Winter Break: Testing at Kittymershrimp & Co.

With a complex project underway and an ambitious deadline looming, our crews kicked Wednesday off with some focused hustle. We haven't tried for a working mid-week prototype of something this big before at Project Ember, but our mid-sized makers are proving we can aim high. 

Morning meetings help to keep priorities straight, set mini-goals, and of course, celebrate team success.  Allie, Lenka and Oliver are stoked about just having a few reinforcements on the crate.  

Nik, Meyer, Collin and Eli strategize with Hannah about getting the truck rolling this morning. The team decides to shifts the crossbar on the axel before mounting it to the truck platform.  Collin knows it wouldn't really be a truck without a working tailgate. 

Hannah lends a hand as Nik mounts the axel.

The ship had a solid frame by the end of yesterday, so this morning the team gets it rolling. There's some discussion on the most aesthetically pleasing vs. the most practical placement for the casters, and in the end function wins over form this time.  The first "cruise" is quite a moment for team celebration.

Raphael and Allie check out caster dimensions.

Taking the boat for a spin!

A literal "All Hands on Deck" moment for the boat team.

Crane and crate teams collaboration to figure out the crane attachment.

Crane and crate teams collaboration to figure out the crane attachment.

Meanwhile, the crane team blew us all away as their separate pieces assembled into an awe-inspiring 10 foot tall towering structure.  After some heavy duty bolting and an all-hands on deck moment to lift the crane upright for the first time, we were ready for our first test of its lifting ability. 

Whenever we run a test that poses risk, we operate by what we call iterative-escalation.  Our intention was to build a crane that could lift the combined weight of a camper and a wooden crate almost 6 feet in the air.  Though the crane team thought hard about what could go wrong and finalized their design with that in mind, we never want to throw a human on an un-tested rapid prototype.  First we'll try lifting an empty crate a few inches in the air. Each camper is assigned a potential point of failure to watch closely during the test.  If everything goes well, we'll try lifting it higher. 

crane lift
crane lift complete

With a few successful tests under our belt, families start to arrive and it's time for the first full-scale run through.  Josh reminds everyone that we came to make-stuff-camp, which is different than roller coaster camp.  We're about to ride in our creations and suspend a camper in the air with something we built ourselves.  It's vitally important that we proceed with calm and intention, embodying the engineers we are becoming by observing our creations, watching for things that could go wrong and keeping open an excellent line of communication. 

A tremendous success! Thanks to all our campers and families whose last day was today.  Just look at what you accomplished in just 2 1/2 days.  We're going miss Julian, Oliver, Lenka, Nik, Cameron and Liam for the rest of the week, but they've left our teams in a really great place for refinements.  Check out the highlights of the day below: