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How many steps does it take to turn on a giant robot sign?

Answer= 72

The week before school started, we decided to try a new type of summer session where we created a massive Rube Goldberg machine. The purpose of the class was to build a machine that does as many steps as possible before turning on our giant robot sign. We had 21 awesome builders who amazed us with their creativity and originality in designing and building one incredible machine.

We had to nudge the machine a few times but all in all we were very proud of our final creation.

Below is the step by step:

  1. a marble is released down a ramp (with a 90 degree bend)
  2. the marble goes through the legs of the stacking robots and hits dominoes
  3. the dominoes fall over onto a special domino with foil around it
  4. the foil domino completes a circuit and causes a motor to spin at the top of a tower
  5. the motor has a stick on it that hits a golf ball
  6. the golf ball rolls down a ramp and dumps into a cup
  7. the cup is on a lever which hits another ball that is on a zipline
  8. that ball goes down the zipline and hits another ball that hits another smaller ball
  9. the smaller ball falls into a hole on the ramp and a motor spins (for special effects only)
  10. the larger ball rolls all the way down the ramp
  11. as it goes down it rolls over switches and turns on LEDs
  12. at the bottom of the ramp the ball rests on a switch
  13. that switch turns on a motor that is attached to propeller
  14. the propeller hits a golf ball that rolls down a ramp
  15. the golf ball causes an LED to flicker as it rolls down the ramp
  16. the golf ball lands on a lever
  17. the bottom of the lever is a switch that turns on another LED
  18. when the lever is lifted, it knocks over a table that completes a circuit and turns on a motor
  19. the motor (and gearbox) is attached to a linkage that winds up a string wrapped around a pulley
  20. the string lifts up a stick that is holding down a stretchy, plastic animal toy
  21. the toy flies through the air and hits a lever
  22. the lever hits a ball
  23. the ball rolls down a tube and into another tube on the end of a lever
  24. the lever falls down and causes a ball on the other end of the lever to roll down the lever and on to a ramp
  25. the ball goes down the ramp into a cup
  26. the cup is suspended on another lever and raises
  27. this causes a new ball to be dumped onto another inclined plane which rolls down into a cup
  28. that cup closes the circuit and causes a motor to spin
  29. the motor is attached to a dowel rod with two corks on strings
  30. once the corks go fast enough, the cork hits a line of stacking robot
  31. the stacking robots falls down
  32. the last stacking robot pulls a string which pulls away a support from under a weight
  33. the weight is connected to a string around a pulley, the other side of the string is connected to a cup which tips and a ball is released
  34. the ball rolls down a very long ramp
  35. as it rolls it hits three levers (switches) which turn on LEDs
  36. at the bottom of the ramp the ball knocks into a ring connected to a rubber band
  37. the rubber band releases a lever
  38. another ball rolls down an inclined plane
  39. the ball hits a cup which tips over and releases another ball
  40. that ball rolls into dominoes
  41. the dominoes tip over
  42. the last dominoes is covered with foil and completes a circuit
  43. the circuit turns on a motor
  44. when the motor turns on it moves a hook which releases a battering ram
  45. the battering ram goes down the zipline and hits a marble
  46. the marble knocks a ball off the edge of a cup
  47. the ball goes down a ramp and falls into a cup connected to a double lever
  48. on the end of the double lever is another ball which then rolls down a track
  49. the ball hits a line of stacking robots
  50. the first stacking robot has foil on it with a blue LED on its head, when it falls over, the LED turns on
  51. the last stacking robot knocks a weight off of a lever
  52. the lever falls onto another lever
  53. that lever forces open a gate
  54. the gate holds a windup car (charged)
  55. once the gate moves, the car drives off the cardboard cliff
  56. attached to the car is a string, the string is attached to a cup
  57. on top of the cup is a tinfoil ball, when the car drives forward the cup is pulled and the foil ball rolls down a ramp
  58. when the foil ball reaches the bottom of the ramp it completes a circuit
  59. a motor turns on which makes a stick on the shaft spin
  60. the stick then knocks a ball (covered in foil attached to part of a circuit) off the edge of a cup
  61. that ball falls into a cup which completes a circuit and turns on a white LED
  62. the cup is on a double lever which releases a fiberglass ball
  63. that ball zigzags down a ramp into a shoot
  64. the ball then hits a line of stacking robots
  65. one robot (covered in foil) acts as a switch and turns on an LED
  66. the stacking robots fall up a staircase
  67. two of the robots (covered in foil) complete a circuit and turn on a motor with a spinning butterfly
  68. the last stacking robot (one at the top) falls onto a toy scale
  69. the scale raises and releases a ball
  70. the ball goes down a track and through a tunnel
  71. and falls onto a small platform attached to a power strip
  72. and…. the power strip turns on our giant robot sign!!!!

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