Hacking Neil Downie: Day 5

Editor’s Note: Hacking Neil Downie is a week of experiments with the ideas and designs from Neil Downie’s brilliant and playful books on Saturday Science. When the kids in the group discovered that Neil is a real person who lives and works in England (and sometimes in Pennsylvania), they wondered why they couldn’t ask him their questions directly. In this blog, they did.

All week we have forwarded him their thoughts and questions. He very graciously answered  every day. See Comments.

Here are our thank you’s for the week. We hope the convesation can continue.

Dear Neil Downie,

Rubberbands on a Rotarope are amazing! We  have 1/4″ elastic we use  for aeromodelling. The  waves are larger and more visible. Thank you, Sophia.

Sophia's rotarope with rubber band.

with rubber going slower

rotarope with rubber and flash

Dear Neil Downie

We have worked on the Leonardo Bridge before. Bill says your design is especially brilliant  in that there is a safe simple way to make the pieces on the table saw.

Our Leonardo Bridge

About 3 of us made it across the bridge before we broke a piece!

Thank you, Angus

Dear Neil Downie,

Turns out it was easier to make Motor Dice than it was to teach my group to play dice. Now look what I’ve started.

Thank you, Alex L.

Dear Neil Downie,

Maybe wire sizes (or stiffness) are different in England. We had to double up the AWG wire to get the worm to stretch. Our worms  moved a lot, but not far.

Thank you, Alex T.

Dear Neil Downie,

Noah A., Omar, Ehsen, Quentin, Parker, Michael, Joshua, Joaquin, Karl, Sophia, Andrei, Nick, DAmir, Evan, Ariel, Jacob, Jason, Jonathan, Eva, Winston, Ben, Clara, Andy, Jenna, Anna, Duncan, Wesley, Remy, Isha, Siavash, Alex, Evan, Charlie, Linnea, Robin, Noah S., Yasin, Steven, Apple, Angus, Alex L., Alex, T. Monika, Annika, Sophia, Hillary, Tyler, Mark, Parker join us in thanking you for your inspiration and hard work.

thank you,

Bill Brown


1 Comment

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One response to “Hacking Neil Downie: Day 5

  1. Neil A. Downie

    Dear Sophia, rubber on a Rotarope can behave in a really wild way – as I think you found out! Best, Neil D

    Dear Angus, your Leonardo Bridge looks great. Strengthening of the central notches is a good plan, or just pay attention that the wood doesn’t have a knot or shake other weakness near the notch. Best, Neil D
    Dear Alex L, you can learn a lot about probability from the Motor Dice – and the same is true of playing dice – not that I am recommending it ! Best, Neil D
    Dear Alex T, well done on spotting that wire gauges are different in the UK.
    The electric worm has a peculiar action, I wasn’t at all sure it would work until I tried it. Well done getting it working ! Best regards, Neil D