Purdue Rube Goldberg machine ‘zips’ into another national title

The Regional Rube Goldberg competition held at Purdue University this weekend. (Photo Courtesy of: Purdue University)
The Regional Rube Goldberg competition held at Purdue University this weekend. (Photo Courtesy of: Purdue University)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – On Saturday, the student team from the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers became national champions again after winning the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest in Columbus, Ohio.

For this years contest, the teams were required to build an elaborate machine that zipped a zipper. The Purdue machine ran through all of the steps without error, but really stood out among other teams by including a human being in their gadget. The machine zipped a zipper worn by a team member squeezed into the six-foot cube with the machine performing a variety of other daily tasks such as making toast and tea.

In years past, the Purdue team has won several national titles and set Guinness World Records for building complicated machines with more than 300 steps. However, the team decided to create a less elaborate contraption this year by including some of the more well known designs by cartoonist Rube Goldberg, such as falling hammers and a bowling ball. Those creative touches led to the team winning the Legacy award for “Rube-iest” machine, as well as the national title.

Although this year’s machine had fewer steps than years past, the team still spent more than 3,500 man-hours building it.

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