Published 15th November 2017 by   |  Articles

Rube Goldberg Machines: simple but effective

We are absolutely fascinated by these incredible Rube Goldberg Machines – such masterpieces! A Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Goldberg was best known for his zany invention cartoons. We’re sure his engineering degree is behind all of this!

Bringing the principle of creating a horrendously complicated machine to do a simple or pointless job, the creations shown in the videos below would have taken many months of set up along with trial and error to create.

Simple but effective engineering/physical principles are in use. Here are just a few:

  • Conversion of potential into kinetic energy
  • Centrifugal, centripetal forces
  • Momentum
  • Simple harmonic motions
  • Inclined planes
  • Helices and screw threads
  • Friction or lack of friction
  • Newtons 1st, 2nd and 3rd laws of motion
  • Gravity
  • Magnetism

Oh, and an element of well judged luck!

There was one landmark film that brought Rube Goldberg to the spotlight. The pivotal Honda advert where “everything just works perfectly”. Check out the film that started it all and how it has infiltrated in to mainstream culture including pop videos by the video pioneering band OK GO!…


Honda Advert


OK Go – This Too Shall Pass


Samsung Smart Travel


Isaac Newton vs. Rube Goldberg


For more information about Cambridge Design Technology and how we can work with you on your next product design project, please call Jon Plumb now on 01223 662300 or email


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