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Rube Goldberg Machine Review


A Rube Goldberg machine is a device that performs an effortless action in a highly complex way — usually through a long sequence of domino interactions. A competition organized by the Purdue PSPE Society of Professional Engineers is being held among the designers of these machines. The 2018 winner unveiled a device that makes breakfast with milk and cereal, but the process takes almost a minute and a half.

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The design of the machine begins by filling a jug with milk, which then starts an extended mechanism involving more than twenty items. Here is the extraction of the sound of a guitar hanging on the wall and the opening of a falling book. A series of actions leads to a lowering of the cup, into which the flakes will subsequently be poured. However, this machine has not only several dozen objects that set each other in motion. This machine also changes the scene using a rotary mechanism. The wooden room where breakfast is prepared changes into a green meadow under a blue sky, filled with the figures of a mill, a stone castle, a catapult, the sea, and a ship.

Finally, the fairytale adventure landscape gives way to a stone cave filled with torches. In this cave, like a mineral, there are flakes, which are poured into a plate with the help of ropes and pipes. Then there is a return to the first location, where, by dropping a chair and using a tube, a jug of milk begins to tilt and pour into a plate of cereals in a thin stream (Purdue University Mechanical Engineering 00:00:06 – 00:01:28). A distinctive feature of this mechanism is the use of arrows, then bursting a balloon, then dumping a can.


It is worth noting the author’s attention to detail. In the first wooden room, playing cards are scattered everywhere; a deer head hangs on the wall, which gives the impression of a forester’s house. In the second location, everything is filled with elements of the knightly Middle Ages in the style of children’s constructors. Finally, white glass with a skull, a symbol of piracy, creates an additional atmosphere of treasure mystery. Thus, the author has created a complex, varied Rube Goldberg machine that performs breakfast preparation in about 80 different actions.

Work Cited

“2018 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest Champions: Purdue PSPE.” YouTube, uploaded by Purdue University Mechanical Engineering, 2018, Web.

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