Tinkering School

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Session F: Day 5 - Try Harder than Usual

2016 Session F - SeniorsSerena G-HComment

Written by Gever, Serena, and help from Ana. Gever would like to point out that this is the last blog entry that Serena will author with him for some time to come (more on that tomorrow).

Hitchcock called it the Macguffin - the object which is coveted by characters in the movie (the Maltese Falcon, the Arc of Covenant), but as Alfred tells us in so many movies, the story is not about the thing, it's about how people relate to each other in their quest for the thing.

Tinkering School is really about love. We do these things as an excuse to work hard together. The project is not the object, the time together doing good things is the object. Miles and Nik spent some good time together last night (after the blog started), trying to get the sewing machine to behave.

Liora leans in on the lumber to cut a line (alliteration for Serena).

The Panda cart is starting to make sense as the parts assemble into something that looks like it's going to work really well. Audrey has been smiling all morning (which is kind of normal for Audrey).

These carts are the result of many iterations on many tiny details. It takes time and persistence.

This is either the fourth or fifth iteration of fitting guide wheels on the Kablooi kart. 

The Wowi Zowi cart felt "mostly done" to the team yesterday, but some careful analysis leads them to conclude that more triangles are necessary.

Nooi has been struggling to reconcile their bits and pieces into a coherent design and there have been some implementation mis-steps.

Serena finds Gever and asks him to "do the talk" - as collaborators it's our job to prevent catastrophic failures. Failure is an important part of the experience, but when the theme of the week is Thrills, Spills, and High Speed Action, bumps and scrapes are fine, but we want to make sure we're not going to end up at the hospital.

Nooi begins separating their parts and, with a little help from Gever on a few details, getting them back together with precision and clear intent.

Pre-assembly on the Wowi Zowi drive system is hinting at an exciting test tomorrow!

Foreshadowing (thanks Alfred!)...

Charlotte, with the cart up on the lift, wrench in hand.

Sol grabs the crank on the first rolling test of the Piki cart. This is also the first rolling test of the day, which is making all of the collaborators a little nervous about tomorrow.

And the second rolling test, on the Panda cart, with Audrey at the helm.

Gever was dubious when he heard what the Piki propulsion plan (thanks Serena!) entailed, but Austin, Sol, Megan, and Katelin embraced the vision, worked it hard, and made it work.

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Charlotte

Jo came down the line to get a pep-talk from Serena who came out to watch the rolling test of the Piki cart.

That is the look of someone who worked hard on something complicated and now it is not just working, but it's working really well!

Portrait of a Tinkerer: Sage

Portrait of a Photographer (Collaborator): Elijah, reflected in Charlotte's eyes. 

Panda cart, upside up, showing off the cool wheel ports.

Piki decides to make an optimization to see if they can get more speed out of the winding-drive system by adding a large diameter spool to their crankshaft.

Megan takes the new spool for a spin and determines that the ratio is wrong, the spool is too hard to turn and therefore needs to be a little smaller.

Lauren assembles a crankshaft for the Kablooi cart mechanism. 

There is some concern that the Wowi Zowi cart may have an excessively high center of gravity, but with the success of the Piki drive system, we're all starting to appreciate the enormity of the solution space.

Slots go here - to make room for wheels and the drive pulley.

The Kablooi cart rolls out on the track, and whoa, that's an exciting cant to the chassis.

Sqiki tries out an interesting new iteration on the guide-wheel support problem.

After a long day of hard work, tools are stowed, the shop is closed, and we hit the amusement park for some fun. 

Tonight marks the end of an era. We just said goodbye to our good friend, original tinkerer, and true collaborator in the evolution and implementation of Tinkering School. Nik started the same time Gever did, back in the very first session eleven years ago. He turned seven that week at camp, and has contributed more than can be measured to the experience at camp. Nik has collaborated at our day camp, weekend workshops, after-school programs, and of course, overnight camp. He's off to Brown University next, and while it's clear that this is not the last we'll see of him, it's the last summer that we'll spend together as campers. Dude, you rocked this place six ways from Sunday. Thanks for being you and teaching us so many things.

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