How To Make a Rube Goldberg

A Rube Goldberg machine is an invention made by cartoonist Rube Goldberg. This machine performs a very easy task in a complex way. The machine’s name also became an expression used on complicated things or systems. The cartoonist’s work became popular for the devices that he drew in his cartoons that are complex yet doing a simple task. One of his works is the cartoon Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin. The purpose of the self operating napkin is to wipe the chin of the person when eating. Since it’s a Rube Goldberg machine, this is done in several steps and in a complex way. The machine is activated when the person raises the spoon to eat the food. This will pull a string causing a ladle to throw crackers. The parrot will jump to get the crackers and seed will fall into the pail. A cord will be pulled and cigar lighter will be lighted which causes a rocket to set off and cuts a string making the pendulum on the napkin to swing backward and forward making it wipe the chin. Because these machines became popular, contests were held for Rube Goldberg machine fanatics. You can make your own Rube Goldberg machine to play with or you can even join a contest if you want.

Here are the steps in making a Rube Goldberg machine.

  • Decide on the simple task that your machine will do. To know what materials you will need and how to build your machine, you need to choose the simple task that your machine will perform. This is where your steps will be based. If you plan on joining a Rube Goldberg machine contest, you can check their official website for specific tasks that need to be done by the machines. If you’re having difficulties thinking of what machine to build, you can check on the Rube Goldberg machine cartoons or search the Internet for Rube Goldberg machine made by others to have more ideas.
  • See what steps to include. Determine what are the steps you need to include to perform the task. See how you can expand one step to have more steps so that you will have complex steps in doing a simple task. Once you have the steps on how to perform the task, think about what devices you will use to execute the steps.
  • Purchase the materials you need in making your Rube Goldberg machine. Now that you know the simple task that your machine will do and the complex steps to do it, you can now buy the materials you need in making your Rube Goldberg machine. Once you have the materials, begin building your machine.
  • Test if machine is working properly. Once you’re done building your Rube Goldberg machine, you need to check if it works properly by testing it. Repair what needs to be repaired and when everything is working fine, show it to your friends so they can see your very own Rube Goldberg machine.

If you’re entering a contest, there are specific rules you need to follow for the Rube Goldberg machine that you will be making like the size of the machine, number of steps it needs to execute and how long it will take to do the task. Make sure to follow the rules so you can have the chance to win the Rube Goldberg machine contest.


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