Top 10 Rube Goldberg Machines

Chances are when you hear "Rube Goldberg Machine" you're not entirely sure what that is, but it's more than likely that you've already seen a few in your life time – they pop up in cartoons, music videos, films and more. A Rube Goldberg machine is a machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex manner, usually via a chain reaction or sequence of events. Rube Goldberg himself was a cartoonist rather than an engineer, who drew complex contraptions in his illustrations. You may have most famously seen a Rube Goldberg machine in the cartoon Looney Tunes, where the character Wile E. Coyote uses these comical devices in attempts to catch Road Runner!

1. OK Go – This Too Shall Pass

OK Go are infamous for their strange and creative music videos; you probably remember the treadmill dance video they did! Their extremely well timed and coordinated videos have contributed to their online fame, so much so the videos they have created are now some of the most viewed out there.

2. Japanese Rube Goldberg Contest

This Japanese machine is built for one wonderful purpose; to make a bowl of delicious ramen. It’s strange how ramen, the saviour of many students, is one of the simplest foods to make, as all it requires is the addition of water, and yet a Rube Goldberg machine is used to do that easy task...

3. Mythbusters Christmas Contraption

This time the Mythbusters didn’t have a myth to bust; they just wanted to do something fun for Christmas, and show off their incredible scientific prowess. This RG machine features coke and mentos, a spinning bowling ball and of course, a rolling Christmas turkey. Let’s hope you don’t accidently make something similar this Xmas...

4. Honda – The Cog

Do you remember when this advert appeared on television, and you just sat there is silent wonder, mesmerised by the fluidity of this chain reaction made entirely out of Honda parts? What’s even better is the funky music that breaks the tension at the end.

5. Minecraft

You name it, and someone on Minecraft has done it. This Rube Goldberg machine looks like it took a long, long time to create; some serious gaming hours were put in here. There’s some very creative uses of water and lava, and there’s a sneaky Reddit symbol in there too.

6. The Guinness World Record

This fantastical machine shows us a timeline of life on Earth – it’s education and a tonne of fun all in one incredibly complex and well thought out creation. This RG machine had a grand total of 244 steps; the most ever completed successfully without stopping; it’s called ‘Time Machine’ and it was created by Purdue University.

7. Creme That Egg!

If you're a big fan of mess and you’re just dying to see a good splat, then you'll likely love watching this invention. Sadly, unless you want to scrape its remains off the wall, no one will be enjoying this delicious creme egg ever again.

8. The Athlete Machine – Red Bull Kluge

It’s hard enough relying on inanimate objects to make your machine keep ticking, but how about relying on athletes? These may be some of the most talented people in the world, but this chain reaction relied on a skydiver landing on an exact target just to begin.

9. Tom and Jerry

Many of us have experienced the frustration of playing Mouse Trap, but Tom has been playing Mouse Trap his entire life – his Rube Goldberg machine ends exactly as unfortunately as you would expect.

10. Lego Rube Goldberg

Lego; kids today, engineers tomorrow. This incredible little sequence is made entirely out of Lego parts, I’m sure you’ll be incredibly tempted to try this one out for yourself.

Get the latest process industry news

Interested in receiving even more industry-leading news from Process Industry Forum delivered directly to your inbox? Then sign up to our free newsletter. Bringing you the latest news, trends, innovations and opinion from across the process industry, our exclusive newsletter gives you all the industry insights of the moment in one, easy-to-digest bulletin. Stay ahead of the competition with regular process industry news instalments from PIF.

    Our Partners