The Art of Rube Goldberg Machines: A DIY Guide

The Art of Rube Goldberg Machines: A DIY Guide

Rube Goldberg Machines provide an exciting and intriguing entry point into the world of physics, engineering, and coding. They demonstrate the concepts of chain reactions, cause and effect, and simple-to-complex dynamics in a fascinating and engaging way. This guide will take you on an insightful journey into the heart of Rube Goldberg's world, making the creation of these great machines accessible and fun.

Who Is Rube Goldberg?

Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor, best known for his popular cartoons illustrating complex gadgets performing simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. The 'Rube Goldberg Machine' became a term for any overly complicated and intricate device or scheme that achieves a very simple task.

Why Rube Goldberg Machines?

Rube Goldberg Machines are not just engaging and fun, but also educational; they are a fantastic way to learn and understand the basic principles of physics and engineering. They encourage critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills while teaching kids about cause and effect, energy transfer, and mechanical work.

Getting Started with Your Rube Goldberg Machine

Define Your Goal

First, decide what simple task your machine will achieve - it could be anything from flipping a switch, pouring a cup of coffee, or popping a balloon. Remember, the essence of a Rube Goldberg Machine is turning a simple task into an enormously complex process!

Sketch Your Plan

Next, sketch out your plan. Try to think of different actions and reactions that can be used to achieve your end goal. This gives you a broad framework to start from and encourages imaginative thinking!

Interface with Everyday Objects

Look around your home for everyday objects that can be used in your machine. The beauty of a Rube Goldberg Machine is that it uses commonplace items in unexpected ways.

Building Your Machine

This is where the real fun begins! Start constructing your machine by testing each step one at a time and making sure it works before proceeding to the next. There will be a lot of trial and error, but that's part of the joy of building your Rube Goldberg Machine.

Rube Goldberg Competitions

There are also Rube Goldberg competitions held around the world, where teams are challenged to build the most elaborate and creative machines. This DIY guide is a great starting point if you're interested in participating or just doing this as a fun project at home.


The art of building a Rube Goldberg machine is about imagination, creativity, and problem-solving. It's about turning the mundane into something incredibly complex and entertaining. Let this DIY guide inspire you to create something uniquely yours!

Happy building!