Jayson Murray demonstrates a bridge solder to hold the sides of a circuit-board Christmas tree together. Photo by Dauna Ditson

Makerspace makes season shiny and bright

Soldering clinic teaches how to make a circuit board Christmas tree

By Dauna Ditson

Special to the Pioneer

The Columbia Valley Makerspace Society offered a Learn To Solder workshop at the Invermere Legion on Saturday, December 16th, where participants of all ages made their own flashy Christmas trees to take home.

Jayson Murray and Brian McIntosh, who founded the Columbia Valley Makerspace Society earlier this year, supervised as participants soldered tiny LED bulbs and other electronic parts to circuit boards shaped like Christmas trees.

Mr. Murray and Mr. McIntosh demonstrated how to use a soldering iron to melt a coil of metal to connect the components to the circuit board and to create a pathway for electricity to flow. Then participants spent the next couple of hours assembling their masterpieces.

Halfway through his project, participant Cassius Cowles, age seven, told the Pioneer, “we’re making Christmas trees out of welding stuff.” Cassius said he was having a great time. “(Soldering) is really fun because you get to do that and you can watch it melt and then it dries. Like it’s wet and then as soon as you blink it turns silver and then it’s dry.”

Cassius said he wanted to leave his Christmas tree on all night in his room. He is considering having a party for all of his toys.

“I could have a stuffie disco,” he said.

Cassius’ father, Barrett Cowles, said learning to solder is a new experience for him too, and that he enjoyed the workshop.

“It’s really nice of these guys to put it on,” Mr. Cowles said.

Dave Weatherhead and his five-year-old son Austin were working at the soldering station next to the Cowles.

“I’ve never really done electrical soldering or circuitry-type stuff, and it sounded neat,” Mr. Weatherhead said, adding that he appreciated the opportunity to learn.

The Makerspace society found everyone loved the workshop and Mr. Murray reports people were asking them when they are going to do another session. While plans for the next event haven’t been finalized, residents can find out about upcoming activities by visiting cvmakerspace.ca or by following the Columbia Valley Makerspace Society on Facebook.

“Brian and I do this and all Makerspace work on a volunteer basis because we love to pass on the knowledge that we’ve gained over our lives to people young and old. That’s entirely enough reward for us,” Mr. Murray said.

The Columbia Valley Makerspace is looking for additional volunteers to host workshops on electronics, programming and crafts. Community members are invited to contact info@cvmakerspace.ca to volunteer.

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