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TSO-G Day 5: Recreational Vehicles Reveal Desirable Amenities

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At the start of the third build day, Tinkerers had the base of their RVs framed with plywood flooring and wheels attached. The number of wheels varied from two to six. At least one RV team endeavored to incorporate steering. Others simplified their RVs into trailers that will require a hitch. Some furniture had been started but hadn’t been completely built. However, by shop closing time, one might have thought they walked into a RV camp with vehicles equipped with many desirable conveniences.

“Teamwork! That’s what it’s called,” junior Tinkerer, Charlie, said matter-of-factly as he helped his teammate, Isaac, move a nearly complete bunk bed onto their RV platform.

Junior Tinkerers, Isaac and Charlie, move a bunk bed onto their RV platform.

Junior Tinkerers, Isaac and Charlie, move a bunk bed onto their RV platform.

Charlie and Isaac’s team continued mapping out furniture placement by using partially made furniture, Isaacs bunk bed masterpiece, and Thandi’s couch-like bench. Each member offered input on what should go where and tested the bottom bunk for comfort.

Bessie the Cow, or rather, Bessie the Blue Cow underwent a name change, was wrapped in two large blue tarps with windows cut out to allow for a view. Steering was thrown out the window. Now it’s a six-wheel trailer.

“We got rid of the steering because it was taking too much time to work. So, our RV is becoming more of a trailer,” senior Tinkerer, Leo, said.

Senior Tinkerer, Kate, peeks through a window she is cutting out of Bessie the Blue Cow’s tarp covering.

Senior Tinkerer, Kate, peeks through a window she is cutting out of Bessie the Blue Cow’s tarp covering.

Next on the build list are hammock beds, a counter and stools for eating, and a penguin container that will hold Leo’s pet stuffed penguin. He calls this last item the Penguin Kidnapping Container (PKC).

The smallest but possibly the most advanced RV to date was built by the senior team that built a 4 foot by 8 foot trailer. Bogdan, a senior Tinkerer, listed all they had accomplished and what would come next.

“We put on the [canopy], and we hung it up; then we installed that table; we installed our sink and faucet system; we put down this carpet; we reinforced our ladder; and I’m planning to start on our beds,” Bogdan said. “Oh, yeah, and Akin put in a trash can.”

So much was accomplished that Bogdan and his teammates then added that Akin was working on a towel rack and that they had a made a “bunch” of chairs.

Senior Tinkerers, Jasper, Akin, A.J. and Joey discuss attaching their collapsible table.

Senior Tinkerers, Jasper, Akin, A.J. and Joey discuss attaching their collapsible table.

The two remaining junior teams were able to raise their overhead framing. One of the junior teams improvised with the sparse materials lying around and created a double decker RV trailer that has a covered cantilevered platform made of veneer plywood and PVC pipes. The other junior team covered their trailer with tarp and began moving furniture into their RV. Working under the hot sun all day, they all took a seat to enjoy the shade the tarp provided and the couch, bed and chair they had built.

Check out the photo slideshow and videos of Tinkerers during their third build day.


TSO-G Day 3: Framing Takes Shape, Wheels Roll

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Many designs require several attempts to build successfully, and A.J.’s water storage and release mechanism was such a design. His team was quickly advancing, attaching wheels roughly halfway along the 4 foot by 8 foot trailer frame, and adding structural supports along the way. Yet, seemingly the smallest of intricate details proved to require the most focused of attempts and failures.

Senior Tinkerer, A.J., fills his sink’s water storage container to test his PVC plumbing.

Senior Tinkerer, A.J., fills his sink’s water storage container to test his PVC plumbing.

“Let’s just call this A.J.’s Tenth Sink, and, hopefully, it works,” he said before filling his water container fitted with a multiple jointed spigot and pipe assembly.

Leak after leak had sent A.J. and his teammates back to the shop to troubleshoot the device, and the tenth attempt proved to be no different.

Such failure is at the heart of the Tinkerers’ collaborative learning experience, and many designs for attaching wheels, joining 8 foot boards to create 16 foot-long RVs, and building the proposed amenities undergo failure before success.

Senior Tinkerers put the top framing on their RV’s base and must now tackle how to steer the vehicle.

Senior Tinkerers put the top framing on their RV’s base and must now tackle how to steer the vehicle.

“The name of our RV is Bessie the Cow,” senior Tinkerer, Leo, joked with his teammates during the lunch break.

Their challenge will be driving a 6 foot by 16 foot RV on six wheels that allow for 6 inches of clearance above the ground. They succeeded in flipping their top framing over and onto the base of the vehicle. Next steps will be to start bracing walls, adding bedding, and constructing a steering mechanism.

Other teams are adding wheels to the flooring of their RVs, yet to encounter the many problems that have impeded Tinkerers in the past such as cambering. Tinkerers worked steadfastly to the end of the day, seeing only success on the horizon.

A.J. celebrates his eleventh and final attempt at creating a water storage and spigot release for his team’s RV sink.

A.J. celebrates his eleventh and final attempt at creating a water storage and spigot release for his team’s RV sink.

For A.J. a small hole in a PVC elbow kept him from succeeding on his tenth try, but this was an easy fix. Swapping out the old PVC elbow joint with a new one, A.J. prevailed on his eleventh attempt.

“Yes!” he said, all smiles, as he watched water empty through the water reservoir and out of the spigot he had crafted.

Check out the photo slideshow and video of Tinkerers’ second build day.

TSO-H Day 1-2: On the Road In Comfort

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Tinkerers gathered early Monday morning to begin brainstorming their concepts for this week’s RV challenge. Everyone developed plans to provide sleeping space by way of hammock or bunk beds. However, as the imaginations roamed the wide open roads of possibility, concepts started to get interesting.

Tinkerers designed several different types of RVs including the sketch pictured above.

Tinkerers designed several different types of RVs including the sketch pictured above.

A sink, a food truck below a open sleeping deck to stargaze, the double-wide RV with a couch for lounging were some of the ideas that came to the forefront, and Tinkerers began to put their plans in motion.

“It’s like sleeping under the stars,” junior Tinkerer, Sabrina, said of her team’s RV.

As Lydia, a junior Tinkerer, began rolling up a section of canvas for a hammock, she said, “They’re on pulleys so you can pull them up to the wall.”

Senior Tinkerers, Bogdan and A.J., use a measuring tape to map out the size of their RV during their design session.

Senior Tinkerers, Bogdan and A.J., use a measuring tape to map out the size of their RV during their design session.

“I’m making the couch, and it’s kind of like a hammock,” junior Tinkerer, Thandi, said of her team’s RV lounge area.

In sizes ranging from roughly 4 feet by 8 feet and 6 feet by 16 feet, Tinkerers should have ample sleeping room to travel the roads of the Tinkerer build sites and beyond. Wheels and amenities will come as the need and imaginations arise.

Check out the photo slideshow of Tinkerers’ first build day.

TSO-G Day 6: Colossal Controllable Characters Come To Life

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Working through the late afternoon hours, Tinkerers were able to bring their Colossal Controllable Characters to life, walking and flying through the build sites Friday.

At least one dragon could fly along a zip line path, with wings spread, and while breathing bubbles. Another dragon could open and close his mouth and spread his wings.

Senior Tinkerer, Colin, tests the wings and mouth of his team’s dragon.

Senior Tinkerer, Colin, tests the wings and mouth of his team’s dragon.

“This actually makes this whole thing look like a dragon,” senior Tinkerer, Onion, said after helping her team attach a neck and head to the body of their creation.

“It was fun, scary. It put knots in my back,” junior Tinkerer, Lily, said after nervously riding her teams dragon along a zip line for the first time.

The mech suit team created enough Mech Air boots to lift two Tinkerers, and had a body suit for a third person.

Senior Tinkerers, Charlotte, Trinity and Chance, try on the various mech suits and accessories.

Senior Tinkerers, Charlotte, Trinity and Chance, try on the various mech suits and accessories.

Finally, the senior music box and newly named Butter Mob Butt Butt Express teams completed their projects as planned, bringing savory and slippery harmony to the day’s end.

Check out the photo slideshow and videos of Tinkerers’ final build day and camp fire.

TSO-G Day 5: Dragons Rear Their Heads, Gears Grind, Waff-Cakes Take Shape

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Dragons reared their beautiful heads as junior and senior Tinkerers stapled canvas to the fabled winged characters’ box shaped domes and began painting in their features Thursday. At least one of these dragons will be breathing bubbles instead of fire as it flies along a proposed zip line. The other, built by the seniors, received it’s second wing.

Junior Tinkerer, Sofia, helps to paint the junior team’s dragon head.

Junior Tinkerer, Sofia, helps to paint the junior team’s dragon head.

“I think I should burn my name onto the dragon,” senior Tinkerer, Ben, said as he used the sun and a magnifying glass to burn his name into a piece of wood.

“No, Ben!” his teammates exclaimed as they resumed attaching canvas to the their dragon’s head.

The music box team recreated their gear mechanism and came closer to realizing their goal of creating a music box from wood, metal and PVC.

“Ah, it was so good for like half a second,” senior Tinkerer, Charlotte, said as she and her teammate, Sebastian, tested their sprockets together.

Senior Tinkerers, Charlotte and Sebastian, work with collaborator, max, to test a newly devised set of sprockets inside of their music box framing.

Senior Tinkerers, Charlotte and Sebastian, work with collaborator, max, to test a newly devised set of sprockets inside of their music box framing.

The brief success could only motivate them, though.

“All these days of nothing, and finally, it’s coming together,” senior Tinkerer, Thaddeus, said with satisfaction.

A slight change in order came from the Buttery Pancake Slide team. First, they moved their slide to a place that did not feed into a patch of poison oak below, and they realized that making square waffles would be a more practical build than round cakes.

The Buttery Pancake Slide team works together to move their ride away from a small patch of poison oak before making anymore modifications in their build.

The Buttery Pancake Slide team works together to move their ride away from a small patch of poison oak before making anymore modifications in their build.

“We’re making six waffles this thick,” senior Tinkerer, Generosity, said as she demonstrated with her hands what would surround the platform attached to the top of their slide.

“We’re making waff-cakes,” her teammate, Trinity, said after playing with a couple of different waffle and pancake fused names.

Finally, the mech suits were being modified throughout the day, and one high chair was built for a seating area allowing for the putting on of Mech Air boots.

Check out the photo slideshow of Tinkerers’ progress during their third build day.









TSO-G Day 4: Exploring At Low Tide

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Tinkerers headed to Pescadero Beach for a day of rest Wednesday. Much to their enjoyment, they found areas of the inlet exposed during low tide, waded across the shallow waters to explore, traversing rock formations rich with wildlife and green moss. Some read, others napped, and many played Frisbee to pass the time.

Check out the photo slideshow of Tinkerers at Pescadero Beach.


TSO-G Day 3: Project Builds Spread Wings

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Two dragons spread their wings at Tinkering School Overnight (TSO) camp as Tinkerers continued their Colossal Controllable Characters builds Tuesday. The junior team’s dragon body and wings were being constructed. The senior team’s dragon was given three sides to its body, four feet and at least one wing, which is great progress, especially if one of the team’s builders decides to work through lunch.

Collaborators, Julie and Audrey, help Colin and Onion mount one wing to their dragon.

Collaborators, Julie and Audrey, help Colin and Onion mount one wing to their dragon.

“Oh, there’s a third side! Dude, Colin, good work,” senior Tinkerer, Grant, said to his teammate upon his return to the build site.

Other projects were added as imaginations went into overdrive. A drop swing was added to the forest, and the Mini Mech Suit was in the works to fit the smallest of juniors.

“This is exactly what I thought it would be like,” junior Tinkerer, Adane, said after he finished installing the last segments of PVC pipe he used to build the suit, trying it on to ensure its fit.

Junior Tinkerer, Adane, laughs while trying on the Mini Mech Suit he built to fit his frame.

Junior Tinkerer, Adane, laughs while trying on the Mini Mech Suit he built to fit his frame.

Bob Spaget sat on the sidelines in a new pair of blue jeans while his senior creators constructed the butter slide decline, and the music box team continued constructing their chimes and gears.

“I think your music box is the truest to the theme,” senior Tinkerer, Onion, said to senior Tinkerer, Charlotte, a compliment she offered while she observed the music box construction.

Senior Tinkerers, Sebastian, Charlotte and Thaddeus, try to identify the musical notes of their wind chimes.

Senior Tinkerers, Sebastian, Charlotte and Thaddeus, try to identify the musical notes of their wind chimes.

Check out the photo slideshow of Tinkerers on their second collaborative build day.

TSO-G Day 1-2: Tool Training, Brainstorming Enable

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Tinkerers, armed with their tool training the night before, began construction of their brainstormed concepts Monday. Colossal Controllable Character is the theme, and Tinkerers ideas did not disappoint.

One theme is a giant Trojan Horse Dragon, to which camp engineer, Loren, asked, “How do we control this?”

Tinkerers and collaborators start their first day of building by brainstorming and sketching their ideas.

Tinkerers and collaborators start their first day of building by brainstorming and sketching their ideas.

Loren listened and added to the ideas. Does the dragon have movement in the mouth, neck, wings, and should it just be standing.

“A real Trojan Horse had wheels,” senior Tinkerer, Colin, offered, and the team continued to add to their concept and drawings.

Senior Tinkerers test Bob Spaghet’s articulating elbow.

Senior Tinkerers test Bob Spaghet’s articulating elbow.

Another team decided to build a giant stack of pancakes with a butter slide.

“When we make pieces, we can just layer them. We need to make them round,” senior Tinkerer, Tim, said.

The butter cart was quickly built as was Bob Spaget, the wooden character who would be eating the pancakes. Given an articulating elbow and a cut-out hand, Bob Spaget was doling out high fives by late afternoon.

The mech team measures ??? in order to build a size appropriate suit.

The mech team measures ??? in order to build a size appropriate suit.

Other projects include a Mech Man and a giant music box, both of which are in the early stages of construction. As the three-dimensional music box trapezoid was being completed, the excitement and anticipation rang loud and clear.

“Best music box ever,” senior Tinkerer, Charlotte, joyfully said as she clapped her hands together.

Check out the photo slideshow of Tinkerers on their first collaborative build day.

TSO-F Day 7: Families Tour Midway, Help Deconstruct

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Sending a child to an overnight camp that teaches the use of power tools to kids as young as 8-years-old could be a bit worrisome. Yet, as families made their way to the project build sites and were greeted with a child who is full of pride while presenting larger than themselves results, all possible worries were forgotten.

“It’s his first sleep away camp. It’s awesome,” Susan, Jake’s mom said.

Senior Tinkerer, Oliver, demonstrates the roller coaster ride for families during a tour through the fair.

Senior Tinkerer, Oliver, demonstrates the roller coaster ride for families during a tour through the fair.

Tinkerers first took their families on a tour of the seniors’ roller coaster, ticket booth and Strongman Challenge. Next, everyone made their way to the forest where the remaining midway projects were created.

First, the roller coaster slide which became a backwards roller coaster rail was demonstrated, followed by the merry-go-round and then the Pink Flamingo, a spinning zip line ride.

Junior Tinkerer, Jake, pulls himself his team’s ride in preparation for a demo ride backwards down the hill.

Junior Tinkerer, Jake, pulls himself his team’s ride in preparation for a demo ride backwards down the hill.

“There are three swings, and no grown-ups allowed because the last time it broke,” junior Tinkerer, Layla, explained to the adults noting a roughly 300 pound weight limit for the ride.

“This is a zip line, but the twist is that the cart spins,” Finn said as he climbed up the loading platform to demo the ride.

Junior Tinkerer, Sergio, takes a ride down the Pink Flamingo zip line.

Junior Tinkerer, Sergio, takes a ride down the Pink Flamingo zip line.

In the end, parents helped their children deconstruct the creations in preparation for the next round of Tinkerers. As family members helped disassemble the rides, their takeaways were notable.

“All the projects were really cool. The ingenuity is amazing,” Suneel, Jackson’s dad said.

“I just like it because they learn new skills they wouldn’t learn anywhere else,” Tira, Sergio’s aunt added noting the evident teamwork.

Check out the photo slideshow of the last day of Tinkering School Overnight camp.

TSO-F Day 6: Midway Opens, Roller Coaster Completed

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Tinkerers came together in a final push to complete various midway rides and one roller coaster Friday. Multiple tests were performed to ensure the function, load capacity and safety of each ride. Final decorations were also applied to various rides.

The junior zip line team built a platform to load passengers into their Pink Flamingo cart. The junior merry-go-round team added two more swings for a total of three riders. The junior roller coaster-slide team finished one track, and having so much fun with that ride, decided to skip the additional track and slide options.

Junior Tinkerer, Finn, prepares for a test ride on the Pink Flamingo zipline attraction.

Junior Tinkerer, Finn, prepares for a test ride on the Pink Flamingo zipline attraction.

The senior roller coaster team continued testing the loop track and cart. After a few rides in their cart, one wheel block splintered and broke off requiring the reintroduction of the previous week’s cart which was still intact. The Tinkerers added a motorized pulley system to drag the cart out of the bank turn and back up to the start line, and they also decreased the angle of the bank turn to allow for better mobility.

Collaborator, Viggo, and senior Tinkerers, Alex and Reis, work to remove a roller coaster cart with a broken wheel block.

Collaborator, Viggo, and senior Tinkerers, Alex and Reis, work to remove a roller coaster cart with a broken wheel block.

Lastly, the Strongman Challenge was repaired with a sturdier bolt which had been bent and broken by too many Strongman challengers as well as modified to add 5 feet of strength gauge. Final blob fish decorations were added to the game as well.

Senior collaborator, Manny, tests his strength at the Strongman Challenge attraction.

Senior collaborator, Manny, tests his strength at the Strongman Challenge attraction.

Check out the photo slideshow and video of Tinkerers during their fourth and final build day followed by a camp fire to close out the session.

TSO-F Day 5: Building Continues Despite Intermittent Mist

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In a full shift from the sunny skies bestowed on Tinkerers the day before, clouds and intermittent mist covered the build sites, Thursday. Such weather did little to deter the Tinkerers, though, and many teams advanced their projects with great shine.

“This is really fun. I’ve never used power tools before so this is really fun,” junior Tinkerer, Sergio, happily said as he finished cutting out two plywood flamingos using the jigsaw.

Junior Tinkerer, Sergio, marks the outline of the second flamingo he will cut using the jigsaw.

Junior Tinkerer, Sergio, marks the outline of the second flamingo he will cut using the jigsaw.

“We’re calling it the Pink Flamingo,” Trevor added as he painted the hanging zip line cart pink to match the pink pool noodles pieces they installed as a backrest.

The excitement carried over to the nearby roller coaster-slide ride as Jake climbed out of the seat of his team’s cart that he had just ridden rolling backwards on a rope and pulley and down a hill.

“Do it! Do it! It’s so fun,” Jake excitedly said. “You just go to the top and, phume, you let go!”

Junior Tinkerer, Fisher, seats himself for a backward and downward sloping ride his team has built.

Junior Tinkerer, Fisher, seats himself for a backward and downward sloping ride his team has built.

By the end of the day, the merry-go-round team had attached a swing to their hanging merry-go-round that required several people to hoist into the air when a rider was aboard. Modifications will include at least one more swing and possibly a few more pulleys to ease the hoisting weight.

At the senior camp, Tinkerers completed the track and were able to test run the cart and wheels they had modified earlier in the day. With several successful runs down the sloping loop, the seniors will now need to construct a pulley lift system to get their cart back up the hill.

Oliver, Alex, Samuel, and Alex work together to install modified wheel blocks on their roller coaster cart.

Oliver, Alex, Samuel, and Alex work together to install modified wheel blocks on their roller coaster cart.

“I’m so proud of this,” senior Tinkerer, Oliver, said after the first successful test run. He and several others had labored continually throughout the day to perfect the cart wheel blocks.

Finally, in an independent project conceived by senior Tinkerer, Reis, the Strongman Challenge was tested and nearly finished. Tinkerers, it turns out, are too strong for the current model, and Reis will need to extend the strength gauge taller than its current 8 foot.

Check out the photo slideshow and video of Tinkerers during their third build day.

TSO-F Day 4: Beach Day Building, Sports, Cards Pass the Time

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Getting away from the build sites for a day of fun in the sun by the beach can be a welcome respite. Yet, some Tinkerers were still inspired to build with an abundance of driftwood and clay surrounding them at Pescadero Beach Wednesday. Large pieces of wood were also used to build a makeshift volleyball net which doubled as a soccer goal. Others read, buried themselves in sand, explored the adjacent inlet, played at water’s edge, and played cards to pass the time.

Check out the photo slideshow of Tinkerers enjoying a day at the beach.