16-311 Lab 1: Rube Goldberg Machine

Lab 1: Rube Goldberg Machine

Lead TAs: Hannah Lyness (hlyness@andrew.cmu.edu), Zachary Dawson (zsd@andrew.cmu.edu)

Due Date: Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Video of the 2012 demo

Lab 1 Presentation 2015. This presents the general problem. Only this website will have the most recent clarifications.

Lab 1 Grading Sheet 2015. You will need to print this document and bring it with you to the presentation.

Lab 1 Demonstration Sign Up Sheet 2015. You will need to sign up for a time slot for your team to demonstrate on Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

Group Assignments:

Group Members
A Deepack Ravi (dravi)
Karthic Palaniappan (kapalani)
Clark Chen (clarkc)
B James Braza (jbraza)
Dan Cheng (danc)
Mukund Tiberwala (mukundt)
C Matt Sebek (msebek)
Kim Kleiven (kkleiven)
D Joseph Gu (jxgu)
Adit Namdev (anamdev)
Myles Blodnick (mblodnic)
E Andrew Schroeder (achroed)
Vivek Sridhar (viveksri)
Oscar Bezi (odb)
F Richard Lee (rl1)
Chris Kaffine (ckaffine)
Brandon Hoane (bhoane)
G Allan Wang (allanwan)
Meena Gupta-Iwasaki (myg)
H Leonardo Cervantes (lcervan)
Clayton Ritcher (critcher)
Group Members
I Luke Metro (lmetro)
John Naguib (jnaguib)
J Xavier Artache (xka)
Jess Chernak (jchernak)
Wen Jay Tan (wenjayt)
K Alex Duncan (akduncan)
Robert Rudolph (rrudolph)
Adriel Luo (aluo)
L Drevin Galentine (dgalenti)
Aaron Perley (aperley)
Kojo Acquah (kacquah)
M Lukas Peraza (lbp)
N Jules Laffitte (jlaffitt)
Maitreyee Palkar (mpalkar)
O Shastri Ram (shastrir)
Carter Sharer (csharer)
Meghana Rau-Murthy (mraumurt)

Lab Objective:

Construct a Rube Goldberg Machine that can receive a golf ball from one team's machine and transfer the ball to another team's machine. Demonstrate this machine during lab and submit a webpage outlining its features.

As you walk past cobbler shop, hook (A) strikes suspended boot (B), causing it to kick football (C) through goal posts (D). Football drops into basket (E) and string (F) tilts sprinkling can (G), causing water to soak coat tails (H). As coat shrinks, cord (I) opens door (J) of cage, allowing bird (K) to walk out on perch (L) and grab worm (M), which is attached to string (N). This pulls down window shade (O), on which is written, "YOU SAP, MAIL THAT LETTER."

Machine Requirements:

1. Maximum dimensions: 30 in by 48 in by 60 in high. Execution time must be between 20 sec and 40 sec.

2. Golf ball must be dropped into a 12 in by 12 in entry zone that is 24 in above the ground. The area 24 in above this entry zone must be clear of obstructions and be along the outer edge of the machine.

3. The ball must leave the device at least 44 in above the ground.

4. The ball must go above 60 in at some point during the process.

5. You will get points based on the number of energy transfers you use. An energy transfer is counted when motion or energy is transferred between two different materials.

a. At least three energy transfers must use the ball.

b. All energy transfers must occur before the ball leaves the machine.

c. Energy transfers of like materials (e.g. a series of dominoes) or transfers of like forms (e.g. a domino knocking over a chess piece) will only count as one energy transfer.

6. You may not use electrical energy in the form of batteries or wall outlets. You may not damage the environment or any property that is not your own.

Website Requirements:

1. Group letter/number and team member names 2. Photo(s) of you machine showing all important components 3. List of all energy transfers 4. Publish your website and be prepared to show it to the TAs during your demonstration

Demonstration Details:

- Demonstrations will take place starting at 3:30 on January 20th in the Robotics Engineering Laboratory. Bring machine, website and grading sheet. - You will have two chances to demonstrate your machine. - You can touch your machine once during the demonstration. The energy transfer that you assist will not count toward your grade. - Sign up for a timeslot before Tuesday.

Example webpage

Grading Details:


Maximum Possible Points

Machine fits maximum dimensions


Execution time is between 20 seconds and 40 seconds


Energy Transfer 1 (With ball)


Energy Transfer 2 (With ball)


Energy Transfer 3 (With ball)


Energy Transfer 4


Energy Transfer 5


Ball leaves machine above 44 in into 12 in by 12 in entry zone immediately adjacent to machine


Ball breaks horizontal plane 60 in off ground


Machine uses “secret ingredients” to serve a functional purpose


Website: team letter, team members names, photo(s)


Website: complete list of energy transfers





Some videos of previous years' machines:
Cracking an egg
Pouring a can of soda with a mouse
Pouring soda with Dominoes

Famous Honda 'Cog' Commercial

A really sweet Rube Goldberg machine - as cool as Honda's 'Cog' Commerical

OK Go Music Video Rube Goldberg Machine

Last updated 01/21/2015 by Hannah Lyness
(c) 1999-2015: Howie Choset, Carnegie Mellon