Wednesday, April 2, 2014

More Engineering

It's been really cool watching N get absorbed into a project. A is a big reader and musician, not to mention various other creative pursuits, so she has plenty of ways to entertain herself. N tends to want to go outside and move around. Maybe it's a boy thing, but he's not as keen to sit for hours and read a good book, though he's reading a lot more than before.

He can do sports or ride his bike for hours, however, and is an athletic kid. That's all fine and dandy, but we like the idea of developing cerebral pursuits, as well. He does fine with his school work and loves math, but it's not something he'd choose to do in his free time. What he does enjoy is building, and on multiple scales.

He mentioned building a structure in the basement, but we sort of encouraged him to take it upstairs since it's cold and damp down there, not to mention smelly (the cat litter box is down there). He came up with an idea to build a fort upstairs with a frame and siding. Rather ambitious, I thought, though he was ready, willing, and able. He even drew up a design on paper, complete with dimensions. How cool is that?

He was trying to come up with a way to make the frame so that we could disassemble it in the future, and my first thought was to rip wood beams and screw them together. That would have been hard to disassemble, however, and I'm not sure if he could fasten them together on his own. Then it dawned on us: why not use PVC piping? It's cheap and durable, you can get all sorts of connectors, and he can put the unit together by himself. Brilliant.

We headed to Home Depot and got about 40 feet of the stuff. I was trying to figure out how much we needed and got a little irritated when the kids were being silly, especially since this was all being done for N, so I asked him to calculate how many elbow and t-connectors we would need for his overall design. He stood there quietly and then came up with a number, which naturally, being the cynic and all, I assumed was a guess, but he hit the nail on the head. I was pretty impressed, not to mention no longer irritated.

We didn't have time to cut the pieces exactly as we wanted, but 10ft sections weren't going to fit in the Fit, so I just cut them all in half and piled them into the car. When we got home, as usual, I was tired and had to start making supper, but I figured if I didn't take care of business it would, like many projects, sit and languish in the basement. So I sucked it up and went to work, cutting the sections into the requested sizes and delivering them to his room.

He then proceeded to spend the next several hours getting the preliminary design together, and before I knew it, he had a frame. Pretty cool stuff, I hope he rides this wave for awhile, at least until his uncle, the Amazing PR Man, gets his hands on him and teaches him how to build things that move, like go-carts and mini-bikes.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Mario Aedo for the pic.

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