Sailboat Maker Buddies Program

 

The Syosset Public Library ran a Maker Buddies program with helpful teen volunteers. The volunteers teamed up with kids in grades 3-5 to assemble sailboats. These sailboats were created using plastic 3D printed pieces printed out using a 3D printer. Once the sailboats were assembled, the kids tested the sailboats to see if they floated.

The children learned about the center-of-gravity, angle of incidence and resulting forces on the sail, how to steer a sailboat to go opposite the way the wind is blowing, and the iterative design process for improving performance.

The most exciting part of the program was near the end. The kids made adjustments and modifications to the original designs. They added sails, combining multiple kits, changing the lengths of the straws and adding platforms.

Materials

  • 3D printed parts: sail spars, forward frame, aft frame, centerboard, rudder and tiller.
  • 4 colorful soda straws.
  • colorful cellophane food packaging
  • plastic shoebox and water

Instructions

  1. Print the set of sailboat parts (designed to fit on the small Printerbot Simple bed
  2. Cut 4 equal straw pieces (3 inches long) for pontoons
  3. Cut a 1 inch straw for centerboard support
  4. Cut a 3 inch straw for mast
  5. Cut triangle sail from cellophane and tape to printed spars
  6. Assemble sailboat


Once assembled

  1. Fill plastic box half full of water.
  2. Float in water and adjust tiller and sail for broad reach.
  3. Gently blow on sail through a straw.
  4. Each boat in the regatta has a shoebox and the sailors provide their own wind at the starting signal.
  5. Winner is the first boat to go the length of the box without touching the side.
  6. Winner of the tournament (regatta) gets to keep the winning boat (which is replaced in the fleet by the one printing during the competition.)

 

Lessons include

  • center-of-gravity
  • angle of incidence and resulting forces on the sail,
  • how to steer a sailboat to go other than the way the wind is blowing,
  • the iterative design process for improving performance instructions

 

–Pam Strudler, Syosset Public Library

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