Archives for category: 2012 Session 3 – Juniors

A train, pulled by a giant sail – how can you not try it? It took us the whole week, and many of the evenings to get it done and working.


Day One – A New Beginning
Day Two – Workin’ on a Train Gang
Day Three – There’s Always More to Do
Day Four – A Tactical Break
Day Five – Get Ready, Get Set…
Day Six – Rolling

Need more? There are 2,628 photos in the session three archive.

You start with an idea – a train, powered by sail, with a dining car, a sleeping car, and (even though you didn’t know it until you saw it) a grape-shooting car! The idea is so powerful that you find yourself dreaming about it, drawing pictures of it, talking about it… and finally, building it. This is the story of Session 3 at Tinkering School, 2012.

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Our railcars survived the night by the side of the quarry haul road in Davenport (special thanks to the night security crew at the cement factory for keeping an eye on them!), and, with a little effort, we manage to get them on to the trailer in pairs for transport. Read the rest of this entry »

We are in final stages of preparation for the inaugural departure of our sailtrain. It’s one of those days where there are no big milestones, just an endless list of little details to knock out. The high-fives are few and far between, but the progress is good and consistent.

The plan is to ferry the boats down to the rail head today, mount the new wheel units and guide-wheels, and then store them overnight at the cement plant. Not to give anything away, but let’s call that “plan A”.

Lauren and Kami get started by putting in the middle bed panel on the Piki’s triple-decker bunkbed. Read the rest of this entry »

I want to talk about the inestimable value of taking a break, a diversion, a digression – but first we have to have a FLASHBACK:

Last night, before coming in for the evening, a new Olympic sport was developed – Synchronized Table Dismount. The scoring and technical judging criteria are not fully developed, but the American and French teams are already in hot competition.

After dinner, Gever hosted a brief “How to Draw a Straight Line” salon. This simple provocation lead to an evening of drawing and drawing games.

END FLASHBACK Read the rest of this entry »

We live to build. This is the way of Tinkering School. We play to enervate our building, we eat to fuel our bodies and minds for more working. Truly. Over breakfast this morning, there was no talk of how tired we were from the long day yesterday, instead, we talked about what we would do as soon as we got back to the barn.

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Every job should start with a walk through the woods, past the chickens, the llama, and the goats. Good morning all you peculiar and charming beasts, let us see what the day brings today, shall we? Read the rest of this entry »

We managed to make it through breakfast and up to the barn before the kids convinced Gever to tell them what the big project is this week. Inspired by the team railboats from Session 2, Gever challenges the Session 3 tinkerers to build an actual train, with three cars and an engine. Two of the collaborators take on the engine car and that leaves the teams to create individual cars that will link together to form a train.
“An actual, real train?” asks one of the tinkerers.
“Yes,” says Gever, “an actual train, powered by sail, on train tracks. A Sailtrain.”

But first, Saya has to check in with the goats.
P1950817 Read the rest of this entry »

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, which means that boredom is the aunt of creativity. Given a pause of indeterminate length, any two tinkerers will inevitably invent something to do to pass the time. Apropos of this, we present the inaugural game of “catch sock wad in helmet.”

P1950569 Read the rest of this entry »


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