Tinkering School

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Moving Animals - Days 1-3 - Week 5 - SF Day Camp

Moving Animals (2018), San Francisco Day CampBrendon BellComment

Another week of Tinkering excitement! We have a new crew full of fresh ideas and a desire to build, build, build! As we learned on the first day, our design theme and challenge this week is to build MOVING ANIMALS!

This also happens to be our summer day camp's "Seniors Week" so we are excited to have several more teens or near teens on our team. We hope their additional years of experience will help us all as as we figure out how to create some tricky mechanisms that will allow our animals to come to life.

As with every Tinkering camp, we started off the first day creating some group safety agreements to decide how we want to use the tools and collaborate and treat each other respectfully. We then jumped straight into tool training!

 THE CHOP SAW! A fan favorite for sure. One of our most used tools in the shop, the kids learn how to operate it safely and keep all appendages out of the "blood bubble" (an area roughly a foot away from either side of the blade). 

THE CHOP SAW! A fan favorite for sure. One of our most used tools in the shop, the kids learn how to operate it safely and keep all appendages out of the "blood bubble" (an area roughly a foot away from either side of the blade). 

 Clamps are a tinkerers best friend - especially if a real life friend isn't available to hold a piece of wood down for them.

Clamps are a tinkerers best friend - especially if a real life friend isn't available to hold a piece of wood down for them.

 Drills! By the end of the week, our young builders will be wielding their drills like pros.

Drills! By the end of the week, our young builders will be wielding their drills like pros.

After a lunch break, it was time to go to the drawing board. We broke up into three groups each with a specific mechanical challenge: design and build a moving animal that wiggles, flies, or walks. 

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Every tinkerer had a chance to draw and share their ideas and then as a group everyone decided how to bring them all together into a design plan with general dimensions. 

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 The kids discovered chairs and props are a great way to figure out the most ergonomical dimensions for a project!

The kids discovered chairs and props are a great way to figure out the most ergonomical dimensions for a project!

With a rough blueprint in hand for each animal design, there was even still time during the first day to start building. Tinker on!

Day 2 was a tinker fest!

With tool training under our belts, we had all day to build, and our young crew made the most of their time. 

The flying animals team decided to split into a few different sub-groups. To add to the zoo, we'll have a large rolling bird with automated flapping wings, a bird that accelerates and flies off a ramp, and an angry birds launcher that attempts to rescue their pig friends trapped on towers. 

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Meanwhile the walking team was busy constructing an epic unicorn! Or a trotting unicorn? A galloping unicorn? Perhaps the unicorn could be in the flying group as well??? 

 Assembling a frame for the large body.

Assembling a frame for the large body.

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 Excellent two handed drilling form. Bravo!

Excellent two handed drilling form. Bravo!

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The unicorn will have a hatch door hatch for passengers to enter. Luckily we have hinges and hardware available to use in addition to lots of lumber.

Not to be outdone, the wiggle team decided to build a giant, wiggly, undulating jelly fish! Rumor is that it will be suspended in the air and the tentacles will bob up and down as if its moving through water.

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To create the domed top of the jelly fish, this crew had to figure out some complex geometry so that they could cut pieces for three hexagons. Can't wait to see how it turns out!

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Day 3 was super productive!

This crew tinkers hard! We saw some impressive new developments with each of the three projects.

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The jelly fish is looking more and more jellyish. The team added supports between each of the three hexagons to make a very sturdy dome structure. To reinforce the joints, (most of which were made with angle cuts), they also attached gussets (plywood triangles).

The walking unicorn team likewise added many aesthetic touches to the body, neck, and head. 

 Can you spot the unicorn horn? I for sure wouldn't want to upset this magically majestic animal!

Can you spot the unicorn horn? I for sure wouldn't want to upset this magically majestic animal!

 Attaching the unicorn's fur coat.

Attaching the unicorn's fur coat.

 Prototyping the unicorns moving legs.

Prototyping the unicorns moving legs.

And the flying teams soared through their self-made task lists! (My apologies to the non-punners out there) ;-P

 Catapults, framed bird bodies, take off ramps and more!

Catapults, framed bird bodies, take off ramps and more!

 Why saw just by yourself when you have a friend to push back from the other side!

Why saw just by yourself when you have a friend to push back from the other side!

 Measuring distances between foot pedals for the rolling bird car that will simultaneously flap some large wings.

Measuring distances between foot pedals for the rolling bird car that will simultaneously flap some large wings.

It's been a wild few days of tinkering, full of movement in the pursuit of creating yet more movement. What if these moving animals could build other moving animals...! Who knows, with this enthusiastic, group I wouldn't bet against the possibility, or anything else that they set their minds to for that matter. Tinkering sets the imagination free and it will be super exciting to see what these young tinkerers come up with next!

To check out more of the action from this week, be sure to visit our Flickr page! 

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