Friday, October 28, 2016

Drones and Skateboards

Being a parent means constantly searching for what interests your kids, especially what they are passionate about, and it's been a little tricky with N. With A, she's shown a keen interest, not to mention an aptitude, for many things, including books, music, art, and even science. For N, it's been a little more of a search, though he has from the get go been interested in machines, especially big ones. I'm guessing it's a boy thing because I was the same way (and still am).

Kids also need to have the cool factor in their interests, though I think this is even more true for boys because it's a big part of the scrutiny of their peers. Because of this N has had an interest in things that are slightly fringe/edgy (i.e., X-Games), like BMX bikes, surfing, motorcycles, and skateboards. Hockey and LAX are a lot of fun, but somewhat mainstream. N likes to operate a little on the outer rim of crowd, and recently he's been interested in skateboards, or rather, making them. He takes it very seriously but more importantly, he wants to be left alone to do it. Unless it's really necessary, he doesn't want my assistance, and I completely dig that. I'll operate the table saw, but he can take it from there. I give him free reign over my tools, though it can be a little challenging finding them later. Not a big deal on my end.

With that in mind, he has become a skateboard making machine. Sure, that's an exaggeration since he's only made two, but after figuring out the first one, he made the second one like it was nothing. Bear in mind, this is not a simple process because he has to make the plywood from thin sheets and glue, and then bend the board into shape. It's not something I would ever think to do, and he went for it. One thing about N is he has a bit of an engineers mindset in that he's patient and very thorough. He does a nice job and takes pride in his work; you just can't beat that.

He's also made a buddy over at the school who is really into drones. This kid not only like to fly them, but he apparently races them and makes them from scratch. Pretty cool stuff. What's even cooler is that he's helping N out in making them for himself, and he's been very generous with his time, expertise, and even materials. I don't know this kid very well but he seems nice and his mom is very friendly, not to mention a big city sophisticated/highly educated professional person. I think she and R jive.

With this in mind, N went ahead and built his own drone. He had to order many of the parts but his buddy gave him the motors that he would need, which is pretty cool. He assembled the body, soldered the wiring and circuits, and obtained a remote control unit. It required some special programming so that the RC unit could communicate with the drone, but it's all hooked up and works beautifully. He flew it for me and it's pretty darn cool, though surprisingly heavy. His next project will be to install a camera on the thing, and then who knows where it will lead him. Wherever that may be, I have no doubt that it'll be pretty cool.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Drone Dudes for the pic.

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