Tinkering School

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Mark Day Pizza (2017)

Pizza Coaster Finale! - Mark Day School

Mark Day Pizza (2017)Brendon BellComment

We did it!! Welcome to the worlds longest, awesomest, most complicated pizza coaster ever! These tinkerers brought their A game for the last build session and after some final tweaks they finally had a chance to unveil and fully test their masterpiece.

Having perfected the art of track building throughout the week, one group of tinkerers flew through building and securing the final sections in place.

When we arrived in the morning, we discovered some of the cardboard on the track had warped overnight. Without missing a beat, the track team quickly worked up a solution - more underbelly supports!

Table. Check! Plate. Check! Pizza... on its way...

Friday was also decoration time. In fitting with our culinary theme, several pieces of pizza artwork were commissioned and proudly displayed on the coaster.  

Gotta make sure out pizza doesn't fly out on the crazy ride!

This super dedicated team cranked out the last major piece of the coaster - the slide between the two tall towers. 

Finally, after five full days of building, the moment was upon us! The anticipation was huge! The crowd was huge! This wooden pizza was ready to be sent on the most epic journey of its life! 

Up it goes! The hand crank-powered conveyor belt slowly moved our pizza away from the oven...

And dumped it into the holding bin for the next cart to carry up the next track. This second cart was powered by gravity. A hungry customer at the end of the track pulled a cord to release a trapdoor in the center of the tower that dropped a weight (can you spot it?). As the weight fell, it pulled the cart and pizza up the steep vertical track. 

Whoa! It worked! The pizza made the climb to the top of the slide...

...and got stuck...we discovered we needed a steeper slope for the pizza to slide - even with the rollers.

Next stop, roller cart!

And away it goes! This might be the most popular pizza ever - hoards of paparazzi followed its every move.

Through several obstacles, and up yet another slope, our pizza continued its journey...

And coasted along the last sections of track...to its final resting plate!


The real success this week though was not completing the final project... This dedicated crew of tinkerers proved to themselves that they could build huge, elaborate constructions when they worked together. They DEFINITELY tried harder than usual. They made new friendships. They made tons of glorious mistakes and learned how to adapt and try new things. Just like our pizza rolling down its (75'+ long) path, these tinkerers proved its all about the journey! And what a success it has been! Watching this awesome crew collaborate and tinker together has been a joy. Till the next time, save the rest of us a slice!

Check out all the photos from the week on our Flickr page!

Pizza Coaster! - Day 4 - Mark Day School

Mark Day Pizza (2017)Brendon BellComment

Pulleys, winches, weights, vertical tracks and more! Things are getting complex here at Tinkering School - Mark Day! 

The track continues to grow and grow. Our pizza will have to travel an impressive distance just to be delivered on the plate. Hopefully it won't get too cold...

Like any proper roller coaster, ours has some scary tunnels to pass through. 

With such a long track, there's plenty of room for all sorts of obstacles for our pizza to roll through. It might end up looking more like a mini-golf course than a pizza coaster... 

Another team worked on a slide to transport the pizza between the tallest two towers.

And Jack perfected his pizza oven. 

One team perfected the crank and ramp mechanism to deliver the pizza to the weight powered conveyor belt. They really took our tinkering school motto to heart of making mistakes and learning from them. They went though several iterations before landing on a solution that works. And while it was hard work, the reward...priceless!



Only one more day of tinkering left and I'm getting hungry! Stay tuned to see if at least one of us gets to each a freshly baked and well traveled wooden pizza :)

Check out all the photos from the day and rest of the week on our Flickr page!

Pizza Coaster! - Day 3 - Mark Day School

Mark Day Pizza (2017)Brendon BellComment

The pizza coaster is taking shape and growing exponentially!

With another full day of building our dedicated tinkerers constructed new sections of track, built the beginnings of a conveyor belt system, tested different versions of the pizza box cart, and lots more. 

One group also began work on the pizza's final destination - a tall table with a perfectly sized plate.

With our track prototypes completed from earlier in the week, we also started building track sections and attaching them. 

Even the curved section works!!!

Another team continued work on the weighted conveyor belt system. They built a large weight from multiple pieces of 4x4's screwed together. As it slowly descends down the middle of one of the towers it will pull a cart up a track carrying our pizza to the top of the pizza coaster. We have some impressive engineers!

Working on the conveyor belt track system.  PVC pipe was the final choice for the rails because of its slippery surface.

Working on the conveyor belt track system.  PVC pipe was the final choice for the rails because of its slippery surface.

And for the first section, a hand crank pulley system will carry the pizza from the oven to the start of the weight powered conveyor belt. I don't know about you, but its getting hard to keep track of it all!

And we learned how to use a few more tools too - hand saws and drill presses.

Can't believe the weeks already half over! We've learned so much and seen some amazing building so far. Stay tuned to see this giant pizza coaster come together as we near the final stretch! 

Check out all the other photos from the day on our Flickr page!

Pizza Coaster! - Day 2 - Mark Day School

Mark Day Pizza (2017)Brendon BellComment

Our first full build day! With tool training and project designs under our belts, we jumped straight into building the first parts of our pizza coaster masterpiece.

The team working on the start section began constructing two tall towers which the pizza will fall/roll from gaining momentum to carry it along the length of the track. 

Henry testing out the foundations stability. Don't be fooled by his expression - we gave it a thumbs up! 

Henry testing out the foundations stability. Don't be fooled by his expression - we gave it a thumbs up! 

Measure twice...or three times...

Cut once! 

One team also began assembling the pizza box that will transport the pizza safely along the roller coaster.

The track team began work on constructing a ramp prototype. It was a challenge to figure out how tall the track side rails needed to be to keep the cart from rolling off the edge.

A successful test!

A successful test!

And we even had time to begin constructing and testing the zipline!

We made a ton of progress today! Can't wait to see what this amazing group creates tomorrow!

To check out photos from today and the rest of the week visit our Flickr page!

Pizza Coaster! - Mark Day School

Mark Day Pizza (2017)Brendon BellComment

Pizza + roller coasters! Why have these two favorite things never been combined before!?

To remedy this travesty, our awesome group of new tinkerers has taken on the challenge of designing, building, and operating the worlds 1st (I'm pretty sure) pizza roller coaster / zipline / obstacle course. The goal? Transport a pizza from the oven to the plate through a series of obstacles without touching it. Btw, the pizza's made of wood...

Before we jumped into designing and building, we all got to know one another and we created some group agreements. We discussed how we wanted to collaborate and treat each other, and how we would use the tools and move around the space safely. We all signed the document and next up, it was time for tool training! 

We learned how to drill holes, drive screws into the wood, and attach different kinds of joints. A lesson quickly learned was how important it is to work together and lend a helping hand. 

We learned that clamps are also a great way to hold pieces of wood together - especially in tricky configurations.

A sawhorse and clamp bed - super comfy...and durable! It even had an elevated headrest. We have a super creative and imaginative group this week!

And lastly, but definitely not leastly, we all learned how to safely use the CHOP SAW. Dun dun dun! With double eye protection if needed :)

After lunch we split into groups to design parts of the pizza coaster. One team began thinking up ideas for the track, cart, and zipline...its amazing how many options there are for moving a pizza through the air!

And the second group began designing the starting point for the coaster. We were confronted with the question of "how can we create enough momentum to keep a wooden pizza rolling across a long track and through a variety of obstacles?" We settled on gravity as the best bet. Once that was figured out, the idea of a tower quickly followed.

Both teams began measuring, cutting pieces of wood, and building the first parts of our epic coaster. We're ready for tomorrow - our first full day of building! Stay tuned to check out how our elaborate designs begin to take shape!

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