How to create a Rube Goldberg Machine


The Rube Goldberg machine, built by ISU students, features different movie scenes, such as “The Dark Knight” and “Indiana Jones.”

Claire Norton

Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist, artist, engineer and author during the early-to-mid 1900s. Everyone became aware of his “inventions,” or crazy ways of making simple things happen. These were then named Rube Goldberg Machines. Today, people strive to achieve his greatness through complicating ways of doing ordinary and easy things. 

To create a Rube Goldberg Machine according to, you must:

Define the goal. Whether it’s stapling a piece of paper or clicking a pen, a Rube Goldberg Machine must have some sort of purpose at its ending.

Build it. This starts off with the bigger picture. Get the framing or structural designing and construction over with before you add all of the bits and pieces of technology and mechanics to really step up the game.

Test it. Test the parts and the entire machine in order to have it be efficient and worthy of showing off.

Perfect it. Make it lovely to look at by adding pictures, designs, signs or create certain shapes to boost the likability of the machine and have it appeal to the eye.

Enter it into one of the many Rube Goldberg Machine competitions. This is almost a lost art, as many people do not know what a Rube Goldberg Machine is or does. Enter the perfected complicated machine into one of these competitions to receive credit for hard effort and to keep Rube Goldberg’s creative spirit alive. Enter into a contest or find out more about Rube Goldberg at