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TSO - H - Day 6 - Off to the Races

Tinkering School Staff1 Comment

Waking up in the morning, we are excited to finish our projects and get to testing. With a new urgency, teams get to work ironing our the final kinks. Team Nooi talks out how to finish the cart by the end of the day.

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Team Piki adds some finishing touches to their cart.

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Team Kablooi works on a design for a backrest.

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Team Panda decides who will safety test their platform.

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The clouds part and provide the push teams need to get across the finish line.

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Team Piki finishes their break system.

Team Kablooi is ready for a collobator test.

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Frannie steers while Reid brakes.

Frannie steers while Reid brakes.

The test is a success and is approved for camper use.

Team Piki is also almost ready for a test.

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Team Panda's platform passed safety testing. and they now work on setting up their zip line.

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Alice is first to try the completed zip line.

Alice is first to try the completed zip line.

Alice enjoys the ride.

Alice enjoys the ride.

Team Nooi troubleshoots their front steering.

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Team Nooi's cart is assembled, but has some problems with ground clearance.

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With her team's cart finished, Gigi passes time creating weaves from paracord.

With her team's cart finished, Gigi passes time creating weaves from paracord.

With most teams ready, it's time to do full runs down the hill.

Team Piki's test is complete without any injuries to the cart or operators. Time for Team Kablooi to go for a run.

While Team Kablooi didn't make it all the way, they had a good run and enjoyed the ride. Team Nooi had some further complications, and by the time they could attempt a test, it's pretty dark.

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They make it a quarter of the way before calling it quits.

Conversing over our successes and failures of the day, we gather around the fire pit. We share memories from the past week and enjoy each other's company for one last night. Once the fire dies, we walk back to the conference center and watch the videos of the tests from earlier in the day. Tired from a long day, we head off to sleep.

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TSO - H - Day 5 - The Push

Tinkering School StaffComment

We wake up today to promising weather, and ready to get back to work. After breakfast, we hike up the hill to the build site and get into our teams. They discuss ideas and plan for the day.

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Team Nooi decides how to fix a problem with fitting their wheels on their cart.

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Team Piki works on reattaching a reinforced front wheel.

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Team Kablooi is close to having 4 wheels attached!

Ryker attaches Team Kablooi's back wheels.

Ryker attaches Team Kablooi's back wheels.

Team Panda works on raising their platform.

Cooper creates the legs for Team Panda's platform.

Cooper creates the legs for Team Panda's platform.

Alice attaches the frame to the legs.

Alice attaches the frame to the legs.

Team Nooi discusses ideas about their steering system.

Aime explains an idea for connecting the steering system.

Aime explains an idea for connecting the steering system.

Sofia constructs Team Nooi's steering system.

Sofia constructs Team Nooi's steering system.

Izzy hacksaws off extra threaded rod.

Izzy hacksaws off extra threaded rod.

Our projects are starting to resemble carts!

Team Kablooi's cart has taken shape!

Team Kablooi's cart has taken shape!

Trinity gets comfortable on Team Piki's cart.

Trinity gets comfortable on Team Piki's cart.

BEEP BEEP!

BEEP BEEP!

On our way back to the conference center we spotted a fox, and had a staring contest.

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With a hard day behind us, we settle down and enjoy the evening laughing over games and stories. Having achieved much progress, we are on track for some real testing tomorrow!

TSO - H - Day 4 - Beach Please

Tinkering School StaffComment

Today is beach day! We get a welcome break from the project, and head off to Redondo Beach where we unload the cars and walk down to the beach for a relaxing day.

Sand everywhere!

Sand everywhere!

The water is just a bit cold...

Max decides to get buried.

Where's Max?

Where's Max?

Izzy gets in on the action.

Izzy gets in on the action.

Hunter joins in too.

Hunter joins in too.

We move to jumping off ledges.

Ryker V. does a flip.

Ryker V. does a flip.

Some run away from the waves.

Some invite them...

Patrick hops right in.

Patrick hops right in.

Alice bounds right into the deep blue.

Alice bounds right into the deep blue.

We head over to the tide pools and find some critters.

Sofia finds a snail.

Sofia finds a snail.

Brace yourselves!

Brace yourselves!

We build some sand structures.

We build some sand structures.

Portrait of a Collaborator - Max, complete with a sand stache, jams on the mandolin.

Portrait of a Collaborator - Max, complete with a sand stache, jams on the mandolin.

Covered in sand, we leave the beach tired and ready for showers. Tonight we will watch a movie eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate, and tomorrow we will get back to work on our carts and begin testing.

TSO - H - Day 3 - Knives and Animals

Tinkering School StaffComment

To start off another exciting day, a bird flies into the conference center, and so naturally, we try to catch it. Some extreme broom stacking was involved.

The bird was not having it...

We eat breakfast and start the walk up to the build site.

Up at the build site, the teams resume work on their carts and zip line. Team Panda starts work on a platform that the zip line will end up on.

Team Panda gets some help moving a piece of ply-wood for the top of their platform.

Team Panda gets some help moving a piece of ply-wood for the top of their platform.

Team Panda discusses the location of their platform.

Team Panda discusses the location of their platform.

Team Nooi starts on a seat for their cart.

Charlie approves of the seat.

Charlie approves of the seat.

Team Kablooi starts attaching their front steering system and their rear suspension.

Ryker L. tests the suspension by providing pressure.

Ryker L. tests the suspension by providing pressure.

Ian attaches the steering system.

Ian attaches the steering system.

Team Panda works on their ply-wood part of their platform.

Team Panda works on their ply-wood part of their platform.

Break times are used for making swords and play fighting with them.

In the afternoon, we go to visit the animals of Elkus Ranch.

The goats are eager to see us.

The goats are eager to see us.

Charlotte feeds an eager goat.

Charlotte feeds an eager goat.

Strike a llama pose!

Strike a llama pose!

Ryker V. finds a beetle to Sofia's dismay.

Ryker V. finds a beetle to Sofia's dismay.

We are in awe at this trained goat.

We are in awe at this trained goat.

We head back down for dinner, and later, knife training! Campers learn the 5 knife rules before receiving one of their own.

The 5 Rules of Knife Use:

1. Blood bubble.

2. 3 points of contact.

3. Lock your knife.

4. Cut away from yourself.

5. Keep your knife sharp.

Kaitlyn presents how to use a knife safely to campers.

Kaitlyn presents how to use a knife safely to campers.

After knife trainging, some decide to go racing downhill in carts.

Ryker V. is winning!

Ryker V. is winning!

It's neck and neck!

It's neck and neck!

Back at the conference center, we play games and wind down.

Aime and Charlotte test out pens they whittled out of wood with ink.

Aime and Charlotte test out pens they whittled out of wood with ink.

After working today, we are getting ever closer to being able to test our carts when we build next on Thursday. We get ready for lights out, and prepare for beach day tomorrow which will allow us to take our minds off of the project.

TSO - H - Day 2 - Four Teams With Dreams

Tinkering School StaffComment

After a hardy breakfast of pancakes and waffles, we get straight to business starting out with team assignments. Kaitlyn enthusiastically calls for a drumroll and announces the four teams one by one (Piki, Nooi, Kablooi, and Panda).

And the teams are...

Piki - led by Miles - Kiana, Trinity, Hunter, Adam, and Ryker V.

Nooi - led by Max - Izzy, Sophia, Aime, Charlie, and Luke

Kablooi - led by Frannie - Sofia, Ryker L., Gigi, and Ian

Panda - led by Kevin - Cooper, Patrick, Gretchen, Alice, and Charlotte

The first task for each team is to come up with group agreements that they will follow throughout the week. Each team takes a piece of butcher paper and some markers to jot down the ideas.

Team Nooi discusses group agreements.

Team Nooi discusses group agreements.

Once the agreements are signed by all of the team members, it is time to reveal the project. The project this week is to build a cart that can travel, in one go, from the build site all the way to the gate of Elkus Ranch. Note: Team Panda, which collectively is carted out from previous years, choose the option to build a zip line.

The course that the teams will take there carts on.

The course that the teams will take there carts on.

The teams, overloaded with ideas, jump right into planning.

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Up at the build site, teams start to plan and test preliminary ideas. Team Piki opts to go for a 3-wheel design and starts measuring plywood for the wheel box.

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Team Nooi discusses plans for a brakes systems using brake calipers.

Team Nooi discusses plans for a brakes systems using brake calipers.

Team Kablooi starts work on a frame for their carts.

Team Kablooi starts work on a frame for their carts.

Team Panda starts by climbing and scouting out a tree for their zipline.

Team Panda starts by climbing and scouting out a tree for their zipline.

Miles and Adam start cutting ply-wood for their first

Miles and Adam start cutting ply-wood for their first

Gigi talks wheels with shop steward Brendon.

Gigi talks wheels with shop steward Brendon.

Team Kablooi's frame quickly starts to take shape.

Ryker L. constructs a corner of the frame.

Ryker L. constructs a corner of the frame.

Aime and Sophia start work on a steering system.

Aime and Sophia start work on a steering system.

After lunch, campers started work on side projects allowing them to take a break from the main project.

Patrick tries to hollow out a 2x3 to make a canoe.

Patrick tries to hollow out a 2x3 to make a canoe.

By mid-afternoon Team Nooi has a prototype of their steering system before deciding to change from a 3-wheeled design to a 4-wheeled one.

Luke measures legs in order to design seats for the cart.

Luke measures legs in order to design seats for the cart.

Team Panda worked in the morning to make a ladder in order to make it easier to climb into the treehouse, which will be their starting platform for the zip line. They discover that the ladder has some structural issues.

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As a Tinkering School tradition, the lightest team member, Patrick, tests out the structure first.

As a Tinkering School tradition, the lightest team member, Patrick, tests out the structure first.

Gretchen and Patrick check that the knots attaching the ladder to the platform were secure.

Gretchen and Patrick check that the knots attaching the ladder to the platform were secure.

Team Piki already has a suspension and steering system combined into one part.

Hunter shows off a potential way to steer Team Piki's cart.

Hunter shows off a potential way to steer Team Piki's cart.

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Portrait of a tinkerer - Alice hanging out on a swing.

Portrait of a tinkerer - Alice hanging out on a swing.

After much progress from a long day of working, it is time to cleanup. While folding over a tarp, we discover an extremely vibrant frog.

Hungry and tired, we head down for dinner, and afterwards split into evening activities. A notable one was fire bending in which hot coals were placed onto a piece of wood and blown on to burn away sections of wood.

Charlotte sprays some cooking spray into the fire for some explosive excitement.

Charlotte sprays some cooking spray into the fire for some explosive excitement.

Exhausted from the long day, we wind down for the night with some hot chocolate. Tomorrow we will continue working away at our carts and zip line with new found energy.

TSO - H - Day 1 - An Adventure Begins

Tinkering School StaffComment

As campers arrive, they start to explore the site and meet some of the other campers. A table with catalyst kits containing wooden gears, chassis, motors, and more is a central starting point for getting into the tinkering mindset.

Cooper tinkers around with the catalyst kits.

Cooper tinkers around with the catalyst kits.

Gretchen and Sophia test a rotating contraption complete with a blue LED.

Gretchen and Sophia test a rotating contraption complete with a blue LED.

After playing around with the catalyst kits, it is time for a formal introduction. We go around in a circle saying our names and spirit tools. After getting to know each other a bit better, we go over the 3 rules of tinkering school (plus rule number 6 which we don't talk about).

Once the introductions are complete, it is time to walk up to our build site to begin tool training. During tool training, we introduce some of the tools we will be using frequently in our project. We start with clamps which help us hold things together.

Kiana uses some clamps to stack 7 pieces of wood.

Kiana uses some clamps to stack 7 pieces of wood.

A group creates a tower held together only by clamps.

A group creates a tower held together only by clamps.

The next tool we go over is the driver which is used to drill holes and drive screws. Max, one of our collaborators demonstrates how to properly the driver.

Patrick and Alice practice safe driver usage.

Patrick and Alice practice safe driver usage.

The final tool we introduce is the chop saw. Kaitlyn teaches the campers how to use this tool to take a larger piece of wood and cut it to a desired size.

Ian is the first to try the chop saw.

Ian is the first to try the chop saw.

Aime is next to try.

Aime is next to try.

After tool training is completed, we head back down to the conference center for dinner and an evening activity. For the evening activity the campers are challenged to transmit a message from one side of the parking lot to the other without using speech. Teams get thirty minutes to prepare a plan.

With a "times up!", teams migrate out to the parking lot to enact their plans.

A team waits on one side of the parking lot for the message to be transmitted from the opposite side.

A team waits on one side of the parking lot for the message to be transmitted from the opposite side.

With some successes and failures, our evening is complete and it is time to head off to sleep. Tomorrow, in the morning, we will reveal and start work on the project for the week.

TSO - G - Day 6 - The Tourney

Tinkering School StaffComment

Today's our final push; this morning on the hill is our last shot at perfecting our carts before this afternoon's joust. Like many sessions before us, we walk up the hill today with a long list of things to accomplish, and each group has their own challenges ahead of them. That being said, the air about camp this morning is not dark or imposing, but everyone's buzzing with excitement. We go up the hill ready to confront our tasks head on, knowing that the latter half of the day will reward our hard work. 

First things first, the final section of track is lifted into place and affixed. 

First things first, the final section of track is lifted into place and affixed. 

Kablooi dry runs their spinning triangle weapon; Yoel is delighted. 

Kablooi dry runs their spinning triangle weapon; Yoel is delighted. 

Deus ex Machina: Resident shop elf Kaitlyn offers her insight to Piki. 

Deus ex Machina: Resident shop elf Kaitlyn offers her insight to Piki. 

Nooi works on Mjollnir, the hammer Jared's been building all week. 

Nooi works on Mjollnir, the hammer Jared's been building all week. 

Another test of Kabloii's weapon: it does some serious damage to that poor box. 

Another test of Kabloii's weapon: it does some serious damage to that poor box. 

Flipper continues to be the cutest watermelon. 

Flipper continues to be the cutest watermelon. 

Steve is putting up a real competition, though. 

Steve is putting up a real competition, though. 

Thalia and Mia decorate Piki's cart. 

Thalia and Mia decorate Piki's cart. 

The final joust rules. Each team created one +/- 5 point rule that would benefit their cart. 

The final joust rules. Each team created one +/- 5 point rule that would benefit their cart. 

Ben explains to me how the pulley he's adding to Panda's cart technically falls under the +5 point rule created by Kablooi ("Includes functional pulley"). "It does have a function though," he says with a sly smile, "it gives us five points!." 

Ben explains to me how the pulley he's adding to Panda's cart technically falls under the +5 point rule created by Kablooi ("Includes functional pulley"). "It does have a function though," he says with a sly smile, "it gives us five points!." 

The rules committee eventually decides that the pulley needs a function other than conferring a point bonus to count for said bonus. 

The rules committee eventually decides that the pulley needs a function other than conferring a point bonus to count for said bonus. 

Just before we eat lunch, we find a very large banana slug. Samir licks it to see what happens!

Just before we eat lunch, we find a very large banana slug. Samir licks it to see what happens!

Lunch today marks the deadline for finishing our carts, and each group looks to be in great shape for the afternoon's festivities. We put down our tools and break for a quick meal.

Afterwards, we gather the group to have a conversation about the bullying behavior that has put a cloud over this week. Tinkering School is committed to being a safe place for everyone, and as a staff we believe it is paramount that everyone feels comfortable and included. In addition to that, this is a failure-positive environment where we believe that everyone can grow and improve. Today we focused on healing and learning from this experience. 

As we move into the afternoon, the Master of Ceremonies makes her entrance. 

Caroline, as the only member of the staff without a horse in this race — err, cart in the joust — is made the arbiter of the competition. 

We interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcast for a message from Ben: "Twas almost time for the joust to begin; the leaves rustle intently, anticipating the coming battle. Ready for use, giants snore under their tarps and overhangs, dreaming of victory, lusting for blood."

Thanks Ben. Now, back to our regular programming. 

Panda and Kablooi line up their carts for the first tilt. In the end, Panda derails Kablooi, but loses on a technicality. 

Panda and Kablooi line up their carts for the first tilt. In the end, Panda derails Kablooi, but loses on a technicality. 

Panda estimates that their cart accelerates to a top speed of 15 miles per hour.

Panda estimates that their cart accelerates to a top speed of 15 miles per hour.

The Master of Ceremonies examines Piki's cart. 

The Master of Ceremonies examines Piki's cart. 

Nooi sets up their cart. 

Nooi sets up their cart. 

The aftermath of a Piki-Nooi collision.  

A Panda-Piki collision. 

Piki's watermelon, though, excapes unscathed. 

Piki's watermelon, though, excapes unscathed. 

Kablooi and Nooi mid collision. 

Panda and Nooi brace for impact in the final joust. 

Panda and Nooi brace for impact in the final joust. 

A Panda-Nooi collision. 

We assure you that these are the mortal remains of melons, not of human camp members.  

As a finale Elijah hurls our final melon off the top of the windmill. 

After dinner on Friday, it's tradition here at Overnight Camp  to build a bonfire out of the wood scraps we've made throughout the session and burn them in recognition of our hard work. 

Caroline takes off her Master of Ceremonies hat, and replaces it with her Camp Captain hat to make an impressively tall fire—pardon me, unicorn. 

Caroline takes off her Master of Ceremonies hat, and replaces it with her Camp Captain hat to make an impressively tall fire—pardon me, unicorn. 

Sitting around the fire we share stories about each other, and appreciate the awesome things everyone did throughout the week. 

Sitting around the fire we share stories about each other, and appreciate the awesome things everyone did throughout the week. 

As the fire burns down it's time to have some fun with it. First we burn one of the water jugs we took to the beach. It's made of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which, when burned, only produces water and Carbon Dioxide as products. That means we can burn it without worrying about harmful additives in the plastic — plus, it makes a really fascinating noise as it burns. 

After that we take turns spraying cooking oil into the fire. Because the cans are designed for use in the kitchen around lots of heat, we don't need to worry about them around the fire. If you get the angle right you can spray the oil in the fire and create a fireball in the palm of your hand (it's not actually burning in your palm). 

And that's it! Carts have been built, carts have been smashed, carts have been repaired, we smashed an additional melon, and we had a fire. We'll see you tomorrow (or, as Mia wants me to write it: wheel see you tomorrow) for some more excellent cart mashing, and we'll see (or, as Mia again amends me: wheel see) who the ultimate winner is.

TSO - G - Day 5 - We're Well on Track

Tinkering School Staff1 Comment

Today has been jam-packed with a ton of great building, but before we get into that we have a quick update from the tail end of Wednesday night. 

Last night's crawdad fishing expedition had an impressive yield, and the group decided - with Cruise Director Daniel's blessing - to try cooking their catch. In order to do so, we began with a discussion of the nature of this activity. Making sure to acknowledge that these animals are giving their lives for our benefit, we had the group agree that any reveling in the death of another being would put an end to the activity. 

Afterwards, we laid our crustaceans to rest back at the creek.

This morning we slept in a bit, having tired ourselves out thoroughly with all the hard work that happened yesterday. We got up to the site, and everyone jumped right back into their projects. 

Dylan and Caroline take stock of the track situation. 

Dylan and Caroline take stock of the track situation. 

Piki tries out their new weapon. The idea is that as the opposing cart flies by, the L-shaped arm gets struck, and the other end swings about into their adversary.

Panda installs a lance in the front of their cart. 

Panda installs a lance in the front of their cart. 

Dylan and Katelin install the next section of track. 

Dylan and Katelin install the next section of track. 

All of a sudden, two carts meet on the track for the first time! Piki and Kablooi run their carts by each other to test clearances.

All of a sudden, two carts meet on the track for the first time! Piki and Kablooi run their carts by each other to test clearances.

Kablooi's weapon is developing well; the triangle on the front of their cart gets spun up to speed by the cord wrapped around it as it accelerates. 

Kablooi's weapon is developing well; the triangle on the front of their cart gets spun up to speed by the cord wrapped around it as it accelerates. 

Katelin works on Panda's melon netting.

Katelin works on Panda's melon netting.

Lindsey takes a break to whittle. 

Lindsey takes a break to whittle. 

Lily and Emma weave Nooi's metal cage that will surround their melon. 

Lily and Emma weave Nooi's metal cage that will surround their melon. 

It doubles as a xylophone. 

It doubles as a xylophone. 

Meet Panda's melon, Flipper. 

Meet Panda's melon, Flipper. 

Panda's lance seems quite destructive. 

Panda's lance seems quite destructive. 

Kablooi tests their rotating weapon. 

Kablooi tests their rotating weapon. 

Ben tags up the back of Panda's cart. 

Ben tags up the back of Panda's cart. 

Nooi's hammer is mounted to their cart, and is prepared to smash other carts. 

Nooi's hammer is mounted to their cart, and is prepared to smash other carts. 

Kavin's been working on a hammer as well!

Kavin's been working on a hammer as well!

We end the day with a s'more casserole made with animal crackers. Yum!

The plan for tomorrow is to finish the track in a morning sprint, and then have our joust in the afternoon. All four groups look to be in great shape to put up a fierce competition!

TSO - G - Day 4 - A Well Deserved Break

Tinkering School StaffComment

Today we went down the coast a ways to Pescadero State Beach for a few hours to get away from our projects and hang out together. Some of us spent the day reading and napping at base camp, and others went on a grand adventure down the beach. 

An interesting rock formation protected base camp for this week's beach excursion from the wind.

An interesting rock formation protected base camp for this week's beach excursion from the wind.

Pescadero is one of the longer beaches on our section of the California coastline, so a group hiked down the beach until they came across a sweet cave in the cliffside. 

Kavin climbs up the side of the cave. 

Kavin climbs up the side of the cave. 

Evan inspects the cave wall. 

Evan inspects the cave wall. 

In keeping with our wildlife-filled week, the group spots a pod of dolphins just off the coast.

Yoel, Carles, and Zach point out a dolphin in the surf. 

Yoel, Carles, and Zach point out a dolphin in the surf. 

They also find a seal!

They also find a seal!

Our fearless explorers continue down the beach, finding a drainage pipe larger than any of them.

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A Daniel for scale.

A Daniel for scale.

Having decided that they've gone far enough, the group heads back to base camp, and we all head back to camp.

Their David Hasselhoff impression is coming along well. 

Their David Hasselhoff impression is coming along well. 

We return from the beach, and everyone takes a quick shower. Before dinner some of us go down to the creek to fish for crawdads.

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Ben uses his improvised line to bait crawdads.

Ben uses his improvised line to bait crawdads.

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Tomorrow we're back to work, and in the afternoon we'll test out our carts!

TSO - G - Day 3 - A Tuesday on the Tilts

Tinkering School Staff1 Comment

Yesterday's enthusiasm spilled over into this morning, and everyone's excited to get back to work. Up on the hill the teams start seeing how their carts fit on the tracks.

Looks like Nooi's cart is gliding along!

Looks like Nooi's cart is gliding along!

The front wheel of Panda's boat - err, cart - seems to be rubbing on the rail. Their solution is to recess their wheel mounting into the hull (Read: chassis).

The front wheel of Panda's boat - err, cart - seems to be rubbing on the rail. Their solution is to recess their wheel mounting into the hull (Read: chassis).

Kablooi works on their fidget spinner inspired weapon, which will rotate atop their cart and knock their opponents off the track. 

Kablooi works on their fidget spinner inspired weapon, which will rotate atop their cart and knock their opponents off the track. 

Truman tightens the wheels for Piki's undercarriage. 

Truman tightens the wheels for Piki's undercarriage. 

Midway through the day a new rule throws a wrench into many groups' plans. Going forward, no team's watermelon may be within six inches of any wood. This means that the teams who've built tank-like carts will need to reconisder the materials they use to shield their melons. 

Caroline explains the rules update to the teams. 

Caroline explains the rules update to the teams. 

Kevin and Peam talk over Kablooi's cart design. 

Kevin and Peam talk over Kablooi's cart design. 

Piki decides whether they can use their bedspring equipped foam shield under the new rules. 

Piki decides whether they can use their bedspring equipped foam shield under the new rules. 

With Sayuri's help, Emma drills holes in a section of pipe, from which Nooi will suspend their melon. 

With Sayuri's help, Emma drills holes in a section of pipe, from which Nooi will suspend their melon. 

After lunch we head down the hill a ways to see the ranch animals in a visit organized by Cruise Director Daniel. 

Jared, Dylan and Daniel bring the compost bin down to the barn to feed the animals. 

Jared, Dylan and Daniel bring the compost bin down to the barn to feed the animals. 

Following our excursion, we spend the rest of the afternoon working on our track and carts. Many of the chassis now roll on the track, and the groups tune them and begin refining their weapons. 

Katelin and Sage weave a basket for Panda's melon in order to comply with the six inch rule. 

Katelin and Sage weave a basket for Panda's melon in order to comply with the six inch rule. 

In a moment of convergent evolution, Audrey creates a similar nest for Kablooi's cart. 

In a moment of convergent evolution, Audrey creates a similar nest for Kablooi's cart. 

Piki's plan is to cantilever their melon off the back of their cart, hoping that it will be well out of the way of inbound attacks. Carey works on the poles which will suspend it. 

Piki's plan is to cantilever their melon off the back of their cart, hoping that it will be well out of the way of inbound attacks. Carey works on the poles which will suspend it. 

Jared shows off the hammer he's been working on by puncturing various pieces of wood. 

Caroline is impressed.

Caroline is impressed.

A small team has been working this afternoon on elevating the track so that it can be leveled in preparation for Thursday's joust. 

Evan handsaws the supports under the track so that they're flush. 

Evan handsaws the supports under the track so that they're flush. 

This week we celebrate Katelin's 16th birthday with a cake baked by our fabulous camp steward, Tamee!

After dinner Caroline goes over the five rules of knife safety, and equip everyone with a pocket knife.

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Tomorrow we'll take a break from building and head to the beach for a little R&R. On Thursday, we're back to building in order to test our carts in the afternoon!

Session G - Day 2 - Joust Another Ordinary Day

Tinkering School Staff1 Comment

Monday morning at Overnight camp is an exciting time; everyone's well-rested and ready to learn what the week's project is. Our Engineer Kaitlyn gathers everyone after breakfast for a meeting to discuss our theme. 

Our project this week is Cart Jousting, which means each group will build a cart with the purpose of unseating their opponents' carts. All the groups will contribute to the track on which the carts will run. 

Kaitlyn's project reveals have been described as "theatrical" in the past, and this was certainly not an exception. 

Kaitlyn's project reveals have been described as "theatrical" in the past, and this was certainly not an exception. 

The rules for this week's joust were created by all four groups together. Each cart will carry a watermelon, which scores extra points for the team's adversary if it's broken. 

The groups - named in classic Tinkering School fashion Piki, Nooi, Kablooi, and Panda - split up and discuss their plans. Various designs emerge for the carts, along with a number of ideas for weapons. The consensus seems to be that the carts should deflect as much of an incoming attack as possible, while still delivering enough of a blow to knock the opponent off the track. 

Up on the hill Kaitlyn, our intrepid Engineer, Carles, our awesome Catalonian friend, and Gever, our resident founder and keeper of secrets, meet to discuss the best way to build a track that allows two carts to be accelerated and then hurled at each other. 

Up on the hill Kaitlyn, our intrepid Engineer, Carles, our awesome Catalonian friend, and Gever, our resident founder and keeper of secrets, meet to discuss the best way to build a track that allows two carts to be accelerated and then hurled at each other. 

Our first order of business is to distribute our wheels. In accordance with Rule 3 we hold a RoShamBo tournament to determine the order in which the groups get to choose wheels. Caroline stands in for the Kablooi team, which spent some extra time down the hill designing their cart. In the end, Nooi chooses first, followed by Panda, Kablooi and Piki.

Nooi discusses which wheels will work the best for their design. Panda waits patiently in line behind them. 

Nooi discusses which wheels will work the best for their design. Panda waits patiently in line behind them. 

With the wheels dispersed, the groups get down to business building their carts, defenses and weaponry. 

Lily and Emma work on cutting plywood for Nooi's cart. 

Lily and Emma work on cutting plywood for Nooi's cart. 

Piki discusses how to build a triangular frame for the base of their cart.

Piki discusses how to build a triangular frame for the base of their cart.

Panda has set up camp on the windmill, and begins work on their boat-shaped cart body. 

Panda has set up camp on the windmill, and begins work on their boat-shaped cart body. 

Sayuri helps Nooi cut their plywood.

Sayuri helps Nooi cut their plywood.

Some groups have focused on building their armament, the thought being that aggression on the lists will score the most points.

Samir brandishes Kablooi's fearsome mace. They hope to smash their opponent's armor to earn a higher score. 

Samir brandishes Kablooi's fearsome mace. They hope to smash their opponent's armor to earn a higher score. 

Other teams focus on their defenses, thinking that if they can prevent the bulk of the damage to their cart, they'll emerge victorious. 

Piki examines their bedspring-covered cart body. Their plan is to use the springs to deflect incoming weaponry.

Piki examines their bedspring-covered cart body. Their plan is to use the springs to deflect incoming weaponry.

Nooi builds a hatch in the side of their cart to insert the watermelon. The rigid walls should protect the precious cargo within. 

Nooi builds a hatch in the side of their cart to insert the watermelon. The rigid walls should protect the precious cargo within. 

As lunch approaches we greet Daniel, one of our collaborators who just returned from his brother's wedding!

Daniel's our Cruise Director, meaning he's in charge of all the fun, non-building things that happen at camp. Caught off-guard by the camera, he hides from the paparazzi. 

Daniel's our Cruise Director, meaning he's in charge of all the fun, non-building things that happen at camp. Caught off-guard by the camera, he hides from the paparazzi. 

After lunch, Caroline pulls a few people from each team to work on the track sections. 

The track group works hard to make 32 feet of track, which will be raised and leveled tomorrow. Two rails run the length of the track, which serve as a guide for both carts. 

The track group works hard to make 32 feet of track, which will be raised and leveled tomorrow. Two rails run the length of the track, which serve as a guide for both carts. 

Piki, Nooi, Kablooi, and Panda all continue work on their carts through the afternoon. 

Yoel watches as Ben cuts out the base of their boat-cart. 

Yoel watches as Ben cuts out the base of their boat-cart. 

Lily cuts precise angles for Nooi's triangular prism. 

Lily cuts precise angles for Nooi's triangular prism. 

As the afternoon wears on, and our building winds down, we come across a few of our neighbors and offer them a token of friendship.

Sage feeds our chipmunk friend. 

Sage feeds our chipmunk friend. 

After dinner, Caroline breaks out our telescope to see what we can see. 

Katelin takes a look across the canyon.

Katelin takes a look across the canyon.

Something's not right here...

Something's not right here...

All four groups have made considerable progress today, and the rail is on track to be used for practice tilts later this week. Everyone's excited for another full day of building tomorrow as they drift out of the Conference Center and off to bed. 

Session G - Day 1 - And Then There Were Twenty

Tinkering School Staff2 Comments

After the campers arrive and get settled into their yurts, we circle up to begin our session, where everyone introduces themselves with their name, their spirit tool and pronouns. Following that, we go over the three rules (plus the secret sixth rule) of Tinkering School.

Lily remembers our fruit-flavored Rule 2 from last year, and shares with the group.                                                                                                                                     

Lily remembers our fruit-flavored Rule 2 from last year, and shares with the group.                                                                                                                                     

This summer we've been trying out a relic of past summers - the elusive sixth rule of Tinkering School. The purpose of rule six is to avoid any unpleasant topics; for example, regaling the table over dinner with a story of your latest injury might not be appetizing to everyone. In such a case, invoking rule six should put a stop to all conversation until a better time can be found. 

This summer we've been trying out a relic of past summers - the elusive sixth rule of Tinkering School. The purpose of rule six is to avoid any unpleasant topics; for example, regaling the table over dinner with a story of your latest injury might not be appetizing to everyone. In such a case, invoking rule six should put a stop to all conversation until a better time can be found. 

After going over the rules and expectations of camp, we head up the hill to our build site for Tool Training. 

The first stop in Tool Training is the chopsaw, where Kaitlyn shows the group how to turn a large piece of wood into a smaller one. 

Mia takes a turn on the chopsaw under the supervision of Collaborators Kaitlyn and Carles.

Mia takes a turn on the chopsaw under the supervision of Collaborators Kaitlyn and Carles.

Next comes clamp training. Kevin demonstrates how an orange "twisty clamp" can be used to hold something while working on it. 

As the group learns, our blue "squeezy clamps" trade the strength of their orange counterparts for speed. They are great for holding something in place quickly, but won't generate the same amount of grippiness that you would get from a "twisty clamp."

As the group learns, our blue "squeezy clamps" trade the strength of their orange counterparts for speed. They are great for holding something in place quickly, but won't generate the same amount of grippiness that you would get from a "twisty clamp."

Finally, the campers learn to use the tool that will spend the most time in their hands - the driver. The vast majority of this week will be spent using screws to fasten our projects together, so we make sure to spend a lot of time mastering the driver's intricacies. 

Sayuri walks the group through the settings on the driver, and explains how to make a hole, put a screw in, and how to remove it. 

Sayuri walks the group through the settings on the driver, and explains how to make a hole, put a screw in, and how to remove it. 

Over at drill practice, Caroline shows how to make a strong screw joint. Hint - The key is in the triangles. 

Over at drill practice, Caroline shows how to make a strong screw joint. Hint - The key is in the triangles. 

To conclude our training, Caroline walks us through the local flora. Poison Oak and Hemlock should be avoided, while blackberries are a great snack on your way up the hill. 

Caroline uses a sprig of Poison Oak to emphatically discourage anyone from touching it. 

Caroline uses a sprig of Poison Oak to emphatically discourage anyone from touching it. 

Having finished Tool Training, we head down the hill for dinner. Afterwards, Caroline and Kaitlyn demonstrate what to do if you see the mountain lion that's been hanging around our neighborhood. Parents, worry not, as the cat hasn't been seen in over a week, and the large number of humans living at camp has moved its migration path. 

Session E - Day 13 - Fin

Tinkering School Staff1 Comment

So we made it. It's day 13. Our last day together, and it's quite bittersweet; we have all become a pretty tightly knit group. It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know all of these kids-turned-tinkerers, and we hope to see them again. Seriously. This two week session would have much more frustrating if it wasn't for this group of incredibly creative, intelligent, intuitive, and individualistic kids. We really do mean that.

Okay, we'll dry our tears now. Aside from really spending quality time with the kids today, we can't say that it was a relaxing day. We were hard at work from morning until evening, and we did not stop cranking out kinks until all the tinkerers felt everything was up to snuff. It was awesome.

Starting this morning at 10am, Braden and Savan tackled the complex problem of correctly engineering the wheel bearings so that the driveshaft had enough space to run freely, and not rub on anything.

In the mean time, Isabella sorted five bins of washers to find the correct size. Unfortunately, she was not informed that we had run out yesterday...she was sad :(

TSO E-W2 - Day 13 Friday - 3.jpg

Over at the hydropower team, Frannie and Eisen started building a sturdy table for the water hammer to smash down on, so that they could crush wax, almonds, and other rocks. (Also check out how rad Eisen looks)

At the windmill team, preparations had started so that they could lift up the blades and attach them to the windmill! Unfortunately this included making a sad sacrifice. Bob, the weird eyed, creepy smile'd, orange on a toothpick looking man had to be offed. 

Yoel pictured doing the deed.

Yoel pictured doing the deed.

And right before all of the building action really starts, Micha and Laila remind us that it is always okay to take a rock smashing break.

Around 11am, every team kicked into high gear and really started working like crazy. For the cart team, this meant testing the new shaft retainment system, in preparation for the power source.

For the waterwheel team, this meant filtering the nasty, waxy, sappy, and dirty water, rewaxing the water bucket, and wiring up the waterwheel in hopes of powering the LED light.

But of course, these tasks will not be completed without a quick and serious meeting with Kaitlyn about triple serious, serious business.

Around lunch the cart team was facing a problem that they had been coming across every time they had tested their propulsion system. Every time that they installed their bearing on the seat, the shafts would be way too far apart. That meant that the bearing casings would rub against the shafts, and the propulsion system would not run smoothy at all. 

Pictured: Morgan pondering existence.

Pictured: Morgan pondering existence.

But then right around 12:15, something amazing happened...

...yes!! They finally got their blades up. But there was just one problem...

Pictured: Jack and Liora realizing the existential problem. 

Pictured: Jack and Liora realizing the existential problem. 

...there was no wind today.

But! Caroline and Liora carried on bracing the new awesome looking windmill, and did an interpretive dance to see if they could somehow harness the wind (that's not true). 

After the beautiful new windmill had been raised, we reached a point in the day where almost all of the project had come to some form of completion. So, some tinkerers started up some good and challenging side projects including, building precise furniture, building a gravity powered go kart with suspension, and cracking open odd looking rocks to see if they contained any minerals for analization.

Pictured: Ben drilling holes for the top hat of his coilover suspension.

Pictured: Ben drilling holes for the top hat of his coilover suspension.

Max (who really really loves all things cars), admires Ben's suspension design. And is very very happy with it (I mean look at his face). 

Anyway, back to the projects. Look at those windmill blades. I mean wow.

And then Caroline made a sign. Thus, "The Wind Shack" was born. 

Back at the cart, they struggle really became real. Like for real. The bearings now fit perfectly, but the retainers, were still rubbing. It was time for a team decision of whether they run the risk of the seat falling out of place, or they try to redesign the retaining system. 

Meanwhile at the hydropower team, some extremely top secret serious classified testing was going down. 

And on the side, Ben and Max had successfully created a cart with rear suspension. So awesome.

Features rear coil springs that do in fact absorb shock.

Features rear coil springs that do in fact absorb shock.

Liora had also made something beautiful out of wood shavings.

And Jack made a friend.

Finally, to end such a day, the air gave us a very very special treat.

Pictured: Caroline realizes why she poured her heart and soul into the project.

Pictured: Caroline realizes why she poured her heart and soul into the project.

And that treat was wind. Enough wind to make our windmill spin. 

And after we came down from the shop, after a very yummy pizza dinner, we all gathered around a fire for our last night as a group. It was warming, sad, funny, beautiful, and very Tinkering School. We even lit a water jug on fire. I'm going to sign off now, but please enjoy the photos from our last night together. And goodbye for now. 

Long story short, we will miss your kids. They are awesome. Thank you for sending them. Goodbye for now!

Session E - Day 12 - The Exhaustion Is Real

Tinkering School Staff1 Comment

It is day 12 here at Tinkering School, and we can all officially say that these projects are really starting to come together. Every tinkerer has contributed an amazing amount of mind power, hard thinking, problem solving, and heavy lifting. We have been explaining to some of the burnt out kiddos that using these powerful tools, and lifting all of this heavy wood, and solving problems all day long.

Let's check out their projects!

The hydropower team has successfully completed a water hammer built out of foraged materials and held together by lashing, a plumbed testing pool including a water pump and filter, and a waterwheel, powered by the water hammer that spins a motor that power an LED light. Wow. And they are most certainly feeling the exhaustion effects of working that hard.

Frannie and Isabella building the waterwheel for the hydropower team.

Frannie and Isabella building the waterwheel for the hydropower team.

Frannie heads off to the tablesaw to cut new pieces for the waterwheel.

Frannie heads off to the tablesaw to cut new pieces for the waterwheel.

The potential energy team has successfully built a cart that can roll under it's own power/passenger, rolls smoothly with it's custom skateboard wheel bearings, and drives in a very straight line! This team's main challenge is with their new propulsion system. Unlike the old version where a weight is dropped to pull the rope/driveshaft attached to the axle, the driveshaft is connected to the seat, which when weight is added, the seat drops down two bearing'd shafts to propel the car forward. Crazy right?

Michaela, Madelyn, and Morgan assemble the right propulsion bearing.

Michaela, Madelyn, and Morgan assemble the right propulsion bearing.

Silhouette of a tinkerer.

Silhouette of a tinkerer.

The windmill team spent their day undoing some of the construction they had done yesterday that had broken over night, and redoing the construction so that it would be lighter, yet more rugged. This included taking off the wooden windmill blades, and remaking them out of cloth. 

Carles, Onion, Gus, Diego, Liora, and Matthew fasten the cloth to the blade shafts.

Carles, Onion, Gus, Diego, Liora, and Matthew fasten the cloth to the blade shafts.

Some of the side projects of the day to give our minds a rest included building suspension for a cart...

...building a sailboat...

...dance offs...

...and cart riding...

To sum it all up, today was awesome. And as we come down to our final day (and final blog post sad sad sad), the work is crazy, but we are still going. Stay tuned for our FINAL FULL BUILD DAY tomorrow. Goodnight!

Session E - Day 11 - Literally, Just Let Me Sleep

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After a crazy fun beach evening, and a late night drive home, everyone had a bit of a struggle getting up out of bed this morning. But even though the exhaustion level was through the roof, everyone was still up for waffles, eggs, bacon (lots of bacon), and bagel, courtesy of our friend Daniel.

Before heading up to the build site to start another day of the grind, we took a ukelele, guitar, and card games break, just to get our energy levels up. But after about half an hour of chill time, we moseyed on up to the shop, and were greeted with a sight of our beautiful windmill.

Ahhhh. What a handsome structure. A structure that now features a 4 foot couch, and a yellow flag. But we think the couch has been the best upgrade so far.

After our brief windmill sight seeing break, our resident flannel wearer, Jack, opened up the shop, and we got ready to build.

Team potential energy started the morning off with a meeting on the new propulsion design, which instead of dropping a weight to pull the axle forward, the seat with the driver in it will now drop down two pole similarly to an elevator shaft, which will propel the cart forward via the rear wheels.

The windmill team started their morning with a meeting on the windmill blade design. They realized that in order to build an efficient energy source, they would have to feather the blades at the correct angle to generate maximum electricity.

And finally the hydropower team met about their final steps as they are so close to finishing their water hammer! 

Now, with plans in place, all the teams kicked into gear and started work!

Micha shows us how it's done on the chopsaw.

Micha shows us how it's done on the chopsaw.

Gever shows Frannie how it's done on the table saw. (check out that wheel jig!)

Gever shows Frannie how it's done on the table saw. (check out that wheel jig!)

Our newest JC, Owen, shows us how to successfully look gq in safety glasses.

Our newest JC, Owen, shows us how to successfully look gq in safety glasses.

Aside from meetings, some cool visual plans were drawn out as well!

The windmill team's main focus of today was getting the blades setup for mounting. This included attaching the bracing to the main shafts, and feathering the blades.

Potato (Laila) and Onion bracing the blade shafts.

Potato (Laila) and Onion bracing the blade shafts.

The hydropower team worked all morning to finalize the lashing on their foraged wood water hammer, and finally, after lashing, relashing, waxing, rewaxing, balancing and rebalancing, the water hammer filled up with water, dumped the water into the testing pool, and smashed three almonds! That's one big step for a hand built water hammer, and one small step towards almond butter.

And right here folks, this is when everyone really started to crash. Staff included. Many naps were had on the couch in the windmill, and many small side projects were created that required just enough energy to be relaxing, as well as fun.

Gus reads in the windmill.

Gus reads in the windmill.

Madelyn, after hours and hours of work under the hot sun, finally decides to sit back and admire her achievement of a double action bearing.

Madelyn, after hours and hours of work under the hot sun, finally decides to sit back and admire her achievement of a double action bearing.

It got very late in the day, very fast, and after a while, people started falling asleep left and right as a result of the late beach night. So two collaborators walked a group of tinkerers back down to the conference center and yurts for rest, water, and naps. And any member of staff will tell you, there was a brief moment where we were convinced that 13 campers went missing, but it was later discovered that they were just under piles of blankets, fast asleep. 

Tomorrow, there will be another day of hard work, with hopefully regenerated tinkerers and staff so we can flush out that remaining kinks of the projects and then have some time to sit back and admire our work. Stay tuned for more!

Session E - Day 10 - All Night Long (Kind of)

Tinkering School Staff2 Comments

SUPER QUICK PROJECT UPDATE:

The cart team got their cart rolling!

The water team built a testing pool!

Aaaaaaand, last but certainly not least, the windmill team built a working prototype of their blades!

 

So after a long morning / afternoon of building, we all piled into vans and headed off to the beach for the night to have a cookout and bonfire. Unfortunately, our documentarian forgot his documentator, so he had to use a backup, which is about 20x less good. Also, the backup documentator ran out of storage.

We chose to go to Ocean Beach in San Francisco as it is the only legal beach in this part of California that allows bonfires.

As soon as we arrived at the beach, we immediately discovered some sand dunes that provided a great platform for jumping.

Which very quickly turned into jumping over other campers!

Of course, jumping and landing in sand can sometimes result in a sandy face. 

Pictured: Morgan flashin' his grill. 

Pictured: Morgan flashin' his grill. 

After some jumping, many games of "king of the hill", some pesky sand making it's way into some eyes, mouths, noses, and ears, we decided to call it, and head back to a newly built fire for make-your-own-potato-thing, brought to us by our new provisioner, Tamee! (Agent P was called out in the field for an undercover mission).

For the evening, we hired an alien to cook us dinner. Surprisingly, he was really nice! And apparently every alien's favorite song is Oh Yeah by Yello (the Ferris Bueller's Day Off song).

After we had our dinner and dessert, we huddled around the fire in search of warmth and good company, just as Alien Chef signaled to the mothership to beam him up.

After about an hour of huddling and talking, the ukelele was busted out, and a group rendition of All Star by Smash Mouth was played.

And to wrap it all up, after a very very fun evening, we packed up, and hit the road at approximately 10:30. Sorry parents.

The building continues tomorrow! Hopefully we're not too tired because as we approach the end of our time together, we're gonna try and really really crank out the final kinks in all the projects, but I can guarantee that we are all feeling confident that we will finish on time, and have a great story to tell by the end.

Session E - Day 9 - Rock n' Roll

Tinkering School Staff1 Comment

 

 

After a weekend of rest, our tinkerers are back up at the shop for our second week of build. Today was one of those days where we had to push and hustle in order to get our prototypes working and start figuring out the parts that work and parts that need some improvement. 

The creek civilization team has moved up from the creek and is now working on a water hammer for making M&M (or Trail Mix) butter along with a 4x4x1 pool for their boats to drift in. The wind power team is creating a very complicated yet beautiful blade attachment for their windmill and getting a fair amount of decoration done. The potential energy team has finally managed to get their cart rolling and are starting to experiment with ways of harvesting the energy and using it.

This morning we all woke up to Savan making her 'If you keep picking out the M&M's out of the Trail Mix, you will be severely tickled!' face, along with her very important memo on the Trail Mix box.

This morning we all woke up to Savan making her 'If you keep picking out the M&M's out of the Trail Mix, you will be severely tickled!' face, along with her very important memo on the Trail Mix box.

 
Before we all head up the hill, Eisen gets ready for the day by setting up his hand-made figures up for a photoshoot of the master and the grasshopper.

Before we all head up the hill, Eisen gets ready for the day by setting up his hand-made figures up for a photoshoot of the master and the grasshopper.

 
Tinkerers Madelyn, Johnny and Morgan from team potential energy are working through the first challenge of the week, the creation of a frictionless axel support for their cart.

Tinkerers Madelyn, Johnny and Morgan from team potential energy are working through the first challenge of the week, the creation of a frictionless axel support for their cart.

 
Our JC Yoel asking the question most of the windmill team has been thinking about through the weekend: 'Now that we have a very tall building, how do we make it into a windmill?' 

Our JC Yoel asking the question most of the windmill team has been thinking about through the weekend: 'Now that we have a very tall building, how do we make it into a windmill?' 

 
In order to answer Yoel's question, the windmill team has gathered in a morning design session. They are getting engineering advice from Gever on how to proceed with their project and it seems like they might need to work with a fair amount of precise bits and detailed measurements.

In order to answer Yoel's question, the windmill team has gathered in a morning design session. They are getting engineering advice from Gever on how to proceed with their project and it seems like they might need to work with a fair amount of precise bits and detailed measurements.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Braden.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Braden.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Onion.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Onion.

 
Portrait of a dish rag: Mr. Clean.

Portrait of a dish rag: Mr. Clean.

Pictured (left to right): Gever, Matthew and Diego working on connecting the blades of the windmill to the hub. As it turns out, stabilizing round objects is harder than stabilizing flat objects.

Pictured (left to right): Gever, Matthew and Diego working on connecting the blades of the windmill to the hub. As it turns out, stabilizing round objects is harder than stabilizing flat objects.

 
Victoria and Audrey from the water power team trying to figure out how to make their water hammer bucket waterproof. They realized that, although duct tape might seem like a great solution for everything, closing the gaps between their pieces of plywood might be a better idea.

Victoria and Audrey from the water power team trying to figure out how to make their water hammer bucket waterproof. They realized that, although duct tape might seem like a great solution for everything, closing the gaps between their pieces of plywood might be a better idea.

Team potential energy discussing how to mount their frictionless wheel bearings made with two skateboard wheels. 

Team potential energy discussing how to mount their frictionless wheel bearings made with two skateboard wheels. 

 
Portrait of a tinkerer: Morgan, keeping his teeth squeaky clean.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Morgan, keeping his teeth squeaky clean.

 

The windmill team takes a break as they discover a string with a piece of wood attached and use their creativity and windmill window to create a guillotine. 

Laila is the first of the team to be sacrificed to the wind gods.

Laila is the first of the team to be sacrificed to the wind gods.

Next up is Diego who seems surprisingly happy to be sacrificed for his project.

Next up is Diego who seems surprisingly happy to be sacrificed for his project.

 
Matthew pictured ready to catch his teammate Gus' head.

Matthew pictured ready to catch his teammate Gus' head.

Tinkerers Cyrus and Eisen reporting for duty during their well-deserved break.

Tinkerers Cyrus and Eisen reporting for duty during their well-deserved break.

 
The rest of the water power team watches carefully as Micha masters the art of chiseling. They will use the slot created to lash in a rock that will create the hammer part of their water hammer.  

The rest of the water power team watches carefully as Micha masters the art of chiseling. They will use the slot created to lash in a rock that will create the hammer part of their water hammer.  

Portrait of the master and the grasshopper. 

Portrait of the master and the grasshopper. 

 
Portrait of our awesome volunteer Carles.

Portrait of our awesome volunteer Carles.

 
Portait of a tinkerer: Johnny.

Portait of a tinkerer: Johnny.

The windmill team making a fashion statement with their noise suppressors.  

The windmill team making a fashion statement with their noise suppressors.  

Onion and Gever mastering the art of finding exactly what you're looking for amongst many many bits and parts in the shop.

Onion and Gever mastering the art of finding exactly what you're looking for amongst many many bits and parts in the shop.

Introducing Owen, our new JC for the week, working on the water hammer.

Introducing Owen, our new JC for the week, working on the water hammer.

Caroline looking through her third hole of many more to come. (It is very important fort the hole size to fit the shaft very specifically)

Caroline looking through her third hole of many more to come. (It is very important fort the hole size to fit the shaft very specifically)

Savan has her eye out for who ever is picking out the M&M's from the trail mix, watch out!

Savan has her eye out for who ever is picking out the M&M's from the trail mix, watch out!

The potential energy team has a new idea. What if we use the person as the weight instead of some rocks?

The potential energy team has a new idea. What if we use the person as the weight instead of some rocks?

With a little help from Jack, Audrey and Victoria find an alternate solution to duct tape: wax.

With a little help from Jack, Audrey and Victoria find an alternate solution to duct tape: wax.

First test goes well as the team manages to crush an almond with the rock attached to their water hammer.

First test goes well as the team manages to crush an almond with the rock attached to their water hammer.

Isabella carefully inspecting the almond that is now 'almond butter' thanks to the heavy rock.

Isabella carefully inspecting the almond that is now 'almond butter' thanks to the heavy rock.

Water team discussing ways of improving the efficiency of their water hammer and trying to figure out a way to crush more than one almond in one try. Also, maybe find an even heavier rock?

Water team discussing ways of improving the efficiency of their water hammer and trying to figure out a way to crush more than one almond in one try. Also, maybe find an even heavier rock?

A top of the windmill shot of our shop.

A top of the windmill shot of our shop.

Madelyn mastering the art of the circular saw with some tips from Gever.

Madelyn mastering the art of the circular saw with some tips from Gever.

Savan still looking out for the M&M picker.

Savan still looking out for the M&M picker.

If only we could scale up these blades to fit the actual windmill...

If only we could scale up these blades to fit the actual windmill...

Maybe we can start with taking it up there and testing if it works, suggests Tenley.

Maybe we can start with taking it up there and testing if it works, suggests Tenley.

Or we can just use the power of perception to make it look like it works!

Or we can just use the power of perception to make it look like it works!

The whole crew has gathered for and inspirational mid-project talk from Gever. This is the time to really push and power through a lot of work and get our prototypes ready for testing.

The whole crew has gathered for and inspirational mid-project talk from Gever. This is the time to really push and power through a lot of work and get our prototypes ready for testing.

Tinkerers Ben, Madelyn and Johnny working on fixing our snack cart that was broken yesterday as a result of many tinkerers onboard riding it down a hill. 

Tinkerers Ben, Madelyn and Johnny working on fixing our snack cart that was broken yesterday as a result of many tinkerers onboard riding it down a hill. 

Matthew working on a chair for the lounge that is under the windmill. 

Matthew working on a chair for the lounge that is under the windmill. 

The potential energy and windmill teams pictured with their magnificent projects. The windmill team added a very long post to the top of their windmill in order to break the record for tallest project built at Tinkering School, although they will no longer be able to hold that record once the blades are attached.

The potential energy and windmill teams pictured with their magnificent projects. The windmill team added a very long post to the top of their windmill in order to break the record for tallest project built at Tinkering School, although they will no longer be able to hold that record once the blades are attached.

Potential energy team almost ready for their first human test.

Potential energy team almost ready for their first human test.

Owen, Ben and Victoria working on improvements for the water hammer.

Owen, Ben and Victoria working on improvements for the water hammer.

Gus has figured out a way to become a human shop and attach all the tools to himself!

Gus has figured out a way to become a human shop and attach all the tools to himself!

Portrait of a tinkerer: Micha mastering the jigsaw.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Micha mastering the jigsaw.

Diego and Caroline have become really close friends with the drill press and adjustable hole saw while trying to create the perfect sized hole for the windmill shaft.

Diego and Caroline have become really close friends with the drill press and adjustable hole saw while trying to create the perfect sized hole for the windmill shaft.

Gever explaining to Eisen how the table saw jig works.

Gever explaining to Eisen how the table saw jig works.

Finally testing their gravity-powered cart, team potential energy. Savan and Johnny move the cart by unwinding the rope that is wrapped around the axel. They are all delighted to find that their idea works as the cart starts moving!

Finally testing their gravity-powered cart, team potential energy. Savan and Johnny move the cart by unwinding the rope that is wrapped around the axel. They are all delighted to find that their idea works as the cart starts moving!

After the first trial run, the team recoils the rope and discusses possible improvements.

After the first trial run, the team recoils the rope and discusses possible improvements.

The second run is made by Morgan and Johnny who realize it is quite a bit of work to pull the rope all the way. They will now try to power it using the weight of the person riding it instead.

The second run is made by Morgan and Johnny who realize it is quite a bit of work to pull the rope all the way. They will now try to power it using the weight of the person riding it instead.

The cart team wraps up for today with all the new design challenges to work through for tomorrow.

The cart team wraps up for today with all the new design challenges to work through for tomorrow.

The water hammer seems to get a lot of attention as a Trail Mix Butter attempt takes place.

The water hammer seems to get a lot of attention as a Trail Mix Butter attempt takes place.

 
Cyrus, Audrey and Daniel decide to take a break from the water hammer and build a 4x4x1 pool. Now the tinkerers can work on boats to sail in the pool...

Cyrus, Audrey and Daniel decide to take a break from the water hammer and build a 4x4x1 pool. Now the tinkerers can work on boats to sail in the pool...

Or they can cool off by dipping their hair in the water and splashing at each other.

Or they can cool off by dipping their hair in the water and splashing at each other.

The windmill team rolls up their sleeves and works with a fair amount of wood glue and clamps to get their hub done.

The windmill team rolls up their sleeves and works with a fair amount of wood glue and clamps to get their hub done.

Portrait of tinkerers: Micha and Ben working in the shop.

Portrait of tinkerers: Micha and Ben working in the shop.

Gever and Liora looking for possible ways of combining all three of the water group projects: the water wheel, the water hammer and the pool.

Gever and Liora looking for possible ways of combining all three of the water group projects: the water wheel, the water hammer and the pool.

Portrait of a collaborator: Miles.

Portrait of a collaborator: Miles.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Cyrus.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Cyrus.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Micha, representing how we feel after a long day of intensive work.

Portrait of a tinkerer: Micha, representing how we feel after a long day of intensive work.

 

Tomorrow we do another morning of building followed by a Beach Trip... Night Edition!

Session E - Day 8 - Lazy Sunday

Tinkering School Staff1 Comment

This morning we had a slower start and a later breakfast, since it's important to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Tinkering School and slow down for a bit, especially during a two-week session. In the morning we had calm activities in the conference center like cards and drawing and a short free build at the top of the hill. For lunch we had a treat of BLAs — basically BLT sandwiches, but with avocado instead (since we ate all the tomatoes earlier). Then, we headed up the hill to dive back into an afternoon of project building. 

Portrait of a JC: Yoel holds the future windmill shaft. 

Portrait of a JC: Yoel holds the future windmill shaft. 

Miles makes a cut on the new (new) table saw.

Miles makes a cut on the new (new) table saw.

The Hydro team returns with lumber for their water hammer.

The Hydro team returns with lumber for their water hammer.

Eisen drills a hole in the water hammer. 

Eisen drills a hole in the water hammer. 

Eisen takes a peek through the hole he just drilled. 

Eisen takes a peek through the hole he just drilled. 

After our afternoon of building, we spent the evening around the fire. 

The long standing tradition of the TSO fire. 

The long standing tradition of the TSO fire. 

Tomorrow we go back to our regular building schedule, refreshed from a lazy, low-key Sunday. We can't wait to see what the new week holds!

Session E - Day 7 - A Pirate Looks At 13

Tinkering School Staff3 Comments

Our tinkerers have been so awesome that we wanted to do something special for the weekend. So a few phone calls were made between a camp manager, a sea captain, a first mate, and another sea captain, which resulted in a sweet opportunity to head out on the San Francisco Bay in an 82' schooner called Seaward, for a 3 hour cruise. And it was quite a fun adventure.

When we got to the Bay Model Center, a very large game of Ninja broke out.

And after a brief safety intro...

...we got out on the water!

Yoelnardo DiCaprio

Yoelnardo DiCaprio

Portrait of a tinkerer (also happy birthday Johnny)

Portrait of a tinkerer (also happy birthday Johnny)

We started doing rotations on the ship. This included learning to steer the boat, reading charts, and the history of the Seaward.

A photo of Madelyn enjoying herself in the relaxing cold weather.

A photo of Madelyn enjoying herself in the relaxing cold weather.

We sailed across the bay for about an hour before passing under the Golden Gate bridge which very much prompted some echo attempts.

We then took a trip to Alcatraz Island to check out some of the graffiti relating to how native Californian tribes used the island as a sacred ground.

And after a brief cruise along the Sausalito side of the island, we started our journey back home to port.

And finally, back in port, we thanked our captains...

...and picked out a nice grassy patch to rest in!

But more important, we found a grassy patch to play in!

Finally, after a brief stop in a Safeway to get chocolate, we got back to camp, played some soccer, whittled some cool whittlings, and ate some chili and cornbread for dinner. We were all happy to be back in our yurts for the night, and hopefully will get a good night's sleep for some project work tomorrow. But for now, goodnight!

 

 

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