did promise a video, but given the amount of arm gymnastics needed, I'm afraid I couldn't come through with that. I could have asked one of the guys, but it was open house night and I didn't want to discourage any fresh conversations with newbs. So, I did it alone. The first step is to remove the waterproof shield on the strip. I used a hobby knife, but I did learn later that our space had smaller knives available. I would recommend an exacto because it is a bit more nimble to handle for this task. Nevertheless, it was quite easy to remove.
Then I set about doing the desolder. I should mention that my space did not have the long blunt tip recommended on Adafruit's site, so I had to work with the skinny variety. I held some desolder braid down in place with the iron on top of the solder point. I waited a few minutes and gave a slight pull. No luck. In fact, the iron had not even softened the point. I gave it another try. I started counting seconds as if I was using a hot glue gun and was scared of igniting something. Still no luck. I started to view that solder point as chainmail, and got all "Game of Thrones" tough. This time I kept one arm on one side of the strip while I gripped the solder iron and braid in the other. I pulled slightly as I applied pressure with the iron. I remember seeing the solder start to bead and gave one last little tug. It came apart like a soft taffy and I shouted, "Yes!!, success!!!". Score for House Targaryen .
After cleaning up the soldering station, I wandered over to our 3D printing station where I met a woman talking quite excitedly. First of all, any time I find a woman in our hackerspace I get excited, but this was even more extraordinary. This woman was working on a wearable electronics garment -- only it was for a dog! Her name was Gladys, and she actually attended FIT's first dog fashion course. We immediately began comparing notes on stitchable microcontrollers. We even found out we had attended the same soft circuit summit a few years ago; we just never actually met. It turns out she is about to be a guest on Adafruit's Wearable Tech show, and as soon as I mentioned my umbrella project, she really got excited. Apparently she had already seen one of my videos and knew all about my project. You know what they say about Philly -- it's always six degrees of separation. Anyway, her latest dog creation will need a raindrop style code, so we've decided to share information. I sense there is a future collaboration in store for us, as we both live in Philadelphia and love soft circuits. Of course, neither of us can do anything until we both meet our deadlines for our current projects. I'm off to test my separated strips, but I leave you with a pic of us at Hive 76. Can you see the excitement?