Transplant Games of America Space Shuttle – On schedule for liftoff

The Inflatinator in use by one of our volunteers.
The Inflatinator in use by one of our volunteers.

I recently talked about how we often find ourselves building custom equipment to accomplish what we need. For this build, we introduced the new Inflatinator. This is a balloon inflator designed to meet our needs for automatically sizing balloons. Our main goal was to create something so simple to use that all of our volunteers would be able to sit down and use the equipment without having to think about it. Of course, as soon as we talked about it, quite a few balloon artists asked us for details. In the last few days, a number of artists asked how they’re holding up. While we’re not quite ready to release the Inflatinator into the wild, we did want to report that even the prototypes, built with such high tech parts as food storage containers, held up amazingly well. All of the new pumps made it through the complete build with hundreds of volunteers using them. 

I would have been happy just getting through the build with these new Inflatinators, and yet things got even better. The fun surprise was waking up this morning to a tweet from Dr. Doofenshmirtz (@DrDoofenshmirtz), evil genius, arch rival to Perry the Platypus, and inspiration for the name of the device. It seems we were named winners of his weekly Inator Friday challenge on Twitter. 

Project update

So here we are after three days of building. The volunteers are still smiling and laughing. The rest of today, leading up to the final assembly is all about staging, trying out moving of parts, and timing everything carefully. Our goal is to assemble everything on the crane that’s waiting for us outside in an hour. That’s over 50 separate sections of Space Shuttle that need to be completed in a short time, so as not to be damaged in the heat and sun, and still be ready for the opening of the 2014 Donate Life Transplant Games of America. 

We are expecting to use 75 volunteers to walk the sculpture four blocks, with the aid of a police escort, to BBVA Compass Stadium. The first piece will be hooked to the crane, and the sculpture raised as each additional piece is added to the bottom. Eventually, we’ll have the full 60-foot sculpture hanging from above. After displaying the sculpture for all to see, the day will end with a giant popping party.

We’ll report more as soon as we can. 

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