Rube Goldberg Project: Reflections

No matter what you do, you almost always have too have a reflection. Sometimes you don’t write it down, but you always have one.

My Rube Goldberg project was held off for a while. I  couldn’t find time too video. But on the Super Bowl I did, and it felt amazing.

My reflection started at night, when I was in bed. The first lesson I learned was that it’s better to work on something for a few minutes than too not work on it at all. Just never hold it off till the last moment. I sort of held my project off till the last minute. I had a safety video, something I use in case my project doesn’t turn out, but my safety video wasn’t that good. So, never hold anything off till the last minute. Always work on it as much as you can.

Also, you have too be kind too those who help you. Many times I was mean too my sister. She always helped me. But one day, she stopped. She told me too do it myself. I wasn’t being nice too her and that was my fault. So when she left, I deserved it. Maybe if I hadn’t been so despicable, she would have stayed with me.

Finally, I learned you’ve gotta believe in yourself the whole way through. When I looked over my machine, a little after the final video, I noticed a couple of things that were wrong. Sometimes a piece was not  straight or a ball was too heavy. Maybe if I hadn’t been so stressed, I could’ve noticed these and made my project more successful. Maybe if I thought that I could’ve done a good job, I would have without all the stress that cam with it.

This is what I learned. Of course, I learned some other lessons, such as the fact that things must always be labelled and the importance of a plan, but these were the big ones. Yet most of all, I learned that the fun comes in the journey. Sometimes it’s better to have fun than too complete the grade. And if you don’t have fun in a project, than it’s basically a waste. And I know I had fun in this project. Now, in the end, I don’t even care about the grade. I had fun, I think I did a great job, and I think it was a success, and that should be enough for everyone. Because I know it’s enough for me. And that is what I call a success.

Rube Goldberg Project: Success is Sweet

It worked! It worked! It really did! Nothing went wrong! The pipes worked, as did the seesaws and the tunnels. Every single part of machinery operated just as it should have and put on a miraculous show. And it was easy!

Or was it?



I’d gotten sick on Monday, January 29th, so I worked that day and the next on my project. Due to the the deadline was speedily approaching, I had to take out a step. I had found this lovely old Rube Goldberg machine that I had to put together. It gave me about five or six extra steps, but it kept falling apart. The tunnel that held the basketball collapsed, and the bowling pin, which was supposed too knock over like a domino and pull down a hammer wouldn’t balance on top of the hockey stick. So I had to cut it. It was very disappointing; I had worked extremely hard over every part of the machine, especially that one.

The rules my teacher had sent out for us were that we needed a video in which the Rube Goldberg machine which we had worked on completed its task. It seemed simple at first, but the video turned out to be impossible.

I couldn’t video over the week; my schedule was packed. And Friday I was feeling extremely weak, as I was on Saturday too. So all of Sunday I worked. On the day of the Super Bowl! My whole family was busy so I didn’t get much done. Luckily, we watched the Super Bowl in the same area that I worked on my Rube Goldberg project in so at that time, I worked.

Every second I could, I worked on Rube Goldberg. I popped my head in between rooms every time the Eagles won a touchdown and while the Patriots got the ball, I videoed. But every time I videoed, there was a step that failed. And whenever I tested, without the camera to fix something, the machine worked perfectly.

I was really getting stressed. I was sweating, screaming, and crying. One time, my machine worked all the way too the second last step. And when that happened I just lost it. My screaming woke up my baby brother and then I started to wail. I was that stressed and tired. So for about half an hour, I watched the game. Then, once I was calm, I went back to the project. My sister was there, as was my dad. It still wasn’t working.

My sister’s phone’s battery started to run low. My dad told me that if I didn’t finish fast, my baby brother would come back down. I had about five minutes, TV blaring, and a phone with 4% left.

I tried again. Fail!

Again. Fail!

A couple of changes were made. Fail! The phone was at 1%.

“One more video.” My sister warned. “Then we’re all out.

I accepted defeat.

My heart wasn’t in it anymore.

“Wait.” My sister called. “Do this really quickly. It might help the machine.” We taped a tube and a block down too the board, hoping it would stop the ball from moving till the time came.

There were 5 minutes till the first quarter of the Super Bowl was over. The Patriots and Eagles were neck and neck. I was going as hard as I could, neck and neck with the machine.

“Now or never.” I pushed down the ball. It traveled down, and pushed the marble. The block fell, the string was jerked. The pipes were perfect, but there was one last step. If the ball missed the chess piece, it was all over.

3… The ball traveled down the ramp.

2… The ball was inches from the piece.

1… The ball reached the bottom of the ramp and…


I screamed and shouted. The first quarter was over, and so was my project. I ran around the house, drunken with joy. My baby brother was spooked, but I didn’t care. It was an amazing moment.

I enjoyed the rest of the Super Bowl. My team won, but it couldn’t make me any happier than I already was. I’d reached the max in my happiness levels. Now my meter would just keep climbing.

In my success, I must thank one person especially. Of course, I must thank my mom for blocking my brother from my Rube Goldberg area most of the time. My grandma for supporting me. My friends for their kindness. My father for helping me in my moments of need. But most of all, I have to thank my sister. She missed a quarter of her Super Bowl for me. She helped me, did a ton of work, and comforted me so much. She videoed for me over fifty times. If she didn’t get the credit she deserved, I would be a horrible, horrible person.

This project was so important. It will stay with me for a long. But I now that one thing was definitely true, proven by this project. In failure there is now gain, only memories of what could have happened. In success there is a truth that comes out. Many things are great, but can be short lived. Revenge will always be sweet, but success is sweeter.

This is my first stage of my Rube Goldberg project. I’ve broken the whole project into stages to make organization a little easier. Each stage involves approximately four steps.

This is my second stage. It is taken from an above view, so you are looking down on it.

This is my third stage.

This is my fourth stage. It is taken on an entirely different surface and the string attached too the Jenga block here is the same one you see in the third stage.

This is my fifth and final stage. In it, the little speck at the bottom is the chess piece which the marble knocks over.



Rube Goldberg Project: Last Minute Problems

From the start, when my teacher first announced that we would do this project, I’d had a problem. My schedule was so packed, that I wondered if I’d ever be able to work on my project.

Due to this unfortunate dilemma, I was only able to work on this project on the weekends. And there were only about 4 weekends in which I could work on this project. That was my first problem. My second was that I had a baby brother who destroyed my project twice. And third, was that I needed materials, which I could not easily find anywhere.

I had a whole list of problems that kept on going. Luckily, every problem was solved, some of them not as simply as others. But they were all solved, and soon, my list of problems got very short.

By January 19, I was almost done with my project. The best part was, I had till February 8th to turn it in! That was 20 days, or roughly 3 weeks. All I had to so now, was videotape the project. I didn’t realize how hard that would be till I actually started.

One of my most complicated steps occurs when Jenga pieces knock into a ball which then knocks into a wheel. That wheel is supposed to go under a chair and yank a Jenga piece off from on top of the chair and, as a result, let a marble travel down a path. But the wheel didn’t move enough when knocked into. So the Jenga piece didn’t budge. This was very frustrated. Finally, after a whole weekend passed, I found a solution. This solution came when I mounted the wheel on top of a small block so it could go down a ramp and gain more speed. But even after that, while recording, the wheel didn’t go down the ramp, or the ramp blocked the ball from knocking into the wheel. Once I found the solution to this, which was getting a different ramp that was a bit flatter, I realized the importance of having a plan to look at. Even after this, about 2 days later. I scrapped this whole step and replaced it with a sea saw, I still wished I had a plan too look at. Because by then, I definitely wasted that I hadn’t spent so much time worrying on this.

Many other last minute problems popped up. The one above was definitely more complicated, but the others were challenging nevertheless. Yet I found out that every time a problem came up, I found a quick solution to it if I just focused. My whole experience when making last minute edits taught me that you have to look over a machine a lot. Twice or three times at a minimum. Because otherwise, you won’t be prepared to start the next step. And there’s never a point to do anything in life if you aren’t prepared for it.

This photo shows the step with the wheel that I was having a problem with. This is step one, where nothing has changed.

This is step two, where I have added a ramp

IMG_5418 (2)-1hzfedc

This is step three. It is a video. In this, I drop the ball onto the sea saw too show what will happen. My goal is for the ball to fall on the sea saw and yank the string. To work this, first press the link. Only do it once or the video will download too many times. The video will automatically download onto your computer. Click on it and watch it. Then, go too chrome://downloads to delete the video.




Rube Goldberg Project: Safety Videos

Many times when I made the Rube Goldberg project, I felt nervous that I would fail. One time, I got so nervous, I just wasn’t able to work. Looking back, I don’t know why I was scared. I mean, I was doing pretty well when it came to my progress rate. But I guess that just happens when you only work on a machine in your own time.

My sister once suggested an awesome idea. She told me to make a safety video. This would consist of a Rube Goldberg machine that was pretty lame. It had about 9-10 steps which I stretched out to make them look like they were elaborate. It would reach the ‘okay’ standards, but nothing more.

At first I ignored this. I was pretty confident. But once I started getting stressed out, I listened.

Quickly, I used the steps which I had made. My sister and I jazzed them up a notch and then we added a chess piece at the end of the machine. And believe it or not, the machine functioned properly after a few tries.

Even now though, when my machine was so simple, there where a lot of problems. The biggest one was having to line stuff up. I had a marble which dropped through a tunnel. But, if not lined up, the marble stopped when the tunnel finished. My solution to that, was marking. I made a black line where everything was to go so I wouldn’t forget.

My sister jazzed up the video, while I worked on another blueprint which showed the changes to the machine which we had made. The idea which my sister had proposed worked great. The one problem that came with it was that I started to get a little lazier when it came too the project after that. This problem was solved later, after I noticed that I was falling behind.

I turned the blueprint in the next day, knowing that I probably would not use it. But, if worse came to worse, at least I had a good video.

IMG-9054-213hnuk (1)-1nggwfg

This is my safety video. Due to technicalities, the video downloads when you press this link. Once it downloads, just click the part where the video is shown, and then it will play. After that, you may delete it by seeing all the downloads (chrome://downloads) and pressing the ‘x.’ Remember not too click the link too many times, or it will download too much.

This is my blueprint which I made that supports my video.


Rube Goldberg post: Revising and Edits

Any time you do something, whether it’s a book or a machine, you always have to edit it. Otherwise it’s not going to reach the level of capability that it was made for.

Because of this, I made sure to edit my Rube Goldberg machine. I had about 11 steps. But for some reason I just wasn’t that glad with what I had. It was extremely simple. Nothing like a proper Rube Goldberg machine.

I had only used two of six simple machines, and hadn’t even completed my goal of using 4. It didn’t feel good at all, even though I had completed a task. Also, my machine was just too fragile. My baby brother constantly came too my work space and bulldozed it.

I reboarded my train of thought. What could I change? What did I not like? What could be made more complicated? It didn’t come too me immediately. I had too sit and think for  while.

First I changed the ending. Instead of a ball barreling into a chess pace, I made it go down a ginormous tunnel. Then I made a line of dominoes which it would crash into.

For about an hour and a half I was pondering about a bunch of different steps. When I finished, my Rube Goldberg project looked like it was finally going somewhere great. It was actually starting to look like a big, complicated, over engineered machine. I’d had to redo the whole machine, but it was worth it.

This incident taught me the importance of planning ahead and sometimes just stopping to think. Now, if I come across a problem, I know what to do or how to find a solution if I’m stuck. After a little bit of thinking, I was able to come up with a solution and many more. This was an important experience for me that really helped with my success rates during this project.


The link above shows what my Rube Goldberg machine looked like right before this stage happened. This link above downloads my video to your screen. It will take about 3-5 seconds. The download will appear at the bottom of your screen. Click it, and it will play for you. After that, go too downloads, (chrome:downloads) and it will delete it you press the “x” on it.


The video below is something that helped me when I was brainstorming different ways to make my project have more steps.

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.

Rube Goldberg Project: Devising Plans

This down below is my first blueprint. It consists of 14 steps and has a key located at the side.

Many times I hear the phrase “Without a good plan, you won’t have a good machine.” A plan is often described as the foundation of a contraption, and without a sturdy base, a building could never hold up.

From the moment my teacher announced that we would start our Rube Goldberg projects, I had already started creating a plan. A Rube Goldberg machine is a device created with different cause effect motions that has a goal to achieve a simple task. My plan started with small, but important things such as whether or not I wanted to work in a group. I decided to work solo when that came to mind. By the time my teacher finished talking, I had already devised some basic plans.

One of our requirements in our Rube Goldberg assignment was to turn in an accurate plan that showed the complexity of the gadget you were planning to build. When I started working on the one I would turn into my teacher, I started by working backwards. Since my machine would achieve the task of moving a chess piece on a board, I began by thinking about how my device would achieve that task. Once I had that idea, I watched a couple of the videos that my teacher suggested. I jotted about a couple of the parts in the video which stood out to me, and then switched them up a little so I wouldn’t be copying.

After I had a good amount of steps, I made a distinctive order and added a few of my own steps. I showed it to my family who offered a couple of suggestions. But in a little while, I had something which I thought was a nice start. I made a couple of pictures to show important steps in my contraption, and then it was perfect. I thought that this was a relatively great plan and as stated by Earl Nightingale, “All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.”


This video helped me gather ideas for steps that I could incorporate into my machine. It also gave me a good idea of what a finished Rube Goldberg project looked like.




Rube Goldberg Project: Thinking of an Idea

When my teacher announced that our next assignment would be to design a Rube Goldberg machine, I was exhilarated. A Rube Goldberg project is an apparatus made up of complicated, chain reaction steps that had an objective to complete a simple task, such as sharpening a pencil. This was one of the few projects where we could choose our own partners. I thought that many people wanted to work in pairs, but I enjoy working by myself for a couple of reasons. First, I could work on my own time. Second, I could use my own ideas. And third, sometimes people don’t do an equal amount of work when in a group or they easily get distracted. So I decided that working solo might be a little more useful during this project.

For me, the hardest step of any project is thinking of the idea. It’s always the first step and you can’t do anything unless you have a strong beginning. What I started with was brainstorming. I thought for about an hour about different blueprints and searched up ideas that others had too for inspiration. Finally I got about twenty. After that, I started eliminating projects that were too complicated, too basic, or too accessible. Soon the twenty ideas became three, all of which I had thought of on my own. And, two projects I ruled out almost immediately. That left me with an idea. I wanted to move a chess piece for my Rube Goldberg project. This would be appealing, unique assignment and a challenge that I was ready to take on.




This site helped me understand what a Rube Goldberg contraption was.