Build a Rube Goldberg : LUSENET : Junkyard Wars : One Thread

I would like to suggest that the teams be tasked to build a Rube Goldberg machine. For those who do not know, a Rube Goldberg machine is an overly complicated machine designed to do a simple task i.e.; turn on a light switch, open a door, raise a flag etc. (Check-out for more info). The winning team would be the one that completes the task using the most steps. Strategy: The teams would have to plan out what the machine will do and how many steps they are shooting for. Since neither team would know how many steps the other team is aiming for, they would be pushed to keep adding steps, balanced against the increased possibility of a failure. Tactics: As "bits" are brought back from the scrap heap the design would be extended (lots of blackboard time). Testing of new ideas would go on throughout the building process (camerawork, interviews) Rules: Specify that both machines must combine examples of the five basic machines (Fulcrum and lever, wheel, pulley, inclined plane and screw). Other requirements could include requiring one or more energy inputs to the process (release of a spring, use of a wind turbine, pneumatic, electric, etc), this would keep the teams from using only gravity to power the device. You can also specify that each machine must perform a high-risk maneuver like throwing and catching an object (just to spice things up).

-- John Rohleder (, February 06, 2001


This Idea has been talked about several times. I think it's a good one. My Idea ( about 2 months ago)was to build something in a space of 15'x15' square x20' high. A bowling ball has to travel up to the highest point and then has to go thru 15 different combinations, ending up at the bottom in exactly 20 minutes. the one closest to the time would win.

-- Duane Flatmo, Art Attack (, February 06, 2001.

I think the suggestion would make a decent show, but not JYW. JYW is about (IMHO) the quickest dirtiest simplest way to solve a problem.

-- Stephen A. Binion (, February 06, 2001.

An overly complicated machine designed to do a simple task.....hmmmm sounds like the old count-down clock on JYW at the start of the show.LOL

-- Jerry Johnson (, February 06, 2001.

This would be a great angle for a kid's Scrapheap/Junkyard series.

-- Kevin Woo (, February 07, 2001.

Kevin's right. Could be a great spin off series for kids. Need to make it safer than JYW to keep the lawyers happy and the kids in one piece. How about we call it "Chain Reaction"? Anybody know where to get half a million $ to get it into production?!

-- Mark Richter (, February 07, 2001.

Speaking of a kid's version of JYW what if it wasn't all kids? Make it a 4 person team (5 with expert) of 2 kids and 2 adults? Would that be safer because there are still adults supervising? I think this would be a great idea for a challenge but what if we made it bigger = better? The scoring structure being 5 points for each machine successfully completed, 10 points for each of the simple machine types used, 100 points for completion of task (i.e.: getting a bowling ball from the bottom of the machine to the top or the reverse of that) and then points for as close to x min it runs (optimal running time). This is a known formula to work (we are using a slight modification of this in science Olympiad and would find this a fun and interesting challenge). Want to bet we will see some airfoils?

-- Joe Kavanagh (, February 07, 2001.

Get Mark Sommers to host it and call it "Family Double-Bodge"!

-- Mark Richter (, February 08, 2001.

Not many people know that I met up with Rube Goldberg once in Edlanastanamanacancfanaitzakadoozie. We put together an enormous machine that would unzip your trousers for you. This wonderous machine spanned three and one half and one quarter and one eight and one more half of a football field. It all started when a tribesman would sneeze spraying spittle across the face of Rube himself. Rube when then fall backwards into a srping, and oh how the outrageous fun would begin. The spring would trigger a ball of dung to roll down a steep incline, the dung would take an incredible trip through such gadgets as accordians and sticks and stones, and even a little toy man on a unicycle that would cycle across a length of nylon string. Of course the whole ruckus would end when a now slightly smaller ball of dung would hit a poor little mouse on his little mousy butt and he would run over and zip my fly. Oh what fun Rube and I had in Edlanastanamanacancfanaitzakadoozie, or was it Fandswanialanddaisyloo, I forget.

-- (, February 08, 2001.

Wasn't there a huge metal ass involved?

-- Duane Flatmo (, February 08, 2001.

a rgd to start a car is a supurb idea, think about it all the steps nescessary and yet small enough to get in and get the job done

-- linda austin (, April 09, 2001.

Um, guys? Ten hour build time? Remember? Snappy finish? RGD's are fun, but Stephen Binion is right: Not exactly JYW's cup o' tea.

-- Chip Haynes (, April 09, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ