P13731: Educational Rube Goldberg

Subsystem 3 - Sophomore Year

Table of Contents

Engineering Principles



The word "Kaizen" is a Japanese term meaning - Improvement or to change for the better. It is a combination of several brief movements that can lead to large improvements throughout time. The philosophy is based around continuously improving by making small changes which can be easily integrated into your daily activities. Kaizen "events" are typically done to manufacturing processes to reduce their duration while at the same time reducing defects, making work easier, and more ergonomic. Information is typically gathered from a variety of resources such as engineers, operators, mechanics, material handlers, and anyone involved in the process.

The Kaizen process has become so famous due to the works of the Toyota Production Systems originating in Japan. One of the most common terms associated with Kaizen is the letter P.D.C.A. which stands for Plan, Do, Check, Act. This acronym can be further explained as:

public/MSD II/Photo Gallery/PDCA.jpg
[3] Kaizen can also be incorporated in a student's schoolwork. For our subsystem we represent Kaizen by the marble going through several iterations of studying. Each marble represents information being absorbed into the brain, each iteration of reviewing the material leads to more information being remembered correctly. The LEDs connected to each turning point on the track will light up representing the amount of information absorbed correctly. (As shown in the image to the left)

Pivot and Counterweight

A counterweight is a mass that is placed in a certain position to balance an equivalent load. The pivot is the central point, pin or shaft on which a mechanism turns. In this case the Styrofoam head is pivoted on the blue rod.

In mechanical engineering a moment is the general term used to describe the tendency of an applied force to rotate an object about an axis or pivot point. One example is using a wrench to tighten a bolt.

In equilibrium the head in this subsystem will sit upright due to the counterweight on the back. Adding the weight of the balls overpowers the counterweight force and causes the head to tip. Once the balls roll out, the counterweight pivots the head back to the equilibrium position.

Sprocket and Chain System

public/MSD II/Photo Gallery/Pitch.jpg
A Sprocket is commonly mislabeled as a Gear due to their similar shape however they serve two different purposes. A sprocket is simply a wheel shaped object with teeth on the outside which are separated out in order to grip the spacing in the chain. The distance between the links on a chain is referred to as the chains pitch as shown on the left. There are typically two sprockets attached to each end of a chain. In order to get a mechanical advantage and use less energy to transfer the chain, the sprockets may be different sized such as in a bicycle.

Our sprocket and chain system is composed of two equally sized sprockets and a chain with a pitch of 17.75 mm. The lower sprocket is turned when a motor receives power. This power source is sent to the motor when the initial marble hits a limit switch which sends a signal from the switch to the Arduino then to our power source and back to the motor.

public/MSD II/Photo Gallery/Pitch and Hook.jpg public/MSD II/Photo Gallery/Top Sprocket.jpg public/MSD II/Photo Gallery/Bottom Sprocket Top View.jpg public/MSD II/Photo Gallery/Bottom Sprocket 2.jpg public/MSD II/Photo Gallery/Top Sprocket Dump.jpg

LED Lighting

public/MSD II/Photo Gallery/LED 5.jpg

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. Initially, LEDs emitted only red light and were very low in intensity. Throughout the evolution of technology LED's have become much more intense and are available in any color in the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths. The way LEDs work is through an effect called electroluminescence which is an electrical phenomenon in which an electric current is passed through a specific material which in exchange emits light. The color of the light emitted is determined by the energy band gap of the semiconductor. Current flows through this semiconductor into an anode (p-side) and a cathode (n-side). The semiconductor, anode, and cathode are all connected together in the anvil post with a connecting wire. In order to easily distinguish between the anode and cathode when wiring LEDs, manufacturers have made the cathode side a flat surface as opposed to the circular shape and the extending cathode rod is noticeably shorter than the anode rod.


MSD I MSD II Subsystem Educational Information

Photo Gallery I

Planning & Execution I

Systems Design

Detailed Design

Project Review I

Photo Gallery II

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