Tool Training 2.0

Wednesday After School's are going to be be a blast this winter at Tinkering School. With every single member of the group being a return Tinker we delve deeper into our first day of tool training. We even were able to release the project and being working on our designs. 

First things first, tool training. We decided to ask a lot of questions to see what everyone recalled from their previous participation(s) before deciding to explore further tool operations in what I'd like to refer to as TS Training 2.0.

Nick learns how to use a speed square to make a perfect perpendicular line before making a cut.  

Nick learns how to use a speed square to make a perfect perpendicular line before making a cut.  

Ruben makes a cut with the chop saw

Ruben makes a cut with the chop saw

Sunny holds down a frame with Nick while he tries out the speed settings on the drill. 

Sunny holds down a frame with Nick while he tries out the speed settings on the drill. 

With 30 minutes to spare it was time to release the project... A Massive Moveable Marble Maze!

Wfinished off our session putting our designs down on paper before taking off. The youngest tinker in the group was so excited about their design they decided to bring it home (along with some graph paper) so they could continue working on it in preparation for next session. 

With drawing out of the question for Lukas due to injury he decides to explore some of the physical constrains for the group by measuring the bareing dimeter and the width of the wood we'll use.

With drawing out of the question for Lukas due to injury he decides to explore some of the physical constrains for the group by measuring the bareing dimeter and the width of the wood we'll use.

Becoming Familiar with Tools and Each Other

The first day of after school is all about learning about each other, the shop and tools. 

We begin by quickly circling up for introductions and some basic shop guidelines before we move on to tool training.   

We take tool training very seriously here at Tinkering School. We take time to stress the importance of each tools' purpose, potential hazards and safety protocol. We combine instruction, demonstration and individual practice to give everyone a opportunity to get comfortable with using them. Empowering the kids in this way helps set the entire group up for a successful session. With safety as our focus we create an environment where fun can be our outcome.

Click through below to check out these confident kids using the chop saw, drills and utility knives.  


Mini-Golf

What could be more fun than playing mini-golf?

Building our own mini-golf course, then playing it!

We started by very carefully framing the sub-floors of the holes. They had to be very precise, so that the ball would roll smoothly.

We covered the framing with plywood, then covered the plywood with canvas.

Then we painted the canvas green. We also made obstacles for the holes--a rounded hill for Hole #2, and for Hole #1, of course, a windmill!

Building a mini-golf course, then playing mini-golf, that's what!

As always, there are more photos on our Flickr.

Success! Fin overcomes the treacherous hill obstacle on Hole #2!

Success! Fin overcomes the treacherous hill obstacle on Hole #2!

Cranberry Slammer - Thanksgiving Break Camp - Day 3

Tinkering School is a failure-positive environment. We acknowledge that, for people who want to try new, challenging things, failure is an inevitability.

We maintain a positive, attentive attitude through failure, and try to learn from it.

On this, the third day of Thanksgiving Break Camp, our reach exceeded our grasp! After successfully SMASHING (under a giant mallet) and SLICING (with a knife positioned at the bottom of a 16-foot sled track) cranberry sauce, this day we tried to SLAM it, between twon hammer, positioned on the end of a giant, rolling scissors.

We also tried to add a looping marble track, using insulation brought in by the industrious Aiden and Ayla (visiting from distant Los Angeles!)

The machines each worked in isolation, but we didn't have enough time to get them all working together reliably. But we did have a nice time trying. 

Here are some pictures, as always there are more on our flickr.

Selim, Ayla and Sam.

Selim, Ayla and Sam.

Braid power!

Braid power!

Demaris cuts, Jai catches.

Demaris cuts, Jai catches.

Zachary works on the marble loops.

Zachary works on the marble loops.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Slicer - Thanksgiving Break Camp - Day 2

Yesterday we smashed our cranberries. Today we wanted to slice our sauce! Days 2 and 3 are interesting because we have some brand new tinkerers and some that attended previous days.

We recap the contraptions from the day before and find out what we are building today!

We recap the contraptions from the day before and find out what we are building today!

After tool training we get down to some serious designing. Today we had Cranberry Death Sled, Elevator, and Simple Machine teams!

Cran Death Sled team plotting.

Cran Death Sled team plotting.

During the planning session the Elevator team decided it should use the up and down motion to power a Conveyor Belt.  It seemed like a lot for one day, but we were confident and wanted to go for it!

Cran Death Sled team gets to work!

Cran Death Sled team gets to work!

Brandin, AJ, Cadence, and Valentin create the Death Track.

Brandin, AJ, Cadence, and Valentin create the Death Track.

Up it goes!

Up it goes!

Mackenzie and Mason create the Conveyor Belt base

Mackenzie and Mason create the Conveyor Belt base

Zachary helps the Conveyor base take shape.

Zachary helps the Conveyor base take shape.

Ayla and Aiden test their Teeter Totter ball run!

Ayla and Aiden test their Teeter Totter ball run!

Ayla makes adjustments with the pull saw.

Ayla makes adjustments with the pull saw.

After some fun at the park and lunch the teams refocus and get down to business - we only have 2 hours to make everything work!  Today the tinkerers did a lot of independent problem solving.  The youngest were able to take design plans and recreate the objects in real life. The older ones took on tricky problems like how to secure the slicing knife to the track and how to hold the Death Sled at the top of the ramp until the right moment. 

After lunch building plan!!

After lunch building plan!!

Ike and Charlie make the pulley system to release the Cran Death Sled.

Ike and Charlie make the pulley system to release the Cran Death Sled.

Aurora adds supports to the Death Track.

Aurora adds supports to the Death Track.

Sisley attaches the conveyor belt material to the rods.

Sisley attaches the conveyor belt material to the rods.

Aime and Aiden perfect the Teeter and the Totter.

Aime and Aiden perfect the Teeter and the Totter.

At the end of the day we had arranged the contraptions and tested them in ones and pairs, but not all together.  It was time for a dry run - the best way to see what needs to get tweaked where.

After our dry run each contraption that needed adjustmenting received them from tinkerers overflowing with excitement. We then reset the whole machine and then loaded the Cranberry Sauce.

Once again, our machine almost worked perfectly! Each amazing contraption functioned, just not all together! We also totally sent a cranberry cylinder to its death on a tiny sled.

Cranberry Crusher - Thanksgiving Break Camp - Day 1

Every now and then the Thanksgiving cook runs out of time and is forced to buy cranberry sauce in a can. In a desperate attempt to make it seem more palatable, one can mush it up to make it look less like it came from a can.

At Tinkering School Thanksgiving Break Camp we decided to attempt the mushing of cranberry sauce within the constraints set forth by Rube Goldberg; maximum complexity, minimum output.

Before we can get to that, we have to do some safety training.

Then we planned our parts of the machine. Team 1 focused on the crusher. Team 2 on a plinko machine. Team 3 was all about speed and quantity, making 4 different simple machines.

Team 3 gets right down to their first project. A soccer ball track.

Team 1 discusses the essential steps towards their giant hammer.

Team 2 preps their plinko board

Right around mid-day we take a quick park and lunch break. Its a great moment to breath fresh air and stop thinking about the project for a second.

Team 3’s soccer ball track stands up.

The turkey leg takes shape on the bandsaw.

The smasher/hammer/crusher really begins to become ominous.

We also got to pull out the always exciting full size drill press.

By the end the individual pieces are all starting come together. A zip-line pumpkin pie will trigger a pendulum of turkey leg, which will knock a soccer-ball, which will start the dominoes, which will trigger the hammer which will smash the canned cranberry sauce. 

ou can watch our successful dry-run here!

"She's Never Been to Space Before!"

Today we thought we'd see if we could do a better job than the ESA with putting a lander on a comet.  We figured one day of tinkering would be enough to figure it out. We were even so confident in our skills that we decided we might as well create the comet while we were at it! After tool training we divided up into Lander and Comet teams and went to the drawing boards.

Teia gets to know the chopsaw.

Teia gets to know the chopsaw.

Lauren and Piper use their precision eye to calculate some angles.

Lauren and Piper use their precision eye to calculate some angles.

Design/Snack time may have influenced the name of the lander.

Design/Snack time may have influenced the name of the lander.

Comet team didn't want things to be too easy for Fillet, so we decided its surface should be rolling. We figured a ramp would be the easiest way to roll the comet. Now we had a ramp and a comet to make!

Comet team gets ready to cut the door skin in half.

Comet team gets ready to cut the door skin in half.

Ella takes a turn using the skilsaw to cut a straight line.

Ella takes a turn using the skilsaw to cut a straight line.

Francesca curves her corner through the bandsaw while the rest of the team supports the weight.

Francesca curves her corner through the bandsaw while the rest of the team supports the weight.

The team attaches supports to keep our comet skelton in 3D.

The team attaches supports to keep our comet skelton in 3D.

Finally we cover up all of our tricky, hard work with recycling, hopefully to help it roll.

Finally we cover up all of our tricky, hard work with recycling, hopefully to help it roll.

Ramp team gets the back structure screwed together.

Ramp team gets the back structure screwed together.

Ella, Laura, Simone and Mel attach the first vertical supports!

Ella, Laura, Simone and Mel attach the first vertical supports!

Lila and Ella drill pilot holes for the sliding surface!

Lila and Ella drill pilot holes for the sliding surface!

Meanwhile the Lander team has been hard at work:

Lauren and Ananya team up to get some screws in.

Lauren and Ananya team up to get some screws in.

Lauren, Ananya and Sarah start assembling parts!

Lauren, Ananya and Sarah start assembling parts!

The team contemplates how to connect the two frames.

The team contemplates how to connect the two frames.

Lauren cuts lander appendages on the bandsaw.

Lauren cuts lander appendages on the bandsaw.

Legs and camouflage are attached!

Legs and camouflage are attached!

Fillet is complete with a few more message uploads!

Fillet is complete with a few more message uploads!

When the two teams are ready Fillet and the comet are both sent into orbit!

The first landing attempt fails due to comet deceleration.

A few quick computations from mission control and the ramp adjustments are made! With a few more runs we meet (and dare I say?) exceed the ESA's accomplishment and land Fillet on the comet with a bounce or two and our harpoons functioning!

We accomplished great things here today with girls of all ages working together and figuring out complicated problems!  We heard a lot of stories from their day and the parents received excited tours of our mission headquarters. Hopefully we'll receive some stories from Fillet as it orbits past us too.

Thanks for your hard work Tinkerers!