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Establishing Systems for Ball Run Assembly

Ball Run (Spring 2015)Amanda SimonsComment

One of the most difficult concepts to pitch to young Tinkerers is the importance of establishing systems, and their direct correlation with the progress of a project.

Sometimes there's this impression that Tinkering is an active, immediate, off-the-cuff activity -- that we just do and then re-do in a way that makes sense only in the moment. When the reality of it, the nitty-gritty truth of it, is that the most successful and generative Tinkering moments are often a result of the creation and the following of systems.

On this sleepy, rainy Tuesday after spring break, while we didn't accomplish much focused building, we did actually take the opportunity establish a lot of systems.

During the previous working session, we discovered that our ball run track was sometimes built inconsistently. To help combat our inconsistencies, we created a few new tools (jigs-like items, for those woodworker readers out there) to help our progress. A new spacer will make sure we keep the correct distance between tracks.

We also developed a system for attaching our vertical ramp legs to the straight away tracks. While it was easy to attach the first couple of ramp legs, as the sections got taller and taller, it became evident that small humans had a hard time with that task. Our group developed a way to attach the vertical legs on the floor, and then twist and raise the ramp when ready.

Last, we needed a way to keep track of our vertical pieces as we cut and assembled them. With the use of a quick diagram that noted our measurements, the chop saw team easily recorded their progress with a system of checks and tallies.

And now next week, we will know where we left off and where to begin again!

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