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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Complicating matters

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat The University of Arizona Rube Goldberg Team shows their machine on Saturday, October 28 in the Harshberger Building. The team, consisting of UA science and engineering students, has been working together for the past 6 months, and has just become official through ASUA this August.

The UA Rube Goldberg team plans to win its regional competition in 20 complicated steps or more.

Rube Goldberg was an American inventor and cartoonist who designed complex machines that perform simple tasks like shining shoes and turning on light switches.

The club, which was officially recognized by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona last month, has been working together for the last six months building a series of indirect actions or steps designed that will inflate and pop a balloon.

The club’s main objective this year is to try to place first in the western Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, which will take place on the UA campus on Feb. 25. The competition is open to all college and high school clubs who want to compete.

“I have always been interested in building, so I talked to see if anyone else was interested in starting this kind of project,” said Chris Cantoni, president of the club and a junior studying material science and engineering. “It’s been great so far, everyone here has the desire to build and be very creative.”

If the club places first in the regional competition, they will qualify to attend the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, which will take place in Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana on March 24. One of the biggest problems the club foresees if they make it into the competition is the transportation of their machine, which is a replica of a small bathroom that is equipped with a working electrical system and running sink water.

This type of machine building has been made popular in films including “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” and more recently in the OK Go music video “This Too Shall Pass.”

“Whenever people are not really sure what we do, we tell them to look up that music video,” said Max Roth, outreach coordinator and senior in electrical engineering. “People are usually able to get it after the first few seconds.”

The club requires collaboration and teamwork, according to some members.

“When it comes to building everyone is involved, everyone comes up with ideas equally,” said Alberto Martin, vice president of the club and an electrical engineering freshman. “You could go through the machine and ask anyone on the team what they built and helped organize and they can show you.”

The club is open to all students interested in designing and building. Meetings are held every Thursday at 6 p.m. in the John W. Harshbarger building. The club has construction days every Saturday at 10 a.m. in the same location.

“Any one who the wants to build and use the imagination are welcomed to join,” Cantoni said.

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