View the official judging sheet for the Infernal Contraptions category here.

View the student checklists for the Infernal Contraptions category here.

View the official category description for the Infernal Contraptions category here.

Here are the "must-haves" for an effective Infernal Contraption:

  • At least a portion of your working model needs to be on display. If the whole thing is there, even better. If YOU can be there to run it a few times during the Expo, that's the best!
  • Your display must feature a step-by-step, labeled diagram of your contraption. View some of Rube Goldberg's own drawings for inspiration.
  • Post a video of your working contraption to YouTube or similar video sharing service. Sometimes they can't operate on Expo night, and it's nice for viewers to see it in action. Share the link in your display, or consider providing a QR code. You could even have a laptop or tablet there running your video on a loop!
  • If grade-level appropriate*, please label all simple machines involved in your project directly on your contraption AND on your diagram. Make sure several types of simple machines are included.
  • If grade-level appropriate*, please label all physical forces acting on your contraption. Make sure to include as many types of forces as possible when building your contraption.

(* ask your teacher)

Other things to consider:

  • Infernal Contraptions with themes can be a lot of fun to make...and view! For instance, can you make a superhero-themed contraption? How about a pirate-themed machine?
  • Please consider reset time. Dominos are great on infernal contraptions, but don't overuse them...they can take a long time to set back up.
  • Will your machine work with little to no help from you? Infernal contraptions are always better when you don't have to touch anything to keep it going.
  • Extra challenge: can you have multiple paths going at once that merge back together? Can you have elements of your machine get reused or have events that occur more than once?

Looking for inspiration for your infernal contraption?

View the video for "This Too Shall Pass" by OK Go. You can also visit the websites below:

View some examples from Chico Country Day School's 2012 STEM Expo below.