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ASME team members (clockwise, starting from left): Tyler Luce, Zoheb Noorani, Todd Bilderback, TJ Weaver, Travis Hampton, Brandon Boyle, Austin Taliaferro, Megan Connoly, Charles Manion, Chi-Che Ma and John Helfand

ASME team members (clockwise, starting from left): Tyler Luce, Zoheb Noorani, Todd Bilderback, TJ Weaver, Travis Hampton, Brandon Boyle, Austin Taliaferro, Megan Connoly, Charles Manion, Chi-Che Ma and John Helfand

 

On February 17th, the Psi Beta Chapter of Theta Tau hosted the 2010 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest in the Taylor Room of the ETC building. A large crowd was in attendance to see three teams compete for an opportunity to participate in the national competition on March 27th, 2010.

Rube Goldberg Machines

A Rube Goldberg machine is an apparatus which performs a simple task in an overly-complex way. Such machines are named for American engineer and cartoonist Rube Goldberg in honor of his cartoon series which depicted such machines. He stated that his machines were “a symbol of man's capacity for exerting maximum effort to achieve minimal results.”

This year's Rube Goldberg task is to "dispense an appropriate amound of hand sanitizer onto a hand."

This year's Rube Goldberg task is to "dispense an appropriate amound of hand sanitizer onto a hand."

The Contest

This year was the 14th year the Cockrell School of Engineering participated in the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest. The national competition is held yearly at Purdue. This year's local winner will go on to represent The University of Texas at Austin at Purdue.

Each team was required to create a machine which would accomplish a given task in under two minutes and twenty steps or more. The task for this year's competition is to “dispense an appropriate amount of hand sanitizer onto a hand.”

The Judges

The department thanks the judges for volunteering their time to the project. The judges were Kelly McQuery, Academic Advisor in Chemical Engineering, Ben Hodges, Associate Professor from Civil Engineering, Billy Wood, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, and Lockheed Martin Campus Relations Manager, Art McAnarney.

The Contestants

There were three teams competing this year: Theta Tau, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

Society of Women Engineer's entry into the 2010 Rube Goldberg competition. Pictured here are (clockwise, starting at left) Samantha Moss, Lauren Collins, Marcus Minchew, Lauren Conrad and Joanna Fung.

Society of Women Engineer's entry into the 2010 Rube Goldberg competition. Pictured here are (clockwise, starting at left) Samantha Moss, Lauren Collins, Marcus Minchew, Lauren Conrad and Joanna Fung.

Society of Women Engineers

SWE started off the event with their "Swine Flue"-themed machine. The theme was inspired by team captain Lauren Collin's own bout with the H1N1 virus. The team also included Marcus Minchew, Lauren Conrad, Joanna Fung and Samantha Moss. Their machine ran one minute 13 seconds on the first run, and 32 seconds on the second try.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers

The next team was ASME, who competed with their "Wild West"-themed contraption. ASME's team captain was Mechanical Engineering senior Tyler Luce, who won last year's regional competition as an independent contestant. The largest of the three, their machine completed the task in 46 steps in one minute and 45 seconds on the first run, and one minute and 30 seconds on the second.

The team included Tyler Luce, Zoheb Noorani, Todd Bilderback, TJ Weaver, Travis Hampton, Brandon Boyle, Austin Taliaferro, Megan Connoly, Chi-Che Ma and John Helfand with further help from Charles Manion.

Theta Tau's entry into the 2010 Rube Goldberg competition

Theta Tau's entry into the 2010 Rube Goldberg competition

Theta Tau

The final team to compete was Theta Tau. Their device, comprised primarily of marbles running down chutes, was the first to complete successfully without any intervention. The Theta Tau team consisted of Tyler Lawson, Chris Hunt, and Kevin Cross. Their machine completed the task in twenty seconds on the first run, and 23 on the second.

Final Results

The ASME team placed first, for which they received $500, and the opportunity to compete in the national competition. Second place, with $200, was awarded to Theta Tau, while SWE came in third, for which they received $100.

Tyler Luce explains and then runs the ASME Rube Goldberg Machine. View larger format on You Tube. Read the transcript.

Step List

ASME's machine completed the task in 46 steps, which were as follows:

  1. Gun emits IR light
  2. Arduino board reads IR signal
  3. Microcontroller trips relay
  4. Relay turns on vibrating cow table
  5. Table vibrates causing stampede
  6. Cows stampede down ramp
  7. Stampede springs mouse trap
  8. Mouse trap pulls support from water tower
  9. Water tower falls over hitting switch
  10. Switch turns on the pump
  11. Water flows down chute
  12. Water falls into lake causing the water level to rise
  13. Water raises ping pong balls
  14. Ping pong balls lift the gate holding logging cart
  15. Logging cart rolls down and hits ramp support
  16. Marble rolls down shaft into maze
  17. Marble rolls through the maze
  18. Marble falls into elevator
  19. Elevator drops activating the crane
  20. Crane lifts the logs causing train to start
The train on ASME's Rube machine goes around the track.

The train on ASME's Rube machine goes around the track.

  1. Train goes around track to station hitting a gate
  2. Gate hits a marble
  3. Marble falls down tube flipping a switch
  4. Switch turns on the pump for the oil derrick
  5. Oil chute fills raising ping pong through maze
  6. Ping pong ball hits lever with force of rising water causing it to rise
  7. Lever tilts ramp causing another marble to fall
  8. Marble travels down ramps and tube to hit mouse trap
  9. Mouse trap pulls supports from gallows
  10. Hanging convicts fall to their death pulling down nooses
  11. Nooses pull out brakes from stagecoach
  12. Stagecoach goes down ramp knocking down support of arrow
  13. Arrow hits Indian
  14. Other end of arrow pulls wire
  15. Wire pulls support from underneath hot air balloon
  16. Hot air balloon falls pulling on rope
  17. Rope travels through pulleys unraveling the wagon wheel
  18. Rope pulls support out from under bird
  19. Bird flies knocking down cactus
  20. Cacti go down as dominoes
  21. Last cactus hits a switch turning on solenoid
  22. Solenoid turns on air stream from compressor
ASME's Rube machine dispenses hand sanitizer with an Archimedes screw.

ASME's Rube machine dispenses hand sanitizer with an Archimedes screw.

  1. Air turns the windmill
  2. Windmill turns Archimedes screw
  3. Rotational motion forces hand sanitizer up
  4. Hand sanitizer dispenses into hand

 

 

 

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