Tinkering School

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Session A: Day 5 - The Three Rules of Tinkering School

Gever5 Comments

Back on Sunday, we introduced the Three Rules of Tinkering School to the tinkerers:
1. Don't Hurt Yourself Or Anyone Else
2. If You See A Piece Of Fruit, And You Want It, Then You Must Eat It
3. Try Harder Than Usual
(and an unnumbered fourth rule: All Disputes Must Be Settled By Roshambo)

This is Thursday, and we've settled into the rhythm of the rules that make Tinkering School a great place to work and play. Rule 1 comes easily, Rule 2 might take a bit of reminding, but Rule 3 is a little different. It takes a few days to adjust to the challenges that we're faced with: learning how to use all these new tools, figuring out how to build this train, and figuring out how to work with each other. Rule 3 finally came naturally today, and it showed.

This morning we were greeted with more thick fog and some beach soreness, and a whole lot to be worked on. We have track to build and track to raise, and a platform to make fly at Midway Station. The Terminus Station has to be repaired from its break on Tuesday. The cart needs some adjustments, at the very least.

Fruit is seen, wanted, and eaten.

A lot of it, even.

The list of things to do is long but we tackle it head on. Xavier starts disassembling the chassis with new goals in mind -- the spacing on the guide wheels needs to be widened and the load-bearing wheels need axle support on both sides to keep it from bending upwards and falling off the track.

Onion starts work on repairing Terminus Station with the hand saw. We discovered on Tuesday that it needs more support after cracking under our weight, and she's determined to fix it.

The Midway Station platform is still on the ground and needs to be leveled and stilted up to meet with the eventual train tracks. Anya starts to figure out that particular slope so wood can be cut for the legs.

She gets a little distracted along the way with a different type of balancing exercise.

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Meanwhile, some of the tracks built on Tuesday aren't up to snuff. A quality assurance team sets off to identify problems, such as Comrade Dangerouses (what we call pointy bits sticking out), to then start fixing.

Back at the cart team, Xavier is trying to figure out the spacing on the wheel. How many washers are needed? 

Portrait of a Collaborator: Serena assists at the drill press.

Determined to speed up progress, Walker masters the art of balancing two 2x4s, all the while practicing Rule 1.

Soon it's time for lunch. We're all hungry after a busy morning, and happy to chat about our various projects with friends.

Or just goof around with our pals.

If you see a piece of fruit, and you want it...

After a very democratic vote about what running-based game we wanted to play, the consensus lands on a game that involves tagging to grow from an egg to a full sized dinosaur (of your choosing, of course).

There seems to be a lot of disagreements, regardless, all settled in a civilized fashion via Roshambo.

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Michaela enjoys the shade of her big hat as the day gets warmer.

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After lunchtime games settle down, it's back to building. The wheel team seems to have found a groove after drawing out their plans.

Junior Collaborators Lauren/PK and Gilon keep working with the elevated track team. Here they are discussing various methods of bracing the track as it gets higher off the ground.

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And the track team continues building track! From Terminus Station to Midway is 100 feet, which ends up being 16 segments of track. Walker, Che/Ultimate Warrior, and Evan have a great system going.

The quality assurance team continues to get rid of Comrade Dangerouses. The track will be so high up that Kieran wants to make sure everything is just right.

And the Terminus platform is finding new strength with help from Gever's bank of infinite knowledge.

We pause our group projects for a moment to all come together for the raising of the Midway Station. It takes all of our hands to lift the platform to the correct height so the team can attach the legs. 

Harrison does the precision drill work to get two of the legs attached while ladders hold the other two.

Trembling hands help to steady the heavy platform in unison.

Gever has an uncanny ability to shoot portraits of small tinkerers without their notice. He calls it "Shooting from the hip." Some of us take a moment to interpret this saying in our own unique ways.

Collaborator Kevin is the first to model her hip shot.

Collaborator Kevin is the first to model her hip shot.

Onion's hip shot has a little more pizazz.

PK doesn't shoot from the hip so much as hold from it.

Caroline is more guns-a-blazin'.

Meanwhile, since Gilon can't use the chopsaw autonomously yet...

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Lauren takes a moment in our workshop.

For our mid-afternoon break, we go down to the little stream for some exploration.

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For some, it's quiet contemplation.

And appreciation of the beauty of the greenery. 

For others, it's a little more rambunctious, and the joy of watching water fly up from the displacement of a rock.

Getting our feet wet on a hot day refreshes the mind and gets us mentally prepared for a final push before dinner.

Onion's next task required a skill saw, a tool she had really wanted to use last year but didn't have the strength to wield yet. This year, she was thrilled to discover that she was ready,

And saw she did.

We've lost some good soldiers today, RIP drill bits.

The track team is chugging along, with Collaborator Miles assisting Walker and Harrison as the track gets ever taller.

Anya works on some helpful signage. This way to the Tinker Express! 

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Milo takes a moment before launching into his entertainment routine.

And there he goes.

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Xavier is putting in the final screws in the new cart bottom after working on it tirelessly all day. 

And now for the test run. So far so good!

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Anya is ready to ride this train. Not much longer now!

One final push-up for Midway Station from all of us to get the last two legs on. The ladders come out and the legs go on, with Michaela expertly fitting them with 3 inch screws. The teams scurry off to finish what they can before dinner.

The new wheel situation is a beautiful sight. The wheel team did an excellent job working out a new solution, and we're about to find out just how great it is.

It's been a long day, and Che shares our exhaustion as we head to dinner. We're excited to test out our rail, but food first.

It feels like our first 50 feet of track sprouted out of the ground so quickly, but there was an incredible push from everyone today. We all tried very hard, you might even say harder than usual.

And finally it's time for a test drive. Ready?


Everyone gets a go, and we're all ecstatic that our hard work has paid off in such a fun way.

We also discovered it's fun to lie under the track while our friends pass overhead. 

All the while, the track is still being built into the evening..

We spend nearly an hour taking turns riding. Even Gever gets in on the fun.

Riding upright is super fun, but we get bigger thrills riding Superman-style.

By the time we all finish riding and putting in our last screws, it's getting dark, and we realize it's 8:15, nearly time to bed!

Tomorrow is Friday, our final full work day. We have another 50 feet of track to go, most of it built but not yet elevated, as well as proper architecture for the Midway Station. We have a lot to accomplish, but if we stick to our rules again like we did today, we'll be right on track.

Authored by Intern Blogger Caroline with the ever-awesome guidance of Serena.

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