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10:00am to 6:00pm

Tinkering Studio

Discover Your Inner Inventor

The Tinkering Studio - This automaton does what I want it to!
This automaton does what I want it to!
The Tinkering Studio - I built this automaton myself
I built this automaton myself
The Tinkering Studio - LEDs, batteries + fuzzy parts = digital bling
LEDs, batteries + fuzzy parts = digital bling
The Tinkering Studio - Learning how to build a simple structure
Learning how to build a simple structure
The Tinkering Studio - Automatons creating art
Automatons creating art
The Tinkering Studio - Course all laid out
Course all laid out
The Tinkering Studio - Ready to roll!
Ready to roll!
The Tinkering Studio - Tinkering with tops
Tinkering with tops
The Tinkering Studio - Tinkering with circuits
Tinkering with circuits
The Tinkering Studio - Tinkering supplies for your creations
Tinkering supplies for your creations
The Tinkering Studio - Let your imagination soar in our wind tubes!
Let your imagination soar in our wind tubes!
The Tinkering Studio - A collection of tops
A collection of tops

Visit us in our new location in the upstairs Discovery Gallery.

The Fleet Science Center connects people of all ages to the possibilities and power of Science to create a better future.  The Tinkering Studio is the Innovation and Maker Space that gives our visitors an opportunity to challenge their creativity through exploring those possibilities.  We focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM), hosting open studio hours daily and workshops for school groups, corporate groups, families and makers of all ages.  Through Tinkering, we explore the surroundings, materials and concepts that will lead to the next great innovation. 

Hours:

Monday: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
Tuesday–Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.*
Saturday: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.*
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.*

*Hours subject to change. Please inquire upon your arrival.

Have questions? Contact us!
 

Tinkering Studio Workshops:

Saturday's Tinkerers’ Club: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Introduction to 3D printing and CAD drawing Workshop
STEAM Shop
Maker Hour

 

Upcoming Events:

 

Monday, August 11
Maker Hour: Creative Tools to Photograph the August Eclipse
6-8:30 p.m.

Recommended Ages: 21+
Join us for a very special Solar Eclipse Maker Hour in collaboration with the Museum of Photographic Arts. From DIY cardboard viewers to crafty pinhole projections, we’ll explore the many ways to safely and creatively photograph the solar eclipse. We'll kick things off covering the basics of the August 21 solar eclipse, then learn about camera technology and build a head-mounted camera obscura and assorted viewers for safe eclipse viewing. The cost of registration covers supplies for creating a viewer and an information packet with additional resources so you leave prepared to get some awesome shots of this rare event! Grab a drink, make new friends and PLAY! at Maker Hour. 

Supplies are limited. Advance registration is recommended. 
Grab your tickets HERE

 

Saturday, August 19
Solar Eclipse Viewer
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Recommended Ages: 7+
It's solar week! Learn about solar sclipses and safe methods to view the sun. Visitors will use everyday items to build a viewer that allows them to safely see the solar eclipses, sun storms, solar flares and more. 

Supplies are limited. Advance registration is recommended. 

 

 


 

 

Monday, August 21
The Great American Eclipse: Viewing Event

On Monday, August 21, come to the Fleet to safely view the eclipse! This FREE event begins at 9 a.m. and includes:

  • Free eclipse viewing from the Plaza in front of the Fleet Science Center.
  • Ask an Astronomer—our resident astronomer, Dr. Lisa Will, will answer your eclipse and space questions.
  • Pinhole Projectors—we'll provide the supplies and instructions and you can make your own simple object that will project the eclipse.
  • Visualizing the Eclipse—get a feel for eclipses with a tactile, Braille guide to the eclipse, courtesy of NASA.
  • Galactic Education—learn more about the eclipse, discover facts about the Sun, investigate clouds, explore the orbits of planets and more! Activities courtesy of the National Informal STEM Education Network's Explore Science: Earth and Space kit.
  • Solar eclipse glasses for sale—these inexpensive glasses are made with special filters that allow you to view the eclipse without risking eye damage.

 

For more workshops, check out our Saturday Workshop: Tinkerers' Club!

 

 


ON THE BLOG:
Make Your Own
Cardboard Automata

A completed automata.

By The Tinkering Studio

Building automata is one of our favorite activities at the Tinkering Studio. It is a great way to explore how cams and levers work as well as how to incorporate movement into your art.  Automaton tells a story through its motion.

Simple automata are easy to make. We like to use cardboard boxes as a frame, but you can also use other materials such as wood or plastic cups. There are many types of automata. Look on the web for many inspirational works by automata artists who create these amazing moving machines.

For more details and step by step instructions, check out our blog
 


Getting to Know You:

 Meet some of the faces you'll see on the Gallery Floor: 

 

Akiko Hicks, Exhibits Experience Lead

1. If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why?
Possum - because they have remarkable ability to find food, a super strong immune system and they do not have to be cute.

2. What’s your favorite medium to work in?
This is a hard question.  I like paper in general, and fabric.  I worked with clay for many years, and recently I fell in love with cardboard.

3.  If you could live anywhere in the universe, real or fiction, where would you live?
San Diego!  

4.  Who’s your S.T.E.A.M. hero?
My Dad!  He is a chemist, engineer and artist.  

5.  Why do you like being an Innovator?
I love tinkering and the environment of our studio.  It is a safe place to take risk where every mistake you make becomes a learning opportunity.

 

 

Jackie Valentine, Exhibits Experience Lead

1. If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why?
Peregrine Falcon.  I've always loved the concept of flight and any time I am experience something even remotely similar (ziplining, bungee jumping etc.) I feel more free than at any other time.  Peregrine Falcons can fly super fast too so that makes them extra cool.

2. What’s your favorite medium to work in?
My favorite medium to work in is this t-shirt I got at Expo Day a few years back.  It's a size medium.  Just kidding! I really like working in cardboard.  I really like how it's a material we have a ton of and that we interact with all the time but most of us just end up throwing it away.  It can actually be really versatile when used properly.

3.  If you could live anywhere in the universe, real or fiction, where would you live?
I would probably live in Malibu at Tony Stark's house.  Because then that would mean that I'm Tony Stark and that would be amazing.

4.  Who’s your S.T.E.A.M. hero?
Adam Savage is a huge hero of mine.  I love his attitude towards science and the maker community and his encouragement of the upcoming generation.  

5.  Why do you like being an Innovator? 
It gives me a space to share with other people some of the stuff I've learned as well as learning from other people who might even know more than I do.  Plus as an Innovator I can test out ideas for builds that may or may not work on the first try.  Also there's not a ton of room in my apartment to put in a hot glue station.

 

Marla Andrade, Tinkering Studio Coordinator

1. If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why?
If I were an animal, I’d be a Flamingo. I think they are very majestic and exotic creatures with their pink colored plumage and ability to migrate long distances. Flamingos are also very social birds that live in highly populated colonies, something I identify with.

2. What’s your favorite medium to work in?

Wood: the look, the feel, the smell, everything about it makes me excited. Its extremely versatile and a timeless medium to work with.
Cardboard: the most underrated material in the world. It holds, it shelters, it transforms, its widely available, and it’s my best tool in the studio.
Mixed Media: a mix of paint, tape, string and paper. Because of my art background, I do not shy away from mixing different types of media and finding out what works together.

3.  If you could live anywhere in the universe, real or fiction, where would you live?
I would definitely stay in the west coast. One of the most cultural diverse cities in the world is San Francisco. SF has been one of my favorite cities since I was kid and it still maintains one of my top spots. A city full of innovative people: artists, makers, designers, musicians, architects, chefs you name it, the energy there is contagious. On top that, the beautiful lush green landscapes everywhere you turn, what else can you ask for? The Bay Area is a very special place. 

4.  Who’s your S.T.E.A.M. hero?
I have to stick with my passion for design and modern architecture and go with Charles and Ray Eames “The Eameses.” They were not only two of the most important innovators, designers and pioneers of their generation, they also worked in the fields of industrial design, fine art and film and that’s the kind of creativity and ambition I aspire to have. You’re as good as what you know and for me, I believe knowing something about any field you’re curious about is a way to keep growing and to stay inspired.  

5.  Why do you like being an Innovator? 
 I love being curious and learning new things. Reinventing something, finding the solution to a problem, collaborating with others that share my ambition, these are things Innovators and Makers do and seek everyday. The fact that I get to teach and inspire younger generations while at the same time expanding my own knowledge is the best part of being an Innovator.

 

Anthony Keifer, Exhibit Technician

1. If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why?
A cyborg, because biology is limiting.

2. What’s your favorite medium to work in?
Wood and metal.

3.  If you could live anywhere in the universe, real or fiction, where would you live?
On a planet with very little gravity but a really thick atmosphere.

4.  Who’s your S.T.E.A.M. hero?
Carl Segan.

5. What’s your favourite hands-on interactive at the Fleet?
Turntable. 

 

 

John McKay, Lead Exhibit Technician

1. If you could be any animal, what animal would you be and why?
Border Collie (Dog) – Smart, driven to complete a task and always looking for something to do. 

2. What’s your favorite medium to work in?
Ferrous Metals – I enjoy the creativity, beauty and mystique of hand fabricated metal work.

3.  If you could live anywhere in the universe, real or fiction, where would you live?
1950’s Southern California – The nation was filled with optimism and California was the epicenter. Manufacturing and prosperity spread across the state. The SoCal car culture was in full swing, while the palm trees swayed gently in the ocean breeze. The Golden State was brimming with artistic creativity,  unbridled enthusiasm and ambition.

4.  Who’s your S.T.E.A.M. hero?
Angus MacGyver – Although a fictional character, he exemplifies the power of creative thinking, using less the ideal components to solve complex problems. 

5. What’s your favourite hands-on interactive at the Fleet?
Kugelbahn – An masterpiece of inspired craftsmanship and simple physics, with a touch of a Rube Goldberg aesthetic.

 

 

 


The Tinkering Studio was made possible by a major gift in honor of Grace and Jeffrey, and generous grants from the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation and the Mandell Weiss Charitable Trust.