Build Your Own Chain Reaction Machines: How to Make Crazy Contraptions Using Everyday Stuff–Creative Kid-Powered Projects!


With Build Your Own Chain Reaction Machines, you’ll create 13 zany and awesome mechanical contraptions using stuff from around the house.

Build Your Own Chain Reaction Machines invites you into the wonderful world of crazy contraptions inspired by the amazing artwork of renowned cartoonist, engineer, and inventor Rube Goldberg, whose wacky, imaginary machines accomplished a simple task by taking a hilariously complicated route.

In this entertaining and instructive book, mechanical engineer and educator Paul Long gives step-by-step instructions for making low-tech devices using everyday objects in inspired and ingenious ways. Each of the 13 projects demonstrates how to build the machine's various elements and explains how they work together to make a mind-boggling mechanism that delivers hours of fun and fascination.

  • Machines for Your Room. Be the master of your domain with the Door Knocker, Light Switcher, and Door Opener.
  • Machines for Around the House. Get your chores done (and improve your personal hygiene) with the Plant Waterer, Toothpaste Squeezer, and Soap Dispenser.
  • Machines for Fun and Nonsense.The Flag Raiser, Marble Launcher, Music Maker, and Balloon Popper are guaranteed to both amaze and amuse.
  • Machines for Food. With the Vending Machine, Candy Dispenser, and Cookie Dunker, snacking has never been so fun!

You'll also find interesting sidebars on the science behind each gadget, plus tips and tricks for success.

Build Your Own Chain Reaction Machines gives you the know-how to create your own incredible chain reactions!

From the Publisher

Making a Gear: A gear is basically a cylinder with teeth all around it.

Figure A

1. The easiest way to make cardboard gears is to separate the outer layer of cardboard from the corrugated bit (fig. a). Usually one side is easier to remove than the other. Do a test on a scrap piece to see which side comes off easy and clean.

2. Once you have a long section of exposed corrugation, wrap it around your circular pieces to see if the teeth match up (fig. b).

Figure B

3. In this case, they don’t. There’s a bit of overlap. This is easy to fix.

4. Basically, you just add a thin layer of material to try and make the circle a little bit larger in order to get the teeth spacing correct. You can use the thin piece of cardboard that you just peeled off, or a strip of cereal box might work as well.

Figure E

5. Once you add the paper layer (essentially creating a cylinder), then you can wrap the corrugation around it again to see if the teeth are properly spaced. Once they are, mark where you cut and give it a snip (fig. e).

Figure H

6. I find it’s easier to join the two ends together to make a loop (fig. f), and then slide that onto the cylinder (fig. g).

7. When it’s about halfway on, add glue around the inside and push it on the rest of the way (fig. h).

Build Your Own Chain Reaction Machines

Machines For Your Room

These machines are a perfect way to spice up some of the ordinary, everyday things you do in your room. While the outcome is practical, the means for getting there are anything but.

Machines For Around The House

While not as convenient as your own personal robot, these machines take the monotony out of simple chores that you do every day. You’ll never see your toothbrush as boring and ordinary again!

Machines For Fun and Nonsense

Not all chain-reaction machines serve a specific purpose. The four machines featured in this chapter aren’t just fun to build, they’re also sure to amuse!


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