Tinkering School

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Obsta-ball - Day 1 - Week 5 (SF Day Camp)

Obsta-ball (2019), San Francisco Day CampRuby Harrison-ClayComment
Drill practice!

Drill practice!

Today was a wonderful start to a week full of thinking and tinkering! Our challenges this week are particularly design-heavy, as each project needs to be meticulously thought out in order to work properly. This will be a growth point for many of our tinkerers who love to dive right in to drilling anything they can get their hands on :)

Expert collaboration skills.

Expert collaboration skills.

Before jumping into projects, though… We began the day setting intentions and goals for our week, looking at the four core tinkering goals as well as envisioning group agreements to foster a supportive and safe space together. We learned handy phrases such as “How can I help?” and “No means no,” to facilitate effective collaboration and respectful engagement, as well as safety when handling power tools.

We spent the rest of the morning familiarizing ourselves with the primary tools and materials we will be using to create our epic projects – drills, screws, clamps, and the chop-saw.

Proud of their Z

Proud of their Z

Brendon prepping for the reveal…

Brendon prepping for the reveal…

After a busy morning, we headed to the Crissy Field beach for our daily play and lunch time. It was a beautiful sunny day, and tinkerers scattered themselves within our beach boundaries to play football, bounce balls, dig holes, build sandcastles, read, and have picnics!

At this point, the anticipation was mounting… everyone was itching to get back to the workshop to uncover this week’s theme and projects! Immediately upon return from the beach, we gathered into a circle for the reveal.

After a suspenseful drumroll and countdown, Brendon and Kai exposed the hidden whiteboard to view this week’s theme… Obsta-ball. It took a moment to connect the dots… obstacle ball? What does that mean? We delved into the specifics of each project to learn more. This week, we will have a team working on a mini-golf course, a team working on a human-sized foosball game, and a team working on an 8x8 size labyrinth game. More details became apparent as we split into our design sessions.

Workshopping tilting mechanisms for the Labyrinth.

Workshopping tilting mechanisms for the Labyrinth.

The labyrinth team is inspired by the classic labyrinth toy, which tilts to propel a marble through a complex maze of walls and holes. We have created a 3-tier stacked maze. The top two mazes will hang from an 8x8 frame and be controlled from the sides via levers attached to pulleys. The bottom-most maze sits on the floor and will be tilted with handles on the sides. The structure will sit on a fulcrum and have internal arms and weights to assist in the tilting feature which will guide our golf-ball (replacing the marble from the original game… at Tinkering School we always go big!).

Design session for mini-golf

Design session for mini-golf

Putting clamp skills to work in our afternoon build session!

Putting clamp skills to work in our afternoon build session!

Lots of fun was had envisioning the mini-golf game – particularly because the challenge here is for the ball to end up at least 4 ft higher than where it started! The group decided on a city-themed game, where each hole relates to a different city. Obviously, the first one will be San Francisco. The ball will go across the Golden Gate bridge and into a cable car operated with a pulley system. Following that, it ends at the top of the Salesforce Tower! We began experimenting with ramps, tunnels, gutters, and springs to achieve this.

Last but not least we have the foosball team. This team will be creating a human-sized version of the game, so it has to be at least 8 ft. wide and 24. ft wide. Instead of foosball pieces, we will have our very own Tinkerers as the players! This means rigging up a harness system within very strong frames. The group got a good start on building this afternoon.

The jigsaw is best for cutting plywood.

The jigsaw is best for cutting plywood.

The projects this week are truly bigger than ourselves, and will need many tinkerers not only to build but to operate! We are all invigorated by the prompts and challenges we are presented with this week, and can’t wait to put our new skills to work tomorrow.

Check out the rest of today’s photos on our Flickr page!

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