Second Prize in the
Community Contest: Toy Building Blocks
In this Instructable, I'm going to show you how I made my very own Lego Rube Goldberg, or, LeGoldberg! I remember the first time I learned about Rube Goldberg in middle school I was completely captivated and inspired. And, like many kids, I grew up on Lego's since before I can remember (you know back when they only had regular bricks that came in primary colors in a square-ish bucket?). With the endless capabilities of Lego and the creative inspiration of a Rube Goldberg, putting the two together only makes sense. Let's get started!
Step 1: Get Ready
What You'll Need:
- Legos (Obviously)
- 1 Rubberband
- Time (Lots of it)
- Mountain Dew and Netflix (Mountain Dew optional, caffeine isn't)
Step 2: Get Sketchin'
First things first, you gotta have a plan. I'm sure just about everyone has seen or knows what a Rube Goldberg is, even if you didn't know it by name. But in case you don't know, I'll give you a basic rundown: A Rube Goldberg is a contraption of sorts that completes a simple task through a series of steps in the most creative way possible using everyday objects. You may have seen these kinds of contraptions in such things as the OK Go music video for "This Too Shall Pass", or even a Honda commercial made using only Honda car parts (If you haven't seen those videos I highly recommend looking them up). Of course the everyday objects I am using are Legos, so the first thing I needed to figure out was what task I wanted to complete, and what better task than catchin' bad guys, right? After I figured that out, I got to building coming up with the most creative way I could in as many steps as possible (my project ended up with over a dozen steps/reactions).
Step 3: Step by Step
Alright so we all know how Lego's work. I'm not gonna break everything down brick by brick (i.e. "and next I placed this 2x4 grey brick on that 2x6 blue brick") So what I'm gonna do now is break down how my steps panned out. So this is how I got from point A to Z:
1. First Step, soccer guy kicks soccer ball into target starting "domino" effect.
2. Dominoes hit counterweight which is attached to starting gate.
3. Starting gate releases wind-up race car.
4. Race car hits construction barrier.
5. Construction barrier releases first of four tires on scaffolding.
6. Each tire on scaffolding sets off the other, with the last of the four tires falling off the top tier into net.
7. The net now breaks it's connection causing it to fall down lifting the counterweight attached by string.
8. The rising counterweight tips the slide releasing three soccer balls.
9. The soccer balls roll down three tiers of slides landing in the raft.
10. The soccer balls added weight to the raft cause it to tip the "see-saw" in the opposite direction raising the bar.
11. The raising bar hits tire boulder rolling down ramp.
12. Tire boulder crashes through crates and barrels, pulling on rope attached to one of the crates.
13. The rope pulls out the stand holding the left wing of the aircraft up causing it to tip in opposite direction.
14. Tipping aircraft knocks over standing billboard, which is attached by rope to the catapult release pin.
15. Falling billboard pulls firing pin releasing catapult which launches the net over the bad guy.
Step 4: Trial and Error
If you have ever made of these kinds of ridiculous contraptions you'll probably already know, or if you plan on making one you'll learn very fast that finishing all your steps is only half the battle. The other half is getting everything to work together in one go. Fortunately for me, the first time I put every single one of my steps together and triggered the actions from the beginning, amazingly, EVERYTHING WORKED! Unfortunately for me... the cameras weren't rolling. So i thought "no problem, I'll just set it all up again and record it next time". Nope. just my luck, take after take, each time I had reset the scene and tried again and again, each would fail for some reason or another. So to reiterate, making a true Rube Goldberg requires lots and LOTS of trial and error.
My advice would be that after completing each individual step, try it over and over again to make sure it works right CONSISTENTLY! Making sure each step works consistently will help you reach the complete project faster. Also, try to make as many of your steps as possible as reliable as possible. I had a few steps in my project that were hit or miss sometimes so I often ended up changing the reactions a few of them had so that I had the majority of my steps that worked consistently. Other steps' probability of working sometimes came down to just making sure that I set them up the correct way. Sometimes it was as small as making sure the string on a counterweight reaction was sitting a centimeter to the right of where it currently sat, which kept it from getting snagged on another brick. Every detail matters.
Step 5: Conclusion:
I had a lot of fun making this project for the "Building Block" contest here on Instructables. It was not only fun reuniting with my childhood companions after way too long, but it was a fun learning experience. My creativity was tested but it also grew in the process (as well as my patience). I highly recommend challenging your self to grow by completing projects like this or any other kind that constantly and consistently require you to think outside the box while also being hands on. I hope you like this Instructable and if you do, and appreciate the hard work I put into it, please vote for me and my project, and thanks or viewing.
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