Tag Archives: children

Gears and Gravity: Finished Clocks (Day 13)

All eight clocks on display for the final day of camp.

All eight clocks on display for the final day of camp.

Wow, took me long enough to post this. The last day of DEEP camp on June 28 and I learned so much from my students that I’ve been completely absorbed in revising the clock design that I haven’t taken time to post the photos of my student’s truly excellent work. Can’t wait for next year.

The video below shows six cardboard clocks running (mostly) all at once. What a lovely sound.

The recent purchases of a large shoe order and a new vacuum turned out to be quite helpful to the class.

The recent purchases of a large shoe order and a new vacuum turned out to be quite helpful to the class.

Parents and students watch the closing ceremony and show while the clocks wait to be taken home.

Parents and students watch the closing ceremony and show while the clocks wait to be taken home.

The escape wheel reads: "Genius is eternal patience." – Michelangelo

The escape wheel reads: “Genius is eternal patience.” – Michelangelo

The escape wheel read: "Play is the highest form of research." – Albert Einstein

The escape wheel read: “Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein

Gears and Gravity, Day 7: Gluing Wheels to Arbors

In standard clock construction a clock wheel (aka: gear) is attached to an arbor and the arbor in turn is attached to a pivot. The same methods apply to the Cereal Box Clock except the wheels and arbors are made of paper and the pivots are wood.

Hot glue helps the wheel go round.

Hot glue helps the wheel go round.

Gears and Gravity, Day 6: Wheel Cutting

Trimming the outer edge of the Hour Wheel.

Trimming the outer edge of the Hour Wheel.

Using flush jaw wire cutters to cut wheel teeth is methodical yet enjoyable work.

Using flush jaw wire cutters to cut wheel teeth is methodical yet enjoyable work.

Using a "Japanese" pull saw to cut arbor material. These saw work like butter.

Using a “Japanese” pull saw to cut arbor material. These saw work like butter.

Using a pull saw to cut dowels for pivots. These saws are so sharp that some students could cut through a dowel in one pull!

Using a pull saw to cut dowels for pivots. These saws are so sharp that some students could cut through a dowel in one pull!

Gears and Gravity, Day 5: Pinion Assembly

Assembling pinions is a lot of work and all of the students worked hard. Three eight leaf pinions are required for each clock.

The drilled holes are a little undersized so we must use this very sophisticated pointy stick to increase the diameter.

The drilled holes are a little undersized so we must use this very sophisticated pointy stick to increase the diameter.

Five of eight pins inserted.

Five of eight pins inserted.

They don't have to be straight.

They don’t have to be straight.

Little smears of hot glue hold the pins in place.

Little smears of hot glue hold the pins in place.

Love the pink hot glue guns.

Love the pink hot glue guns.

Gears and Gravity, Day 4: Arbor Tube Rolling

Each wheel and pinion must be secured to a paper arbor before being attached to the 1/4″ dowel pivot. The arbor is 1/4″ ID and 3/8″ OD. As I was designing the clock, I looked for off-the-shelf tubes that I could purchase but what I found seemed expensive and I wanted to ensure a consistent size so I decided that I’d have to roll my own. This video presented and excellent solution. Still, these are a challenge to roll consistently and I had to experiment for quite a while before I found the best technique to teach my students.

Applying glue thinned with water and a little rubbing alcohol to prevent wrinkling.One person holds the paper on the steel rolling-pin to prevent the two from getting glued together.

Applying glue thinned with water and a little rubbing alcohol to prevent wrinkling.One person holds the paper on the steel rolling pin to prevent the two from getting glued together.

Glue applied, starting the roll. A helper tries to keep wrinkles from forming.

Glue applied, starting the roll. A helper tries to keep wrinkles from forming.

Slow and steady.

Slow and steady.

All most there.

All most there.

A finished arbor tube.

A finished arbor tube.

Gears and Gravity, Day 3: Pinion Construction I

Center Punching

Center punching the pinion pin holes. I am impressed by how accurately these 4th, 5th, and 6th graders can punch these center marks. They did better than many college students I’ve seen. Perhaps their small hands and young, sharp eyes give them an advantage.

After Day 1, I knew that this group of students would benefit from the additional challenge of drilling their own holes. I drill all of the 3/8" holes for safety concerns but I'm confident that the risks of injury when drilling an 1/8" hole into chip board are minimal. Everyone has handled the drill press very well so far.

After Day 1, I knew that this group of students would benefit from the additional challenge of drilling their own holes. I drill all of the 3/8″ holes for safety concerns but I’m confident that the risks of injury when drilling an 1/8″ hole into chip board are minimal. Everyone has handled the drill press very well so far.

Cutting 1/8" dowel rod into 3/4" lengths for pinion pins using a custom jig. The Xcelite 170M flush cutters do a pretty good job and fit young hands very well.

Cutting 1/8″ dowel rod into 3/4″ lengths for pinion pins using a custom jig. The Xcelite 170M flush cutters do a pretty good job and fit young hands very well.

Each plate is a double thickness of cereal box chip board plus a paper pattern all spray-mounted together. The average thickness of this material is 40 mil so it's a bit of a challenge to cut through.

Each plate is a double thickness of cereal box chip board plus a paper pattern all spray-mounted together. The average thickness of this material is 40 mil so it’s a bit of a challenge to cut through.

We often emphasize the importance of cutting parts to a rough shape first and then trimming the last bits off.

We often emphasize the importance of cutting parts to a rough shape first and then trimming the last bits off.

Gears and Gravity, Day 1: Best Scissors for Cardboard

shears&scissors_1500px

The first task we tackled in class was to determine which which set of shears worked best for each student to cut double-thick cereal box chipboard. To my delight nearly everyone had strong opinions about the best and worst. I’m so glad I did this as most of the class prefers a pair that I don’t really like and they hate my favorite.

However, I was not surprised to hear their disdain for the #1 pair pictured above. These are your basic cheap-o-always-on-sale craft scissors and they are generally awful for anything other than opening bags of chips.

#2 are an older version of the Fiskars 9911 “Softouch Multi-Purpose” scissors. Even after years of use in my studio these were still a strong favorite.

Though the #3 Fiskars 12-9936 work great for certain things (Lexan for example) I think the blades are just too short to be efficient for the task of cutting cardboard.

I really like the #4 Fiskars 12-7927 “Titanium Nitride Ultimate Craft” scissors. Like the #2 and #3 thease are a “Softouch” spring return set of shears. They feel good in my larger than average hands so I was concerned that they would be too big for the students but they seem to love them.

I thought that they would also love #5, the Fiskars “Premier Quick-Release Multi-Snip” but for reasons I still don’t understand, they hated them. I’m going to leave them around the class room and see if I can catch anyone using them. They are a little smaller than #4 and seem to have a little bit better leverage due to curved blades. Perhaps this curvature is what they don’t like.

#6 was also initially panned by my young reviewers. These very thin blades tend to flex considerably when cutting thick material but they do work well for trimming little bits of the edges. #8 is basically the same set of blades molded into “Softouch” handles.

The #7 Clauss blunt-tip 6″ trimmer was by far the favorite. They are wicked sharp but also fit smaller hands the best. They are a bit strange in that they have very coarse serration close to the pivot which can leave a ragged edge on one side of the cut but most of the students don’t find it comfortable to open the shears that far so it hasn’t been a problem. I ordered two more pair for the class. As for myself, these shears don’t fit my hand very well and I prefer the spring-opening action of the rest.

Items #2-4,6,8 can be purchased at widgetsupply.com (excellent prices and service).

Items #5 and #7 are from McMaster-Carr (items 3512A21 and 3610A12 respectively).

I found item #1 in the bottom of a forgotten box of glitter and pipe cleaners. A few days into the class the handles broke and we threw them away.