Tinkering School

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Thanksgiving 2014

Cranberry Slammer - Thanksgiving Break Camp - Day 3

Thanksgiving 2014Sean Murray

Tinkering School is a failure-positive environment. We acknowledge that, for people who want to try new, challenging things, failure is an inevitability.

We maintain a positive, attentive attitude through failure, and try to learn from it.

On this, the third day of Thanksgiving Break Camp, our reach exceeded our grasp! After successfully SMASHING (under a giant mallet) and SLICING (with a knife positioned at the bottom of a 16-foot sled track) cranberry sauce, this day we tried to SLAM it, between twon hammer, positioned on the end of a giant, rolling scissors.

We also tried to add a looping marble track, using insulation brought in by the industrious Aiden and Ayla (visiting from distant Los Angeles!)

The machines each worked in isolation, but we didn't have enough time to get them all working together reliably. But we did have a nice time trying. 

Here are some pictures, as always there are more on our flickr.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Slicer - Thanksgiving Break Camp - Day 2

Thanksgiving 2014Lindsay Jones

Yesterday we smashed our cranberries. Today we wanted to slice our sauce! Days 2 and 3 are interesting because we have some brand new tinkerers and some that attended previous days.

After tool training we get down to some serious designing. Today we had Cranberry Death Sled, Elevator, and Simple Machine teams!

During the planning session the Elevator team decided it should use the up and down motion to power a Conveyor Belt.  It seemed like a lot for one day, but we were confident and wanted to go for it!

After some fun at the park and lunch the teams refocus and get down to business - we only have 2 hours to make everything work!  Today the tinkerers did a lot of independent problem solving.  The youngest were able to take design plans and recreate the objects in real life. The older ones took on tricky problems like how to secure the slicing knife to the track and how to hold the Death Sled at the top of the ramp until the right moment. 

At the end of the day we had arranged the contraptions and tested them in ones and pairs, but not all together.  It was time for a dry run - the best way to see what needs to get tweaked where.

Cranberry Slicer Dry FAIL from Tinkering School on Vimeo.

After our dry run each contraption that needed adjustmenting received them from tinkerers overflowing with excitement. We then reset the whole machine and then loaded the Cranberry Sauce.

Cranberry Slicer Wet Run from Tinkering School on Vimeo.

Once again, our machine almost worked perfectly! Each amazing contraption functioned, just not all together! We also totally sent a cranberry cylinder to its death on a tiny sled.

Cranberry Crusher - Thanksgiving Break Camp - Day 1

Thanksgiving 2014Josh Rothhaas

Every now and then the Thanksgiving cook runs out of time and is forced to buy cranberry sauce in a can. In a desperate attempt to make it seem more palatable, one can mush it up to make it look less like it came from a can.

At Tinkering School Thanksgiving Break Camp we decided to attempt the mushing of cranberry sauce within the constraints set forth by Rube Goldberg; maximum complexity, minimum output.

Before we can get to that, we have to do some safety training.

Then we planned our parts of the machine. Team 1 focused on the crusher. Team 2 on a plinko machine. Team 3 was all about speed and quantity, making 4 different simple machines.

Team 3 gets right down to their first project. A soccer ball track.

Team 1 discusses the essential steps towards their giant hammer.

Team 2 preps their plinko board

Right around mid-day we take a quick park and lunch break. Its a great moment to breath fresh air and stop thinking about the project for a second.

Team 3’s soccer ball track stands up.

The turkey leg takes shape on the bandsaw.

The smasher/hammer/crusher really begins to become ominous.

We also got to pull out the always exciting full size drill press.

By the end the individual pieces are all starting come together. A zip-line pumpkin pie will trigger a pendulum of turkey leg, which will knock a soccer-ball, which will start the dominoes, which will trigger the hammer which will smash the canned cranberry sauce. 

ou can watch our successful dry-run here!

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