Rube Goldberg Project: Failures and Success

Building a project is often the most exciting part of it. This is where you go through your main stages of failures and success. I, having built a project that failed, had already went through this phase. But now, using my new structure, I had a lot more fun. First off, my sister was helping me so that provided company. And also, I had learned from my mistakes. Now when I was at a stand still, I always referred back to my old machine and asked myself three questions. How will this step be triggered to start? How will this trigger something in the end? And, most importantly, how might this step fail? If I had properly answered the first 2 questions, which often came very easily, I then listed the possibilities of how this step may not work. I sat and thought about each possibility carefully, because if some of the possibilities seemed likely to happen, then this might not be the most stable step. Of course, there were always some possibilities of why a step wouldn’t work. That’s what made building it fun.

If I had decided to not incorporate a step into my project, I wouldn’t just dismiss it that quickly. I would then try to modify the step so it could work. This insured that all of my ideas were not wasted.

But when building, I tried to always use a variety of steps. For my project to succeed, I needed 8 or more steps, none of them repeating. But I had also set a goal for myself. While building, I wanted to use at least 4-5 simple machines and clearly show them in my project.

Building this Rube Goldberg machine was far from easy. But I worked in stages, or different levels, to help sort my ideas. Each stage was connected, somehow, many times with a block or a ball. I planned to use 5 stages, the last one finishing my project.

While building, I noticed a lot of things in my project. I noticed that the size and weight of a ball mattered immensely while building. Also, I learned to be precise. I marked some of the blocks I used to insure that things would be exact and perfect.

One of the my hardest times came when I had just started to build. I just did not know where too start! I tried building different parts of my machine, but when one step failed, I got panicky, and a bit worried. I didn’t have a steady beginning, middle and end. That wasn’t good. One day, I sat down next too my project. I stopped with the nonsense which I had started for the last few days. I took a deep breath. And properly tried out the first step. None of the steps worked at first, so I did get a little nervous at times. But for the most part, after that, as long as I had something planned to do that day I did it.

My biggest worry in this whole project was my baby brother. I was building downstairs, in the basement, somewhere he had free access too. And while I was at school, I could not keep him out. Also, I had taken his favorite toy for the first step of my project. And I bunch of his books to prop things up. Once my brother came down and stole two of the best balls I had. One of them started my machine. He lost that ball, but gave me the other back. I searched for a good time, but could not find the ball. And no ball worked as its replacement. I tried a lot of things. Finally, I found the ball. Right under my own pillow, like a gift from the tooth fairy! That’s where it was the whole time. This taught me to be a lot more careful about my things and to keep careful watch of my little brother.

I felt the most proud of myself when I had finished a step in which a wheel would be knocked into by a ball. The wheel would then yank off a domino from a higher surface an let a marble roll free. This was a very complicated step. I had to mark a bunch of things and try out a ton of examples. Once I finished, I was extremely proud. Later, my baby brother took the wheel, broke it, and then gave it back. After that, I had to restart the whole step, which I ran into more problems with later.

One of my biggest stand stills was when I completed the second stage. But, ironically, this also lead to my best moments while building the whole machine. The second stage used a seesaw to bring a ball to the ground. But once the ball was on the ground, I was stuck. The ball could not go up, nor could it travel on a flat surface for a long distance. I was stuck for a week. Finally, I devised a plan involving a spool. But where could I find one. I searched the whole house. Nothing. I looked at school. Nothing. Finally, after about 3 days of search, I borrowed a spool from my friend. After that, I was able to complete 2 more stages. And it was all a breeze. Ideas just kept on coming. All because of one failure, that led to my greatest success.

One thought on “Rube Goldberg Project: Failures and Success

  1. Arya, you have written extremely detailed and thorough blog posts documenting your process and your thoughts along the way. Thank you for including some of your own questions as well. IT really added to your post! I can’t wait to see the final product!

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