Chain Reactions at Open Make: Time


At Open Make: Time, we experimented for the first time with small scale chain reactions, which for us means having two to four people work on their own personal contained contraption without linking all the tables together to form one giant Rube Goldberg machine. I think this activity has a lot of potential for an core activity in the Tinkering Studio as it allows for a lot of creative problems and solutions without the theatrical and time-intensive nature of a big event.

Open MAKE: Time

For the past open make, we made a connection to the theme of time with both the 60 second timer that we modified to start the ball rolling and emphasizing the ways that people figured out how to take a lot of time to get from one end of their space to the other. We're planning on trying chain reactions again and the next open make, focusing both on the tools needed to accomplish the task and the entire chain reaction machine as a inefficient tool to accomplish something like turning on a light bulb or hammering a nail into a board.

Open MAKE: Time
We raided the restaurant supply store for materials like soup spoons, funnels, chop sticks, and strainers for people to build into their contraptions.

Open MAKE: Time
Part of the challenge was trying to devise ways to use tape, brackets, and straws to hold pieces in place while setting up the next piece in the chain.

Open MAKE: Time
This group used the timer and some dominoes to start off a reaction that would eventually pop the purple balloon.

I took videos of three finished chain reaction machines. They all took a long time to get all the elements aligned and came up with clever solutions for different problems. I'm looking forward to trying this again on the floor in the Tinkering Studio and at the Open Make: Tools event on March 17th.

I loved playing "The Incredible Machine" when I was a kid. I still love that kind of contraptions and want to try and build a real one. I hope that there will be another event like that soon so I can take a part in it.

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