Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Rube Goldberg Machine Post 2

Loading machine with marble:

Loading catapult: Put the marble into the cup via a drop chute or similar which is easy enough.

Achieving correct tension:

Could be setup before the machine has started or we might have a cog that winds the arm back.  Best to arm it before hand unless we’re using multiple marbles that are going to be following each other.  In that case something that is able to reload itself is going to be a priority.

Trigger mechanism:

At it’s most simple a piece of string could restrain the arm of the catapult and, at the proper time the string is either snapped by a blade or burnt by a candle

Once the string has been broken the candle will need to be doused.  So ideally what we need is a conveyor belt that stops when it is time to burn the string and starts when the string is gone.   It will be a good look if we manage to douse the flame in a candle of water.

We could use the trigger string to act as a halter for the candle if it were to be attached to a toy car and thus achieve movement.  Once the string has gone then the car is free to travel upon it’s merry way and sink in a watery grave.


Image 1:
Ball enters piping and gathers speed which throws it into the cup.

Image 2:The cup is balanced on an axle and the weight of the marble dislodges the cup which moves it down and the counterweight up.

Image 3:When the cup reaches it tips over, allowing the marble to continue on its way


String attached to both ends of toy car.

The forward one is attached to a weigh while the rear one is just long enough to allow the car to tip over the edge of the track and once again allows the marble to roll free


Normal fold:
Rigidly folded with walls on each side
type fold:
Doesn’t really work for gentle slopes
U type fold:The paper here is barely folded at all.  If suspended it would be at the mercy of any errant breeze.  But if used as a tipping platform then it could work quite well.



Rear string is held at the ready

The string is severed though means unknown at this point.

The boot swings forwards, kicking off the next part of the machine.  If a swing like this is to be the final part of the machine then we might give it a very long swing but boots are not aerodynamic at the best of times and the bigger swing that we have the more chance of the boot twisting in midkick.

The boot might also be needed to weighted in order to provide some real power.

Rube Goldberg Machine Post 1

A - Z Challenge: K is for Knitting and also for Kipling, Rudyard



Friday, 6 April 2012

A - Z Challenge: G is for Giant and also for Gaiman, Neal

is for


Rube Goldberg Machine Notations

Upon viewing this page you, the casual Internet user, might well be saying to yourself

"Warte eine Minute! Wo ist der verrückten verrückten Humor? Ist das BloggerEntsendung seiner Alphabet Herausforderung Beiträge nicht in Ordnung? Ich kann nichtdamit umgehen! Jemand Herunterfahren des Internet!" [1]

By happy chance you'll have just enough time to read the rest of this introduction before the orderlies put the straitjacket back on and your doctor reconsiders allowing you access to the outside world.  

The explanation for this out of sequence posting is that the class is currently making Rube Goldberg Machines as I mentioned in passing in a previous post [2]
What follows is some gathered from a few places, Wikipedia, Grant and some stuff that was written up on the board in class.  It's posted here because it's too big to post into the Facebook Group.

Actually forget all that

Here are some notes for the Rube Goldberg Machine.  Posted here due to it being way to big to fit into the Facebook Group.  Naturally I have included my own notes for the intellectual which may be found in its usual place at the end of the posting.

Rube Goldberg Machine notations.
Room Measurements:
  • Window wall to door wall 5.4m pillar to pillar
  • Solid wall 5m pillar to pillar
  • Pillar to light rail 1.8m
  • Light rail to light rail 2m
  • Average Marble weight 15gm – Variations of 0.5mm to 1mm
  • Polystyrene
  • plastic milk bottles
  • Cardboard
  • Paper (naturally)
  • Glass
  • Recycled objects
  • Fire
  • String
  • Magnets
  • Mentos/Coke:
    Adding Mentos to Coke will result in a very powerful fountain about a meter high. But this height is not uniform and it is best used as a finale [3]
  • Candle/Steam:
    With much of the track being made of paper using this might require a wooden or plastic housing to be added to the track.
  • Pendulum:
    Can be used to knock the next step over, a counterweight or, if attached to a threaded screw system it might unscrew itself [4]
  • Counterweighted cranes:
    At it's heart this is a pivot and screw the making of which is, thankfully, relatively simple.
  • Archimedes Screw:
    Useful for bringing the marbles up a slope. [5]
  • Trapdoors:
    For multiple marbles on the run.
  • Plastic Bags
    Could be used as a catching device if the catapult idea goes ahead.  Might also work as a track for the marble or even as a hanger [6] for the larger sections of the track
  • Water or similar liquid:
    Water would work as a weight that raised the marble up if it were slowly emptied from the container and vice versa.
  • Swings and roundabouts:
    Because everything's better with a swing. [7]
  • Catapult and catching system


  1. "Wait a minute!  where's the zany madcap humour?  Is this blogger posting his Alphabet challenge posts out of order? I can't deal with this!  Someone shut down the Internet!"  You might also have time to think "Hey. Warum denke ich auf Deutsch?" if the orderlies have lost the key to your cell yet again.
  2. You don't need to go looking for it or anything.  Just imagine that you remember me mentioning it in an offhand and casual manner.
  3. Apparently Diet Coke works best which is good because Coca Cola hasn't ever found anyone prepared to drink the stuff
  4. Achieving a kind of Nirvana I suppose.  There are a shortage of pendulum jokes on the Internet but the good news is there there is an even greater shortage of pendulum rule 34's
  5. Probably not the use he envisioned when he ran around shouting Eureka! (Bonus points if you spotted the intentional mistake)
  6. You know, for hanging things.
  7. Don't believe me?  Try dumping someone while on a swing.  It can't be done