Tinkering School

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2018 Session C/D-Middles

TSO-C/D - Day 13 - Friday Feast

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

It's Friday which means it's the last day to build. There are a lot of refining and finishing touches to add. At the end of the day, we will hold our long anticipated feast. 

The ferris wheel team jumps into seat reinforcements.

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Aaron and Chris work on a loading platform for the ferris wheel.

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Katherine builds a ladder to get on top of the platform

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Vince makes adjustments to the 0-Grav Chair by adding an improved strap system.

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TIme to test the changes.

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Spencer and Zachary spray glue to make the canvas rigid, allowing for holes to drilled in the canvas without it fraying.

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Eisen and PK drill a hole for bungee to be threaded through which will create a boxing ring look.

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Arianna tests out the pulley system that lifts the doors simultaneously.

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Charlotte and Morgan add more sections to the bridge.

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In the process they accidentally split one of the pieces of wood, creating a cool photo opportunity.

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Soon there will be enough bridge to walk on.

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The feast team is almost done with the table and benches that we will sit on for the feast.

Watermelon paints banners for the festival.

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Katherine tests out the loading platform for the ferris wheel.

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The bridge team does their first weight test.

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Others are excited to hop on.

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Soon enough, the segments span the whole length of the bridge.

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The Thunderfoam is ready for battle.

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With the doors raised, the battle is on.

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The day passes quickly and its time for our feast.

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We enjoy a feast in the forest.

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Because of all the structures, the feast a vertical element.

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After our feast, we head down for our closing fire. At the fire, we share memories from the week and eat s'mores and starbursts. Tomorrow we will show off our projects and then deconstruct the Kingdom of TInkering School.

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TSO-C/D - Day 12 - The Wheel Deal

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

Energized after a hiatus from building, tinkerers rush to start where the left off at the end of Tuesday.

The ferris wheel team quickly picks off with a new seat design. 

This time the seat comfortably can fit both tinkerers and collaborators.

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More benches are constructed for the feast.

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Savan cuts plywood which will be used as the bench top.

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The thunderdome team (now called thunderfoam as the combat will be with foam weapons), adds canvas to the door frames. The canvas will be lifted up with a pulley system, releasing the combatants.

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Arianna and PK get creative to reach to the top of the thunderfoam.

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Watermelon with 3 of the 4 new ferris wheel seats.

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With all the pieces ready, it is time to construct the wheel.

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The next step is to line the two sides of the wheel up at the corners.

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A finished bench is transported to the table in the forest.

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The ground is slanted so the team needs to add to the legs to level the bench.

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The bridge team starts adding segments to the tensioned cable.

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The wheel is finally ready to lift off the ground.

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The axle is knocked with a dead blow so that the wheel sits center.

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It takes a couple whacks.

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We move the wheel to the side supports.

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It all fit after some wiggling.

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A rotating chair is set up as an additional attraction at our growing festival.

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Savan, as the lightest tinkerer, tests the ferris wheel first when it is time to spin it.

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Pure joy ensues.

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After all our testing, the ferris wheel still stands tall. Tomorrow the team will improve the seats, making them more sturdy.

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Being the last build day, the teams tomorrow will push to have finished projects. Soon, the Kingdom of Tinkering School will have a grand festival.

TSO-C/D - Day 11 - Beached

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

Today is beach day! After gathering all of our supplies, we will make our way to San Gregorio State Beach. There we will have a day of exploration, relaxation, and bonding. But first, we hold a beach safety discussion.

Daniel demonstrates the signal for "I'm okay."

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The way down to the beach involves a little bit of cliff jumping.

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Down at the beach, we get busy moving wood to form a base camp.

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This piece of wood is much heavier than expected.

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Spencer leads the charge to the water.

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The sand was loose and we sunk into it easily.

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The water is cold, so we rush back to the warm sand and bury ourselves in it.

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Sam, one of our collaborators, commits fully to the sand burial.

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Spencer commits too.

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Others prefer to wade in the warmer waters of the lagoon.

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Ryan checks out the cliffs of the beach.

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Watermelon sees how high she can climb.

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We try make a raft out of driftwood and ratchet straps.

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Savan tests out the raft, but it has trouble staying afloat.

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Katherine gives it a whirl.


We explore the northern section of the beach. After about 2.5 miles, we stumble upon a beached and decaying whale.

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Covered in sand, we head back to Elkus Ranch. Tired from the beach, we relax with hot chocolate and tell tales of our beach adventures. We watch Early Man, and then, head off to bed. Tomorrow will be a packed day of building, so rest is needed.

TSO-C/D - Day 10 - Steady Progress

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

Tinkerers wake up bright and early excited to continue work on the projects for the Friday Festival. Breakfast is eaten quickly, and we rush up to the build site. We break off into our project groups and hold morning meetings.

The ferris wheel team starts off the day with a discussion about various design challenges and what the team aims to accomplish by the end of the day. Julie, one of our camp engineers, writes down some of the underlying physics. 

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After the team's meeting, Gabrielle reiterates her seat design from yesterday.

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Katherine and Ryan add more supports to the wheel of the ferris wheel.

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The tables prove difficult to properly level. To address this problem, we change the type of knot supporting the table which allows for easier adjustments.

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Charlotte and Aime lash a platform to a tree. When finished, they climb up to test it's stability. It comfortably fits three people. Designing and building the bridge is next.

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The thunderdome frame rises up from the ground. The team works on securing the legs between the top and bottom levels.

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Vince tests out the ergonomics of the current ferris wheel seat design.

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Aaron, Chris, and Max add more triangles to the support frames for the ferris wheel. Every support counts as the ferris wheel with passengers will weigh a good amount.

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Savan constructs a third table for the forest. In the end, there will be four tables which will hopefully provide enough room for everyone to have a feast on the day of the festival.

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Victoria works on a bench for the tables. The bench features tall legs to address the high height of the table.

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Swings provide a nice resting opportunity.

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It's time to fit the top and bottom of the thunderdome together.

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The two parts fit together flawlessly much to the relief of the thunderdome team.

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Watermelon uses the drill press to create a hole that will house the metal rod which will be the pivot point of the ferris wheel seat.

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The seat design with the metal rod works, but improvements need to be made. The seat tips back a little too far if the rider leans back too much, it's hard to get in and out of the seat, and it doesn't quite fit taller riders.

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The thunderdome will feature doors that will open vertically to unleash each combatant. Pulleys for the doors are attached.

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Even with all the time spent on projects, there is still time for free building. A cart is tested on the hill leading up to the build site. The car rolls, but because it has no steering, it heads straight for the bushes.

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In the final hour of building, the in the forest makes a prototype bridge which successfully supports many tinkerers. 


Much progress has been made by the end of the day, and tinkerers walk back from the build site exhausted. Tomorrow is beach day, allowing for much needed rest for both tinkerers and collaborators. On Thursday, project building will resume, and the teams will push to have working structures.

TSO-C/D - Day 9 - Planning for the Celebration

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

We wake up and rush straight to the polls. Voter participation is incredible! Savan is elected Head Activist, Watermelon is elected Head Realist, and Julie is elected Head Collaborator. Our democracy progresses with full speed.

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Crowns are passed out to the winners of the election.

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With the votes counted, it's time to start planning for the festival on Friday. We begin designing all sorts of improvements to our kingdom, dream up attractions, and sketch festival layouts.

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Once our ideas are on paper, we share them to the larger group. We decide to split up into two groups: festival rides and attractions and preparations for the feast. Within the smaller groups, we decide specific projects we want to work on. The two attractions will be a thunderdome and a ferris wheel. The other group plans to add a bridge to the forest castle and tables to feast on.

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Before we start any building, we must brainstorm and agree upon group agreements.

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Up at the build site, the designing continues. The castle improvement and feast team starts on their tables. They decide to not build legs and instead suspend them from the trees, presenting an interesting design challenge.

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The ferris wheel design is coherent and is ready to be executed.

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Table construction is in order. Supports are measured and plywood is attached.

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Aaron measures pieces for the sides of the ferris wheel.

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Ryan gets some wood to begin the wheel of the ferris wheel.

Charlotte and Aime check out the tree situation. They hope to build a platform which will become one end of the bridge.

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Katherine and Ryan use a angle grinder to cut metal pipe. The segments will separate the 2 sides of the wheel of the ferris wheel.

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The thunderdome frame takes shape.

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All hands on deck! We move the tower from the pyramid castle into the forest.

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Watermelon and Gabrielle work on seats for the ferris wheel.

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Large triangles are constructed to be the supports of the ferris wheel.

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The completed tabletop is carried into the forest to be suspended.

Suspending the table proves to be a challenge. Onion, Victoria, and Viggo decide to tie figure 8 knots under the tables which will act as stoppers.

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After a long day of building, we walk back to the conference center to eat dinner and wind down for the night. We play games and, later, watch Fantastic Mr. Fox. Tomorrow we will continue our preparations for the Friday festival.

TSO-C/D - Day 7 - A San Francisco Adventure

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

It's the last day of the week! We wake up and eat a quick breakfast. Next, we clean the conference center and the yurts. We rush up to the build site to show off our projects and deconstruct the siege weapons. Soon enough, it is time for lunch. We play games and sing and dance along to music. After lunch, we go up to San Francisco to visit the Exploratorium. There, we engage in all sorts of hands-on activities. Later, we find a pizza place, and walk to a park to eat and play games. Here are some photos from the day.

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TSO-C/D - Day 6 - The Siege

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

The day of the siege is finally here, and teams can hardly wait to get started. The castles are mostly done, but there is much work to be done on the siege weapons. At 4 pm sharp the queen will commence the siege, so tinkerers rush to get started. Teams get to work by planning for the day, and crafting strategies for the siege.

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Team Piki finishes attaching the canvas to the outside of their castle.

Vince pokes out of a hole soon to be covered with canvas.

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They decide to keep a hole for look-out purposes.

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In the forest, Nooi decides to add gargoyles to scare off attackers.

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The gargoyles strike fear in all who look upon them.

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Nooi pushes ahead with their siege weapon. They look to improve their launching release mechanism and the track for the projectile.

Measurements are in order.

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Over in the Sun Kingdom, the ballista is being prepped for test fires.

Mads sews a pouch for the projectile. The pouch will be attached with ropes the ends of the arms of the ballista.

While it is crunch time, there is still time for play. We have some fun with chainmail.

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Even the collaborators jump in.

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The morning passed quickly. With all the hard work, we are all in need of a short break, so we go down to see the animals.

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Future shepherds?

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With the animal visit done, we return to the build site for the final push before the siege.

Piki continues to test and refine their ballista.

The ball we are using as a projectile kept getting stuck with the cloth pouch, so Piki decides to switch to a cup. In their tests, they have trouble with the ball's exit from the ballista and the distance the ball travels. Making constant improvements, they hope the ballista will be effective come 4 o'clock.

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Nooi builds and adds a guiding track to their slingshot.

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Soon enough, they are ready for their first test fire. They are using a bolt as a release pin which they soon find is hard to pull due to the forces on the bolt. With some wiggling, they manage to pull the pin and launch the ball. The ball flies through the air. The test is a success, but there is worry that the range isn't enough.

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Soon enough the siege is only an hour away. Pressure builds amongst the teams.

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Realizing the ballista is not going to be enough, team Piki adapts. In a last ditch effort, they remove a torsion spring and arm from the ballista to repurpose it as a catapult.

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Without much time, they scramble to make it functional. They use a shop bucket as a holder for the ball. However, on the first test the bucket breaks. The clock strikes 4 and they have no alternate holder. 

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The time for the siege arrives. As this is a contest and not an actual war, the siege functions more like a spectator sport. One team attacks the other teams castle with their siege weapon. The defending castle is empty. All not involved with the operation of the siege weapon stand behind a line which is deemed safe from projectiles. Each attacking team will get three shots with their siege weapon and one shot either thrown or kicked. There are three targets worth 10, 25, and 50 points placed on the castle. A miss of a target but a hit on the castle is worth 5 points, but a complete miss is worth none. Team Nooi elects to attack first, and starts positioning their slingshot.

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Nooi works together to fire their first shot.

The first shot lands about halfway between the slingshot and the castle. Nooi hopes for the ball to roll and hit the castle (a valid hit). However, the ball is launched with backspin which causes the ball to stop forward progress upon impact. Nooi prepares for a second shot, hoping for a better outcome.

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The second shot is similar to the first; Piki's castle still stands tall. Nooi sets up for the final shot. The pin is pulled and the ball sails farther, but the distance is not enough. Nooi's score comes down to the kick or throw. Jasper is chosen to represent his team, and he decides to kick the ball.

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The shot misses just left of the castle. With 4 misses, Nooi receives 0 points. Now, it's time to see if Piki can do any better.

Without a proper holder for the ball, it is tough for team Piki to launch the ball effectively. The first shot bounces short of the pinecone moat. It rolls for a bit, but is stopped by the moat. To the delight of team Nooi, the pinecone moat has served a functional purpose. The second and third shots produce similar outcomes.

Like Nooi, Piki's score comes down to the kick or throw. Nate is chosen to represent team Piki. Due to Nooi's wall, Nate is forced to throw the ball.

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The throw sails to the right of the castle, meaning Piki scores 0 points.

The siege ends in a tie which feels like a fitting end to a week full of equal effort from both teams. Still recovering from the excitement of the siege, we reset the worksite and head down for dinner.

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We close the night with a fire and s'mores. Memories from the week are shared and jokes are cracked. Tired out from the day we head to sleep, some of us in our castles.

TSO-C/D - Day 5 - The Rush Before The Siege

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment
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Another beautiful day at Elkus Ranch, thankfully, because Thursdays are the hardest days here at camp. We just had a nice relaxing day at the beach and now we have to wind ourselves back up to start working. 

In the morning, the Queen gave out coins for things the Royal Court noticed on Tuesday (another tough working day!) and had us reflect on all the good things that happened. Members of Piki were rewarded for extensive tinkering on their ballista, being dedicated workers, pushing through tough situations when they arose, and getting a second story up on their castle without collaborator oversight. Members of Nooi were rewarded for asking "How Can I Help?" (it's our favorite question!), being willing to help at a moment's notice, working on a kingdom crest, and making mistakes and learning from them. Then, feeling refreshed, we went up the hill.

Team Piki started off with a meeting at the top of their castle. The whole team can fit on the top, to everyone's excitement. What will we work on today? Who will work on it?

Over in the Forest Kingdom, Zachary of Nooi lays out his plan for a slingshot-like weapon. 

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Savan and Kaitlyn discuss what needs to happen with the Nooi castle. The front wall is up and the roof is stable, but it still needs work. 

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The slingshot tower gets supports...

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...and Zachary approves.

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Meanwhile, Piki plays a vertical game of Twister while working out an idea for a giant wall made of bungee cords. The idea is that you'll be able to climb it and the ballistics will bounce off of it. Solid enough idea.

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The team soon discovers just how much work this will require. They scrap the idea in favor of a solid rock climbing wall.

The Piki offense team is working hard on their ballista. They have a groove down and an understanding of what needs to happen. They test along the way, and soon...

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The force of their [scary] powerful ballista tore apart an attachment point on their temporary structure. The team has been discussing safety precautions all along the way so no one will be injured, and this was still the case.

Later, when that piece has been replaced, the other arm starts coming together. Their system seems complex from the outside, but the ballista team understands its workings very well. 

Nearby, Alice is pleased with how Piki's Sun Unicorn crest is coming along.

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And with new ideas about how they'll fabricate their walls, Vince and Katherine tag-team sawing off some excess wood. Teamwork!!

Back on the Nooi side of things, Jasper gets the weapon tower ready for the mechanism that will allow their sling shot to aim.

Julie holds the mechanism while Jasper knocks some bolts into place. This mechanism lets them swivel vertically and horizontally. 

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Kaitlyn and Savan work on making their ladder safer with metal brackets.

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Eisen jumps in to help attach a tricky base support for the railings that will be installed later today. Shown: a classic partner drill push.

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Continuing with their world building this week, Victoria and Onion decide to create a moat. Filled with pine cones. They ask Collaborator Caroline what the verb is for a pick axe. She tells them it's "picking axe," and they do not find this humorous. They tell her to go collect pine cones as punishment.

The pine cone moat, after a long afternoon of digging. "Also," Onion said decisively and seemingly out of the blue, referring to Victoria, "she's not the wife of a wealthy merchant. She's a peasant with a dream." This blogger enjoys these moments of sheer confusion.

The pine cone moat, after a long afternoon of digging. "Also," Onion said decisively and seemingly out of the blue, referring to Victoria, "she's not the wife of a wealthy merchant. She's a peasant with a dream." This blogger enjoys these moments of sheer confusion.

Alice and Mads discuss their trapezoid's upcoming sleeping arrangements. Alice makes the point that if they each have their own separate sleeping locations instead of a gender division, then they won't have to explain what gender is to their spider friends, especially since they're not sure how to tell a boy spider from a girl spider.

It is getting pretty late at night, so here's a whole bunch of delightful photos from today with no captions! Everyone was working so hard but the main things here are that Piki's main walls went up and became a functional climbing wall and Nooi's beautiful crest got attached to their wall.

Several tests of the Piki ballista happened, and the mechanism is so well constructed that we had to have yet another discussion of safety during these testing moments. Check out the motion blur in these photos!

There was also an impromptu pull up contest.

The Nooi slingshot system had a few tests but the final one was the most interesting. After getting the pulley system up higher, they pulled their sling back nice and tight and suddenly --! something snapped. When we went to check, we realized that the weakest part of the system was the sling itself, which tore itself apart. Tomorrow, we'll see what we can do to fix that.

And finally, the Piki ballista team stayed late into the evening to get both arms attached. Pictures tomorrow! We just finished playing another giant round of Dungeons & Dragons, we have a belly full of delicious mac & cheese, and it's time for bed. Tomorrow: THE SIEGE

TSO-C/D - Day 4 - A Sandctioned Break

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

The morning is filled with rushing around in preparation for the beach. Sunscreen is applied, swim suits are put on, and sandwiches are made.

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Right before we leave, Daniel gives the beach day introduction filled with theatrics. Beach safety is the primary topic.

Beach day provides much needed break for both tinkerers and collaborators. We set up a base camp and set out to explore the beach. Throughout the day, we engage in a variety of activities from sand castle building to cliff scaling.

Tinkerers rush to the waves only to discover that the water is very cold.

An intense game of ninja is started. Sand sprays everywhere with each move.

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Team Piki tries to recruit a horse for their kingdom.

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Near the ocean, a dying crab is rescued. We name the crab Boris and care for it for the rest of the day.

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Sand burials are a beach day classic.

Julie and Hunter work on a sand kingdom.

Portrait of a collaborator: Caroline

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"If you see a piece of fruit and you want it, you must eat it" in action.

Exhausted and sandy we head back for Elkus. Showers and evening games are in order. A Dungeons and Dragons campaign is started and a marble track is built.

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After watching The Princess Bride, we head to sleep tired. Tomorrow, we will resume work on our castles and siege weapons.

TSO-C/D - Day 3 - Building Up Defenses

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

Tuesday morning brings a new decree from the queen. In it, there is a map of the two kingdoms and an announcement that points will be awarded for certain feats. The decree motivates the teams to get to work.

Tinkerers are eager start right back from where they left off.

Team Piki gets to work on the energy source of their ballista. They decide to start with bungee, but later on move to rope for more power.

When twisted, the ropes want to untwist which provides the energy for the ballista.

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Jasper works on building the frame for Nooi's ballista which will stand above the forest floor.

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To make the frame more structurally sound, they use 4x4s as posts. The posts serve a double purpose as they will be the connection points for the bungee of Nooi's ballista.

Back in the Sun Kingdom, team Piki devises a plan to put their ballista on a rolling platform. 

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It rolls!

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The swings around our build site are a perfect place to take a break from building.

Piki's castle has started to resemble more of a pyramid. A tower rises in the center of the square base and diagonal supports connect to the top of the tower.

Vince cuts out the trap door for the tower.

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Arianna fastens a ladder to the top of Piki's tower.

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Victoria starts a crest for the Forest Kingdom.

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Onion paints the crest and uses wood shavings as leaves of the tree.

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Time to tension and begin to test Piki's ballista!

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After playing around with tension and feeling the power, team Piki decides they need more power. They decide to use 8 strands surrounding the ballista arm instead of the current 4. On Thursday, they plan to redesign and reinforce the boxes housing the torsion springs.

By the end of the day, both teams have platforms that can support people. However, there is still plenty to do to satisfy the queen.

Nooi's fort in the forest at the end of the day stands tall.

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So does Piki's

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Nooi's ballista is coming together!

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Much progress was made today, and there are many changes to be made in the coming days. Tomorrow we will take a break from our projects and spend a day at the beach.

TSO-C/D - Day 2 - The Queen's Challenge

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

We woke up to blue skies, and we made our way into the conference center for breakfast. Fueled by eggs, waffles, and cereal, we are ready for the exciting day ahead of us. Today, we will learn our groups and the project. 

After we finished breakfast and ran through the dish line, we gathered in the center of the conference center to learn the groups for the upcoming week. This week's groups are:

Team Piki:

  • Project Leads: Jack and Ara
  • Spencer
  • Katherine
  • Hunter
  • Mads
  • Vince
  • Alice
  • Nate
  • Arianna

Team Nooi:

  • Project Leads: Kaitlyn and PK
  • Savan
  • Jasper
  • Olivia
  • Luke
  • Onion
  • Eisen
  • Victoria
  • Zachary

With groups announced, we split into them and developed group agreements.

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Once ideas are gathered and written down, it's time to sign the agreements.

With group agreements signed, it's finally time for the big project reveal. This week's project is ... *drumroll* ... Castle Siege! Our queen, Caroline, has issued a challenge to the Sun Kingdom and the Forest Kingdom with a reward of a large sum. The two teams must each build a castle (defense) and a weapon (offense) to prepare for a battle on Friday. Points are awarded to each team for the castle's size and style and the weapon's accuracy. Points can be taken away for using more than the allotted amount of certain materials such as 1/2 inch plywood.

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Both teams are excited to begin designing, but we first need to decide which team will be the Sun Kingdom and the Forest Kingdom. For that, we turn to the third rule of Tinkering School (Roshambo). Luke represents Nooi and Hunter represents Piki. Luke wins the duel and decides with his team to be the Forest Kingdom.

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It's now time to design and throw around ideas in the newly formed teams.

Arianna and Alice sketch castle ideas.

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Eisen and Luke discuss castle ideas for Nooi.

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Filled with ideas and ambition, we head up the hill to continue designing and start setting the first pieces of the project into motion.

Team Piki elects to build a ballista powered by ropes twisted tightly (called a torsion spring), and for their castle, they are taking inspiration from the unicorn.

Jack, Hunter, Nate, and Mads look into using wheels as part of their ballista.

In the woods, team Nooi decides to build off of the trees. They are aiming high with plans to build two stories above the forest floor. For their siege weapon, Nooi wants to build a ballista too. However, they plan to harness the energy of bungee cords in their design.

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Katherine measures an existing structure as a potential starting point for Piki's castle, but because it will cost the team 50 points to use, they decide against using it.

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As we aren't allowed to drill into the trees, we have to use the strategy of lashing.

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Zachary assembles a ladder to reach the top of a tree Nooi wants to explore.

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Jasper and PK work on building a platform that Nooi's ballista will rest upon.

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Vince and Katherine start work on the base of Piki's castle.

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By the end of the day, they have a foundation for their tower.

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In the midst of all the work there is still time to play.

Onion decides to make a bow and arrow with a stick she found and a piece of bungee.

Worn out, we leave our projects and make our way back to base camp to eat and play. Riding carts down the hill is a highlight for many campers.

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Unfortunately our cart adventures end with fixes needed. Spencer and Zachary look into the problem

We finish the day exhausted and retire to the yurts for the night. Tomorrow, we will start a whole new day of ideas and progress.

TSO-C/D - Day 1 - Rules and Tools

2018 Session C/D-MiddlesTinkering School StaffComment

A new week of Tinkering School is upon us! New campers rush into the conference center where they are greeted by inviting faces, warm cookies, and slices of watermelon. While we wait for everyone to arrive, we play around with tinkering kits, lock picks, and new games. Campers settle into their yurts (this week named after Hogwarts houses), and they prepare dish bags for the week. There is a shared excitement in anticipation of the coming week.

Mads and Olivia explore how to light an LED.

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Vince frees himself from a cuff made for lock picking and Hunter attempts to crack a pin tumbler lock.

Savan presents a paper crane to Kaitlyn (one of collaborators).

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We discover a typewriter, but unfortunately only some of the keys work. Luke and Spencer troubleshoot the issue, and they decide that opening it is the best option for fixing it.

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Zachary takes a closer look at the problem.

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Once all the campers have arrived and settled, we enter our opening circle where we do introductions and review the 3 rules of Tinkering School:

1. Don't hurt yourself or anyone else.

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

3. Roshambo with no funny business (dynamite, gun, dog, rocket, etc.).

6. We don't talk about it.

With the rules understood, we grab hats, water bottles, and sunscreen and walk up the hill to our build site for tool training.

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Upon arriving at the top of the hill, we split into four groups to rotate between:

  1. Tour of the build site
  2. Drill training
  3. Drill practice
  4. Clamp training
  5. Chop saw training

Onion and Hunter play around with clamp positioning while trying see how many pieces of wood they can extend from a post of the shop.

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Olivia and Arianna add to the collection of pieces of wood down the line.

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Mads practices using a driver to make a strong connection.

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Onion lines up two pieces of wood, attempting to achieve the perfect fit.

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Spencer makes a practice cut on the chop saw.

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Jasper focuses on making his cut.

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After all the campers have practiced with the tools, we head back down the hill for dinner and an evening challenge. A raging river stands in the way of the campers. The river is filled with turtles that sink when stepped on and stones that don't (both represented by masking tape Xs), but the campers don't know which are turtles and which are stones. They must work together to find a safe path across the river.

Alice takes the first step into the raging river.

After our evening challenge, campers get a chance to play and wind down before it's time to sleep. We make hot cocoa and homemade whipped cream as an evening treat. Tomorrow morning we'll reveal project groups and the project provocation.

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