In my Advanced Science class, our first project was to create a Rube Goldberg project in which the end result will turn on a calculator. The guidelines were to create the project in an 80cm x 80cm x 80cm dimension, have ten transfers of energy, and exceed 15 seconds.


Before beginning to construct and create my project I had to research and find one Rube Goldberg cartoon and a sample video of a Rube Goldberg machine in action. This research was to give me an idea of what I had to create for my own machine. While researching, I first looked up the definition of a Rube Goldberg machine. The definition I went off of was as follows: "A Rube Goldberg Machine is a contraption, invention, device, or apparatus that is deliberately over engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion, generally including a chain reaction"(1). The Rube Goldberg machines/cartoons/drawings came about by a man by the name of Reuben Lucius Goldberg. Goldberg was an engineer, cartoonist, inventor, and sculptor. His love of being artistic and drawing resulted in Goldberg's father sending him to school to become an engineer which resulted in a job designing sewer systems and showing false loyalty to corrupt politicians. Goldberg knew that sitting behind the same desk for the next forty years was not how he wanted his life to go so he quit and began creating cartoons for a local paper. The job was rough at first, but his talent was eventually discovered and he won a Pulitzer prize for a political cartoon he drew about the dangers of atomic weapons. Goldberg's invention cartoons were influenced by the machine age during the beginning of the century. The reason for these cartoons were because Goldberg believed that people insisted on doing things the hard way and this was his comical interpretation of that. In his own words, the machines were a "symbol of man's capacity for exerting maximum effort to achieve minimal results." With this history of Rube Goldberg machines in mind, I began to create a machine of my very own. My first step to creating my very own Rube Goldberg machine was to draw an initial design sheet which would give me a rough sketch of my planned out steps. After this rough sketch, I was to create a more detailed sketch that would be used as my final draft for my machine before I began to build. The third step was to begin building my machine and test it repeatedly until I was confident and comfortable enough with my results. Below are a couple examples of actual Rube Goldberg cartoons that I used as influences for my machine.

Image result for rube goldberg cartoons
Image result for rube goldberg cartoons
Image result for rube goldberg cartoons
Image result for rube goldberg cartoons
Image result for rube goldberg cartoons
Image result for rube goldberg cartoons


1. Drop marble out of hand.
2. Marble rolls down ramp and hits dominos.
3. Dominos fall in succession and the last one falls off ledge, onto seesaw, bouncing second marble into the air.
4. Second marble goes through styrofoam cups onto another ramp and hits bigger marble.
5. Bigger marble rolls down the first succession of ramps and hits dominos.
6. Last domino falls and hits the third marble.
7. Third marble hits a fourth and together the marbles roll down a second succession of ramps.
8. Fourth marble falls into a small pulley and reveals a fifth marble that is released.
9. Fifth marble hits bouncy ball.
10. Bouncy ball rolls down ramp through toilet paper roll onto calculator turning it on.

Rube Goldberg Cartoon:


My Machine:



Unfortunately, my machine was very close to working, but was not able to complete the task of turning the calculator on. I gave it five tries and each try my machine would work all the way up until the last step, but could never complete that last step. When I was creating this project, I knew I would have difficulty with it as some point. All of my supplies were recycled materials except for the marbles and dominoes, and with that being said I had to make the most out of these materials. My second step in the machine involved a seesaw that I created with old popsicle sticks. During the process of creating my machine, this was the step that I had the most trouble with. However, while presenting my machine, this step surprisingly worked every time. My final step that included the bouncy ball going through the toilet paper tube and onto the on button of the calculator is what gave me issues. Before I began my five trials, I attempted my machine to see if there was anything I could fix. I noticed this issue while testing it, and attempted to fix it by removing the toilet paper tube and placing a golf ball onto the calculator's on button so the bouncy ball could fall off the ramp, hit the golf ball, and turn on the calculator. The step worked in theory, but when it got down to my trials, the marbles that hit the bouncy ball to get the bouncy ball to move were not hitting it with enough force causing the machine to stop there. With a little aid from me on that one step, the machine worked. All in all, I am very proud of my machine. With using recycled materials comes a lot of difficulties and doing the project solo can also make building my machine a little more harder to do. I believe that if I had had more guidance and more time, my machine could have worked. It has the potential to work now, but a few adjustments here and there could make all the difference.