Tinkering School

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Cartopia - Day 3 - Week 6 (SF Day Camp)

Cartopia (2019), San Francisco Day CampRuby Harrison-ClayComment

Today held many significant development points in each of our projects! Each of our car teams are working through iteration points on their steering mechanisms.

The handle-steering car made lots of headway – they attached all four wheels, and experimented throughout the afternoon with the placing the lever steering handles in different places. Furthermore, they are working on a convertible cloth roof, using rope to open or close the roof.

Many tinkerers are learning to use the drill press which allows us to make extra big and deep holes to hold car axles, for example.

Many tinkerers are learning to use the drill press which allows us to make extra big and deep holes to hold car axles, for example.


The triangle car worked hard today to install an adjustable seat and a steering wheel. The steering wheel is attached to a wood beam which the axle runs through, thus whenever you turn the steering wheel it twists the axle and tires.

The T-steering car successfully built walls and a trunk for their vehicle; it is truly taking shape! The trunk has a door which opens and closes with hinges. They also added a single handle similar to a bicycle handlebar to use for their steering system.


Our car wash certainly is looking more and more like a car wash. After spending the bulk of the first couple of days working on the overall frame and structure, they can now focus on the details. Already they have created a crank-operated scrubber out of PVC pipe and foam. They are beginning on the pulley system that spans the length of the wash and will pull each car through the service. There is even a high-five station at the end of the wash, to offer moral support for the driver of each car :) This will be attached with springs!


Lastly we have the ramp and elevator project!


The ramp is 4ft. wide and 24ft. long. The team is being careful to build with lots of support beams spanning the width of the ramp every few feet, so the plywood base can be adequately supported when cars fly down it. With these sorts of projects, safety is the most important aspect.

Other folks are working on a platform at the beginning of the ramp, a middle-way between the elevator and actually going down the ramp. Similarly, they focused heavily on safety in their design and build. The tower is incredibly stable and strong, and passed the safety test this afternoon. We were able to have three people sitting at the top of the 8ft. tower! They are moving on to install railings on the sides, and a ladder for people to climb up who are not taking the elevator up.


Our elevator is nearly complete, with railings and a hinged ramp door that locks in place. This afternoon, the team realized a design flaw in the placement of their ramp door. The car will not be able to go in and out of the same door, because the location it is entering from is a different direction than where it will be headed at the top of the ramp. They began brainstorming ways to mitigate this issue.

It was a wonderful day at Crissy Field Beach this afternoon, when we took a break from building to play and eat lunch. It is always fun to arrive at the beach and observe what remains of castles built or holes dug the day before.


Everyone is looking forward to our last full build day tomorrow, eager to bring our projects to the next level and see each different piece fall into place.

To view the rest of today’s photos, check out our Flickr page.

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