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The Express(o) Train Week 3

Katie McClungComment

It’s week three and the Express(o) train is gaining traction! Our teams switched things up a little as some of our tinkerers tried out different project stations. By the end of the afternoon new skills were gained, new friendships made, and problems were both discovered and solved! With more building goals and challenges on the horizon, we’ve got coffee excitement galore to keep us energized to the end of the tracks.

This week our Coffee/Chocolate crane team was small but mighty! Jackson and Asher tried climbing to the top of their crane creation and tested out it’s structural integrity. They discovered that it was strong but not as strong as they thought. A great first iteration!

Train car team had some new members and split into two separate mini groups. After everyone learned how to use the jigsaw, one group focused on cutting the floor and sides of the first train car while the second group cut and attached supports for the floor. Next week’s goal is to have it ready to test on the tracks.

The Express(o) tracks team worked on the layout and design for placing tracks throughout the shop. They built supports for their first set of tracks to go down a ramp for some extra speed! Their next challenge is deciding what material to use and how to construct tracks that can curve up, down, and around for a fun ride with not one, not two, but three train cars!

We all had a great time as we chugged along through another session. Stay tuned to see where this train take us next!

Staying on track with the track team! WIlla, Sophie, Xanti, and Bear

Staying on track with the track team! WIlla, Sophie, Xanti, and Bear

Willa

Willa

Xanti

Xanti

Elliot uses the jigsaw for the first time!

Elliot uses the jigsaw for the first time!

Lily

Lily

Kiera

Kiera

The Crane team: Maddie, Asher, and Jackson

The Crane team: Maddie, Asher, and Jackson

Clay cuts the sides to the train car.

Clay cuts the sides to the train car.

Lily and Ayana attach supports for the floor.

Lily and Ayana attach supports for the floor.

Niam, Lily, Ayana, and Keira work as a team to get the train car ready for the floor piece.

Niam, Lily, Ayana, and Keira work as a team to get the train car ready for the floor piece.

The Express(o) Train - Week 4

Espresso Train (Spr 2019)Katie McClungComment

We’ve made it to week four and it’s hard to believe we are already half way done! Guess time flies on the Express(o) tracks! Each session has had new discoveries, new challenges, new solutions, and lots of fun! This week our three groups made progress on their projects and also took time to check out other group’s work.

The train car team used the band saw for the first time to cut plywood sides for the train car. They even attached a panel that had pre-cut shapes which made perfect windows! Next they are planning on adding wheels and a flap door so they can sell coffee out of the back of the train car.

The train tracks team used a new material in an inventive way! They cut down a material called TREX which is normally used for decking, then cut it into strips for the train tracks. Now they can curve and bend the tracks for an uphill or downhill ride! Next we will have to see if the train car will move on the tracks they’ve made. Can’t wait to see if it works!

The coffee/coco team tested the strength of their structure last session and realized it needed some work. This week they reinforced it and now it’s stronger than ever! They also started making the shipping boxes for the coffee and cocoa that the crane will pick up and set down into the train cars. A super interactive project!!

The train track group had some engine-eous ideas for making the tracks curve by using a decking material called TREX.

The train track group had some engine-eous ideas for making the tracks curve by using a decking material called TREX.

Bear cuts cross sections for the train tracks.

Bear cuts cross sections for the train tracks.

Willa connects the cross sections to the rails.

Willa connects the cross sections to the rails.

Xanti, Bear, and Willa work together to make more tracks.

Xanti, Bear, and Willa work together to make more tracks.

Field trip! The groups take turns checking out each other’s projects.

Field trip! The groups take turns checking out each other’s projects.

Jackson works hard to reinforce the crane’s main structure.

Jackson works hard to reinforce the crane’s main structure.

Lily and Ayana put the plywood sides onto their first train car.

Lily and Ayana put the plywood sides onto their first train car.

Elliot and Lily had the giggles as they tested out the windows of the upside down train car. :)

Elliot and Lily had the giggles as they tested out the windows of the upside down train car. :)

The Express(o) Train - Weeks 1 and 2

Espresso Train (Spr 2019)Katie McClungComment

Spring has sprung and it’s the start of a new Tinkering session!

With some new faces and some familiar ones, our Spring 2019 After School Tinkerers are ready to roll….on the EXPRESS(O) TRAIN!

This session’s project is TRAINS and our tinkerers have decided collectively that the group theme is coffee/cocoa! Coffee/hot cocoa trains with cafe stands, a crane for lifting bags of coffee/cocoa and placing them into the coffee/cocoa cars-all on the Expresso track. (For the non-coffee drinkers, our train will also have hot chocolate!)

After bringing together everyone’s design ideas and coming up with a building plan, we all got to it and made some great progress. Check out what we’ve built so far!

Elliot works on attaching the final screws for the first train car’s frame.

Elliot works on attaching the final screws for the first train car’s frame.

Week One:

After meeting one another, going over group agreements, and completing tool training, our teams ended their first day with a design session.

Chopsaw Training: Asher

Chopsaw Training: Asher

Bear on the Chopsaw.

Bear on the Chopsaw.

Elliot, Clay, and Niam take turns sharing ideas in the train car group’s design session.

Elliot, Clay, and Niam take turns sharing ideas in the train car group’s design session.

Bear and Willa draw out possible designs for the train accessory group.

Bear and Willa draw out possible designs for the train accessory group.

The Track team’s ideas come together.

The Track team’s ideas come together.

A decision is made…this train needs a coffee crane!

A decision is made…this train needs a coffee crane!

Week Two:

Building begins and ideas start to take shape! The tinkerers split up into three groups for the different elements of the Express(o) Train- the cars, the track, and the coffee/cocoa crane. Along with the new coffee/cocoa theme, our good friend “Blobby Dog” has made a re-appearance as a mascot for the Express(o) Train.

The wheel challenge!

The wheel challenge!

Willa and Sophie

Willa and Sophie

One of the biggest engineering challenges this team will encounter is how to keep the train wheels on the track! We looked at all sorts of wheels and talked about which ones would work best. What size wheels do we want? Do we build tracks that have a groove for the wheels to run down? Or do the wheels have sides that keep it on the track? So many options to consider. The team settled on using the metal rims without the tires because they have sides that will keep them on the track. We’ll hopefully get to test the wheels out next week!

Sophie joins the group and jumps right into building tracks!

Sophie joins the group and jumps right into building tracks!

Elliot and Keira square up the corners to build their frame.

Elliot and Keira square up the corners to build their frame.

We are on track! By the end of our second week together everyone was buzzing with excitement.

Lily cuts 2x3” for the frame of her group’s first train car.

Lily cuts 2x3” for the frame of her group’s first train car.

How many people can we fit?? Lily is astonished- it’s 3 x more than we thought!

How many people can we fit?? Lily is astonished- it’s 3 x more than we thought!

This Tinkering crew is rolling! We’re jazzed to see what they’ll accomplish and create next week. Will we be able to start test riding the track? Check back soon to find out!

To see more fun photos from our Tinkering sessions, be sure to visit our Express(o) Flickr album!

Video Game Maze- Finale! - Boys & Girls Clubs (Mission Clubhouse)

Video Games (Winter 2019)Katie McClungComment

GAME ON! Our last week with the Boys and Girls Mission Club was a blast! All the pieces came together for a pac-man inspired obstacle course that was fun for everyone.

The water and sky team finished their underwater tunnels with christmas lights, interior drawings, and reflective squishy material to complete the theme AND make it more comfortable to crawl through.

After crawling through the underwater tunnels, the video game players/tinkerers made their way up the sky tunnel covered in clouds to the tower. From the upper deck of the tower the tinkerers could crawl into the elevator zip-line mobile, flying under the bridge, and ending by running into Kai (our fearless human brake system!)

From there the obstacles really came into play…once each player left the elevator-mobile the ghosts started to chase them as human pac-men! Two tinkerers controlled the pulleys to move the ghosts from the staircase, doing their best to chase and catch the pac-men as they strategically made their way through the maze. Our tinkerers came up with creative and silly ways to avoid the ghosts, but some of them still got caught!

The Water and Sky team make the night sky with drills, christmas lights, and making tape.

The Water and Sky team make the night sky with drills, christmas lights, and making tape.

Marina drills like a pro!

Marina drills like a pro!

Edwin makes a mitered cut for the supports of the walls of the maze.

Edwin makes a mitered cut for the supports of the walls of the maze.

Sarah and Erick work on the pac man maze.

Sarah and Erick work on the pac man maze.

Ailey and Marina have fun decorating the inside of the underwater tunnels.

Ailey and Marina have fun decorating the inside of the underwater tunnels.

First up to fly: Javier!!!

First up to fly: Javier!!!

Elias finds sneaky ways of avoiding the ghost by slinking and sliding on his back and belly through the maze… he wins!

Elias finds sneaky ways of avoiding the ghost by slinking and sliding on his back and belly through the maze… he wins!

Anthony gets face to face with the ghost!

Anthony gets face to face with the ghost!

Ailey aka “Canada” gets ready to jump on the elevator zip-line mobile from the cloud tower.

Ailey aka “Canada” gets ready to jump on the elevator zip-line mobile from the cloud tower.

Marina, last but not least, flies down the zip line while blasting her kazoo. :)

Marina, last but not least, flies down the zip line while blasting her kazoo. :)

Talent, playfulness, and creativity combined for a an inventive end to our 8 week after school session :-)

A BIG thank you to all of the Mission - Boys & Girls Clubs of SF tinkerers who joined us this Winter !!

To see all the photos from this epic session, don’t forget to visit our Flickr page!

Mini Golf- Final Week!

Katie McClungComment
Parents and Families arrive for the final showcase… time to play mini-golf!

Parents and Families arrive for the final showcase… time to play mini-golf!

This week was our “Season Finale” and our tinkerers finally got to test out the entire exciting mini-golf course with their families! Check out the final products!

The Dragon Golf team was small but mighty, joining forces to get “Bob” the dragon ready to fly! Putters started from the loft above the shop and putted a ball into a set of two large cardboard tubes. (One of which was hanging from the ceiling!) The golf ball rolled down the cardboard tubes into the Bob’s belly. Bob the Dragon then flew down the zip line and hit a stop at the top of the bridge. Whoever putted the ball had to run down the stairs in time to open Bob the Dragon’s trap door to drop the golf ball into the ball pit!

Audrey and Conrad drill holes to get Bob ready to attach to the zip-line.

Audrey and Conrad drill holes to get Bob ready to attach to the zip-line.

Ava smiles big for the camera as the golf ball flies down two cardboard tubes and into the dragon’s belly!!

Ava smiles big for the camera as the golf ball flies down two cardboard tubes and into the dragon’s belly!!

Ava is the first to putt for the Bob the Dragon, Dragon-Golf course.

Ava is the first to putt for the Bob the Dragon, Dragon-Golf course.

“Bob the Dragon” flies down the zip-line towards the ball pit!

“Bob the Dragon” flies down the zip-line towards the ball pit!

Zane and Conrad use the trap belly door to drop the golf ball into the ball pit.

Zane and Conrad use the trap belly door to drop the golf ball into the ball pit.

Blobby Dog (and its house) came together as a two-tiered green. Putters had to climb up a set of stairs to the platform and then putted their golf ball into a tube that went from the platform down through Blobby Dog’s head onto the second putting green.

Bridger inspects the PVC pipes and connections for the Blobby Dog course… it works!

Bridger inspects the PVC pipes and connections for the Blobby Dog course… it works!

Nola catches the golf ball into a cup. Success!

Nola catches the golf ball into a cup. Success!

Clay tests and repairs the last connection point for the Blobby Dog course.

Clay tests and repairs the last connection point for the Blobby Dog course.

The Volcano Team had lots to do to complete their course in time!

Keira and Ayana use the chuck drill to make a hole for the jig saw blade so they can cut out the most important part of the course!

Keira and Ayana use the chuck drill to make a hole for the jig saw blade so they can cut out the most important part of the course!

Owen and the Volcano team work on constructing the putting green.

Owen and the Volcano team work on constructing the putting green.

Success! The Volcano team was able to complete their course and then it was time for playing some mini golf!

The Volcano course in action. You have to hit your gall ball into the center tunnel in order for it to be transported up the pulley powered elevator. At the top of the elevator, the golf ball is dumped into the cardboard tube for a hole in one if your lucky!

The Volcano course in action. You have to hit your gall ball into the center tunnel in order for it to be transported up the pulley powered elevator. At the top of the elevator, the golf ball is dumped into the cardboard tube for a hole in one if your lucky!

Esme and Keira in an active volcano!

Esme and Keira in an active volcano!

Hole in one!

Hole in one!

The Mini Golf Course was such a fun and interactive project! Each team brought their visions to life and everyone (collaborators, tinkerers, and their families!) had a great time getting to play the course and test their putting prowess. A big thank you to all our hardworking and enthusiastic tinkerers who participated in the winter after-school session!

To see more exciting photos from each week, please visit our Mini Golf Flickr album. See you next time!

Video Game Maze- Week 7 - Boys & Girls Clubs (Mission Clubhouse)

Video Games (Winter 2019)Katie McClungComment

Only one more week to go and our teams are on a roll!!!

The “Boss Toss” team now has a claw machine that is fully operational. Next step is to finish the life-size maze underneath!!

Vassidy, Anthony, and Erick work on installing the Boss Toss pulley.

Vassidy, Anthony, and Erick work on installing the Boss Toss pulley.

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Vassidy, Erick, and Jazmine worked hard installing lines and pulleys to the giant frame so it can move forward and back. They also attached lines that will pull the smaller cart laterally across the frame. The result? Just like a candy claw machine, this jumbo version can move position itself in any direction!

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Erick and Vassidy

Erick and Vassidy

The water and sky team made lots of progress on their tunnels. They attached the hinges for their trap door, plywood sides, and even a roof! They are excited to work on their themed “underwater/bubble” and “night sky” decorations next! Soon they will be combining their decorated tunnels to the rest of the video game maze :) We can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Ailey uses the jigsaw to cut sides and ends for the tunnels.

Ailey uses the jigsaw to cut sides and ends for the tunnels.

We make the night sky happen!!! The Water and Sky team drilled holes in the roof of one of the tunnels to make in look like a starry night from the inside.

We make the night sky happen!!! The Water and Sky team drilled holes in the roof of one of the tunnels to make in look like a starry night from the inside.

Most projects morph , change, and become modified through the building process. The “Can’t Touch the Ground” team’s creation is a great example of that. Their original idea was more like an elevator that moved up and down. But after seeing the zip line that’s installed inside the shop, the elevator was happily transformed into the perfect zip-line mobile! They attached a sliding door and now it is set to fly!

Luckily we were able to re-purpose another after school group’s tower creation. It happens to be just the right height for our tinkerers to climb up on and get into the modified zip-line elevator mobile! The end of this week’s session was spent giving everyone a turn flying down the zip-line. So fun!!!!!

Finally we get to test the zip-line!!!! Fernando is all smiles.

Finally we get to test the zip-line!!!! Fernando is all smiles.

Go Ailey!!

Go Ailey!!

Check back next week to see the video game maze finale!!! and to see more exciting photos, don’t forget to visit our Flickr page :-)

Video Games Maze - Weeks 4 -6 - Boys & Girls Clubs (Mission Clubhouse)

B&GClub (Winter 2019), Video Games (Winter 2019)Katie McClungComment

The Mission Clubhouse is on a mission! Our life-size Video Game Maze is taking shape and soon we’ll be ready to test it out! The past two weeks have been fun-filled and action packed for our three groups. ”The Water and Sky” team finished the frame of their two tunnels and are starting to add walls and secret doors. “Can’t Touch the Ground” team finished the frame to their elevator and added a door as well. Next they will be working on their pulley system for lifting it up into the air! The “Boss Toss” team also finished their suspended track (think candy claw machine) which will move the ghosts back and forth through the sky as it chases us trough the Video Game Maze!

Noehmy uses the band saw to cut the floor for the elevator.

Noehmy uses the band saw to cut the floor for the elevator.

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Javier cuts pieces to finish the elevator frame.

Javier cuts pieces to finish the elevator frame.

Team work! Noehmy, Elias, and Javier carry lumber together to the chop saw room.

Elias attaches the floor of the elevator.

Elias attaches the floor of the elevator.

Kai and Elias add structural supports.

Kai and Elias add structural supports.

A job well done! Javier and Noehmy test out the movable door/entrance of the elevator.

A job well done! Javier and Noehmy test out the movable door/entrance of the elevator.

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The “Water and Sky” team think about how they want their tunnels to connect together for their underwater maze.

Ailey uses a handsaw for the first time :)

Ailey uses a handsaw for the first time :)

Bella rocks it on the drill…

Bella rocks it on the drill…

And on the jigsaw with Sarah too!!!

And on the jigsaw with Sarah too!!!

We are on the move!!!

It’s week six and the pieces are coming together. Today our group made some giant leaps forward with their life size video game maze and we celebrated by taking turns flying down the zip line elevator at the end of the day!

The “Water and Sky“ team finished the sides and roof to one of their tunnels and the second one is almost finished. Soon we will have the secret passageways and connections between tunnels completed. and the tunnels are turning into a Elias and Bella brainstormed on some decoration themes to create a night sky and a bubbly, underwater environment. Stay tuned to see where these secret passageways lead!

The “Can’t Touch the Ground Team” has taken off! With doors and pulleys adjusted and attached their elevator is ready for the zip line. Check out these fun test runs!

The Boss Toss team attached more of their Pac-Man style ghosts and soon they will be flying and chasing us all around.

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Check back soon to see more exciting progress and be sure to visit our Flickr page for more photos of all the action!

Trains! - Final Showcase - Boys & Girls Clubs (Willie Mays Clubhouse)

B&GClub (Winter 2019), BGCSF TrainKatie McClungComment

This week concluded our 8 week long session at Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club. It was an exciting journey from start to finish, and we ended it on a high note with a thrilling train ride that our tinkerers built themselves!

At the final session we broke up into three groups to finish our main project elements: The tunnel, the train car, and the track (complete with ramp!) We had a lot of parts that had to fit together in order to work well and keep the train moving along.

MaKai and Anthony make adjustments to the base of the train car.

MaKai and Anthony make adjustments to the base of the train car.

This project was a great example of making multiple iterations and testing, then re-testing. During the last two sessions the tracks had to be modified and cut down, the axles had to be replaced and re-adjusted, AND we had to move/adjust the wheels multiple times… but we did it and it worked!

Dallas works on the tunnel.

Dallas works on the tunnel.

The train car is ready to go down the tracks!!!

The train car is ready to go down the tracks!!!

Dallas uses the jigsaw to cut pieces for the train car sides.

Dallas uses the jigsaw to cut pieces for the train car sides.

The train car is coming together! The whole group works on it together while Brendon holds the sides in place.

The train car is coming together! The whole group works on it together while Brendon holds the sides in place.

Everything came together in the end and we had a blast testing it out!

D’Nya is about to test it out!!

D’Nya is about to test it out!!

Dallas holds on!!!

Dallas holds on!!!

Ramp time!

Ramp time!

The Tinkering School staff had a blast collaborating with everyone at Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club. Thank you for a great winter session!!

To see more fun photos from each day of tinkering, be sure to visit our Flickr page!

Trains - Weeks 5-7 - Boys & Girls Clubs (Willie Mays Clubhouse)

B&GClub (Winter 2019), BGCSF TrainKatie McClungComment

It’s the final countdown! Only one more week left at Willie Mays Boys and Girls Clubhouse.

In the past few weeks our group finished three 8 foot long sections of train track. They even built a steep ramp off the indoor staircase to pick up a little speed! After a group design session, they also came up with ideas for the train car and (potentially) a tunnel for the train to run through. We’re all excited for this train to hit the tracks!

Laniya and Audrey attach PVC pipe to lumber as the railings for our train tracks.

Laniya and Audrey attach PVC pipe to lumber as the railings for our train tracks.

Wisemann and Audrey use a hand saw to cut metal pipes for the axles of the train car.

Wisemann and Audrey use a hand saw to cut metal pipes for the axles of the train car.

Several members of the group work together to build the bottom of the train car and test it on the tracks… you can tell by Weismann’s smile that it works!!

Several members of the group work together to build the bottom of the train car and test it on the tracks… you can tell by Weismann’s smile that it works!!

Weismann tests out the train car.

Weismann tests out the train car.

Neveah and Dallas draw the train tunnel together. It’s a beautiful design!

Neveah and Dallas draw the train tunnel together. It’s a beautiful design!

The group tests multiple track pieces together. It works, but there is still some problem solving to do for the connectors.

The group tests multiple track pieces together. It works, but there is still some problem solving to do for the connectors.

Group design session for the ramp.

Group design session for the ramp.

This ramp was built for speed!

This ramp was built for speed!

Laying the tracks… we’re taking over the whole playroom!

Laying the tracks… we’re taking over the whole playroom!

Dallas cuts pieces for the train car.

Dallas cuts pieces for the train car.

Byron and Anthony collaborate on the train tunnel.

Byron and Anthony collaborate on the train tunnel.

Byron and Anthony use a speed square to make measurements for multiple cuts more quickly. Pro moves!

Byron and Anthony use a speed square to make measurements for multiple cuts more quickly. Pro moves!

Mekai cuts metal pipe to use for the connectors between the track rails.

Mekai cuts metal pipe to use for the connectors between the track rails.

Mekai and Brendon modify the wheels and axles of the train car to fit the PVC pipe rails more accurately. Now it’s ready to ride!!!

Mekai and Brendon modify the wheels and axles of the train car to fit the PVC pipe rails more accurately. Now it’s ready to ride!!!

Mekai tests the ramp for the first time!

Mekai tests the ramp for the first time!

It’s even faster than we expected!

It’s even faster than we expected!

Check back in next week for the grand finale of our winter session!

Lots more photos can be found on our Flickr page!

Mini Golf - Week 7

Mini Golf (Winter 2019)Katie McClungComment

The Mini-Golf group is almost ready for their final showcase! Our three teams made lots of additions and improvements this week. The Blobby Dog and Dragon-Golf teams even joined forces for a group design session that ended up in some great ideas. Check out our progress and stay tuned for the Mini Golf Course in action next week!

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Matthew and the Volcano team repaired and modified the golf ball elevator and chute system.

Ava and Audrey attach and decorate the head of the dragon.

Ava and Audrey attach and decorate the head of the dragon.

Moss attaches more structural supports for the Volcano Team’s creations.

Moss attaches more structural supports for the Volcano Team’s creations.

Ayana and Keira in the chopsaw room cutting pieces for the next part of their project.

Ayana and Keira in the chopsaw room cutting pieces for the next part of their project.

Keira and Zane cut sections of the putting green for the Mini Golf course.

Keira and Zane cut sections of the putting green for the Mini Golf course.

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Conrad and Niam teamed up to make a ladder for Blobby Dog’s house. This way you can putt-putt on a multi-leveled, interactive course!

Clay and Bridger experimented with different designs for the golf ball to move from the top level down to the bottom level.. and through Blobby Dog’s head!

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All three teams came together at the end of the build session to practice their putting skills for the final showcase (with their handmade, custom putters!).

More photos and fun can be found on our Flickr page!

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