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Rube Goldberg Competition

Rube Goldberg Competition

Grades 6-8 - 2019 Task: Water a Plant

Steps: 10
Simple Machines: 3
Time Limit: 10 minutes
Size (LxWxH): 4' x 4' x 6'
Registration: 11am
Showtime: 12pm
Download 2019 complete rules

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: to build the zaniest contraption possible to perform a trivial assigned task.  Bring your completed machine to Healdsburg Junior High on Saturday, March 5th at the times stated for your level.

Please no early registrations!

  1. Teams are limited to four (4) students.
  2. The contraption must complete the assigned task in the prescribed number of total steps (or more) and include the prescribed minimum number of the six “simple machines” which are: 1-Incline, 2-Wedge, 3-Screw, 4-Lever, 5-Axle and Wheel, 6-Pulley.
  3. Pretty much anything goes, the only restrictions are that no flammable, or toxic substances or animals (dead or alive) may be used.  Maximum voltage is 12V.
  4. At the competition students must set up their own machines without the help of parents.
  5. At registration each team must submit 3 copies of a clear and concise step-by-step description of the machine.
  6. The machine must complete a full cycle, be reset and complete a second full cycle within the specified time.  Each team may claim one free restart without penalty if within the time limit.  Judges will add points for creativity, innovation and additional steps.
  7. To be eligible for awards, contestants must remain on-site to run the machines and/or answer questions until the judging for their level is complete.
  1. Each machine must be safe to the approval of the contest officials. Any questionable items must be given prior consent by the contest chairman.
  2. No combustible fluids, explosives, open flames, or hazardous materials are allowed.
  3. Maximum voltage allowed is 12 volts.  No high voltage (110 volt) devices are allowed.
  4. A machine must not imply profane, indecent, or lewd expressions.
  5. A machine may not incorporate any live animal.
  6. A machine may not display any corporate sponsor logos.
  7. No glitter may be used as part of a machine.
  8. No chemicals other than water may contact the multi-purpose room floor.
  9. No hammering or other pounding on the floor is permitted.

A step is defined as a linear process; a ball rolling down a ramp and triggering a mousetrap is one complete step.   The first step of the cycle is considered the first human intervention starting the machine and the final step of the cycle completes the specified task.

The six simple machines are:

  1. Incline: a ramp or slanted surface (ie: slide, stairs)
  2. Wedge: shaped like an incline, but a moving incline (ie: nail, ax)
  3. Screw: a cylindrical body with a helical groove cut into its surface (ie: bolt threads)
  4. Lever: a bar that turns around a point called the fulcrum (ie: stapler, see-saw, shovel)
  5. Axle and Wheel: a wheel rotating about an axle to bear a load.  A gear is a wheel with teeth in it.  Gears are used to change direction, and to control the speed of things
  6. Pulley: consists of a wheel and axle with a groove usually in the middle of it in which a rope or belt runs to raise or lower weights.
  1. Decide on a theme first, that way the steps you decide to use can be adapted to that theme.
  2. Make a list of the essential “simple machines” to include and plan those first.
  3. Start early in rounding up scrap mechanisms for your contraption.  The recycle center at the dump is always a good place to start.  Another good place is the Salvation Army Store on Lytton Springs Road.
  4. Avoid buying brand new components; the judges delight in seeing an old lawnmower wheel used instead of a new pulley from the hardware store – remember this contest is about your creativity and resourcefulness as well as your understanding of the simple machines.

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.

Thomas A. Edison

Technology Day


Saturday, March 2nd, 2019


Rube Project Drop-Off and Setup :
10 AM

Rube Project Competition:
11 AM - 1 PM

Exhibits and Public Events:
11 AM - 1 PM