Team # 686: The VG Tinkers TEAM PAGE

Villa Grove High School
Villa Grove, Illinois, United States

Online Contest:
Pour A Bowl of Cereal
Online Division II - Ages 14 - 18 (High School)
Team Leader: Stacie Cler
Team Members: 6
Invitations: 6
Gracyn Kestner - invitation signed.
Madeline Shunk - invitation signed.
Meredith Vandeventer - invitation signed.
Ethan Howard - invitation signed.
James Gulick - invitation signed.
Chad Smith - invitation signed.

What we're studying:
We are studying the basic laws of motion and forces. Our Rube Goldberg machine is the ultimate testament of each of these physical concepts rolled into one!

Our Team Leader's favorite quote:
"Reach for the moon. Even if you miss you'll land among the stars."

Why we think we should win:
We come from a small, rural school where science is often a low enrollment class. Part of our motivation for entering the competition is to raise awareness of the amazing things you can do with science as well as to help out our overall science program.
We are very connected to our machine having built basically the entire thing from scratch. We put our personalities, persistence and often times annoyance into this machine and are very proud of what we have created!

Suggestion for next year's challenge:
Flip a pancake

Favorite Rube Goldberg video:

Rube Goldberg Step Explanations - The Method to Our Madness

Vibrating Phone- This is based on the idiom, “shake it up.” A student calls the cell phone and it vibrates causing it to slide down and hit a marble.

Marble Run (multi step)- This is based on the idiom, “let’s get the ball rolling.” The marble that was hit by the phone enters this marble run and goes through the multiple levels before exiting to the basketball court.

Basketball Court- This is based off the idiom, “the balls are in your court.” After the marble, painted to look like a basketball, exits the marble run, it enters the basketball court which has a path on it for the marble to follow. The path guides it to the dominoes.

Dominoes- The dominoes increase as the go and are based on the idiom, “the bigger they are the harder they fall.” They are triggered by the marble from the basketball court and trigger the elevator.

Elevator- This is based on the idiom, “barking up the wrong tree.” The dominoes knock a weight off a platform that, as it falls, pulls up one end of the zipline.

Zipline- This is based on the idiom, “when pigs fly.” As one end of the zipline is lifted up, the “pig” moves toward the peg board triggering the bouncy balls.

Pegboard- Based off the idiom, “butterflies in your stomach,” “butterflies” (bouncy balls) are balanced at the edge of a peg board and are hit by the zipline to go through the “stomach” (pegboard) and proceed to hit dominoes.

Dominoes- This is based on the idiom, “hit the hay.” The dominoes that are triggered by the bouncy balls increase in size in order to be heavy enough to fall onto a platform.

Scissor Contraption- This is based on the idiom, “cut it out.” The platform that is attached to a pair of scissors with a string run through them. Once the dominoes fall onto the platform, the scissors close and cut the string.

Bladed trebuchet- This based on the idiom, “cut the cheese.” The string that gets cut by the scissors is attached to a trebuchet. The trebuchet has a blade attached to the end. When the trebuchet is released, the arm swings down and cuts the string that is positioned below it.

Ramp with car- This is based on the idiom, “it’s all downhill from here.” Below the trebuchet is the string that will be cut. The string is attached to a small car on a ramp. Once the bladed trebuchet cuts the string, the car is released down the ramp and runs into a small crate that is holding down string.

Bird Trebuchet- The string that was being held by a small crate is attached to yet another trebuchet. This trebuchet features a small bird attached to the end. This is based off of the idiom “flip the bird.” The small crate that held the string then bumps into a set of dominoes.

Dominoes- The dominoes then lead to and start a newton’s cradle. They cross a bridge which goes with the idiom, “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.” Then the dominoes go “off the straight and narrow” and wind around to the newton’s cradle.The dominoes begin the movement of the newton’s cradle by dropping a ball that was balanced on top of two dominoes.

Newton’s Cradle- This is based on the idiom, “between a rock and a hard place.” The newton’s cradle begins as stated previously. After the dominoes begin this mechanism, the balls on the cradle slam into a “loose cannon” that is waiting on a ramp next to the newton’s cradle.

Loose Cannon- This is based on the idiom accusing someone of being a loose cannon. The loose cannon is put into motion by the newton’s cradle which causes the cannon to roll down a ramp and run into a weight that that is holding down a string connected to a trebuchet. The weight moves off of the string which releases the trebuchet.

Trebuchet- Based off of the idiom, “to walk on eggshells,” we included a trebuchet that smashes into a plastic egg. The mechanism then breaks the egg in half, releasing a weight that was hidden inside.

Fan switch- This is based on the idiom, “blow you away.” The weight inside the egg then falls onto a switch that in turn powers a fan.

Boat- The fan blows into the sail of a boat suspended in a tub of water. This step is based on the idiom, “whatever floats your boat.” The boat then sails across the tub and bumps into a board with a stick attached. This causes the stick to move and push a weight off of the edge of the platform.

Seesaw- This is based on the idiom, “at the drop of a hat.” The weight falls off the platform and onto a seesaw that triggers a set of dominoes.

Dominoes- This is based on the idiom, “to beat around the bush.” These dominoes are triggered by the seesaw hitting some tinker toys. The dominoes hit a ball bearing that falls into a cup.

Elevator with cup- This is based on the idiom, “all your eggs in one basket.” The dominoes knock into a ball bearing into a cup already holding ball bearings. This causes the cup to move down pulling a track up and tipping another ball bearing into the marble run.

Marble run- This is based on the idiom, “it’s all on the up and up.” The ball bearing from the track goes down one level of the run, hitting a lever that triggers a ball bearing on the next level which hits a lever that then triggers the final level. This ball bearing then knocks a wooden rod into a set of dominoes.

Dominoes- The dominoes fall and last lands on mousetrap.

Mousetrap Switch- This is based on the idiom, “hit the nail on the head.” The mousetrap hits a switch that rings a bell.

Bell- This is based on the idiom, “saved by the bell.” When the bell rings it pulls a string that releases a weight.

Rolling weight- This is based on the idiom, “heads will roll.” This weight hits another weight triggering the final step.

Last weight attached to the pulley This is based on the idiom, “on the edge of our seats.” When this weight is hit by the rolling one, it falls. As it falls, it pulls on a pulley that pulls the bottom of a box of cereal up, pouring it.

Our Step List

Machine Name: The Method to Our Madness
1. Student makes phone call
2. Receiving phone is set on vibrate and begins to vibrate causing it to move forward
3. The phone hits a marble causing it to roll.
4. The marbles begins its decent into a marble run downwards.
5. The marble drops from the marble run onto a guided marble track
6. The marble falls off the track and rolls into a domino
7. The first domino begins a series of dominoes that knock one into another.
8. As the dominoes proceed the last hits wooden block that begins a progression of increasing wooden blocks.
9. The last wooden block hits a 1kg weight, knocking it off the platform
10. The block is attached to a pulley that pulls a 500g weight up as it falls
11. As the 500g weight rises, it raises a zip line up into a higher position
12. Once in a higher position, a weight begins to slide down the zip line
13. The weight travels down the zip line and hits a row of bouncy balls
14. The balls fall into a peg board and travel down through the peg board
15. The balls roll out of the peg board and hits a wooden block
16. The wooden block falls and begins a series of falling wooden blocks
17. The last wooden block falls and hits a pair of open scissors
18. The scissor close and cut a string to release a bladed trebuchet
19. The trebuchet swings forward to cut a string, releasing a weighted cart on an incline plane
20. The cart rolls down the ramp and hits a weighted box of nails
21. The box of nails moves hitting a domino and releasing a trebuchet
22. The domino begins a series of falling dominoes that cross a bridge that leads to a double domino
23. The double domino falls releasing the last ball of a Newton's cradle
24. The force travels through the Newton's cradle causing the far ball to hit a cannon
25. The cannon rolls down a ramp to hit a weight
26. The weight moves releasing a trebuchet
27. The trebuchet swings and hits an elevated plastic egg
28. The egg opens releasing a weight
29. The weight falls and lands on a switch
30. The switch closes and turns on a small fan
31. The fan blows a sail boat forward through a tub of water.
32. The boat hits a button forcing a stick to move forward
33. The stick hits a weight knocking it to the floor
34. As the weight falls it pulls a string down on a pulley, pulling the other end up
35. The other end of the pulley is attached to the box of cereal to tip the cereal box forward to pour the cereal

Our Close-ups: Photos

A maximum of 3 close-ups (scanned diagrams, photos). Images must be JPG or PNG, and less than 5 MB.

Our Close-ups: Task Completion

Our Machine Explaination and Walkthrough

Our Machine Run Videos

Machine Run #1
Machine Run #2