Tinkering School

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Session C: Day 5 - Hard Push

Serena G-H1 Comment

Thursday is often the toughest day. You can see the end of the project so much more clearly from here than you could on Monday or Tuesday. Thursday is tough because you can see exactly how much work there is left to do, and there is nothing left to do but do it.

Also, you can see the end of the week coming and you know that you will have to say goodbye to your new friends. So, we push, hard. Gever gives something akin to a pep-talk but it's more like a "whelp, let's get to work" kind of thing. The truth is that there is no magic at Tinkering School, only more work than anyone ever knows.

The track factory produces high-precision track segments completely to specification, but the new evolution of the trestle design requires slight modifications to every segment - the second tie must be flush to the sides of the rails to allow the crossbeam to make optimal contact. Tyler takes a turn at the pull-saw.

Their ramp complete, the launch team works on another solution for getting the train moving down the track; pulleys!

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Entering into day two of new generation trestles, there is a whole new level of optimization. Lily makes it her personal mission make efficient cuts and produce parts in the order consumed by the build team.

Zeke and Alex are working through another iteration of the guide wheels. Again. 

Contact testing is necessary to ensure that the guide wheels can reach the rails at the turns and the straightaways.

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Noa works on another possible propulsion system, a crank and spool to reel in the train from either end.

I wonder what Gigi is working on this time?

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Dylan enjoyed two enormous pancakes for breakfast made specially for him by the kitchen crew.

The track building team gets going early with fresh parts, a new level of meticulousness, and an amazing production rate. The track grows visibly every hour.

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In a technological tug-of-war, the one with all the pulleys wins. Lily and Gigi start playing with the system and really get a feel for it's mechanical advantages.

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This scene makes more sense when you know the truth: the bag of Goldfish is really a bag of watermelon rind. Zeke (and many others) get to pull the prank on their friends because Goldfish are the highest value snacks.

The rails are growing quickly and the regularity of the adaptable design is paying off.

Learning to operate the circular saw safely is a right-of-passage at Tinkering School. Serena is in her fifth year here (now as a Collaborator) and has cut miles of wood with the finicky tool, so she lends Tyler her expertise.

We are going to lift this deck up and set it on these wooden posts. The biggest danger we face is that it starts falling sideways once it is up on the posts. Don't let go until the posts are fully attached. Please.

The leg-installing crew goes around the platform, putting in legs, and discover that one of the 4x4's is twisted and not sitting right on it's leg. Well, it will have to do until we can figure out a better solution.

This is a really heavy deck. Good thing we have all these willing and eager hands.

You need someone on your team that can quickly and efficiently drive a screw home while everyone holds it steady, and for that, we've got Chloe (aka Chad).

Serena practices a "it's working if the campers are doing all the work" approach to role as Collaborator.

Gigi gets her take-up wheel mounted at Terminus Station, and begins tinkering with it in earnest. 

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Hayden, thinking - before heading to make and tinker. 

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Anna and Sophia tackle some geometry - using the Pythagorean Theorem to calculate the length they need for the support diagonals. 

Eloise tackles the train car body - she's been working on putting it together all day. For tricky joints with not enough hands, clamps are a tinkerers best friends. 

The Launch team has been in serious prototyping mode today - they're simultaneously developing a pulley system, and designing a new sort-of launching slingshot made out of bungee cord, all while completing the launch ramp. 

Elijah helps Sasha prepare for a test ride on the new cart.

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Then shows her the best ay to ride - flat on her stomach - and gives her a push. 

Lil J takes a pass at the chopsaw. It's been in heavy use today. 

Caroline sets her mind to improving the situation with this joint, which was, according to Gever: "not just crooked but awful."  With clamps and determination, we can solve almost anything. 

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It's cool to be able to stand on the thing you've spent the last couple of days working on relentlessly. Hayden enjoys the view from up there, and comes down to declare that it is, indeed, solid. 

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A new factory emerges  - the stage provides a convenient flat workbench for producing walls. 

A spontaneous dance party emerges. Or maybe, as Daniel puts in, not so spontaneous - today's been one continuous dance party.   

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The City crew discovers a nearby tree that's just perfect for climbing. 

We live in a foggy forest along a riparian corridor.

An emerging city-scape, as seen from above. 

Two walls complete, the sky tower team gets them onto the first level of deck and ready to align. 

We all have ways of staying connected with the work...

We're starting to see the shape of our sky-tower. 

Victory is ours! The walls are standing. Addison and Anna celebrate. 

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To demonstrate the strength of the corner wall system, Gever climbs to the top. 

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Portrait of a Tinkerer: Alex, the grey-hooded ninja.

A visit to the llama results in an altercation between Addison and a scarecrow. 

The evening ends with an experiment - we play the "value proposition" game - whereby we discuss how much any given task is worth by looking at how much we'd have to be payed to do it - be it unclogging toilets or cleaning the Aegean stables. 

Each of us is issued a post-it, and offered two hypotheticals - the first, how much would we have to pay you to break into someone's house and steal a rare book? Answers ranged from "free" to 1 million +, with about half in the $2,000-$10,000 range. Lowest bid in the hypothetical would get the job. 

The second one was more concrete - each tinkerer was to write down the maximum amount of time they would be willing to spend helping to clean at camp. The winning bidder would gain access to two extra scoops of ice cream, at anytime they desired.  

Chloe loves ice cream - she prepares her post it ....

And she wins, shocking the crowd with her bid of 3 hours. The next highest bid was 75 minutes shorter. 

The evening ends with discussion and a showing of "The Sandlot" - this group has pushed for movie nights for three of the four nights we've had together. 

Ultimately, we pushed hard, and it payed off. The projects are on track for tomorrow, and tinkerers are engaged and eager. Thursday is often the toughest day. Now, we're ready for tomorrow. 

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