2 Hour Workshop

How to have useful construction workshops.
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10range
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2 Hour Workshop

Post by 10range » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:58 am

I have been asked to help with our church's Awana Grand Prix workshop. The event is scheduled to last for 2 hours. The last couple of years we have had similar workshops but they have not been run very well. The person who has organized them has no clue how to build a car. This has led to a number of designs coming out of the workshop that were not usable.

My question to those who have helped or run workshops is, what should we try to do during these two hours? The past two years, all I have been able to do is help cut and sand the cars. I believe last year there were about 20-25 kids at the workshop. While I am not in charge this, I would like some feedback from those have run workshops for advice on what to do and what to avoid during the event.



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Darin McGrew
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Re: 2 Hour Workshop

Post by Darin McGrew » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:26 pm

Each year, we have 3 Saturday morning workshops, each lasting a couple hours. If we could have only one workshop, then I'd try to help everyone:
  • press straight axle holes with a drill press
  • cut their block to the basic shape
  • add the main weight so the car is almost 5 oz
If you have time, then help them polish their axles too. (Those who are waiting their turn for other tools can polish axles with hand drills, if you have space and outlets available.)

Leave the cars a little light. It's easier to add a little trim weight than it is to drill out excess weight. Also, try to get the kids to bring any accessories/decorations to the workshop, so they can take them into account when weighting their cars.

The other big items in our workshops are the paint booths (large cardboard box, cheap plastic turntable, rattle-can spray paint with trigger handle) and the axle lubrication table (Krytox 100 and clean rags), but most people can do those steps at home if they have to.



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FatSebastian
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Re: 2 Hour Workshop

Post by FatSebastian » Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:04 pm

10range wrote:My question to those who have helped or run workshops is, what should we try to do during these two hours? The past two years, all I have been able to do is help cut and sand the cars.
IMO, workshops are for those who lack resources, so you might want to ask yourself what resources you need to provide: tools, skilled labor, advice, construction space, other?

Most of the workshops I have attended catered to folks who lack woodworking tools. So when it was my turn to host a clinic (also two hours), I spent the first half giving an interactive presentation, talking about basic physical principles that might be used to make a car go fast (sources of friction, lubrication, aerodynamics, energy conservation, weight distribution), involving the kids in experiments to illustrate those basic principles, and talking about what not to do. The second half the kid/parent teams designed car patterns and we rough-cut blocks with a bandsaw (for those who wanted that - not all did). The kids finished their cars outside the clinic in the privacy of their homes (away from the prying eyes of competitors :shifty: ), being all the more confident about car building. :eager:



10range
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Re: 2 Hour Workshop

Post by 10range » Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:07 am

Thanks for the thoughts. I have really been trying to encourage the organizer to do some sort of education at the start of the event. In the past the event has been more along the lines of "this is where everything is, this is who is here to help, have fun.



Jeff Piazza
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Re: 2 Hour Workshop

Post by Jeff Piazza » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:19 am

In our pack, I run two separate events: a "hints and tips" night with a presentation and demonstrations on physics and practicalities, and then a fully separate workshop on a Saturday morning. I think a workshop is not a great venue for presenting, both because the room is laid out for a different purpose, and because the audience will be too antsy to start cutting something. (Also, the workshop itself can be run on a "drop-in" basis, so boys can show up whatever time they're not busy with basketball or other Saturday pursuits. A presentation can't really be done with the same flexibility.)

My favorite part of the hints and tips is doing the demonstration described by Nitro Dan - viewtopic.php?p=24624#p24624. I ask one of the Tigers to come up and offer to have a little race with him. "Only it won't be a fair race, is that OK? I'm going to take a head start." When his ball wins, I turn to him and ask what happened -- "But I cheated fair and square, how did YOU win?" (I also explain afterwards that fairness really IS important, blah, blah, blah.)

/JEP



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Nitro Dan
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Re: 2 Hour Workshop

Post by Nitro Dan » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:52 am

Jeff Piazza wrote:My favorite part of the hints and tips is doing the demonstration described by Nitro Dan
Yeah, that one really wakes up the parents as well. It's definitely the best demo I got in my "bag-o-tricks", only now I run the demo on the test track at the workshops, using the lane areas between the guide rails. I do like your "spin" on it and plan to use that with our Tigers this year.

Our workshops are 6 hours for three different Saturdays. With only two hours, I'd concentrate pretty much on what Darin mentions, but I'd put more importance on getting the axles polished and probably less on getting the cars weighted.

-Nitro Dan


Take good and make it great. Take fast and make it faster. Performance drives success!

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