This is a guest post by our summer intern Nomar!
As enormous as the Exploratorium is, storage space is important. The more I used the woodshop in the Tinkering Studio, the more I noticed minor ways we could make it feel a little more spacious in there. What stuck out to me the most was the drills and chargers that take up a chunk of the chop saw table so my first thought was to use PVC pipes as slots for the drills as I’ve seen in other shops I’ve worked in. But it just didn’t feel right to use some plain old PVC and some idea I’ve seen many times before. I decided to have more fun with it and even get a little more picky to make it even more convenient, specific to the studio, and maybe a little more interesting.
I decided to connect the PVC in a small series of tees and elbows to get that PVC look. Attaching it to the peg board does require the person to reach over the chop saw table a little bit so I came up with a new design where it would be attached to the underside of a shelf and therefore extended away from the wall, requiring less reach. Above the shelf will be a wood track along the peg board for the battery chargers to sit upright on, each one having its own lock so they could individually come off if need be. This whole design not only cleans up the chop saw table, but also creates more space and accessibility in the shop. But it didn’t have that bit of fun I was looking for so I figured I’d push it to another level and turn the PVC slots into a playable instrument. Now, I have yet to even prototype so I’m not very sure how my idea will go but my imagined design for this is creating some sort of foam slots for the drills to fit into when placed into the PVC slots. The foam would have something like a series of dowels sticking out around the exterior so when the drills are activated, the foam would catch onto the spinning tip of the drill and the dowels would come around and hit a wooden xylophone block somewhere inside the PVC. I’m interested in seeing what the connected PVC will do to the sound of the xylophone blocks. I expect it to be amplified in some ways but I hope the tubing gives the sound a cool effect.
When I explain to someone what I’m doing, they always seem to be a bit confused until I tell them the music aspect is just for fun. For some reason the idea of something so pointless but yet so joyful makes me laugh out of happiness. Adding unexpected spins to things like this really brings out that childish joy from within and just gives you something to laugh at or play with. Afterall, why not bring a little bit of the Exploratorium fun into the shop? It’s those little moments that craft a nice day.