Tinkering School

come make amazing things with us


Engineering Challenge, Interactive, MechanicalRachel EconomyComment

It was a sunny morning when we arrived at Tinkering School today, and the energy in the room was calm and curious. Folks had come from down the street, and from as far away as Colorado (!), to collaborate and build together. 

After a solid round of tool trainings and practice, we circled up to learn that our project today was: to build a forklift together!

This immediately led to one of the more complex and layered design sessions I've seen a group work through at the Tinkering School, and they did so with patience and interest, sharing the conversation amongst many people and making some, in my personal opinion, excellent puns ("can we build a giant fork for the fork lift to lift?") The design fleshed out slowly, breaking into three groups who then went into even more detail and began building the car body, the lift and pulley system, and a counterweight system (so our fork-lift wouldn't become a human-squish).

And then the work really started.

And it kept going. And kept going.

Right up until families arrived, tinkerers worked hard, problem-solved unexpected challenges (the bowling ball counterweights are rolling around and rogue-steering the car; the lift mechanism is trying to escape its tracks; this cleat is trying to wiggle away), and held focus and a good attitude towards a mentally fascinating and exhausting set of tinkering problems.

At the end of the day, we talked about specific moments or takeaways that we were going to remember from today. For me, the thing I was most struck by was the level of kind and extremely complex communication tinkerers used with one another today. I love feeling extraneous at the Tinkering School, knowing that I can step back and be a silent safety net, because it means the tinkerers are talking to each other and building together so effectively.

And even when our forklift stuck a little bit at the last minute, folks continued with their friendly attitudes and excitement to problem-solve. Next time maybe we can even lift up some actual forks. 


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