Ferris to Host Rube Goldberg Machine Regional Competition on Feb. 18

Rube Goldberg Machine Competition 2012Ferris State University will host the 2012 Rube Goldberg Machine Regional Competition on Saturday, Feb. 18 in Jim Wink Arena. This year’s task is to inflate a balloon and pop it.

This competition, designed to showcase creative machines made by the participating teams, is free and open to the public. Introductions begin at 10 a.m. and the competition commences at 10:30 a.m.

“The idea behind this is to provide a major competition for both high school and collegiate students to compete in a program at regional and national levels. The competition gets students interested in science, technology and energy,” said Thomas Hollen, Ferris Rube Goldberg team advisor. “It is fun. It is competitive and it gives students a chance to express themselves.”

The themed machines are made in honor of Rube Goldberg, a cartoonist who became famous for making a simple task complex. Every competing team must have a theme around which their machine is based. The 2012 Ferris team’s theme is “Back to the Future.”

The Ferris team has worked since last fall to design a perfect working machine that will position it to compete in the national competition. The Rube Goldberg Machine Nationals will be held at Ferris on Saturday, March 17. The 18 regional team winners will be invited to participate in the national event.

“The Rube Goldberg competition lets you expand your mind and use your imagination. It’s a great opportunity for students to get into science,” Hollen said. “Seeing the students win is what I love. They get very excited.”

The regional winner will be announced at 1 p.m. in the Wink Arena on Saturday, Feb. 18. The machines will be judged on their general design and impression, how well the machines represent Rube Goldberg and how easy it is to see each step take place to inflate and pop a balloon. Penalties will be assessed for any technical difficulties.

This is Ferris’ ninth year participating in the Rube Goldberg competition. A Ferris team set the Guinness World Record in the 2007 “Toy Factory” competition as it used 229 steps with a machine that squeezed juice from an orange into a pitcher. The team beat its personal record in 2010 when it traveled to Japan with an updated version of the 2007 machine. The team broke the record with 230 steps. This year’s goals are to reach 100 steps and move to the national competition.

All participants will receive a T-shirt and a complimentary lunch. All attendees will receive a balloon in honor of this year’s competition.

Sponsors of this year’s competition include Pioneer Construction and The Gate.

To learn more about the event or national competition taking place at Ferris visit http://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/colleges/technolo/rube/homepage.htm.

The Ferris Rube Goldberg team consists of:

  • Bryan Williams, of Lupton, studying Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Jory Smith, of Hemlock, studying Biology/Pre-Medicine
  • Ben Peltier, of Cadillac, studying Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Tyler Koroleski, of Hudsonville, studying Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Jennifer Kempel, of West Branch, studying Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Adam Matz, of Cedar Springs, studying Mechanical Engineering Technology

Schools participating in the regional competition include: 

  • East Jordan High School
  • Grace Baptist Christian School
  • Quincy High School
  • Rockford Senior High School (2011 regional winners)
  • Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central High School
  • Grand Rapids West Catholic High School

Last updated: 07-24-2012