Hot contest for hand soldering

Soldering irons aren’t nearly as popular in the 21st century as they were back in the days when hobbyists could build their own radios, TVs and other electronic devices. But in fields like rework and repair, the ability to solder a modern device onto a board could be considered an art form.

If you’re one of the people who get, uh, heated up over solder, IPC has a contest for you. During the upcoming IPC Midwest Conference and Exhibition, specialists will be able to show their stuff. And maybe add actual cash to the t-shirts, stress balls and other trade show paraphernalia.

Hand soldering contests have proven popular at Chinese and European trade shows. So U.S. technicians will have a chance to test their skills against their peers. In addition to the cash prizes, there’s the never-ending good will that arises from winning a prize.

If you make your living with a soldering iron, it can’t hurt to show a prize to your boss. And it can’t hurt if that boss tells customers that your skills were deemed the best at a trade show attended by thousands of people from scores of countries. If you just like to solder and win against the pros, you can solder the trophy to your car or a highly visible wall in your house.

There’s still plenty of time to practice. A sign up form is posted on the IPC Midwest site. The show runs Sept. 21-22 in Schaumburg, Ill.

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