Rube Goldberg

  • This project is a specific, unique challenge that is presented each year by the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), from the Rice campus of the College of DuPage (COD). The challenge is to build a "Rube Goldberg" device, that satisfies the requirements issued.
    While these requirements are changed each year, the general idea is to move a tennis or golf ball through as many motions and simple machines as possible, using only natural power (gravity, counterweights, springs, etc.), and deliver it into a cut out picture of Rube's mouth
    (see past requirements)
    All participants have the same challenge, and partners are strongly suggested.

    Because all participants will be responding to the same challenge, the requirements cannot be delivered until the designated starting date of the project. This date is usually in December, and students will be notified by the sponsor teacher when the current requirements are published.

    Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist who was famous for his depiction of extremely complicated inventions designed to do very simple tasks while employing intricate mechanical devices and outlandish, humorous components. Rube would never design a machine the straight forward, easy way. Whenever another component could be added, he would have done so. Where a household item could be utilized, such as an old shoe or toilet plunger, he would have used it! Rube devices are difficult to describe in words, and it is essential that the student view a few of them to get the idea. A sample description might be a golf ball is rolled down an incline plane and lands in a paper cup attached to a pulley with a counter weight, that is tripped by the movement of the ball. The pulley transports the cup with the ball in it to a higher track made of PVC pipe where it is deposited and rolls to another point where another component moves it further. You can see the problem with word descriptions! Be sure to check out the links for Rube Goldberg contained in this site, as well as others you find in your own searches.

    The following are the parts of this project that must be produced for complete credit:
    RUBE GOLDBERG ENTRY FORM This will be delivered to the students when the actual requirements are sent out.
    ACTUAL DEVICE Must work 75% of the time, and comply with all requirements in hand out.

    The evaluation of the Rube Goldberg project based on a comparison among projects entered. The basic requirements supplied serve as a kind of rubric, after that the more machines and methods of propulsion, along with creativity of design are the criteria for competition. All projects that met the requirements will be given full credit.