Information for Participants of the Rube Goldberg Invention Convention

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This page contains the general information for the next Rube Goldberg Invention Convention, including project rules and event guidelines. If you plan on participating in the free upcoming Convention, be sure to print and mail the Entry Form (see menu at left) no later than April 24, 2000.


For other general information about the Convention, including date, time and place, click on the link in the menu called What is the Rube Goldberg Invention Convention?


The Rube Goldberg Invention Convention is open to any individual, group, or family. There are no age restrictions. The event is completely free of charge, and is made possible by Mechanical Invention Workshop, as well as several local sponsors. Students, especially homeschoolers, are encouraged to participate. There are three types of projects to choose from: building a Rube Goldberg machine, creating an invention prototype, or displaying a drawing of one of the above. Further details are below. Please check back at this page periodically for changes or additions in the rules and guidelines.


Rube Goldberg Project Rules
* There must be a minimum of 6 steps. Some students may be required to have more steps if this project is for a school assignment.
* Be sure your Rube Goldberg machine works. After you start it, there should be no human intervention and it should automatically complete its final task.
* The machine should have clearly visible steps.
* There is no required final objective for your machine, yet participants should decide on one goal. For example, to peel a banana, to swat a fly, or to drop a coin in a bank, etc. Some students may have a required goal established by their teachers if this project is for a school assignment.
* Consider a theme for your machine or the use of "wacky" steps as in the true spirit of Rube Goldberg inventions.
* A detailed numbered list of steps must be turned in on the day of the convention to Mechanical Invention Workshop.
* Students participating for a school project may have other specific rules established by their instructors regarding the types of simple machines to incorporate or use of themes. These students should adhere to their instructors' rules, as well as any additional rules, as above.


Invention or Drawing Project Rules
* Students may create a prototype of their invention, or they may display a drawing of a Rube Goldberg machine or invention.
* A detailed description of the invention or drawing, including its purpose and the problem it solves, must be turned in on the day of the convention to Mechanical Invention Workshop.
* Students designing inventions for a school assignment may have specific rules established by their instructor. These students should adhere to their instructors' rules, as well as any additional rules, as above.


In addition, all projects (Rube Goldberg machines, inventions, or drawings) must adhere to the following rules:
* The projects must be no larger than 4 feet wide, 4 feet long, and 5 feet tall.
* No combustibles, flammables, fire or hazardous materials may be used.
* The projects must not imply profane, indecent, or lewd expressions.
* Any loose or flying objects must remain within the set boundaries of the machine. This includes (but is not limited to) drops of water, slivers of ballon, and other "small" objects.
* No glitter may be used as part of a machine and no chemical other than water may contact the floor.
* Participants are responsible for removing their machine and debris following the convention.
* To protect the rights of animals, no animals are permitted in any part of the projects.
* Each team is responsible for the security and safety of their own machines or inventions.
* All tools, spare parts and other equipment must be kept out of reach of young children at the event.
* No hammering, pounding or drilling is permitted on the floor.
* Use of electricity is not permitted, in the spirit of true Rube Goldberg machines, however, battery power is allowed.


During the Event
* Each participant will be assigned a 30-minute time period (along with several other participants). You will need to demonstrate and reset your machine several times, and answer questions from interested on-lookers during this informal demo. Plan on having fun and meeting others who share your interest in crazy contraptions!
* Before or after your assigned time period, you may observe the other projects or events.
* No one, other than the participants for each project, may touch another person's project. Small children must be supervised by their parents.
* Each group of participants will receive a certificate of achievement, plus several random "door prizes" will be awarded.
* Be sure to observe the Prize-Picking Machine in action!
* Take time to watch a video of highlights from the National Rube Goldberg Competition from Purdue University or clips from an original 1925 Rube Goldberg movie Soup to Nuts with actual machines from the genius himself!

Last update: 1/7/00
Please check back periodically for any additions to these guidelines.

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Illustrations of Rube Goldberg Incorporated. Rube Goldberg is a trademark of Rube Goldberg Incorporated. Materials of Mechanical Invention Workshop and the Rube Goldberg Invention Convention, 1999.