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If you're looking to modify your gadgets or electronics, you're in luck, as there are several tinkering tips and forums online. If you love nothing more than modifying a design, look, or functionality, you'll enjoy learning how you can take your hobby one step further.
To an outsider, it may look like you're a kid, taking apart a radio, electronic car or toaster to see how it works. But there's a real benefit to tinkering and observation that goes beyond stimulating your curiosity. According to EDN Network, you can develop an instinct and knowledge for complex design that you can't get from sitting in a classroom. That's why many curricula across the country are implementing so-called “tinkering labs” as part of their engineering frameworks.
Robert J. Bowman, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, is one such professor who encourages tinkering in his class to boost creativity, expand knowledge, and empower students — especially female ones — to play on their own to learn more about the item and concept being studied. This college initiative has helped to boost retention of electrical engineering students in their first year by 13 percent in just a decade.
Beginners in Tinkering
If you've just starting out, there's nothing more important than immersing yourself in whatever gadget you may be interested in, from radios to trains. Meet up frequently with others who share your interest to fly, race, or tinker with gadgets. You'll also want to monitor tinkering forums, to discuss mutual interests.
Collecting the right tools, adhesives and integral components to make your gadget go faster or perform better will depend on the model you have and what you want to improve. Make a dedicated space in your basement or spare room where you can lay out your parts and supplies, and go to work.
Modifying RC Cars
Modifying your RC cars with sleeker designs and increased power can make your car go faster, handle turns better, or take on a lot more wear and tear. If you don't already have a store or online site from to buy your RC cars and parts, try a site like Airsoft RC, which offers anything from drift and stunt cars to mini cars and buggies. You'll find everything you need here to begin your tinkering obsession. But to get your start in some serious tinkering with your RC, you'll need some basics. If you're a first timer who hasn't forayed into the electronics world yet, there are some things you'll need to have on hand to modify your gadgets efficiently.
If you aren't sure of exactly what you need, you may want to buy a kit with a variety of tools and supplies to choose from. However, you may find that you get a lot of things you don't actually end up using. That's where buying piecemeal comes in.
You'll need to determine the type of specialty RC tinkering you're looking to do. Look for those that explain about electronics and programming in an easy-to-understand way. You'll need equipment like needle nose pliers, wire strippers and glue guns, along with clip leads and soldering irons. For components, you'll need resistors, transistors, LEDs and switches. From analog chips to optical isolators, you can get as involved as you want when it comes to stocking your workshop with the necessities for tinkering. That doesn't even cover the parts you'll need to purchase to modify the cars, which can range from bearings and batteries to motors and bodywork.
This article was contributed by Sheldon Armstrong, a techie who loves writing about science and technology as well as keeping up with the latest developments and products in the market.