Tinkering School

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Day 5 - Trials and Errors

2014 Session C - MiddlesJoshua RothhaasComment

We start right where we left off, eager hands itching to get back to work. The day off has given us time to think through our next steps, and reenergize, so work starts almost immediately. Jonah Jr. uses the pull saw to take a corner off one of the wheel-boxes, hoping to prevent the edges from catching bumps and rocks.

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At the end of the day Tuesday, Nooi's cart's backend piece broke off. James works on adding new attachment pieces.

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Karsen heats a hot knife to cut bungee. The Piki's morning project is to modify their hammock to hold them better.

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Eloise maps out plans for the Kablooi's bench seat.

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Aimee and Ava get in for some tricky fixes - car repair style.

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Kevin works to build the connection pieces needed to add brakes to the Kablooi cart, one of the few crucial points that had been tested.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Aimee works on bending wires.

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Eloise cuts out the seat for the Kablooi cart, getting a chance to use the circular saw.

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Aimee and Anya cut up wood for their cart - pausing briefly to pose for a photograph.

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One of the great benefits of re-using wood from a previous project is the great designs, decorations and stories that come with it. The Kablooi's plywood seat is one such piece.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Grazzia grins for the camera.

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The Kablooi cart gains graffiti.

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The decoration committee at work.

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Anya and Tricia work together on Panda's front steering piece.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Zachary, adding rubber to the brakes.

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A Kevin project coming together. Both Kevins have been working at the attachment system for the the brakes.

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Junior Collaborator Serena's morning project - a camera strap for Josh's camera, created out of parachord woven in friendship bracelet style.

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Your weekly sheep.

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A newly improved net.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Rory, happy.

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The Kablooi are ready for a test run just before lunch. The group gathers round to watch them try their cart for the first time.

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Could it be a surfboard?

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And it's off!

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Portrait of two Tinkerers: Karson and Gus, fast friends.

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Armed with spray paint cans and laser cut letterings of Tinkering School, we spend a few hours after lunch creating t-shirts. Lots of attempts, mistakes, and learning ensued. But the results were awesome- colorful, creative shirts of which no two are alike.

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"Can you help me spray paint a dinosaur?" Karsen asks Nova - "'Cause if there isn't a dinosaur, I won't wear it."

And so they set to work, Nova helping Karsen by drawing and cutting out dinosaur stencils.

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Ava includes washers in her design, an idea Tricia came up with.

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And then we head back up for the barn - teams implement more solutions, tinker with their projects. Somewhere along the line, the giant spool of bungee becomes a giant "cat's cradle" game, with humans for fingers.

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The result? A bungee net that holds people.

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Team Panda has been incredibly focused today. Challenges have risen left and right for them, but they've been able to plow through, to continue to tinker and try things out until they stumble on a solution.

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Tool wall dinosaurs, the most terrifying variety.

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A solution to hold team Panda's wheel-boxes in place - paracord and eyebolts.

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Karsen discovers that the Piki cart makes a comfortable bed.

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Repairs in place, Kevin takes the Kablooi cart for another spin. Much of the interest in playing on a project that looks "done" is in testing, improving, and fixing anything that goes wrong - rarely to things work as smoothly and beautifully as we expect.

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Each cart is given a name - the Piki name their slice shaped cart "Piki Pie"

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The Nooi' cart is given the name "Moonbounce," for it's suspension and ability to cope with bumpy terrain.

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The Panda's cart is called the "Deathtrap," for the series of challenges the team has had in getting it out working today.

The Kablooi's ATV is the "Sensitive Monster Truck," names for the many "it looks like a monster truck" comments the team has gotten, and the perceived personality the cart has.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Ari finds an unconventional perch.

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This afternoon, most work and repairs has been occurring outside - cycles of test, fix, test fix occur almost continuously. Tinkering is what happens between having an ATV that's done and an ATV that works awesomely - this iterative process is a great way to achieve that.

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And the Piki are off. IMG 2519

A Nooi test run.

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But even "done" projects feel like a success, especially ones that are running down the hill - every team has completed at least one test run. This success prompts group shots.

Team Piki and "Piki Pie"

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The Nooi and "Moonbounce"

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Team Panda and the "Deathtrap"

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And last but not least, Team Kablooi and "The sensitive Monster Truck"

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We horse around after dinner.

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Sit along the railings to hang out and talk.

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Portrait of a Director: Josh, skeptical.

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Portrait of a Collaborator: Jen, considering.

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Audrey, elated.

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The inside of the laser cut stencils used on our shirts.

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Today, we got a chance to try and fail, swerve off road, to make mistakes so we could stop and figure out how to fix them. We tried things - creative T-shirt designs, various solutions. Sometimes, they worked. sometimes, they didn't. But we learned from our errors, we tried to improve. And even though our carts are still far from perfect, it's in taking the little steps, slowly closer to awesome. And that, by all accounts, we achieved.

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