Tinkering School

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BowlerCoaster Day 1: Building Systems

Sean Murray

Today was the first day of Spring Break Camp. This week, we are going attempt to build a bowling ball rollercoaster here in the Mission. 

Before we could even talk about building our "BowlerCoaster", we had to get acquainted with the tools at our disposal: chop saw, drills and clamps.

Building a rollercoaster is hard. Hundreds of pieces need to work together. The rails that make of the track must be uniformly spaced. Sections of track must be securely fastened to one another, and allow the ball to move smoothly from section to section. Executing turns, rises and dips would take precise execution of a cohesive system. And a cohesive system demands teamwork. Our builders were eager to help and listen to one another, right from the start.

Our focus today was on developing our BowlerCoaster system. First, we established the spacing of the rails, and even cut special check fixtures to maintain that spacing.

It was awesome how quickly and fluidly the builders developed systems, branched off into project teams, and helped one another out.

By day's end, we'd proven concepts for building straightaways, horizontal turns, and dips. We've figured out the fundamental elements of a BowlerCoaster system--tomorrow we head into production mode!

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