A workshop is weeks of gradually accumulating materials and participants followed by one day of thoroughly enjoyable construction. As participants arrive, we organize them into small groups to cut fabric and to build multiples of a single part or subassembly: blades, pulleys, propellers, trays, gussets, and drums.
As trays become available, participants migrate into assembling their own devices. Building a complete Gray-B-Gon takes about six hours. Participants are welcome to leave early and finish at home, but make sure they've checked the parts list at the end of the Construction Steps Outline.
We use "parts kits" to accommodate participants who want Gray-B-Gons, but for whatever reasons can't spend the day building with us. If the workshop enrollment is full, we can still welcome others to come and help out and learn, and to leave with a parts kit. The materials fee is the same for a parts kit or a completed device. If practical during the workshop, build a few extra trays to give parts-kit builders a head start.
In the early workshops, the first step was to varnish all the wood parts. The varnishing and drying time made it difficult for anyone to complete a device on workshop day. Recently we've invited volunteers to help varnish in advance, and also learn the construction process, so in the workshop they can guide other builders.
Builders will learn the construction process from the Construction Guide ("CG"), from the Construction Steps Outline ("CSO"), from guides' guidance, and from working with one another. Looking at the demo Gray-B-Gon unit will answer many questions.
Have two or three copies of the CG available, and one CSO for each device to be built.
To keep track of tools I have a box labeled TOOL HOME in a central location, and ask builders to return tools they're finished with.
Keeping track of drill bits is a bigger challenge. If you can, gather enough drills to have one for every needed drill bit size, label them, and keep the bit in the drill.
Make up "damp bags" (plastic bags holding damp paper towels) .
Stir and shake varnish cans. Place the pouring lid on one can; pour about 1" into each mini-bucket.
Set out dropcloth, mini-buckets, brushes, damp bags, drying racks, and shadecloth (for drying small parts).
Time is about 1/2 painter-hour per device.
When finished, pour mini-bucket contents back into gallon can, and rinse mini-buckets. Rinse brushes at least 4 times.
With your guides, demonstrate:
Arrive at 8am for a published 10am start.
INTRODUCTION Erect the demo evapotron. Demonstrate the templates, jigs, and wheel clamps. Show how to open a ball of twine. Evapotrons may look similar, but all are slightly different. It's important for participants to use a marking pen to label their trays, wheels, drum axles, masts, and buckets with their own or their camp's name.
Assure participants that (except when cutting PVC pipe) neatness and precision aren't all-important. A liner that's wrinkled still holds water.
Have materials ready to go; have a bell, horn, or town crier to gather an audience (without stopping everyone's work, somehow.) Rely on your guides to gather tools and materials and set up a demo, and, as they learn, to present the demo. Keep the demo moving; rather than stall, be ready to defer questions or switch to a different wheel, etc.
DEMO cover wood with varnish. Fill the brush, unload the varnish widely, then spread it thin. If your brush is too full, dry it out by unloading drips onto the next area you're going to cover. Cover end grain and plywood edges by patting the brush face against the wood. If an area is drippy or too wet, paint over it with a dryer brush.
DEMO build and mount a pulley on a freehub-style propeller wheel (CG Steps 18 & 20).
Materials: taped grooves, inner and outer flanges, 16ga Cu wires, wire cutters, needlenose pliers; a borrowed propeller wheel with a freehub, clamped on a table, and CG.
DEMO cut flashing; trace and cut blades (CG Step 21).
Materials: flashing roll and cutting jig, box knife, blade template, marking pen, scissors, emery paper, file
Because different wheels have different blade requirements (in size and number), the blade activity marks the end of assembly-line construction and the start of building a personal device.
Set out zipties in a shallow, heavy bowl.
DEMO mount propeller blades (CG Steps 22, 23).
Materials: propeller wheel clamped on a table, 8 or 9 blades, marking pen, 1/8" drill, C clamp, zipties.
Recruit tray builders (3, one with woodworking/carpentering experience). Details are in the CSO at "Make the Tray" and in CG Steps 8-10.
DEMO build masts and mount them on a tray.
Materials: tray, gusset-tray gauge, long and short mast, drilled gussets, bolts, nuts & washers, hammer, carpenter's square, clamp, CG
DEMO mount propeller and balance it.
Materials: windless location, fully-bladed propeller mounted on mast, coils of 12ga copper wire calibrated to wheel size, cutters, pliers, blue tape, measuring tape, CG
DEMO mount drum wheels and axle, and rig twine for diagonal bracing.
Materials: tray with masts, 1/4" floor spacers, wheels, A34's, 2 mini vise-grips, axle pieces, PVC clamping jig, blue tape, saw, twine ball, scissors, measuring tape, CG. Ask builders to pause for a guide check before zip-tying the bracing.
DEMO lace drum with twine. Ask builders to pause for a guide check when they've started lacing.
Materials: tray with drum wheels mounted and braced, twine ball, scissors.
DEMO make drive belt from stocking legs.
Materials: three stocking legs.
DEMO mount liner and bucket.
Materials: Borrowed tray and masts, plastic sheet, 4 cans of beer, screw gun, staples and screws, drilled bucket, panty-hose, twine, scissors, CG
When builders prepare to leave, be sure they check the end of the CSO, "Be sure you take home:"