Purdue dominates Rube Goldberg, repeats as national champs

March 30, 2015  


Rube National winners 2015

Purdue Society of Professional Engineers won its second consecutive Rube Goldberg Machine Contest national championship on Saturday (March 28), in Columbus, Ohio. From left are: Jordan Vallejo, sophomore from Los Angeles; Rebecca Russell, junior from Elkhorn Wisconsin; Andrew Rawlins, sophomore from Greenwood, Indiana; and John Stimac, freshman from Indianapolis. (Photo provided by PSPE)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue Society of Professional Engineers retained its Rube Goldberg Machine Contest national championship on Saturday (March 28) by defeating teams from around the nation in building a complicated, whimsical device to accomplish a simple everyday task.

The PSPE machine used 72 steps recounting a typical day in the life of the cartoonist to accomplish this year's assigned task, erase a chalkboard. 

Team president Jordan Vallejo, a junior from Los Angeles, said she was worried that the machine would not finish in the top three after failing to run perfectly on either of its two runs. Some components broke the night before leaving for Columbus, Ohio, for the event. The team stayed up late making repairs.

"We pushed the boundaries on the number of steps and tried to do things that have never been done before," Vallejo said. "In a competition like this, as an engineer you learn the difference between ideal situations and real-world situations."

The PSPE team has won four national championships in the past 10 years and holds a Guinness world record that is unbreakable under new rules meant to curb the 300-step machines PSPE previously created. Under new rules encouraging humor, PSPE won the award for "funniest step."

In a feat never accomplished in three decades of national competition, Purdue also won second place, with a team from the College of Technology's Association of Mechanical and Electrical Technologists.  In their first year of national competition the team achieved a perfect run with its haunted classroom theme. The team also won "best step" with its Ghostbusters-inspired green slime that wiped the board clean.

Purdue Rube Goldberg machines have appeared on several national TV programs, most recently in 2014 on "Jimmy KimmelLive!"See that appearance on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uF3nV0r87v8 

Writer: James Schenke, 765-237-7296, jschenke@purdue.edu

Sources: Jordan Vallejo, jvallejo@purdue.edu

Rebecca Russell, vice president, PSPE Rube Goldberg, russel32@purdue.edu      

Related website:

Rube Goldberg history: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/rubegoldberg/pastcontests.html 

Note to Journalists: For more information or interviews contact Jim Schenke, Purdue News Service, 765-237-7296 or jschenke@purdue.edu 

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