Tinkering School

come make amazing things with us


One Day WorkshopsSean Murray

What could be more awesome than a Saturday spent building? A Saturday spent building a dinosaur, that's what.

Stella connects a section of spine to the top of the dinosaur's hips.

Inspired by the recent discoveries of Dreadnoughtus schrani, the biggest known land animal ever, we decided to build, well, a Dreadnoughtus skeleton.

The rare situation where hand tools are more efficient. This stud was a bit too long, but had already been fastened into several other parts. Rather than unscrew a dozens screws, chop it on the chop saw, and then drive the dozen screws again, Oliver just takes off the excess with the pullsaw.

As always and ever, we started with tool training.

Note Alexi's textbook Note Alexi's textbook "Bruce Lee Tiger Claw" left hand, hold the wood firmly in place as she cuts.

We broke into for teams to frame the front and rear legs. Communication among and between teams was important, lest the Dreadnoughtus have limbs that didn't match!

Sofia gets under the shoulders to connect a section of dino-spine.

After the front legs and rear legs were built, we connected them with shoulders and hips, then lifted them up the floor and into their standing position. This--standing up a project that's been built sideways, on the ground, is often a big "a-ha!" moment.

Isaac uses a re-purposed caster to give the dinosaur an articulated, moving neck.

With the shoulders and hips standing, we started building the spine in 8-foot sections. Our builders were focused and perseverant, and really bought into the whole-group goal, rather than individual glory. (Which makes sense, because the whole-group goal was to build a sweet dinosaur.)


We wound up with a 32-foot long dinosaur with an articulated neck. It was massive, and dominated the mayo factory (which says a lot--the mayo factory's big). Incredibly, though, our wood behemoth was only about half the size of the actual Dreadnoughtus--making this the first time in Tinkering School history that we've built something smaller-than-life!

It was very fun moving the head and neck up and down and back and forth.

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