rube goldberg, simple machines, maker, steam festWhat is a Rube Goldberg Machine!?

Rube Goldberg (1884-1970) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist.  He was most famous for his wild and wacky chain reaction machines. If you’re not familiar with Rube Goldberg’s cartoons, go to the “Gallery” section of You can also find a complete biography for Rube at that site.

A Rube Goldberg Machine (RGM) is a “machine” which, through a series of complicated (and hopefully really funny) steps, accomplishes a simple task.  A Rube Goldberg machine uses everyday items (mostly junk!), typically tells a story and, most important of all, they make you LAUGH.  Here’s an awesome video that shows you an example of a fantastical Rube Goldberg Machine!

Millions of makers, nerds and geeks make Rube Goldberg Machines. They can’t help themselves! The great news is that while they’re having fun creating wildly complex solutions to simple, everyday tasks they also happen to be incorporating elements of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (with Art and design thrown into the mix!). A community RGM has the added benefit of getting wonderful DIYers to work together as a team to build a great Machine. Then when they complete their machine, they get to link up to other team’s machines – creating a massive, and massively connected string of incredible events!

The Rube Goldberg Community Challenge

The first annual Rube Goldberg Community Challenge will be taking place December 2017.

Deadlines and Events:

  • Team Registration –  Oct 1 – Nov 10, 2017
  • BLDG 61 RG Hack-a-Thon – Nov 17 (RSVP by Nov 10 at this link: Library Event Page) This is an optional and FREE event,  but you must register ahead of time and are limited to a total of 8 team members attending, space is somewhat limited.
  • Challenge Finale Event –  Dec 10, 2017 – afternoon- Boulder JCC (if you see Dec 9 anywhere, please disregard) This will be a fun-filled afternoon of presenting and watching the machines work together. The challenge is over once your machine segment is built, this afternoon is about fun and fellowship with other RG builders.

Maker Bolder has created a five-week curriculum that is free to any school, teacher, camp provider, family or team that wants to create a machine.  You can find the Rube Goldberg Community Challenge Guidelines. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at:

Download links:

RubeGoldberg Curriculum

RubeGoldberg Workbook

You must register your team for the Community Challenge by November 10, 2017