Rube Goldberg Machine Project
(w/ my partner @stephaniebumbarger)

I chose the Rube Goldberg Machine.

I chose it because it was fun to do before and it is a great activity for my friend and I.

I want to learn more about how you could make physics work together like that and the amount of effort needed for this.

I kind of want this for a career, for it would be fun to do on a regular basis, but the problem is I don't know how much I would get paid... ( ; A; )

Machine Plan

Today we made our design plan. There will be a zip line from a pole to a table to which will dump the bucket of water into a scale, dropping an object to set off a catapult, hitting a trigger and release a sign of Velma Dinkley saying 'Call Me Dinkley'


Instead of  water, it will be marbles!!


-2 bowls

-cup filled w/ water (NOW MARBLES)

-wood plank



-scale (cardboard)






-mouse trap

-rubber bands

-golf ball/ small ball

Energy Usage

*Kinetic Motion- the energy that it possesses due to its motion

-Zip line~When the marbles roll into it, this harnesses energy tilts, and the ball rolls with kinetic energy

-Scale~ When the cup with marbles slides down, it uses kinetic energy

*Mechanical Energy- the sum of potential energy and kinetic energy

-Catapult~ The rubber  band would strain the potential energy, when it released kinetic energy takes place.

*Potential- the energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position relative to others, stresses within itself, electric charge, and other factors.

-Golf ball in the in the bowl that will roll down onto the catapult

*Gravity- the force that attracts a body toward the center of the earth, or toward any other physical body having mass. For most purposes Newton's laws of gravity apply, with minor modifications to take the general theory of relativity into account.

-Opening poster~  When the poster is opened, gravity pulls the bottom half down

-Downhill golf ball- Gravity would pull the ball downwards.

-Zip line~  Gravity pulls the cup down

Material Responsibility

Stephanie has much more lenient parents than I do... (>.<;) I guess I'll just bring in what I can! @stephaniebumbarger Let's do this!!

Time to Begin!

We have the materials! Time to begin!!

~Time Skip~

We created our zip line system and cup, along with the base of our scale we made from cardboard. We took apart one of our boxes and lids for extra cardboard just in case and tested the level of bounce our balls had. We've already made our plans for tomorrow for stabilizing our scale and we're planning how to make our catapult. We intend to make our machine with as high a success rate as possible.

I still need to make our 'Call me Dinkley' poster, and I intend to make a rough draft by tomorrow. The final copy should be done when Stephanie and I are happy with it. I'll upload pictures of it throughout the process.

Poster Attempt 1

My first attempt at the Call me Dinkley poster!! Turns out we both like this design so it'll be our final copy as soon as I make the actual poster!!

Yesterday's Progress

Turns out that yesterday I wasn't able to update because my computer was messed up and I couldn't find my charger and my phone was dead until 10 last night so I'll just update today.

Yesterday we found a new design for our catapult, using thinner strips of cardboard and some rubber bands and maybe a bottle cap instead of a spoon. We also made a blocker for the end of the cup zip line. We finished making a ball out of duct tape and string, plus also making the scale balance out.

New Catapult Plans!

So Stephanie and I are struggling with creating the catapult so we've decided to make a new plan for it! We'll be using the length part of the plastic spoons to create the base and structure! This is to make a firmer, stronger kind of structure instead of using  flimsy piece of cardboard.

Catapult Progress!!

Looks like the catapult is working pretty well!!

All we used was plastic spoon handles and one withs its dip, many rubber bands, and ALOT OF DUCT TAPE!!!!

Technical Details

Well, the nuts and bolts of our project is basically cardboard, duct tape, plastic spoons, round objects, yarn, and bowls/cups.

To be more specific:

The zip line is made up of string and we use a paperclip and pulley as the object to enable travel for the plastic cup that holds up the marbles.

The scale is made of cardboard for the base and Styrofoam bowls for the weight piece. A yellow, Sponge Bob golf ball is in the side that will not be tipped down, to make it fall down and into the catapult.

The catapult is made up of a wooden board for the stable base and plastic spoons for the actual flinging piece with tape and rubber bands scattered and wrapped around it to keep it together and in place.

The poster and its trigger will be a piece of paper and a chip clip. The golf ball with hit the chip clip, causing the poster to open.

More Catapult Progress

Testing Construction

Today Stephanie and I began to create our final designs. We laid out all out contraptions and marked out where what needed to be and adjusted some of our machines. We also came up with a new idea to open our poster: tie it to a rope so that when the ball from our catapult hits it, it opens.

Today's progress:

Updated Blueprint

Finished Catapult?

We finally finished the catapult? Let's hope this one is the final copy so we can start finishing!

Weighted Scale and New Zipline!

Today Stephanie and I took a balloon and stuffed it with random leftover supplies such as rubber bands, paper pieces of cardboard, and tape. We patched it up and now it helped weight the scale correctly.  We also decided to change the zip line from cotton yarn to string. It runs much smoother for the cup sliding down rather than multiple clumsy stoppings.

Finalizing the Sign System!

Today we made the sign's system. The sign is attached to the pole with tape and cardboard. The upper half is taped to the holding piece. There is a chip clip holding the paper's bottom half up, to hide the message. The rope is looped through the chip clip hole with a knot right behind it to ensure that when the rope is hit it will fall off, revealing the poster's message. The catapult will fling a ball to the rope that is holding up the sign, knocking off the clip and opening the poster.

Starting the Final Construction!

Today we put together our whole project to test, but sadly we ran out of time before we could do anything. We DID tape a golfball to the chip clip to allow a different form for the sign system; the chip clip and ball are wrapped loosely  around the paper, and when the ball from the catapult hits the rope holding it, it will fall and allow the sign to open.

Testing Failures!!

Today we tried out our machine multiple times with each resulting in failure. Each time the marbles in the zip line would scatter and fall anywhere but the scale, stopping us in our tracks. We'll post the videos as soon as possible, but for now we're busy trying to clean up before we upload.

Failure Videos Won't Upload

Well, apparently something must be wrong with our connection, computers, or the site, because we can't upload our videos \(;A;)/ Well, we just wasted a lot of time so I guess we'll do what we can today...

It turns out that we have 18 minutes of class left, and it takes about 20 to set up on a good, quick day. I guess we'll just have to pass on testing today and remake our poster since @MrTernent accidentally threw it away... /(>.<;)\

Last Day

The sign is not printing, and this is our last day. I really wanted to have this finished, but it is not. Luckily, the grade does not count on in being finished, we just have to have worked hard. And we worked HARD. It has not worked so far because everything had false positioning, for the most part. Then the marbles needed something to guide them. I have a feeling the sign will not print, and it will not be finished. On the other hand, we should still get an A, because we worked hard, and we were very productive. In my opinion, at least.

The sign printed now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We finally put together everything and tested it 3 times. Everything works but it doesn't work together, so it's not an efficient machine. We've tested each part individually and came to the conclusion that, despite it's capability, our project won't work.


What I learned:

  • Rube Goldberg machines are harder than they look
  • I enjoyed myself extremely working on this despite the stress of the due date
  • Apparently making a catapult out of spoons is harder than it looks
  • Even though I didn't finish, it was still something I can look back on working without regrets

How did my project turn out:

Our project ended up in a jumble of descriptions in the end. All of our pieces of machinery worked perfectly fine and well, and our plan was something I could bet on would work. Sadly, though, despite every piece of our project working, it didn't work together; the marbles would fall in the wrong place, the ball in the scale would roll anywhere but its landing pad, and the catapult's ball wouldn't hit the rope. I still, though, am extremely proud of our accomplishments.

Did my project make me want to pursue this subject more, like a job or a hobby? Why or why not?:

Honestly, this was really so much fun to do with Stephanie, but I don't think I'd pursue this. For one, are there even any jobs for Rube Goldberg machines? 2nd thing is: Stephanie and I are great friends so it was natural to enjoy it because of our joking and hanging around. Also, I'm pretty lazy, and this was a lot of work, so I don't think I would go for this.

Do I wish I would have picked a different project? Why or why not?:

I'm actually really content with this project, so I'm able to say I wouldn't. This is because of how much fun I had and how many memories I made with Stephanie I won't forget, along with many inside jokes that make everyone confused but us. In reality, this project was basically an amazing opportunity for our friendship and intelligence to grow.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

I like the poster and am looking forward to seeing the finished product. (Steph's mom)

2 years ago

It would be cool if you put a video up showing how everything works, and what you have. anyway nice project.

2 years ago

I wouldn't have thrown it away if you'd have told me what it was... Sorry... At least we got another one printed.

2 years ago

@MrTernent it's fineeee, don't worry about it😂