Sparkle Labs electronics kit video

Phil Torrone of MAKE interviews Amy Parness and Ariel Churi of Sparkle Labs about their nifty electronics project kit. Link


  1. This only just occurred to me, but why is it that you can’t buy chemistry kits anymore, but electronics kits are OK? — ANYTHING electronic that looks homemade is guaranteed to get you suspected of terrorism.

    I guess with chemistry sets it’s the threat of lawsuits from angry parents, but I still suspect there’s trouble coming for electronics kits.

  2. There’s a real chance of personal injury to self and family with a chemistry set. There’s probably a huge liability issue for the manufacturers of them. Not so with electronics.

  3. Chemistry sets are probably illegal partly because lawmakers think people are making meth with them.

  4. …Actually, one of my old friends who’s made his profession as a cop noted during our 25-year Class Reunion that his kids saw photos of a chemistry set on the web, and when he tried to find one for Chrisnukkah, he was actually shocked to find out that in many states the old Gilbert sets *are* illegal because they’ve busted meth labs that were using them to store various components once they were emptied out of the original substances. IIRC, there’s nothing in even the biggest Gilbert sets that could be used for making crystal meth save for the alcohol swab burners.

    …On an unconfirmed side note, one of my OMBloggers a couple of Chrisnukkahs ago said that his mom had actually gotten a visit from the local gestapo because of an old Gilbert set she sold at a garage sale she was holding. The oinker claimed that selling chemistry sets in the state was illegal, and owning one required a license. She wound up giving him the set so he could dispose of it “officially”, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the pig had pulled that stunt just to get the set for himself.

    …On a confirmed side note, I came across this link here:

    …It’s a site that compares the chemistry sets that are being produced these days. Not sure just how much “trouble” you can get into with today’s sets, but I’ve bookmarked this for next year’s OMBlog Chrisnukkah Gift List, because this last go-around I got quite a few OMBloggers asking if I knew where to find a decent chem set, and I honestly didn’t have much luck finding any that had any -fun- to them.

  5. you’d ned much bigger containers than what comes in these old chemistry kits to contain anything remotely related to a meth lab (except the finished product,heh)

  6. Nifty stuff!

    owever, in the picture accompanying the article, neither of the pushbutton switches in the illustration would do anything, as neither straddles the centerline – pushing either will connect contacts that are already in electrical contact.

  7. Does anyone else fondly remember the Radio Shack versions of this kit in the 70s? Those are primarily what drove me into a technical career.

  8. nah,not proper Fahnestocks,just springs you jammed the hook-up wire into. I don;t think they spent money on Fahnestocks after 1965

  9. I know the ones you mean. Vertical slotted post with circumferential compression spring and a collar at the top as a keeper. I did a bunch of those kits and a few worked. Those posts were popular because they could be pushed into a PCB hole, where Fahnestocks required a screw.

  10. Oooohhhh Maaaannn!
    I had forgotten those Science Fair project kits. Pretty basic stuff. Yeah, a spring that was narrower at one end. You’d just pull it up and poke the wire in to make a connection. I must have some of those parts around somewhere, although this year I finally got around to tossing some electronics stuff I hadn’t touched since the ’70s.
    To this day I won’t solder any circuit that I haven’t first haywired together with alligator clip leads to test it.

  11. shouldda kept the collectibles…
    How would you design the latest, greatest that you wish you would get for Annual Gift Day if you were a precocious 13 year old with Colombian cocaine lord parents?

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