I feel less guilty publishing this during IAP since IAP is designed to be fun time at MIT. I wrote a large chunk of this entry back at the beginning of the semester in August but never got around to finishing it. I figured it was time, so here you go!
I’ve mentioned multiple times that I spent my summer days working at Hasbro. I could’ve chosen a lot of different jobs this summer but I definitely decided on the coolest job ever. I promise that at some point I’ll get into more depth about what I actually do at work (written back in August, but still perhaps true?), but for now I want to focus on my last Friday at work because it was one of the defining moments of my time at Hasbro.
That Friday, Hasbro had a Big Wheel Race.
Did you use to have a Big Wheel? You know, the plastic tricycle with the big front wheel? They provided hours of fun for us when we were little kids? Lemme tell you a lil’ secret: They’re just as much fun as adults.
The rules were simple: Modify a Big Wheel for racing using all of the original parts and then pick a team name/theme. Dress up and have a great time.
As interns, Ian (the kid who works next to me) and I were lucky enough to get onto a team. We teamed up with the RP lab (Rapid Prototyping Lab, they do all of the 3D printing for the model shop) and formed “Team Stealth.” We spent about 3 days working on our bike and it ended up looking like this:
The cardboard on the top was due to an event at last year’s Big Wheel race. A guy named Shaun from another team had stiff-armed us and tipped us over. We vowed revenge and called him out on the cardboard sign. The picture is of him fleeing the scene of the crime.
As members of Team Stealth we decided to dress up in miscellaneous combat gear, and then of course it was time for a team picture with the “StealthMobile.”
The bike looks kinda sloppy, but underneath all the blue is a large oak core and a custom made, reinforced axle.
All of our helmets were custom made via vacuum forming, some time in the paint booth, pin striping, and a lot of lacquer. I put a Union Jack on my helmet and was really excited to see how well it turned out. That’s all hand done, all the pin striping and everything, no stencils at all!
We also armed ourselves to the hilt with Nerf guns, just in case we had to take care of some people during the race.
The creativity of all the bikes had a lot to do with how much fun I had. We spent about an hour before the race looking at all of the bikes out on Hasbro’s “Main Street” (the main hallway).
I got pictures of all the bikes to share.
First was Speed Racer, the team Shaun was on. We don’t like Speed Racer.
Next was team iDog. If you don’t know what an iDog is, google it right now, and then look at these pictures.
They actually had their bike rigged to play music, a classy touch.
Next was the PlaySkool school bus team.
Then some random green team.
The international team
Then I started to see some really cool teams. Teams that put a lot of time into their Big Wheels and pretty much made all of the rest of us feel insignificant. Those teams were:
Complete with Cobra Tank
and Cobra Commander
The S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents team
The Deathmobile team (This will make a lot more sense if you’ve seen Animal House)
(Oh, and that head on the front may or may not be the CEO of Hasbro ;)
On a sidenote, we made a pretty concerning discovery regarding team Deathmobile. Upon inspection we realized that they had large rockets on the back of their tank and a huge long fuse. We kept our distance from then on, wary of what those rockets were intended for. We also made sure not to pedal directly behind it.
And then, my favorite Big Wheel of the day came out. I was engaged in polite conversation with my teammates when all of a sudden we heard a commotion from down the hall. Needless to say, we were stricken with awe by what appeared from the crowd. I present to you, the Imperial Walker Big Wheel!
After the showcase of bikes it was racing time! We all filed out into the “stadium” and were announced to the spectators. There was roaring applause for each of the teams as they taxied their racers to their respective pits. The rules were simple, all four team members had to ride, the top 3 finishers from each round proceeded to the next round.
Our first race was going great until, at the end, our axle stripped out the insides of our wheels and we couldn’t pedal anymore. Our last rider frantically pulled himself to the finish line with his feet and managed a 2nd place! We frantically fixed our axle and wheels, running back and forth from the model shop getting tools and new pieces. At the last minute we finished, just in time for our second race.
The second race was going well, just like the first, but then our third racer jumped onto our Big Wheel and we heard this massive *CRACK*. Nothing appeared to be broken, so we took off, but halfway around the track our Big Wheel just broke in half. Clean in half, completely unsalvageable. That was it, we were done, and our Big Wheel made the sad walk back to our pit.
Lucky for us, team Speed Racer also snapped their bike in half, so we didn’t have to worry about them winning!
The rest of the race was spent watching the other teams race, which was just as fun as actually racing. I snagged a video of the action for you. Oh, and remember the rockets on the back of the Deathmobile? Smokebombs!
At the end of the day, exhausted, I headed home. It had been a 95 degree day and I was dressed in all black (black cargos, black shirt, black tactical vest, bandanna, and helmet. I got back to my dorm (I lived in the dorm over the summer and commuted to Rhode Island for work), cranked up the air conditioning (no, my dorm isn’t air conditioned, it was a personal unit that I own) and then fell asleep. All in all, I’d say a good day at work, eh?