P13731: Educational Rube Goldberg

Detailed Design

Table of Contents

The following section of our EDGE page will display all the steps we took into developing a detailed design of our Rube Goldberg Machine. A descriptive breakdown of each subsystem, including: How the ball will be transferred into and out of the subsystem, Bill of Materials, themes incorporated, educational information, structural schematics and scaled drawings, appropriate calculations, and how the subsystem will reset.

Each section below includes:

Detailed Subsystem Architecture and Descriptions

Subsystem 1: Incoming Students - “Accepted Pinball Launch”

Subsystem 1 3D Sketch

Subsystem 1 3D Sketch

The first subsystem symbolizes a student being accepted to RIT and incorporates user interaction by launching a ball similar to a pinball machine. A complete description of the subsystem and how it works can be found here in the Subsystem Information document.

Subsystem 1 Bill of Materials

Subsystem 1 Risk Assessment

Subsystem 2: Freshman Year - “Robot Student”

 Subsystem 2 3D Sketch

Subsystem 2 3D Sketch

The second subsystem represents a student finding its way in a new place, RIT! This subsystem consists of a line-following robot walking through a setting that resembles the residential side of campus. For a full description of the subsystem, visit the Subsystem Information page.

Here is a detailed description of how our robot will be design and constructed. This PDF file consists of part numbers, part dimensions, a 3-dimensional drawing as well as a top, front and side view.

Subsystem 2 Bill of Materials

Subsystem 2 Risk Assessment

Subsystem 3: Sophomore Year - “Studying Kaizen Brain Dump”

Subsystem 3 3D Sketch

Subsystem 3 3D Sketch

The third subsystem symbolizes a student studying, learning information, and reproducing the information on an exam. Sophomore year of engineering school is often considered the most intense, or at least a students first experience of intense schooling. A complete description of the subsystem can be found here in the Subsystem Information document.

Subsystem 3 Bill of Materials

Subsystem 3 Risk Assessment

Subsystem 4: Junior Year - “Co-op Flying Airplane”

Subsystem 4 3D Sketch

Subsystem 4 3D Sketch

The fourth subsystem shows how Co-op experiences can take you to new places. An airplane will soar over the map, lighting up cities, and act as a plinko board for the ball. A more detailed description of the subsystem can be found in the Subsystem Information document.

Subsystem 4 Bill of Materials

Subsystem 4 Risk Assessment

Subsystem 5: Junior Year - “Projectile Pong”

Subsystem 5 3D Sketch

Subsystem 5 3D Sketch

The fifth subsystem represent a major point in any college students life, their 21st birthday! This subsystem shows a student playing some pong while displaying a couple neat engineering principles and technologies at the sametime. A more compelete description of the subsystem can be found in this Subsystem Information document.

Subsystem 5 Bill of Materials

Subsystem 5 Risk Assessment

Subsystem 6: Senior Year - “Time Distribution Water Wheel”

Subsystem 6 3D Sketch

Subsystem 6 3D Sketch

Senior year (especially as an RIT Engineer) is a crucial period to put your time management skills to work. This subsystem includes water wheels flowing at different rates to output different amounts of energy. This represents a student dividing their time between work, school, a social life, and maybe even sleep if there's time any left over. The amount of time put into something the more you'll get out of it. Similar to the amount of water spinning the wheels, the more energy will be produced. For a more complete description of the subsystem, read the Subsystem Information document.

Subsystem 6 Bill of Materials

Subsystem 6 Risk Assessment

Subsystem 7: Graduation - “Walking the Stage”

Subsystem 7 3D Sketch

Subsystem 7 3D Sketch

The seventh subsystem is the final piece of the Rube Goldberg Machine and the end of the students college life, Graduation! The ball will appear to do the impossible and defy gravity by cause a wheel to roll uphill. It will then roll across a stage where props will fall from the top of the subsystem and decorate the stage. A more detailed description of the subsystem can be found in the Subsystem Information document.

Subsystem 7 Bill of Materials

Subsystem 7 Risk Assessment

Project Information and Documents

An overall Bill of Materials has been put together which combines all subsystem BOMs and general building materials including the exterior case and other structural materials.

An overall Project Risk Assessment has been developed which includes general risks that might occur throughout the duration of our project, there probability, severity, as well as a plan to avoid these problems and a plan to resolve these problems should they occur.

A Test Plan has been developed which includes an summarized test plan for each of the subsystems.


We have developed a full 3D model of our Rube Goldberg Machine including the table we will construct for it and the individual subsystem assemblies. One of the main customer needs is that the system must be transportable and easy to assemble/disassemble. Keeping that in mind a simple table was design with slots created so the individual 2' x 2' subsystems can easily be placed inside it. Each subsystems will be screwed down onto the main table and enclosed in a Lexan case structure as shown in the picture. The manikin shown in the pictures is an average height male, roughly 5'8" to show the scale of the drawing. The total height of the structure will be a 3' base, followed by a 4-5" frame for information to be displayed, and topped by the 2' subsystem cubes.

The individual subsystem 3D drawing can be found here and the the 3D model can be found here.

Detailed Design Review

The presentation material from our Detailed Design Review can be found in its entirety here.


MSD I MSD II Subsystem Educational Information

Photo Gallery

Planning & Execution I

Systems Design

Project Review I

Photo Gallery

Planning & Execution II

Build, Test, Document

Project Review II

Final Presentation

Technical Paper


Subsystem 1 - Accepted to RIT

Subsystem 2 - Freshman Year

Subsystem 3 - Sophomore Year

Subsystem 4 - Co op Experience

Subsystem 5 - Junior Year

Subsystem 6 - Senior Year

Subsystem 7 - Graduation