Tinkering School

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Trains - Week 3-4 - Boys & Girls Club ( Willie Mays Clubhouse)

B&GClub (Winter 2019)Brendon BellComment

The Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club tinkerers are building full steam ahead! The past two weeks have been super busy! With some new materials and lots of group collaboration, the tracks are laid for our next adventure as we get our trains rolling.

Weismann carried the first load up of PVC pipe for the train tracks up to the garden.

Weismann carried the first load up of PVC pipe for the train tracks up to the garden.

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At tinkering school, we always find a partner to carry long or heavy building materials. One person on each end so we don’t accidentally make helicopters!

Jayden and MauRae used hand saws for the first time to cut PVC pipe.

Jayden and MauRae used hand saws for the first time to cut PVC pipe.

What a pro!

What a pro!

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Bayron and Weismann worked quickly together attaching two PVC pipes to each rail for wheel hubs to fit the tracks.

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Dallas, Assada, Malia and Anthony all helped to remove the wheels from the hubs to get them ready for the train.

Dallas, Assada, Malia and Anthony all helped to remove the wheels from the hubs to get them ready for the train.

Weismann used a hack saw and the help from some friends to cut steel tubing for the train axles

Weismann used a hack saw and the help from some friends to cut steel tubing for the train axles

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Maia and Weismann tested the length of the axles for their train.

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Half of the team pitched in to help complete the base of the first train car as the rest of the team finished making the main train tracks.

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Audrey and Anthony made some final touches and got this train is ready to roll!!!

Check in at our next stop to see all the progress this crew is making!

Mini Golf - Week 4

Mini Golf (Winter 2019)Brendon BellComment

It’s already week 4! We are halfway through our 8 week session and our “Volcano”, “Blobby Dog”, and “Dragon Golf” teams have been working hard and bringing their mini-golf courses to life. The Volcano team got their PVC volcano to stand on its own and they now have a putting green that is ready for testing! Next step: making putters! Blobby Dog team made a head for good ole’ Blobby out of plywood using the jigsaw and also worked on making the dog house stronger. The Dragon Golf team made putters and also made lots of progress on the outside of their flying dragon and ball pit.

Matthew uses aluminum wire to attach the PVC frame of the volcano.

Matthew uses aluminum wire to attach the PVC frame of the volcano.

Zane gets the putting green ready for testing!

Zane gets the putting green ready for testing!

Keira uses the handsaw to cut more structural supports.

Keira uses the handsaw to cut more structural supports.

Free standing Volcano!!

Free standing Volcano!!

Esme uses the jigsaw for one side of Blobby Dog’s head.

Esme uses the jigsaw for one side of Blobby Dog’s head.

Niam strengthens up Blobby’s house.

Niam strengthens up Blobby’s house.

Bridger cuts the other half of Blobby’s head!

Bridger cuts the other half of Blobby’s head!

Conrad makes his putter and tests it out.

Conrad makes his putter and tests it out.

Ava uses a hacksaw (for the first time!) to cut cardboard tubing for her putter.

Ava uses a hacksaw (for the first time!) to cut cardboard tubing for her putter.

The Dragon Golf team works efficiently together to get the dragon’s body ready to fly!

The Dragon Golf team works efficiently together to get the dragon’s body ready to fly!

See you next week and be sure to check out more of the fun on our Flickr account!

Mini Golf - Week 3

Mini Golf (Winter 2019)Brendon BellComment

"FORE!”

According to wikipedia: "Fore!", originally a Scots interjection, is used to warn anyone standing or moving in the flight of a golfball.”

Luckily for the purposes of our tinkering week, our golf balls will generally not be taking flight…other than leaping over small motes, traveling across 80ft ziplines, and launching into the mouth of a dog who’s name is Blobby.

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Having shared that safety tid-bit, were happy to also share a snapshot of the progress our tinkering crew made this week!

In the “Dragon team,” Ava, Audrey, and Conrad finished the main structure of their ball pit and assembled the frame for the body of the dragon. The next step was deciding on what kind of face they wanted their dragon to have! They tried a few – one looked too much like a horse, one looked too mean, and they finally landed on one that everyone was happy with. The team also went on their first adventure to scrap alley (behind the chop saw room) to find pieces of plywood that would work for the sides of the ball pit. They’re looking forward to their next design session to decide how to putt the golf ball into the dragons mouth before it flies down the zip line!

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The “Blobby Dog” team is going big!!! But with big structures also comes the need for structural supports to match. Clay, Niam, and Bridger all worked hard this week on making “Blobby Dog’s” house a little less wobbly.

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The pieces came together fast this week for the “Volcano” team. With side rails cut and assembled, now they have a putting green that is ready for golfing!

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They also had a chance to work with new materials and new tools like the jigsaw and hacksaw.

Ayana practices with the jig saw. Great two handed form!

Ayana practices with the jig saw. Great two handed form!

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Keira learned how to set a guide to measure the length of 2x3” she wants to cut. Instead of using a standard tape measure for every cut, she can slide the measuring guide across its track to set the correct distance.

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The Volcano team also had a blast cutting and bending PVC pipe to begin creating the frame of the mighty volcano!

Mathew super focused on his cut.

Mathew super focused on his cut.

Keira, Zane, and Ayana use their collective strength to bend PVC pipe into the shape of a volcano.

Keira, Zane, and Ayana use their collective strength to bend PVC pipe into the shape of a volcano.

Another great week in Tinkering Mini Golf World! Check back soon to see how this epic course takes shape!

Want to see more photos? Check out our Flickr page!

Video Game Maze - Week 3 - Boys and Girls Clubs - Mission Clubhouse

B&GClub (Winter 2019), Video Games (Winter 2019)Brendon BellComment

Week 3 flew by as we jumped straight into “full swing” building mode! Our Tinkerers are improving their building skills with each new challenge, often leading to modified designs and plenty of “a-ha” moments. Our dedicated team continued to make tons of progress on their Video Game Maze elements which include an elevator, zig zag tunnels, and a suspended track (complete with pulleys!).

Edwin and Anthony work on the new frame.

Edwin and Anthony work on the new frame.

Tightening the ropes so the pulley car can easily glide across.

Tightening the ropes so the pulley car can easily glide across.

By building a smaller frame, replacing wheels with pulleys, and changing the placement of the ropes within the frame, the “Boss Toss” group has created a more efficient and lighter structure for their project!

Vassidy and Anthony attach pulleys to the car.

Vassidy and Anthony attach pulleys to the car.

The car glided perfectly along the ropes! A successful test!

The car glided perfectly along the ropes! A successful test!

The “Can’t Touch the Ground” team also made tons of progress building the frame for their elevator and cutting out a plywood floor. Noehmy and Elias had a chance to practice using the band saw for the first time!

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And this week the “Water and Sky Team” finished their first tunnel section and gave it a test run/crawl!

Bella drilled the top structural supports for the zig-zag tunnel’s frame and added gussets for extra strength.

Bella drilled the top structural supports for the zig-zag tunnel’s frame and added gussets for extra strength.

Test crawl!!

Test crawl!!

Be sure to visit us next week to watch this exciting video game maze take shape!

As always, more photos of all the fun can be found on our Flickr page!

Trains - Weeks 1 & 2 - Boys & Girls Club ( Willie Mays Clubhouse)

Brendon BellComment

Happy 2019!

We’re excited to start another fun after school tinkering session with Willie Mays clubhouse (Boys & Girls Clubs of SF). This session we are excited to welcome two new assistant collaborators Assata and Audrey to our group!

During our first day together we jumped into tool safety training and revealed our new project theme… TRAINS!

Once all of our Tinkerers knew how to use the chop saw, drill, and clamps, we were ready to start designing and building and bring our designs to life. By the end of the afternoon we had 4 sections of 8 foot long train track already finished!

Safety Training! Click through the gallery to see all the action.

Malia is one of our returning tinkerers! Here she helps build the 8 foot long frames for our train tracks.

Malia is one of our returning tinkerers! Here she helps build the 8 foot long frames for our train tracks.

Anthony and Byron make an efficient and effective team as they attach cross ties to the track.

Anthony and Byron make an efficient and effective team as they attach cross ties to the track.

Dallas and Wisemann pair up and take turns pre-drilling and screwing to get our last track of the day finished.

Dallas and Wisemann pair up and take turns pre-drilling and screwing to get our last track of the day finished.

MauRae cuts pieces for the track frame for other team members to connect together.

MauRae cuts pieces for the track frame for other team members to connect together.

Tau focuses on screwing a cross tie in precise alignment with the track.

Tau focuses on screwing a cross tie in precise alignment with the track.

To the right: D’Nya demonstrates great two handed drilling technique! So much easier to control when we use two hands.

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Stay tuned next week to come along for the ride! Who knows where this train will take us!

To see more photos of all the tinkering fun visit our Flickr album!

Video Game Maze - Weeks 1 & 2 - Boys and Girls Clubs - Mission Clubhouse

Video Games (Winter 2019), B&GClub (Winter 2019)Julie PeriComment

Hellooo Tinkerers!

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and are happy to welcome you back with our winter edition of the Tinkering After School Program with the Boys and Girls Club Mission Clubhouse.

Last Tuesday we visited the Mission Clubhouse to meet our new crew of tinkerers and to reveal the project theme we will be working on for the next 8 weeks. as well as begin our design session.

We started the day with group agreements. Each session we create custom group agreements with the tinkerers. We do this to give them ownership over their participation and to encourage them to make choices that will best support them in the workspace. Everyone signs to show that they agree, and they are giving their word to keep these agreements.

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Then we revealed the project… we’re going to build a giant video game maze where we will navigate all kinds of fun obstacles to complete the level!!

With new inspiration, our tinkerers split into groups to come up with their own individual design ideas before combining them all into one plan. At tinkering school we focus on group projects to encourage collaboration between tinkerers.

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The end result of the design session was three different project focuses:

Water and Sky Team!

Water and Sky Team!

Can’t Touch the Ground Team!

Can’t Touch the Ground Team!

Boss Toss Team!

Boss Toss Team!

After we were done with our designing phase of the project, we brought the Mission Clubhouse back over to our workshop for tool training. One of our collaborators, Kai demonstrates the safety techniques and benefits for using clamps.

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To test out the skills they learned, Kai gave each group of tinkerers a challenge to complete with the clamps. David and Vassidy practice clamping pieces of wood to the saw horse to complete their challenge of making a bridge.

Learning how to use tools isn’t all seriousness! Megan provides an opportunity for our Water and Sky team to measure how tall they want their zig zag tunnel to be.

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Many of our tinkerers like to come back to our programs because they have so much fun and enjoy learning new skills, as well as improving on skills they already have. Edwin and Anthony have participated in previous sessions with the Boys and Girls Club and we are excited to see them back in the shop!

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Last (and certainly not least) our new crew learned how to use the…CHOP SAW! (also known as a compound miter saw). Katie explains to the tinkerers the safety requirements of using this saw, including discussing the infamous blood bubble (a large area around the blade all fingers and body parts must stay out of). At Tinkering School we thoroughly go over the safety of each tool for the tinkerers, so that they feel safe and empowered when using them. Don’t forget to put on your safety goggles and ear protection before using this saw!

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Once our teams completed their tool training, it was time to build and put our new skills to use!

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So many opportunities to use all the tools and to collaborate. We can accomplish so much more when we build together!

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Join us next week to see what our tinkerers create next. This is going to be a project you wont want to miss!

To see more photos from our tinkering time, be sure to visit our Flickr page!

Mini Golf - Weeks 1 & 2

Mini Golf (Winter 2019)Brendon BellComment

Happy 2019, everyone! We are back from Winter Break and ready to start up Tinkering again. This session we have many new faces and a few familiar ones, too. We are already two weeks in and have made lots of progress on our fun and silly group project- a MINI GOLF COURSE!

During our first session, our returning tinkerers got a refresher on tool safety and our newcomers learned how to use the chop saw, drills, and clamps.

We ended the day with a design session to get our creativity and big ideas flowing. By our second session we were all ready to jump straight into building. The innovation and collaboration is at full force- check out some of our big ideas in the making!

Thinking caps are on and our design sessions are underway!

Tool safety training! Matthew masters his skills on the chopsaw. The Volcano group makes a successful bridge out of clamps, and Esme and Nola collaborate while using the drills.

Esme on the the chopsaw.

Esme on the the chopsaw.

Niam and Conrad use clamps and squares to make a sturdy frame.

Niam and Conrad use clamps and squares to make a sturdy frame.

Audrey and Ava in serious build mode!

Audrey and Ava in serious build mode!

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To the left: Zane and Keira measure and cut the putting green. To our right the Volcano group come together to cut a huge piece of plywood on the bandsaw.

Esme, Nola, and Jack get out the ladder for first part of “Blobby dog’s” house :)

Esme, Nola, and Jack get out the ladder for first part of “Blobby dog’s” house :)

We can’t wait till next week! The projects already are taking shape and soon the golfballs will be rolling. Be sure to check back regularly to see all the fun :-)

For more photos of all the action, please visit our Flickr page!

Roving Vehicles - Week 7-8 - Boys & Girls Clubs - Willie Mays Clubhouse

Vehicles (Fall 2018), B&GCLub - WM (Fall 2018)Brendon BellComment

THE GRAND FINALE!!! Our last two weeks at Willie Mays were a blast! Not only did we work hard, but we played even harder with our finished roving vehicles. Check out our progress!

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Over the past 8 weeks our tinkerers learned a lot about using different power tools, steering mechanisms, and how to collaborate together on big, challenging projects.

Richae, Keyonie and Jadya finished attaching the front axle and wheels. Smiles all around :)

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Meanwhile, another vehicle was nearing completion… it’s as long as a bobsled!

Chelsea and E’mya climb on board the bobsled!

Chelsea and E’mya climb on board the bobsled!

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George and Ju’Darius finish some final touches before it’s time to attach the steering wheel.

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Douglas puts on the finishing touches and its time to ride!

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Our motorized vehicle team also worked super hard to complete their awesome rover.

A high powered drill was attached to some gears to provide forward momentum.

A high powered drill was attached to some gears to provide forward momentum.

A seat back is an important piece to add when you’re driving at warp speed!

A seat back is an important piece to add when you’re driving at warp speed!

We did it!

We did it!

After eight weeks of hard work and lots of fun, it was time to officially test ride our roving vehicles and show them off to parents, siblings and other guests! Whoohoo!!!

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It’s been an incredible tinkering session! Thank you Willie Mays tinkerers for bringing your enthusiasm, creativity, hard work, and can do spirit! When we collaborate on big projects, just look at all the amazing things we can learn and accomplish along the way!

Zoooom zoom!

To check out more photos of all the fun, don’t forget to visit our Flickr page :-)

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Flying Dragons - Week 7-8

Flying Dragons (Fall2018)Julie PeriComment

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no…it’s a flying dragon. With a final push in the last two weeks, all three dragons took flight and delivered the egg to its nest.

On the Baby Harley team Juliana and Tommy added supports to their dragon’s neck and head.

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Hello?

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Building dragons is not possible without having fun along the way :-)

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On the dragon you ride in team, Olivia focused on attaching the dragon head.

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Peter discovered that clamps are great for attaching perpendicular pieces.

Peter discovered that clamps are great for attaching perpendicular pieces.

Meanwhile, Asher added wings to the dragon you ride under team’s dragon.

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After Asher was done with that, he and August added screw supports for the structural safety of their dragon, on both the underbelly and the neck.

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Then - before we all knew it the final day was here! We did a couple of safety tests then we soared across the school in our dragons.

The under team went first, with Katie on board to test, and…it worked!

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Caulder tested the fire dropping mechanism on his team’s dragon while loading up the next tinkerer on board.

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Each team got to ride on their own dragon. Jackson, used his team’s egg catchment system successfully deliver the egg into the nest.

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Next up were the dragons you ride in team. Clay and Skylan rode together first, followed by Olivia and Adele, and Peter and Nick. All three pairs successfully dropped their egg into the nest as well!

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Last and certainly not lease, the Baby Harley team got their turn on the zipline. Hold on tight - this dragon goes fast!

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After a day of fun and successful dragon riding, our tenacious tinkerers went home knowing the satisfaction of eight weeks of hard work and fun. See you all around next time! And don’t forget to check out all the photos from our flying dragons tinkering session!

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Carnival - Week 7-8 - Boys & Girls Clubs - Mission Clubhouse

Carnival (Fall 2018), B&GClub - M (Fall 2018)Julie PeriComment

It’s the final count down to the big night of the carnival! Both teams worked with focus and persistence to have their rides finished in time for everyone to get to try them out and show off their accomplishments to their guests.

Katie and Jasmine made sure to stay safe in the chopsaw room even in the midst of the growing excitement.

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Zadrien and Wallace worked as a team to finish attaching the rear supports on the gravitron, while Joshua and David worked together to cut the paneling that covered the supports.

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Team work was ESSENTIAL these last weeks to accomplish everything the team wanted to build. Wallace and Zadrien, Joshua and David, and Liana and Joanna all split into pairs and took on a necessary role in this last week. They all persisted through wonderful mistakes and occasional frustrations to finish adding on the needed structural safety bracing for riding the gravitron.

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Over on the rocket side, Brendon worked with Ailee and Amanda to finish attaching the rear wall to one of the rockets.

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While Narett, Jasmine and Katie added the back paneling on the other rocket. Again both teams split into two groups to accomplish more together.

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Then, before we all knew it, the 8th week was upon us and it was Carnival night! We put out the lights, wrote up welcome signs, made tickets and did a last few additions before testing our creations.

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Annie and Brendon added the last few screws to the trap door, while Ailee added on a roof.

Annie was a little nervous using the drill, so Brendon offered a partner push.

Annie was a little nervous using the drill, so Brendon offered a partner push.

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Jasmine and Yareth worked on adding rocket jets and making fire come out of them.

Jasmine and Yareth worked on adding rocket jets and making fire come out of them.

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Joshua and Wallace added pin-wheels while Zadrien and Liana drilled down the ball catching buckets on each seat.

Then finally it was time! As per Tinkering School tradition, the adult collaborators safety tested each ride before the younger tinkerers climbed aboard. First to test were the rockets. Omar and Katie went in first, both with helmets, and…the rockets worked!

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Quickly to follow after were the tinkerers themselves.

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Then it was time for the gravitron. We went over the safety rules we had agreed to and after a preliminary test for structural safety…we let it rip! While the gravitron spun around, the riders would hold onto the buckets for stability while other kids tried to throw balls into them. All kids (young and old) had a blast!

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Super speed!

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This session was a total success and everyone accomplished so much! To see all the fun from these past eight weeks check out our Flickr page for more photos!

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