Tinkering School

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Day Two - Around the Bend

2012 Session 5 - Seniorsgever2 Comments

We got started so quickly this morning that we forgot to take a single picture until 10:06am. That was either fifteen minutes ago, or two days - I can't quite tell. We've bitten off a little more than we thought, and what we have right now in the barn is less of a roller coaster than we started with... but less in such important ways. We remembered the camera right about the time that Gever was recruited to cut a chunk off the cart. It turns out that the old cart is too long for the tightness of turns the track team are planning to build. D7K 0536D7K 0547 The jigsaw opens up the opportunity for everyone - starting with Natalie - on the cart team to take it for a spin.

D7K 0552 Althea brings concentration and fine motor skills to the operation of the jigsaw.

D7K 0557 Two inches to go and Elijah steps in as the closer.

D7K 0568 Tah dah!

D7K 0569 Evidently, there is some kind of quicksand on the track. Actually, Miles, and Gardner and the gang are getting ready to move the entire track two feet to the right so that it will line up with the door better. But who will save Althea?

IMG 4698 Leo produces parts for the platform team, who are working to make getting into the cart at the top of the track safe and easy.

IMG 4722 Somehow, over lunch, we start a conversation that we will keep returning to until long after dinner. Strangely enough, it started with the observation that just a hundred or so years ago that children were considered "replacable." Which lead to a long series of anecdotes illustrating how different we think of children today.

D7K 0575 We are running out of wood - the track team has sequestered all of the 2x4's for their ambitious track-making plans - so Sam commits himself to reclaiming the wood in the projects from previous Tinkering School sessions.

IMG 4710 The ranch has just adopted two Great Pyrenees to protect the sheep from coyotes and mountain lions. The boy is a bit of an escape artist.

D7K 0582 With a dearth of good 2x4's, the platform team decides to use eucalyptus poles.

IMG 4716 Tara and Ethan work methodically through a seemingly endless series of complications in the seemingly simple task of putting wheels on the cart. The complication this time is that even the guide wheels have to handle a significant load.

IMG 4718 Worried about bumps in the track, Gardner and Sam sand down the discontinuities.

IMG 4726 As the design of the first banked corner progresses, the math gets more complicated, and Josh's notebook fills up with revised plans and formulae.

IMG 4734 Sam thinks that complicated math sometimes needs a swing break.

IMG 4738 Now, both the new dogs are roaming a bit, and creating an amusing complexity at the gate as we return from lunch and try to get up to the barn without letting a two hundred pound dog get out.

IMG 4742 After a few possible plans are considered and rejected, the track team has something they really think can work - now that the cart team has agreed to ensure that the cart can handle an 18-degree change in inclination - and Gardner starts producing compound mitered parts for the curve.

IMG 4751 Tara, Ethan, and Gever have had to invent a specialized bracket for the cart to hold the wheels at the edge of a post. Scavenging in the scrap bin yields three good metal straps that just have to be drilled, cut, and bent on the vice.

D7K 0592 Portrait of a Tinkerer: Sam in a cloud of saw dust.

IMG 4765 Sam and Leo cut out the deck for the platform.

IMG 4772 Some deeper scavenging finally comes to fruition and the cart team has another piece of scrap metal to fabricate the bracket necessary to finish up the wheels.

IMG 4778 Althea and Josh figure how the new parts of the curve go together.

IMG 4784 Elijah's cut-line happens to coincide with a hole once occupied by a screw. The tinkerers are all fascinated to see how the screw held the wood.

IMG 4787 With the complicated parts of the wheel units assembled, Ethan and Tara can now attach them to the cart.

D7K 0621 Meanwhile, the platform team is starting to see their creation take shape.

IMG 4793 Tara gets some help from Althea (special cameo of Althea's boots, which have evidently seen some adventures - including recently painting a chicken coop) to screw the new wheel-mounting bar in place.

IMG 4803 Sam clamps on the second of the rear wheels before driving "gold" screws through it to lock it in place.

IMG 4806 Portrait of a Tinkerer: Elijah, productive member of the track team and nut case.

D7K 0629 Much like a cat, Elijah enjoys playing in a box.

D7K 0635 Althea's training at circus school gives her a remarkable confidence on the stilts.

The adoption of the previous session's project (and various work products like the stilts) has been a interesting process. We seem to have to change it, not a lot, but just enough to make it really ours.

Tonight for dinner we enjoyed pasta and salad, and a continuation of the lunch conversation that had us discussing the shape of the universe, the nature of existence (and how much better it is to exist than not exist), the difference between perception and "reality", how the big bang started with seven more particles of matter than anti-matter, the inability to really know whether you are sleeping or not, and how wishing for things might or might not have any effect on the future.

It was a great day.

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