Tinkering School

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Day Five - Playing with Fire

2013 Session 1 - SeniorsgeverComment

Our hearts are filled with optimism as we throw ourselves into the project that has bedeviled us for the past four working days.IMG 6380

"Can you get the rope around that branch, right there?" asks Gever. "Sure," says Althea. IMG 6383

So, for the umpteenth time, Althea climbs a tree. IMG 6384

Kevin hands Althea the rope. IMG 6387

Gil feeds the goat some carabiners. IMG 6409

Gil feed the goat some arm. One has to wonder how the goat convinced him to do it. IMG 6416

"Better than his arm!" says the goat. IMG 6427

Serina reworks the pulley mounting system on the ball sling. IMG 6429

Gil and Elijah tow the ball back up to the top for another test. IMG 6436

Portrait of a Collaborator: Chane, sunburned IMG 6449

Portrait of a Young Tinkerer: Kate, on her album cover IMG 6458

Gever and Sam chatting about the funicular. The conversation may hold the record for the most times the word funicular is used in a single day. IMG 6462

The counter-weight goes down, the funicular comes up - it's just that simple. IMG 6475

Elevator team takes a break. IMG 6478

Over the course of the next hour, in search of better self-steering, Glynn will change the caster configuration on the funicular five times. IMG 6494

A matched set of fender washers and medium length screws. IMG 6498

"We got the best shot of a saw!" - things that happen when you give tinkerers the camera. IMG 6509

Having forgotten their hats in the barn, Mica and Rhody come up with a sun-protection solution. IMG 6524

As near as we can tell, this is version six of the ball sling (one more mod will be applied before it catches a fast-moving bowling ball). IMG 6532

Tired of watching people struggle to get up into trees to adjust ropes or braces, Gil makes a handy ladder. IMG 6536

With the ramps reset almost three feet higher, the rail and zip-line team finally have the rail exit in the right relationship to the zip-line. Time for a test. IMG 6569

Catch it Gever! IMG 6573

Figuring out how to cut the complex angles implied by the meeting to pieces of rail takes a lot of discussion. IMG 6621

Nicki thinks that the carefully tuned counter-weight for the vertical elevator is very heavy. IMG 6625

This is the version of Glynn that we start to refer to as Gryll - because Gever mashed up her name with Gil accidentally and it stuck. IMG 6633

Kate and Gil fine tune the funicular receiving station. IMG 6641

Which leads to an (almost perfect) run with the bowling ball. IMG 6643

With all hands helping, Serena is able to climb up Gil's ladder and dock the ball sling with the last rail for the first time ever. IMG 6675

It's working! The ball rolls down the aerial rail system at breakneck speed and thwacks into the back of the ball sling, pulling it from the docking station and sending the ball and sling down the zip line. IMG 6713

Nicki keeps a keen eye on the funicular tests. IMG 6822

Portrait of a Young Tinkerer: Kevin, laughing IMG 6886

Portrait of a Chef: Herb, grilling IMG 6897

Walking back up to the ranch to wash dishes and get ready for the campfire. IMG 6912

A very nice evening for a fire. IMG 6918

After much discussion of ingredients, safety, and chemistry, Gever demonstrates the safe way to spray cooking oil into a fire. IMG 6934

Then everyone tries out for a couple of squirts in what turns out to be a tough shot for the photographers to capture. IMG 6946

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Since it's Fourth of July; sparklers! IMG 7058

As our working day wound down, we realized that despite our best efforts, there did not appear to be a way to reliably get the ball from the Ranch House to Barn One. Every section of our system could work, but we never got them all working at the same time. With more than six (or eleven in one case) versions of every component of the system tried and tested and tinkered with, it has been an amazing context in which to understand what reliability is and how elusive it can be sometimes. Tomorrow, a new project!

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