Maker Studio HATCHedu ThinkFun Paddle Splasher

Introduction: Maker Studio HATCHedu ThinkFun Paddle Splasher

This instructable will show you how to turn your Maker Studio Gear Set into a fun boat to play with in the tub or in the pool.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

You will need:

  • A plastic box that your parents were going to recycle anyway. It can be just about any size, but the bigger the box, the bigger your boat; the bigger your boat, the more force you'll need from your paddle.
  • A hot glue gun - get mom or dad's help if you need to.
  • Duct tape - I started with gray, but then decided to have fun with my daughters' patterned tape.
  • Scissors (not shown)
  • Your Maker Studio Gears kit - we will use most of the pieces.

Step 2: Build the Drive Train

Building the drive train isn't too hard once you know what's important. Here's what you need to know.

  • The gears are very thin, so alignment is really important, or your teeth won't mesh properly.
  • Friction is a big deal to the drive train - you need to slide your axle arrangements tight enough to be aligned properly, but not so tight that the the gears can't spin. It's a delicate balance...
  • You want the big gear on the same axle as the paddle wheel. Why? Because you need a lot of torque to spin the paddle. Torque is that twisting force that it takes to turn something around its axis. When we use the big gear on the same axis as the paddle, with the small gear "driving" it (using our rubber band "motor"), we are able to get more torque out than we put in (of course, nothing is for free...we the small gear has to rotate more).
  • Remember to think about how you are using your hubs to connect gears to the axle. If you want the gear and the axle to spin together, you'll need to lock your hub to the gear. If you don't want the axle to be stuck to your connector bar, you'll need to make sure that the hub isn't locked into the bar.

To build the drive train, you use your two long axles. Mount both axles to either end of a short connector bar, using hubs to locate the connector bar closer to one end of the axles than another. Then place the gears, one on each axle, with locking hubs. Then I put "wheels" on next to the gears. This was essentially to help keep the gears perpendicular to the axle and to help with alignment. Place a second short connector bar and slide hubs to hold in place, but don't lock the bar to the axle. Put the rubber band motor, with its two locking hubs, next to the small gear on the same axle.

Step 3: Assemble Your Paddle Wheel

Use two of your remaining wheels as side supports for paddles that you cut out of the lid of the plastic container. Hot glue your paddles to the axle (remember, you should be on the axle with the big gear) and the wheel "spokes" for stability.

Step 4: Connect to the Boat and Give It a Try!

Use your remaining long axle and your two long connector rods to connect the drive train/paddle apparatus to your boat. Don't forget to anchor your rubber band around this axle so that your "motor" will work! This part is a little tricky and will probably need some customized tweaking depending on what size plastic box you have. I used liberal amounts of duct tape to secure that third axle to the boat. Tape is ok here, because that "axle" doesn't need to spin. You will also need to fix the angle between the drive train connector bar (short) and the boat connector bar (long), otherwise your paddle will spin and simply push itself away from the boat, instead of pushing the boat! I did this with a piece of duct tape between the two connectors (If you have more parts from another Maker Studio set, you could just use another connecter bar here, with the short axles and some hubs).

Now, wind up your boat and give it a try! Your boat may need ballast... In our video, Elsa, Belle and Minnie are balancing out the weight of the drive train and paddle. If they weren't there, our boat would capsize!

Remember...makers often have to tweak, and tweak, and tweak some more in order to get things working! What design changes can you think of to make this boat work better? IHow could you get the paddle to work better and make the boat go farther? f you try something or change something post in the comments and let me know what you did!

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