The Shack Loves DIY Dads

As Father’s Day approaches, we wanted to highlight a fun father-son duo that we met at the 2011 Bay Area Maker Faire a few weeks ago. It’s really important that we encourage youngsters to explore and tinker with things, and no one knows this better than Jim and his son Schuyler.

Schuyler isn’t old enough to vote or drive a car yet, but he is old enough to know how to use a 3D printer to make cool things, and how to use a soldering iron, thanks to his dad’s encouragement. Jim encouraged Schuyler to explore and discover things at an early age, as you’ll hear in this video interview with the pair:

It’s such an awesome story that we just had to highlight it. When you look at all the kits and components that we carry, it’s easy to think you need to be a pro to be able to build something awesome with them. Schuyler showed us that there’s no age requirement for making things, and his dad Jim was instrumental in encouraging his son along the way.

Do you have any cool stories about building things with your dad or other father figure in your life that you’d like to share?


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  • @Intel_Jim

    If you want to see Schuyler (@DocProfSky) talking about his love of 3D printing check out his Ignite Phoenix presentation from Feb 2011

  • Rhonda Peters

    Congrats Dad and Schuyler!!

  • PJ Seay

    It was 1986 I was In seventh grade and had a workshop class/ science fair class project to do. I picked solar power for my project considering I saw Mr. Wizard bake a cake with a card board solar oven, and also talk about solar energy derived from Silicone PV cells.
    Back then I would often ride my bike to the closest radio shack to hang out and get the bad ideas that only a little geek could. I knew that in the pile of componants there were solar cells, there was a solar cell exploration kit.. I got them all.
    My father had been flying Radio control airplanes as his main hobby for years.
    together, he and I concocted the grand finale of my science project on solar power.
    my whole outline was all about the heat that could be derived. I made the solar oven from mr. wizard and baked a cake for the class, a parabolic reflector made from a tin foil lined umbrella that cooked hotdogs on the handle, and then there was the co-opertive project between me and my dad. a solar powered electric glider. The air craft itself was a long balsa wing, tissue and dope covered twin boom affair. the power plant for the glider was four of the radio shack solar panels, wired in series directly to a little low volt hobby moter, also from radio shack and the propeller for the airplane was a high pitch prop from one of those little balsa wood rubber band planes.
    A rubber band held the elevator in place and the circut complete, a slow smoldering timing fuse sat on top of the mechnism..
    set the rubber band, pull the elevator into position, turn on the motor being fed by the solar panels, light the fuse, let it go.. when the fuse burnt down, it burnt through the rubber band killing the circut and allowing the elevator of the plane to flop, sending the craft into a gentle stall to float back to earth.

    on big demostration day, everything went according to plan, I made a batch of brownies for the class in the oven, cooked hot dogs, and then showed off the plane…
    A lovely spring morning, lots of sun , no wind, and the the little glider pulled away from my hand, spired up about 200 feet, then flopped down for me to catch it 20 feet away from where I released it.

    yeah… I totally took that science fair.Thanks dad! i couldn’t have done it with out you!

  • Shawn

    I remember 30 plus years ago going to Radio Shack to purchas electronic components to do radio projects with my dad. You could get almost any component and have knowledable sales people assist you on any aspect of electronics imaginable.

    Over the years Radio Shack has turned into a Walmart. They have alot of knoledge about the TOYS that they sale. They can sell you an electric organ or a remote control toy car. These teenagers get easily confused when you ask them for a EDO voltage regulator chip or a 3 watt. powersupply. I can tell you stories about trying to find coax connectors for wireless internet routers (TNC-R) or N cable. There was this one time when I thought that I might try to cross refrence an IC chip…

  • Rose Anne Volpe

    If I remember correctly -my father and brother put together a Radio Shack crystal radio set. I was so intrigued by that I became a science teacher when I was older. It appeared to me that this was a magical thing. After they improvised an aerial (antenna) we did pick up sounds on the set. Thanks for the ‘magic.’

  • Rob Gaiser

    The coolest project we ever built was a small pocket transister radio that we got as a kit back in the day for around $3.50. How much fun could 3 little boys ask for??!! Then having to draw straws each day to see who got to carry it each day. I think I was in high school when it finally gave out! Thanks for the great project kits, good times and memories!!! ;?)

  • Caroline Hill

    I have purchased a boom box in February, the sound died in May and they tell me no warrantee, no exchange! Just a couple of days out of warrentee. I certainly won’t buy anything else from Radio Shack. I thought by by going to them I would have a more dependable product, but from now on I’ll buy from Wallmart at least they stand behind there goods.

  • Mark d

    Radio Shack has been disappointing for a long time but you guys are on the right track. The hobbyist will never go away and in your position you could control the hobbyist market rather than the open projects. You will have to be cheap and excellent otherwise the people who are already used to being abandoned by local stores will just use you for simple parts supplies. Good luck. I dream of a day I find a radio shack that doesn’t sell tvs stereos and other crap I would buy online or at worst buy anyway.

  • Glen Frisco

    Speakers and kits. First about my brother, he was one of the elite who built every single project on the 30:1 electronics kit. He had a career in car stereo until an accident took his life in 1988. He taught me to solder (badly), but he was the pro. All our stuff was Radio Shack, tools, wire, even speakers, both home and car. Woofers and tweeters. I still buy from Radio Shack.

  • Steven Schaffner

    DIY? I recently interviewed at a Radio Shack location. I was told that if anyone told me that Radio Shack was about anything other than cell phones, they were lying to me. So there it is.

  • Dale Brooks

    When my son Scotty was about 5, I gave him a set of regular headphones with a crystal diode attached which would pick up my AM radio station and he could listen to it.This got him interested in electronics, and before he even started school, he was building his own radios and they worked. He asked a million questions, and I taught him about everything I knew as a broadcast engineer. By the time he was 16, he was chief engineer of a 5kw radio station, youngest is the US.He went on to a career in electronics engineering with LeFabure, Mosler and other companies in charge of installing and servicing security equipment for national chain banks. Today he is in business providing security for gated homes and communities. With all the wealthy retirees in Florida, this is indeed a great business during these depression years.

  • Bry Melvin

    My roots with Radio Shack are old. My dad an EE with a TV repair business on the side used to go to the old Boston store a couple times a week! (50s) . I also had a career as an engineer and had a network of modded COCO computers before IBMs were affordable.
    Today I’m retired from engineering but am a recording artist and builder of boutique guitar amps.
    Unfortunately today RS sells little of any use for DIY at least at the level they used to. No tubes, only a minimum of solid state components. It’s no longer of much use to the ham operators that were its early customers.
    Maybe the vellman kits will help build that up again.

  • Andrew Jeffries

    In 1975 my Dad bought me a 150-in-One project kit from Radio Shack. And for the next year when I was alone or bored I built almost everything from that kit. It was fun and it lit a spark in the back of my mind. Later, after graduating high school, I took a year-long course at a local tech school and earned my Electronic Technician certificate. A few years later I asked for and was given my first computer. I went to the local college and earned a Network Technician certificate. Now I am a PC Support Technician and I love helping people solve problems with their computers. It is very satisfying. And it all started with that great Radio Shack project kit. Thank you, Radio Shack! You helped to point me in a very healthy and helpful direction and I am grateful. Peace, Andrew J.

  • Argent Iodice

    My father was a radar technician in the U.S. Navy during WWII and just passed away on May 28, 2011. One of the memories I have of him is from the mid 1960’s when I was about 10 years old; we (he) took the back off our TV and drew a schematic of where all the tubes were located. We then took our paper bag full of tubes to Radio Shack so we could test them all on the big tube tester they had. We replaced all the tubes that were bad or going bad and got the TV working good as new again. I served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years working in the Advanced Electronics field. THANKS DAD!

  • Bob

    I grew up with a curiosity about what made things work. I would take apart electronics and things mechanical. I was forever @ Radio Shack. I knew where everything was. I lusted for the 150 projects kit. Year after year. I read Electronic Hobbyist, Popular Electronics, I was forever building kits. Sorry to say today Radio Shack is not what I wish it was. What it used to be. Breadboards gone, resistors, capacitors, build boxes. All gone! Radio Shack has been and always will hold a special place in my heart! And has helped me to bring desires to reality and that I will always remember.

  • Brenton

    I have been a constant shopper of radioshack. They were always they only place that carries anything for detail electronics repair and circuitboards. I would be able to go in and find exactally what I needed 90% of the time and it it seemed to be good quality, until foolishly enough I put to much trust in them and bought a fiberglass cleaning pen tool. I have used these before dozens of times and they’ve worked wounderful because they weren’t from radioshack. Turns out mine was horribly defective the angel hair fiberglass that was in the pen was not properly held in the pen. I followed proper proceedors for working with fiberglass (mask gloves etc.) But so much just flew off the pen with no effort that all the proper protection couldn’t help. Its been roughly 8 weeks and I’ve had to go to the doctors 3 times I’ve STILL been in so much pain turns out the fiberglass carried an infection which made the affected areas swell and push it in deeper. I have at least a dozen scars on my body and many of which still fiberglass under them which will never come out and to boot I’ve started vomiting and coughing upblood and fiberglass which means its in my stomach and lungs. So thank you radioshack for effectively giving me mesoteleoma and painful scars for the rest of my life. Will never trust them or shop there for the rest of my shortened life.

    • Ricky Cadden

      Brenton – thanks for letting us know about this. We’ve passed your email address along to our internal Risk Management team, and they will be reaching out to you shortly to get additional details.

  • Patrick Thomas LaCava

    When I was a child of approximately nine years, my father bought me a pair the most beautiful pair of black walkie-talkies. I have been an extremely loyal customer of radio shack ever since then. I am now a senior citizen


    Patrick Thomas LaCava

  • Vin P

    Schulyler and Jim
    Outstanding video! Still have fond memories of Radio Shack from when I was a kid. Thanks for sharing.
    Happy Fathers day!

  • Sally Martini

    I rememberthat shortly after WWII, 1940s, Dad used to go to Radio Shack in Camden, New Jersey near the Delaware Bridge and RCA Victor headquarters at that time. I was amazed that he could get what he wanted so soonand start back up as a ham radio operator because all items were usually unavailable during the war and ham radios were not permitted, you could listen but not send. I thought it was a magic place, the technicians full of knowledge though I never went there with him.

  • Sally Martini


  • Kat

    This is such a fantastic story – even a year later. My girls were encouraged at young ages to explore things such as this. We started with baking cookies and “houses,” moved on to building birdhouses and so forth. They could change car tires at the age of twelve, which is more than most kids these days EVER learn. More parents should be engaging their children’s minds and passions at young ages. Kudos to this dad! You just never know what this young man will grow up to build and give to the world.