Each month between January and May we’ll explore a different theme, centering activities, exhibits, and artists around a new material. This month, we made things with metal and wire.
What exactly is metal, you ask? It is defined as a chemical element that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat; from electrical circuits, to lightbulb filaments, to armature inside of reinforced concrete, metal is literally all around us.
These are some of the ways in which we involved visitors this month:
We had the pleasure of hosting Tim Hunkin as a Tinkerer in Residence! Tim literally set up shop inside of the Tinkering Studio, and worked and played on whatever caught his fancy, all within easy access of the public. He went scavenging for metal scraps, and made a beautiful metal entrance gate to the Tinkering Studio.
Having fallen in love with Alexander Calder’s delightful Circus performers made of wire and wood, we experimented with making various playful “action figures” by twisting wire.
Taking advantage of metal’s ability to conduct electricity, we tinkered with one of our favorites activities: Circuit Boards! Visitors played with batteries, lights, buzzers, motors, resistors, potentiometers, switches, and more!
We also played with Scribbling Machines: motorized contraptions that move in unusual ways and leave a mark to trace their path. A Scribbling machine is made from simple materials and demonstrates the erratic motion created by an offset motor.
And more! We experimented, as always, with a number of ways to work and play with metal: soldering, spot welding, embossing soda cans, making motors, taking apart toys, making toys, etcetera.
Electromechanical Contraption Building with Michael Shiloh and Judy Castro
Sat, Mar 12 — 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sat, Mar 19 — 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Join Tinkerers-in-Residence Michael Shiloh and Judy Castro in the Tinkering Studio to explore one of the most common uses of metal: conducting electricity.
You will construct a contraption that creates unique light and motion, using the electrical and mechanical power and building materials we provide. Your contraption becomes part of a larger collaborative machine. Click here for more photos from the last build.
You are encouraged to bring additional materials: broken toys; scraps of wood, plastic, or metal; discarded appliances; recycled objects.