Being a maker during a Pandemic

I have been involved in the maker community for a few years now. I really enjoy makerspaces because it gives me both something to do, new things to learn and lots of interesting people to meet.

Now that COVID-19 is happening, the hackerspace that I belong to is no longer open to the public. They did close for members for a while too, but have recently started allowing members only to use the space again. This means that I can no longer attend open make night, board game night, random outings to the hackerspace to work on things.

This made me sad. It really did. I’ve had the most social stuff that I do taken away from me. It looks to me like it will be at least a year before things get back to normal. I decided early on that I was still going to make. Of the 3 things I love about the makerspaces, I’m going to have something to do, I’m going to continue to learn things and I’m going to become one of those interesting people that I love to meet.

I came across something called Hackerboxes. Now I love subscription boxes. Well, not quite, I love to subscribe to them at some discounted rate and then cancel future boxes. Hackerboxes so far is different, I want to keep getting more projects. I got a starter kit and a Defcon exclusive right out the gate, then subscribed for some more fun down the road. The starter kit came with a soldering iron and some other necessery items to begin my journey, but lacked other things that I think really should have been in there, like protective eye wear.

The Defcon exclusive box I got was Best of Visions. So far I’ve made the WOPR badge (very cool!), the fidget spinner – which I broke 🙁 and next I’m making the glowing cube. I’m very excited about the glowing cube, it will probably take a while to put together, so I wanted to put some time and effort into getting better with soldering before I attempted that one.

Now that I’ve been doing the Hackerboxes for a hot minute, I’ve realized that the soldering iron that I recieved does not heat up as high as I need it to. It goes up to 500F. I made many very sad soldering messes with that soldering iron since it wasn’t getting hot enough to melt the solder. I did some Googling and figured out that Weller is like THE NAME in soldering. So I decided I’d get me one of those. I looked around and found the most gorgeous looking soldering station. Oooh whee it’s so pretty. It’s like a light teal blue color, it doesn’t even seem like something that would be sitting on an electronic bench. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077JDGY1J/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I did make some badges I got from the Tampa Hackerspace, they had some leftover badges from the Tampa Maker Faire. Enjoy a viewing of me putting together a badge on TikTok.

@ednajon

Soldering a Maker Faire Tampa Badge. ##solder ##hacker ##maker ##tampahackerspace

♬ Næsta Skref – Daði Freyr

I’m hoping to continue this journey of learning about electronics, soldering, hacking things and just in general improving my knowledge of how things work.

I’m also creating a home lab. I will probably write about that as well in another post, but I have a ServerIron server (she’s a beaut!) and I’m setting up a Kali box and other things as well. So yes, pandemic for me means learning and expanding my mind and skills 🙂

ET out.