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M.O. Round 3: Stuart Lucas vs. Matthew Oh
The amazing Rube Goldberg-inspired fully functional plant-watering contraption! A full week in the making, to carry out a task that can be done in less than a minute. But where would be the fun in that?
About this creation
This is an entry in the 2013 MocOlympics. My talented and friendly opponent is Matthew Oh (resist temptation to insert weak 'Oh, Matthew...' joke).

The category: Always a classic... Build a working Rube Goldberg machine. A machine that performs a simple task using over the top mechanics.

This was one category I had hoped not to get, but turned out to be surprisingly fun. The first question was, what should the machine do? My sons are always reminding me to water the plants. So I decided to construct a labour-saving device that would enable me to carry out this task from the other side of the room, without having to get up from the desk. A week of building, testing and re-designing later, here is the result:



And again from a different angle, to better show all the moving parts:



The configuration of the machine is fairly flexible - for the purposes of the video I made it zig-zag, but it can easily be rebuilt out in a long line, to water a plant further away from the table. Here are all those elements in detail:


The Mars Mission air pump shoots out the alien pod...


...the alien falls into the mostly black hole, knocking the cam so it rotates around the central pillar. This is the most finicky part of the whole operation - shooting the alien consistently with the same speed out of the air pump is almost impossible. If you do hit the black hole, everything else usually runs like clockwork.


The rotating cam brings the rocket round to hit the target...


...this contact knocks the target back and down...


...causing the other end of the crank arm to flip up and knock out the support from under the boulder...


...which rolls down the helter-skelter track...


...and then falls into the see-saw, the other end of which sets off the flywheel.


At the end of its run the flywheel knocks over the first MOC Olympics domino...


...the last few dominoes fall up the the domino steps to knock off the bombino...


...which falls onto the technic missile shooter, which is in turn aimed at the target in the water tower.


The bullet hitting the target knocks it out from under the bottle cradle, which then drops under its own weight to water the plant. Job done!


Side view of the water tower to show the bottle cradle before...


...and after. If only I owned any of those old one piece Lego boat hulls, I would have used one of those instead of the bottle. Still, this solution has the advantage that the lid can be put on the bottle for repeated tests - the plant was rather over-watered by the time I took this photo!

Well, this is one of the categories I'd always hoped I wouldn't get, but it actually turned out to be a great deal of fun. Both my sons loved it too - special thanks to Michael for patiently helping with the filming! Trying to get a couple of takes with everything working AND clearly in shot really brought home the pointlessness of the whole exercise. As my wife commented 'just water the plant already...'

Thanks too to Nick Barrett for tips on embedding videos - first time I've ever done that - and to the judges, this proved to be a great challenge!



Comments

 I like it 
  October 17, 2013
While Matthew's Build was better, you knocked it out on the functionality. You have my vo- ... Dang. I'm not a judge. You totally would have had another vote there bud.
 I made it 
  October 17, 2013
Quoting Annie Corder This was by far the toughest match up yet, I kept going back and forth between both your builds. Unfortunately I have to vote for one of you, and if we were judging by looks alone i think Matthew would've probably beaten you. But I think you really got the feel of a Rube Goldberg machine down. Therefore you get my vote. Congrats and welcome to round 4!
Phew! I went for function over aesthetics and when I saw Matthew's entry I knew ŭt could go either way. Thanks for the second tie-break in my favour, hopefully the next round will be a bit more clear-cut!
 I made it 
  October 17, 2013
Quoting Matthew Oh Well done Stuart on advancing! I had tons of fun! I am glad that my 2 days of building produced an entry that at least made it tough. Again, well done on advancing, and best of luck in the next round!
Thanks for the kind words, you are a great opponent, and (it goes without saying) a great builder!
 I like it 
  October 16, 2013
Congrats on advancing Stuart!
 I like it 
  October 16, 2013
This was by far the toughest match up yet, I kept going back and forth between both your builds. Unfortunately I have to vote for one of you, and if we were judging by looks alone i think Matthew would've probably beaten you. But I think you really got the feel of a Rube Goldberg machine down. Therefore you get my vote. Congrats and welcome to round 4!
 I like it 
  October 16, 2013
Well done Stuart on advancing! I had tons of fun! I am glad that my 2 days of building produced an entry that at least made it tough. Again, well done on advancing, and best of luck in the next round!
 I like it 
  October 16, 2013
Ingenious brick-made mechanism especially on the first functionality, where the rocket rotates and descends to the target!
 I like it 
  October 16, 2013
Wacky awesomeness! Looks like you had a lot of fun with this one. I give you my vote (too bad it doesn't count). Good luck with the final judge.
 I like it 
  October 16, 2013
Looks like it was a week for the Brits to get their functions out Stu! I love what you've done, and the variety of motions involved are great and very daring to include any kind of projectiles as they are notoriously hit-and-miss (pun totally intended). Good luck with your final judge mate!
 I like it 
  October 15, 2013
This was probably one of the hardest match-ups I've had to judge yet. I went through several stages of being convinced (at different points) that each build was going to receive my vote. Stuart, your MOC does an excellent job of capturing what a Rube Goldberg machine is. You decided on an easy task and developed a whacky roundabout way of accomplishing it. I also like your 2013 MO dominoes. However, while Matthew's "task" was slightly more vague, I think his compact build and clean presentation have won me over. My mind was blown away by how much he managed to incorporate on top a single square base-plate. In the end my vote goes to Matt, but only by the narrowest margin. I always feel torn in situations where (in my opinion) one contestant does a spot-on job representing the category, while the other does a top-notch job with the actual build. I've leaned both ways in the past, but in this particular instance, I feel more drawn towards Matt's entry. I'll leave you chaps in the hands of the final judge! You both put forth valiant efforts...and I'm definitely not envying Annie the decision she'll have to make!
 I like it 
  October 14, 2013
You got my vote! Good luck with the other judges! ~ Chris.
 I like it 
  October 14, 2013
The complexity of this MOC is mind-boggling! Awesome work!
 I like it 
  October 14, 2013
Awesome! I think Heath built one similar to this, but it poured whiskey shots instead. Good luck!
 I like it 
  October 13, 2013
Now this is what I call fun! Wow, really impressive! The MOCimoes and the overall function-ability have to be my favorite part Awesome work man!
 I like it 
  October 13, 2013
What fun! I can just imagine your children having a great time and learning from their dad's exploits! Very best of luck to you! :)
 I made it 
  October 13, 2013
Quoting United Earth Industries Awesome but where's the video?
Thanks for the vote of confidence - the video works fine for me and apparently most of the other commentators, must be some kind of internet glitch if you can't see it?
 I like it 
  October 13, 2013
Very well done!
 I like it 
  October 13, 2013
Genius! In the great tradition of Heath Robinson and MB Games' "Mousetrap". I love the variety of motions that you've managed to include in the journey. I also liked the commentary from your camera-man!
Stuart Lucas
 I like it 
Simon S.
  October 12, 2013
Totally awesome work. Matthew surely has a challenge...
 I like it 
  October 12, 2013
Completely pointless and absolutely wonderful! Rube would be proud of you for this insanity. Phenomenal job, love the dominos and the Mars Mission shooter. (Always knew that they were useful for something.) ;) Just perfect! And, good luck!
 I like it 
  October 12, 2013
Awesome but where's the video?
 I like it 
  October 12, 2013
Stuart this is brilliant and funny! I love the dominos spelling out moc Olympics clever touch . Excellent entry good luck
 I like it 
  October 12, 2013
:o.....well, game over.. ;) Fantastic work Mr. Lucas! Well done, the whole idea is wonderful! The kids voices in the background is a lovely addition! :D Well best of luck mate! (I don't think you need it. ;) )
 I like it 
  October 12, 2013
Stuart, Building a working Rube Goldberg Machine is a Lego right of passage - congrats on accomplishing this feat. ~Dave
 I like it 
  October 12, 2013
Hee hee. A category I've always wanted to get... you've done brilliantly with a wonderfully pointlessly complicated machine. Nice going in just a week; good luck!
 I like it 
  October 12, 2013
Very cool indeed. Love your son's exclamations! Good luck! -LB Senior
 I like it 
  October 12, 2013
Smashing! Well thought out! Good luck!
 
By Stuart Lucas
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LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop M.O. Round 3: Stuart Lucas vs. Matthew Oh


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