Tinkering School

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Shake It Up (2019)

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.

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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.

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Shake It Up - Day 4 - Week 3 (SF Day Camp)

San Francisco Day Camp, Shake It Up (2019)Ruby Harrison-ClayComment
Attaching an an eye bolt from the inside

Attaching an an eye bolt from the inside

Today was an outstanding day at Tinkering School Day Camp - many important steps forward were taken in project progress, and more importantly we are truly honing our skills in collaborating to manifest such epic creations. None of these projects would be possible without the hands and minds of every single tinkerer at camp this week! It has been truly astonishing and inspiring to witness the development of each project, from idea to reality at the hands of a dedicated and hardworking group. We are all eager to make finishing touches tomorrow morning in preparation for the showcase tomorrow afternoon.

View of the Shake Shack from above

View of the Shake Shack from above

“Enter If You DARE!”

“Enter If You DARE!”

Coating the inner layer with foam

Coating the inner layer with foam

The shake shack group spent a portion of today implementing important safety features into their build – the inside of the structure is coated with foam, and there are clearly marked “STOP” and “WARNING” labels strategically placed around entrances and areas with higher risk. Because their expectation is that viewers will engage with the shack by entering it, and potentially be shaken off their feet from the force of the movement of the building, these precautions are important safety measures.

Milkshake machine testing and adjusting pulleys

Milkshake machine testing and adjusting pulleys

Tinkerers proud of their design!

Tinkerers proud of their design!

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Tinkerers working on the milkshake machine made good headway. Today we built and tested a series of pulley mechanisms attached to a bucket, to dump ingredients into the milkshake bucket moving along its conveyor belt path. Additionally, the group created a handheld chute with the same intention, and were able to attach that to a wall along the conveyor path.

Repositioning an arm segment

Repositioning an arm segment

The shaking marionette finally took form today – the team used rope to attach each limb to the completed torso, using a mix of figure-8 and sailors knots. This afternoon we were able to test launch the octagonal cross which will ultimately hold the entire marionette and control it’s moving limbs. The cross attached to a rope hung from a ceiling beam here at the Palace of Fine Arts, and a couple of tinkerers worked together to pull it up to full height. Some adjustments were needed in the way of balance, but the test today bodes well for tomorrow’s work of ultimately attaching and hanging the rest of the body.

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We’ve been spending our afternoons in a field near the water to escape the windy beach days we’ve been having, picnicing in the grass, running, and climbing. The days are leaving us exhausted but fulfilled and excited about our creations, innovations, and new skills!

As always, we invite you to view the rest of our photos on our Flickr page! More to come tomorrow…

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

Shake It Up (2019), San Francisco Day CampRuby Harrison-ClayComment

Wednesday… hump day… today held many important developments and iteration points in our projects, and was a long day of hard work and play. In many weeks, Wednesday can be a “make it or break it” day, where we have the chance to test out designs and structures we spent the beginning of the week working on. It is a turning point in energy levels and momentum, as well as in design and build strategy. Our bright tinkerers took the day in stride and put their all into these awesome projects!

Experimenting with magnets in a moment of break time.

Experimenting with magnets in a moment of break time.

Brendon and Kai and the wood avalanche!

Brendon and Kai and the wood avalanche!

At the beginning of the day, we jumped straight into our design sessions. Right off the bat, a big haul of 2x3s and plywood arrived and we briefly paused the morning to witness a (facilitated) “wood avalanche” off the truck and into our workshop! Our projects this week are so large that we’ve been absolutely blowing through wood in an unforeseen way – luckily we were able to replenish our stock today.

If you recall from previous blog posts, this week’s theme is “Shake It Up.” Each group has a sub-theme designed to create a project that will incorporate some form of shaking movement. In our builds, the mechanical engineering aspects can only come into play later on. Everyone has spent the first few days intensely building overall structures, and by the end of today we were able to see the fruits of our labour, as some of our more complex engineering designs come to light.

View from the inside of a marionette leg, drilling large holes for eye bolts

View from the inside of a marionette leg, drilling large holes for eye bolts

Working on support beams to connect the two torso pieces

Working on support beams to connect the two torso pieces

Cutting plywood slabs for the head!

Cutting plywood slabs for the head!

By the end of Wednesday, the dancing, shaking marionette group is almost completed with each individual body part. We have two each of arms and legs, which can bend at the limbs with hinge-joints, a huge torso shaped by a combination rectangle and trapezoid to emulate the shape of a human body, and a box head! Those tinkerers working on the limbs began to envision and create methods of attaching the limbs to the torso with rope and eye bolts. Each piece of the marionette is incredibly heavy, so it will be a challenge to navigate ensuring the strength of the torso to support the rest. Lastly, we began work on the top crossbeams, to which the ropes supporting each limb of the marionette will be attached via pulleys to then be controlled from the ground.

Tinkerers proud of their milkshake barrel.

Tinkerers proud of their milkshake barrel.

Milkshake machine assembly line in progress!

Milkshake machine assembly line in progress!

The tinkering group working on the milkshake machine is making excellent headway. They spent the day attaching different sections which had previously been worked on separately, and the overall structure is truly beginning to take shape. The conveyor belt is complete, made of dowels and spinning PCV pipe. We are all very eager to see how they take the weight of the milkshake barrel, and to incorporate the spinning mechanisms to physically transport the milkshake through it’s assembly line to completion. Furthermore, the beginning of an awning is taking form, above the conveyor belt wall.

Our shake shack group is blowing our minds! The room they are building is on a grand scale, and both the outer and inner structures have been completed today. The inner piece is able to now fit inside the outer piece (keep in mind these are both upwards of 15ft in width, length, and height). We began to brainstorm and experiment with pulleys - the main mechanism that will facilitate the movement of the inner room to be a shaking space (almost comparable to an earthquake simulator).

Drawing right angles for the shake shack

Drawing right angles for the shake shack

So many support beams!

So many support beams!

Today we mixed things up during park/lunch time and went to the field nearby instead of the beach. Though it was a bit slippery, the grass made for much better soccer, frisbee, and football games than the sand!

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After a good night’s rest tonight, we will be ready for the end-of-the-week final stretch on Thursday and Friday, and to showcase our creations!

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

Shake It Up - Day 2 - Week 3 (SF Day Camp)

Shake It Up (2019), San Francisco Day CampRuby Harrison-ClayComment
Attaching support beams to a high point

Attaching support beams to a high point

This week at Tinkering School, we have an incredible group of sharp-minded, innovative, and inspired tinkerers who are truly shaking things up. Each of our three projects is GIANT – these tinkerers are taking to heart the idea that restrictions and boundaries lead to further growth and creation. Within the guidelines of specific constraints for each project, there seem to be boundless room for new ideas.

The jigsaw is useful for longer cuts

The jigsaw is useful for longer cuts

Tuesday was our first full day of building! Every group jumped straight into a design session, picking up where Monday afternoon left off. We always make sure to outline our tasks for the upcoming session, so there is a cohesive design plan in place which can be referenced throughout the build.

Our milkshake machine is coming along quite smoothly - the team spent the day finishing a wall for the assembly line, and were able to attach a frame for the conveyor belt. The conveyor built emulates a similar mechanism we are all familiar with at airport security – we are using wooden dowels and PVC pipe to make spinning wheels which the milkshake will move on. Furthermore, they have finished the milkshake barrel. Though at Tinkering School it is never our goal to finish a project, this team is expertly checking off tasks.

Building the Milkshake Machine wall

Building the Milkshake Machine wall

Today held many interesting developments for the Shake Shack group – namely, the challenge of flipping the 15x15 ft frame onto its legs. This exciting task involved strapping the structure to a rope from the ceiling so that it could be pulled up, while collaborators supported it from the ground on all sides. Many structural needs were uncovered in this process, as some support beams came apart and one of the legs cracked in the process. We discovered that wood is weaker where there are knots, and one of the legs had two knots very close to each other. When too much weight was placed there, it cracked. Tinkerers were quick to come in with their drills and screws to strengthen their work, unfazed by some breakage, suspense, and exhilaration.

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Diligently utilizing clamps and right angles!

Diligently utilizing clamps and right angles!

Lastly, our marionette is beginning to take form. Two arms were completed today, and the team has decided to use hinges for moving joints. Limbs are proving to take lots and lots of wood, with many meticulous cuts for 1ft and 4ft pieces. It turns that that designing a human body takes lots of awareness to proportions and symmetry! In creating an octagonal head shape for our frog-human marionette, we had to test numerous different angled cuts on our wood pieces before settling on the right one (and no, it was not actually a right angle… we don’t like to make things easy on ourselves here at Tinkering School :p). Tomorrow we hope to begin attaching pieces together.

The marionette’s “legs + arms” team collaborating

The marionette’s “legs + arms” team collaborating

The week’s projects are so huge that we almost ran out of wood after the morning! Luckily, we were able to go on a wood run during lunch to up our supply. Looking forward to seeing tomorrow’s developments.

You can view the rest of today’s photos on our Flickr page!

Shake It Up - Day 1 - Week 3 (SF Day Camp)

Shake It Up (2019), San Francisco Day CampRuby Harrison-ClayComment
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We have quite an exciting week ahead of us at Tinkering School SF Day Camp! This week, we are taking our tinkering goal of “building something bigger than ourselves” to the next level – each project is extra-large-scale due to our unique guiding prompts, and it will require an expert level of collaboration to successfully manifest these awesome ideas.

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Monday morning was spent getting to know each other, our space, and the tools we will be engaging with for the week. Our eager tinkerers jumped right into skillful usage of clamps and drills, collaborating to create a bridge solely out of wood and clamps, as well as alphabet letters out of wood and screws! Daily beach play and lunch time was accompanied by lots of wind and sand, and left us ready to start designing and building!

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Brendon led us in a body shakedown activity to segue into the project reveal: Shake It Up.

One group began work on a 20-ft frog-human-hybrid marionette, designed to move, shake, and dance with momentum led by humans, ropes, and pulleys. It will be contained within a large frame in order to hang from above. It’s a good thing the Palace of Fine Arts has such high ceilings!

Another group embarked on the construction of a “shake shack” – a building structure with moving floors and walls, shaking with enough force that one will hardly be able to stand in it! This one will be designed to hold multiple people at once.

Clamp training and practice

Clamp training and practice

Design session!

Design session!

Our third group is designing a giant milkshake factory – a barrel will move through an assembly-line to be filled with all of the yummy milkshake ingredients, without human assistance. This group is using cranks and rollers to make their ideas a reality.

Everyone is super stoked to see how these projects unfold, and we’re grateful for the immense space we have at the Palace of Fine Arts for these bigger-than-life-size projects. We spent our daily Closing Circle discussing ways we collaborated together, tried harder than usual, and made interesting mistakes that led to further learning!

As always, you can view more photos from today on our Flickr page.

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