Tinkering School

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Moving Away from the Details

Vend It! (Spring 2015)Amanda SimonsComment

Until today, the Friday After School Session has been about big ideas and complicated mechanics. After all, a vending machine is pretty complicated, and since no one has really seen the internal mechanics, we've been doing a lot of trial and error building in an attempt to replicate what we can't see! That's a lot to ask for. Especially for 4 weeks in a row.

To take a short vacation from complicated problem solving, during the last session we got away from the details and started to construct the skeleton of the vending machine. I always find that not thinking about a thing helps me solve the thing later. So, that's what we did.

We took measurements, made a cut list, and then started assembling. It was actually quite refreshing to see how much we could accomplish when the "labor" was just that -- labor. Teams quickly emerged, and worked together diligently to make sure that all the holes were drilled straight, all the screws were driven in all the way, and that all the wood pieces were in the right place.

By the end of the session, we made a vending machine skeleton, ready for outer paneling, and fully equipped for internal shelving that will later support our mechanisms.

By doing this, we started to answer some of our big questions: How many different things can this machine vend? Where will the actuators go? Where will the "candy" come out?

With these answers fresh in our minds, we can start next session with a solid direction!

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