Rube Goldberg was the inspiration for this semester’s Design for Manufacturability (ME 270) undergraduate course. Each team of 3-5 students had to create a complex way to turn on a light, starting with a marble. MechSE's Bruce Flachsbart provided teams with a wooden base, metal brackets, a marble, and a battery powered light.
Each team was provided with a base plate, one side plate, brackets to hold the side plate, a marble, and a battery powered LED light—and their machine should have a theme. Machines had to be less than 30 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm and include at least 10 “steps” or mechanically different actions (i.e. a marble rolling down one ramp, then rolling down another ramp is only one step). Both rotary and linear motion had to be incorporated and students had to utilize rigid linkages, string, and something elastic.
Teams could use mouse traps and only one other commercial product, but otherwise had to make (manufacture) all other parts they used. Final presentations were made at Lu MEB November 29 and 30.