How Rube Goldberg Would Fix Dinner… (Video)

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All too often we set off to solve a simple design problem and end up making it much, much more complicated than it needs to be. In the end we manage to get our design up and running somehow, but when we take a step back and look at our total creation sometimes we feel like we’ve just gifted the world with another Rube Goldberg machine. Of course, that’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes it can be a tremendous amount of fun. . .


There are lots of Rube Goldberg contests around the world including college level engineering contests and some put on by clubs or local groups just for the fun of it. Some of them even make it on to television and are recorded for posterity.

So, we weren’t too surprised when we ran across the video clip below. The challenge appears to have been, we’re not exactly sure, to construct a Rube Goldberg machine to fix dinner. The team featured in this particular clip managed to accomplish the task using balloons, a soldering iron, flammable flash paper, bowling balls and pins, a water/salt solution, and a whole bunch more.


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 (1) The balloon has a pin stuck in it but was sealed with glue. When the ball rolled over it
 the air started to leak out. (2) The small white balls are supposed to represent a wave
 coming into the beach. (3) The tide rises enough that the sail boat floats down the channel.

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 (1) Every Rube Goldberg machine really should have a wrecking ball.
 (2) Salt dumped into the water changes the floatation. (3) The combination
 of solid and hollow balls is really creative.

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 (1) Kids of all ages love to play with fire. . . (2) Kind of a bowling ball
 roller coaster ride. (3) Delivering the steamed bun.

We haven’t timed it, but obviously it took over 5 minutes for the machine to do its thing. And, we have no idea how many attempts they took before they managed to get the whole thing working. 

What’s for dinner?

How about a spring roll, steamed bun, and a bowl of ramen with a fresh egg on top?  

Here’s the video clip we discovered online:

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One comment

  1. Agentlien

    This sure is one pleasant little machinery. If only I had the time and patience to make something like this.. I do believe the exaggerated enthusiasm of the man speaking in this can be a bit annoying. But this Rube Goldberg machine in its own right sure is nice to watch. Makes me think of some of the less efficient programs I’ve written, only worse.

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