High school teams will try to zip it at Rube Goldberg contest

February 28, 2014

Teams from 11 western Wisconsin high schools will be at UW-Stout Tuesday, March 4, to determine how complex they can make the simple task of zipping a zipper.

The annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest regional will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 4, in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center. Competition viewing is open to the public.

The national high school tournament is Saturday, April 5, at Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee.

A high school team works on a Rube Goldberg contest entry in 2012 at UW-Stout. Teams are challenged to create a standard-size machine that turns a simple procedure into something complicated in a minimum of 20 steps. The machines are judged on creativity and functionality. This year's national challenge is to zip a zipper. To learn more, go to the website.

The event is named after an early 20th century engineer and cartoonist whose work spoofed modern machinery.

After opening remarks by Assistant Professor Sylvia Tiala, the contest will begin with the first run for machines at 10:30 a.m. The second run will be at 12:30 p.m. and the final run at 1:45 p.m. Awards will be at 3:30 p.m. All times are approximate.

The event is hosted by the UW-Stout Technology Education Engineering Collegiate Association. The event coordinators are students Laurence Charlier, of Menomonie; Ben Edelburg, of Rib Lake; Nano Espenses, of Waunakee; Alan Mamerow, of Colgate; Tyler Matthews, of Wisconsin Rapids; and Austin Rayburn, of New Auburn.

The major sponsors are Ambient Inks, Burger King of Menomonie, Greenheck Fan, KL Engineering, Phillips Medisize and TTM Technologies.