Tinkering School

come make amazing things with us

Shake It Up - Day 5 - Week 3 (SF Day Camp)

Shake It Up (2019), San Francisco Day CampRuby Harrison-ClayComment
Designing a tinkering school t-shirt!

Designing a tinkering school t-shirt!

What an exciting day!!! We arrived at camp stoked to finalize our projects in preparation for the showcase this afternoon. For every group, much of today was spent testing mechanisms to ensure the projects would work properly. Friday is always bittersweet – we get to see our epic creations in their totality, yet at the end of the day we have to take it all down and part ways for the summer. Alas, it is all part of the process, which is what we value most here at Tinkering School.

Testing pulleys for the milkshake machine

Testing pulleys for the milkshake machine

The marionette group spent the morning tying ropes and putting together final design/decoration touches – toes, ears, and a Tinkering School t-shirt! We attached the head and torso to the puppet’s controller, as well as pulleys and ropes to each of the limbs so they could be moved from the ground once up in the air.

Tinkerers working on the milkshake machine put together the various pieces they had been working on throughout the week. Their conveyor belt was perfected, a spring box was attached to the roof, and multiple chutes were set up from the sides. One camper was careful to continuously remind everyone that the ladder they were building was unsafe and should not be tampered with.

The shake shack team also worked on finishing touches, adding pulleys to the four corners of their frame, and a pivot on the bottom of their structure. These were the mechanisms that would enable the shack to shake.

Closing Circle

Closing Circle

We were able to spend our last sunny day outdoors at the beach, and had lots of fun building sandcastles and playing catch. After lunch and a quick last build session, we held our last closing circle and discussed highlights of the week, including important moments of collaborating (taking turns using tools, holding wood for each other, elaborating on ideas, offering help), as well as interesting and safe mistakes made that we learned from.

Lastly… the GRAND FINALE! The showcase! Family and friends arrived to view our projects that we spent the past 5 days working on. It was so so incredible, heartening, exciting, and inspiring to view the work that this brilliant group of tinkerers accomplished this week.

We viewed the milkshake machine in action, with a carefully constructed barrel being pulled through numerous stages in milkshake creation. After all the ingredients were added, the milkshake was “stirred” using a drill motor!

The first test of the Shake Shack…

The first test of the Shake Shack…

Next we got to see the shake shack. With proper safety helmet and goggles on, two of our collaborators climbed into the shack, with tinkerers operating the pulleys from the outside. Unfortunately, having two adults in the shack was too much weight. After hearing a loud crack, we decided to have only one collaborator inside testing. Utilizing the pulleys, and ultimately standing at the walls of the shake shack and moving it ourselves, we successfully got the building to move! We had many rounds of tinkerers climbing in and testing it themselves, and some even got thrown off their feet :)

Lastly, we finally were able to lift the giant dancing marionette into the sky!

On our first iteration some ropes got tangled and we were not able to properly control the limbs, after lowering it again and readjusting the ropes we got it back in the air and dancing. It was quite an extraordinary sight.

This was an absolutely amazing week at Tinkering School, not just because of the grand scale of the projects but because of the collaboration and innovation shown by this group of tinkerers.

Check out the rest of today’s photos on our Flickr! Looking forward to the magic that will happen next week.

And to sign off, here’s a special message from one of our passionate Tinkerers this week.


Tinkering School is a trademark registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.