Tinkering School

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Session A: Day 2 - The Field of Dreams

2016 Session A - JuniorsGever4 Comments

Is there anything more evocative than being presented with an empty field and a giant pile of lumber? This summer, we are trying something new; for the first time in eleven years of Tinkering School, each week of the summer will build upon the work of the previous tinkerers. In this empty field surrounded by bramble and poison oak, we will build Tinker City!

Tinker City has been decomposed into four projects to start with, all of which have more to do with getting to the city than the city itself; Train Station, Elevated Track, Train, and the Midway Station. Here, Caroline, Michaela, Lauren, and Miles are thinking through the design of the Midway Station.

Milo, Gwendolyn (aka Onion), and Collaborator Rhody are working on the Train Station design. This station is at the workshop end of the line and will allow us to get to Tinker City without walking through the grass along the rutted road while carrying building materials.

How wide should the train be? As wide as an adult butt. How wide is that? Gwendolyn decides to find out scientifically.

Having built a couple of rollercoasters, Gever is enlisted as a consultant on the track design. As usual, "there are a couple of ways to do this..."

Xavier finds just the thing for the first iteration of the train in the bin of skateboard wheels.

It doesn't take long before cutting wood on the chop saw is just another thing they do. The tools are becoming more interesting because they move the project along.

Everyone has a different style. Che's is off-the-shoulder. 

The train team makes rapid progress - Harrison uses his new skills to frame up the passenger compartment. 

Drill we must. 

Gwen tackles a a large scale leveling project, in preparation for building the train station. 

Maybe it isn't just off-the-shoulder. Maybe Che's style is just off. Style evolves, right? 

Headphones crawling up the corner post of our beautiful new shop. 

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A place for everything, and everything in it's place. Our new tool wall has most anything a would-be tinkerer could need for projects of any sort. 

And shelves. Brimming with parts for our tinkerers to grab hold of and transform. Hinges, bolts, pulleys, carabiners, wheels, para- and bungie-cord, and tiny bubble levels. 

And a drill press with a view? 

"Every screw in the grass is a dead baby goat." With this discussion, and a round of sunscreen for all, our afternoon begins. 

Miles and Milo discuss mounting the axle for the load bearing skateboard wheel. 

Xavier and Che test out the drills on small scrap wood. 

With the minimum viable chassis assembled, and the first track segment complete, we set-up for the first trial run ... 

And our first failure! Forensic analysis reveals that the cart has no reason to stay on the track. We also discover that the track itself isn't quite as square as it needs to be.  

Back at Midway Station, there's steady progress. Lauren, Collaborator Caroline, and Michaela make a strong team.

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The world's biggest nose clamp. Tools are meant to be used. 

It's all in the details. After squaring up the track, the train car glides.  

Just checking in with Che - still no shirt. 

The train begins to sprout guide wheels. They grow naturally in this bright pink shade. 

Wait, there's someone tied to the tracks! 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Raquel is happy to be here. 

A Tinkerer in his Environment: Xavier pauses for the camera on his way into the shop for some post-dinner build time.  

A Tinkerer in her Environment: Michaela drills and clamps on the shop floor, working to help out other project teams.  

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Progress close up: guide wheels on; train car solidly together. (Caroline swears this is a syntactically sound sentence structure).

Throughout today, we've made progress. Tinkerers have had the opportunity to turn tool training into action. The project is shaping up - we're starting to be able to imagine just what our train might look like. In our dreams, the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place. Walker and Evan glimpse what is to come .... 

Tonight's blog written by Serena, Gever, and the peanut gallery.

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