Saturday, February 28, 2015

SL REVIEWS: RadioShack Soldering Kit Unboxing

By Carter Schaap

   Yesterday, I stopped by the local RadioShack here in southwestern Ohio. For those of you who don't already know, (and most of you probably do) RadioShack filed for bankruptcy just recently, meaning that most of their stores are closing or becoming privately owned.

   Because of this, you can find some terrific deals at the stores, with closeout sales ranging from 30% -60% off.
A RadioShack soldering starter kit, 50% off.

   So when I went in there, it looked like a tornado had just blown through, with most of the shelves stripped bare. The MAKE section, however, still had a fair amount of equipment left, so I picked up one of their soldering kits that was actually pretty decent. It came with a 25W soldering iron, several feet of solder, pliers, and a kit to make a miniature electric keyboard.
   Oh, and if you get one of the kits but don't have a Makezine subscription, the kit includes a card for a free issue.

   The price is usually $30, but if you haggle, you can walk out with up to a 50% discount like I did.


   Overall, it's a nice kit. The soldering iron can be a bit messy, and the solder itself tends to smoke, but a long as you have proper ventilation you'll be fine.

The 25W soldering iron.
   The instructions should get you through just fine, and the circuit board included is even labeled to help you find the correct spots to insert each part.

Partialy done electric keyboard

     It's very satisfying to finally power it up and listen to the electronic notes play.

   And there you have it! A great deal for what you get. If you still have a RadioShack near you that hasn't closed, I would recommend you stop by and take a look. Who knows? You might find something great on sale there.

Video of the finished product.
   Whew, my first review. Hopefully not to shabby, eh? Let me know what you think in the comments and +1 us on Google+.

   Also be on the lookout for our SLR: THE ARDUINO UNO review.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Welcome to SHARD Labs!

   So welcome to SHARD Labs. My name is Carter Schaap. I am a 15-year-old maker living in the southwestern Ohio region. For more about me, visit the About page.
   How this blog will work during alpha stage is this:

  •   I do not yet have user account creation set up. So this means that the only content as of now is mine. Hopefully I won't bore you all to death.
  •   Posts will usually encompass one of three types: News, Reviews, and Personal.
  •   News is, well, news. I'll try to stay up-to-date with the latest news (and speculation).
  •   Reviews will be my personal reviews of products that I may have just unboxed, or owned for quite some time. I'll present my personal opinion on whether or not I think the product is worth your hard-earned pennies.
  • Finally, Personal will cover any events that happen in my life, (this is a blog, after all) and memes. Gotta have those memes, right?
   I hope y'all enjoy my blog, and eventually become part of it, and its community.

-Carter Schaap at SHARD Labs

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Web Alpha Now Open!

Software and
Research and


   Who are we?

   SHARD Labs is a blog designed for chronicling the many electronics-based projects that grace the Maker scene. This blog was created to give all makers a chance to show the world their projects as they come to life, step by step.

   The site is now in Alpha, meaning that many changes may be made over the course of the next couple months. By mid-spring I hope to have SL in Beta, when project-chronicling and project-funding can be released. But as of now, there's not much to see.

   Eventually, you'll be able to post your photos, videos, and stories here, so that others can be inspired. Also, you can choose a funding option for your project that lets others donate to your project, enabling you to upgrade or speed the building of your creation.

   Let's show the world how we do it.