We all know what it means to procrastinate, but what about actively spending time building a useless machine? You have undoubtedly seen the ornamental boxes with a tempting little toggle switch on the top. When you inevitably flip the switch, an actuator pops out from one half of the enclosure with the sole purpose of undoing its own power switch. [Paz Hameiri] took it a step further by adding some [Rube Goldberg] flavor, and with the help of a microcontroller, his levers take their sweet time powering themselves down. (Video after the break.)
We didn’t find any code or diagrams for the project, but if you know the useless machine’s internals, it shouldn’t be any trouble to recreate one for your desk. The most significant design factor is that the switches. Their contacts must be wired in parallel so that the controller has power as long as one is active. How would you spice up the useless machine?
Even though these are called useless machines, they serve the purpose of decoration, conversation-starting, or a way to show off your woodworking and programming skills.
Continue reading “Complicated And Useless Cancel Each Other Out”
The name Rube Goldberg has long been synonymous with any overly-built contraption played for laughs that solves a simple problem through complicated means. But it might surprise you to learn that the man himself was not an engineer or inventor by trade — at least, not for long. Rube’s father was adamant that he become an engineer and so he got himself an engineering degree and a job with the city. Rube lasted six months engineering San Francisco’s sewer systems before quitting to pursue his true passion: cartooning.
Rube’s most famous cartoons — the contraptions that quickly became his legacy — were a tongue-in-cheek critique meant to satirize the tendency of technology to complicate our lives in its quest to simplify them. Interestingly, a few other countries have their own version of Rube Goldberg. In the UK it’s Heath Robinson, and in Denmark it’s Robert Storm Petersen, aka Storm P.
Rube Goldberg was a living legend who loved to poke fun at everything happening in the world around him. He became a household name early in his cartooning career, and was soon famous enough to endorse everything from cough drops to cigarettes. By 1931, Rube’s name was in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, his legacy forever cemented as the inventor of complicated machinery designed to perform simple tasks. As one historian put it, Rube’s influence on culture is hard to overstate.
Continue reading “Rube Goldberg’s Least Complicated Invention Was His Cartooning Career”
People can certainly become creative when it comes to completing simple tasks like that of removing a bottle cap. Woodworker [Matt Thompson] has come up with a next-level bottle opener that not only does the job but also functions as a game of chance. (Video, embedded below.)
The process usually starts with a spin of his chore wheel that will surprisingly often advise you to drink a beer. While the bottle cap is removed by a standard wall-mounted opener, the fun starts when the cap falls through a wooden labyrinth of various mechanisms reminiscent of a Rube Goldberg machine. Finally, the cap goes through an arrangement of nails, known as a Galton Board which is also found in some pinball and historic gaming machines, before landing in one of two containers marked “winner” and “try again”. The former will trigger the rotating wheel of a self-built peanut dispenser to provide the thirsty person with some tasty snacks. While we would love to see a making-of video with more technical details of this project, we still appreciate the exquisite woodworking and fine craftsmanship that went into building it.
By the way, if you are ever in need of an Arduino board that can also serve as a bottle opener then have a look at HaDuino.
[Thanks to Emanuel for pointing out the proper name of the Galton Board]
Continue reading “A Gambler’s Bottle Opener”
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. At least that’s what the [Sprice Machines] thought when they decided to turn a house into the set of a 9-minute long Rube Goldberg machine to make lemonade. (Video embedded below.) The complex chain reactions runs across multiple rooms, using everyday objects like brooms and even a vibrating smartphone to transfer energy across the complex contraption.
While the team professionally builds Rube Goldberg machines for clients, the Lemonade Machine looks surprisingly organic, like something a family might decide to do for fun over a long weekend (although there area few moments that make you question just how they were able to perfectly time every sequence in the chain reaction). Even though the actual lemonade making only takes up a small fraction of the machine, watching marble runs, weights dashing across a clothesline, and random household items repurposed into energy transfer mechanisms is really entertaining.
The [Sprice Machines] have been making Rube Goldberg machines for quite some time, posting the videos of their final runs on YouTube. Other builders for the Lemonade Machine included [Hevesh5], [DrComplicated], [DoodleChaos], [TheInvention11], [5MadMovieMakers], and [SmileyPeaceFun].
If you’re into Rube Goldberg machines, check out some of the other awesome projects that we’ve featured over the years on the blog.
Continue reading “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make A Rube Goldberg Machine”