What Are Some Ideas for a Rube Goldberg Project?

Some ideas for a Rube Goldberg project include turning off a light, watering a plant, shutting a door or popping a balloon. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist, author and sculptor who was an engineer during his early work years. He enjoyed drawing highly elaborate contraptions used to perform the most mundane tasks, and his sketches often included pieces and parts such as pulleys, gears, balls, boots, bath tubs and even live animals.

Nearly any contraption that makes a simple task difficult qualifies as a Rube Goldberg device, and such projects are really only limited by a one's own imagination. Some ideas include:

  • Cracking an egg
  • Opening an umbrella
  • Making a sandwich
  • Crushing a soda can
  • Opening a napkin

Additionally, no special parts are needed to make one of these projects. In fact, using recycled items make the machine Earth-friendly. Consider using things like:

  • Plastic take-out containers
  • Plastic bottles
  • Cereal boxes that can be used like dominoes
  • Soup cans or batteries used to roll
  • Chutes can be made from toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls or wrapping paper rolls

Other helpful items that may make the machine work even better are things like marbles, golf balls, funnels, toy cars and string. Inventors should be sure there is plenty of room for all of the parts of the masterpiece to work together in order to be successful.