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Rube Goldberg geeks - help me make a lift/pulley device for a marble run using cups and string

(11 Posts)
Overmydeadbody Wed 06-Aug-08 20:35:09

Anone around who can talk me through some simple designs for a Rube Gorldberg novice?

I'm making a marble run with DS over the summer, and I want to encorporate some 'lift' type things, where a marble dropped into a cup causes the cup to travel downwards pulling another cup higher up and triggering a lever at the top to start another reaction with a marble/car or something.

Have looked on the internet but can't find any step by step instructions for simple mechanisms using household stuff.

Any ideas welcome!grin

Pruners Wed 06-Aug-08 20:37:44

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Overmydeadbody Wed 06-Aug-08 20:59:12

Oh golly yes pruners, the Japanese ones are fantastic! Can you actually talk me through the mechanics of making any of the devices though? Please?

some of the steps in this is more what I'm thinking, as it will all be wall mounted...

Overmydeadbody Wed 06-Aug-08 20:59:44

It's too ambitious isn't it?hmm

Pruners Wed 06-Aug-08 21:14:04

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Pruners Wed 06-Aug-08 21:15:26

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oi Wed 06-Aug-08 21:17:45

oh I love doing this sort of thing. I haven't got time now but if I get a chance on Friday and you've had no other help, I'll see if I can come up with something for you.

Have you tried some stuff with dominoes? imo, it's quite a good place to start because they easily knock each other over and are quite heavy so you can do more complicated knocking over.

oi Wed 06-Aug-08 21:24:54

I think you'll have to buy a small pulley. You can get them in model shops. I'll have a look online in a minute to see if I can find anything.

I'm trying to think of what else you could use if you want to just use household stuff instead of buying a pulley.

You could drape the string over a childn's rolling pin that was held up in the air on its handles iyswim? Either you fix the string to the rolling pin so it rolls or you just use the fact that it is on the rolling pin and will slide.

Then you'd have to tie 2 cups on the end of the string and rig it so that one cup was at the top and the other at the bottom (cups can't be v heavy, pref plastic). Then start the marble run towards the up in the air cup from a high position so that when the marble rolls into the top cup (however you rig that up), the cup will go down (either by just pulling the string or by rolling the rolling pin (if the string is fixed).

Then what do you want the lever to do?

(ps I think pulleys are great fun and kids love them. And it's far easier with a pulley!)

Overmydeadbody Wed 06-Aug-08 21:29:36

<hugs oi>

Thank you!

That is a great start, all ideas welcome! Yes have been setting up things on the floor with DS with dominoes, CD cases, books, his train set etc. but what we now want to do is something mounted on the wall in the stairwell, so we have a marble run of some sort starting upstairs and finishing downstairs.

I will look into pulleys, but the thing you described with cups sounds good, I couldn't mount a rolling pin on the wall but could mount and old door handle for the purpose...

I think this will have to take a lot of thinking, but definately give me any suggestions you have oi! It's a summer project so no rush really...

Have some small plastic shot glasses that would make a good little pulley thing, very light.

I haven't got as far as what will haven when the cup gets to the top yet... any ideas welcome!


Overmydeadbody Thu 07-Aug-08 11:30:49

ok, have tried a pulley using petit fiolou pots and marbles and string, but either the marbles aren't heavy enough or the string is too heavy, coz it's too heavy.

Back to the drawing board...might try it with fishing line, more slippery than string.

Any of the morning crowd have any suggestions?


oi Fri 08-Aug-08 09:55:51

yes you need those big marbles, the heavy ones. Try it with something heavier and see if it works.

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