300-step Rube Goldberg machine blows up balloon, bursts world record

·Good News Writer

Purdue's Society of Professional Engineers just broke their own world record, thanks to their 300-step, balloon-bursting Rube Goldberg machine.

The 14-person team spent more than 5,000 hours over six months building the impressive machine that included "a novel platform that consisted of two rotating paddlewheel that revealed new sets of modules" to accomplish each of its tasks, the World Records Academy reports.

"One of the biggest challenges is that we are all college students. I'm trying to motivate 14 total people to give up their free weekends and evenings, and all it leads up to is a machine that runs three times at a competition," Zach Umperovitch, team president, told Wired. "Technically, our biggest challenge was building the steam locomotive engine — it took us 600 hours."

The machine was built for the 25th annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest held at Purdue University.

While the task was to blow up and burst a balloon, the team took the challenge one step further and chose to also build a machine that could perform "every task ever assigned in the competition's 25-year history, including peeling an apple, juicing an orange, toasting bread, making a hamburger, changing a light bulb, loading a CD and sharpening a pencil."

Watch the world-record breaking machine in action below.

The massive over-engineered contraption was named the world's largest by the World Records Academy, taking the top spot from Purdue's previous 244-step machine.

While the machine broke a world record, it didn't come first in the competition, taking second spot and the People's Choice Award instead. First place went to a group from St. Olaf College and their 191-step end-of-the-world themed Rube Goldberg machine.

Watch the winning entry below. (Starts at 2:17.)

Next year's contest's task? To hammer a nail.

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