Effort – 0%

Neil M 8th Grade, Orlando Science Schools

Energy Transfer Machine Effort – 0%

Hi, my name is Neil, and I made a machine for the lazier population out of the 8 billion people on this planet. In the past few years, I have built many machines but there were 2 that stood out the most, which also ended up being my competition machines. These machines did their task, but the problem was that there was still some preparation needed from my side, for example 2 years ago I made a Beyblade launching machine, but I still needed to get my own launcher ready, and 1 year ago I made a machine that would force me to do my homework but I still had to choose what to do in the time before and still had to set up whatever I was doing. So, me being one of the laziest people on the planet, I decided to make a machine that takes 0% effort from my side. This machine would do everything for me, all I had to do was open my room door and sit down.

Building Process / Challenges

Before I even started building this machine there were 3 goals, I had set out to achieve.
1. Have the machine do 3 tasks.
2. Utilize my whole room because usually my machines can fit onto a table.
3. Keep any input from my side natural and a minimum as possible.

In order to make my machine do 3 tasks I had to make some steps split off, for example the playdoh tub hit a domino but afterwards it falls off and forks off to another step.

Normally, I build small scale machines, so this machine made me start again at square 1. To use such a large space, I mainly relied on long distance actions like ziplines and trains.

Finally in order to keep the triggering input as natural as possible I made the start task to open the door because it is a normal and easy task.
The most challenging part was to make the train tilt over, as a falling train was pretty unreliable, but I had to make sure it worked every time. Also, while testing and running, pouring the water back into the dispenser again and again was another difficult task considering I was working on carpeted floor. I made sure to put enough towels all around. I also had to make sure that I wiped the blue water container every time before putting the new paper strip on it for a successful step.

Machine Details and Steps:
My machine uses various forms of energy including electrical energy from a battery powered train. It also demonstrates several simple machines, such as pulley, lever, inclined plane and wheel and axle. The scientific principles involved are mould-effect, inertia, friction and of course gravity. The steps are listed below.

  • Door is opened, stopper connected to door through a string is pulled,
  • Once stopper is pulled a marble will roll down 2 inclined planes, and hit weight,
  • Weight will fall off of the edge of the surface and pull a domino into a domino chain, domino chain will fall and hit a large domino,
  • large domino will hit a playdoh tub off,
  • playdoh tub will roll at a slight angle and trigger 2 steps,
    • hit weight off the edge of the surface,
    • And also pull a heavier weight using the pulley to clean up the trash.
  • A stopper connected to the weight through a string will be removed,
  • Once stopper is removed the ball will roll down an inclined plane and hit a lever and fall into the cup on top of the train
  • When ball hits the lever, it removes a platform underneath a weight, which is connected to a series of bead chain.
  • The bead-chain will empty out and at the end it will remove a stopper from underneath the train.
  • The train will make contact with the track and will start advancing along the track.
  • At the end of the track the train will tip over and fall due to the angle of the track
  • The ball will fall out of the tipped over train and will be guided across a cardboard railing.
  • The ball will hit a domino off the edge of the surface.
  • The domino will pull another chain of dominos down.
  • The last domino will pull out a stopper that is going through a track and stopping a leather ball.
  • The leather ball will roll down the track and pull down the faucet of a liquid dispenser.
  • the faucet will start running and water will come out and fill a vessel.
  • When the vessel is full the surface tension will break wetting a streamer placed on top.
  • The water will weaken the streamer and it will rip due to a weight pulling on it.
  • The weight will fall due to the streamer ripping.
  • The weight will pull out a stopper from in front of a wheel cart with a snack on top of it while also pulling out a stopper that is blocking a carrier on a zipline.
  • the snack will roll down a ramp while the carrier will go down the zipline.
  • the carrier will hit a lever at the end of the zipline letting a marble go down an inclined plane with strategically placed stoppers.
  • the marble will hit a domino chain with each domino bigger than the last
  • the last and biggest domino will fall off the surface and pull out a stopper in front of another carrier with a remote attached to it on a zipline.
  • As a final task the second carrier will go down the zipline and deliver the remote to where the chair is.

VIDEOS – Machine Run and Introduction


Machine Run



  • Thanks to my Mom for recording the video and support.
  • Thanks to my Dad to encourage me to participate.

11 thoughts on “Effort – 0%

  • An amazing job in finding different ways to show energy transfer and telling the story of your ETM. May you have continued success using your incredible mind.
    And great to recognize the support of others to your project.

  • Your ETMs are always a joy to watch!

  • I am truly impressed to see so many science concepts applied to create a wonderful ETM that too with so many reused and recycled materials. Very well thought and perfectly executed.

  • Our class thinks your ETM is amazing. We want to know how many times did you accidentally trigger the machine? – 5th and 6th grade

    • Thank you so much for watching my ETM. I actually accidentally triggered it only once because whenever I left my room I made sure I disabled the first step and temporarily I switched to another room instead of my room. But I had to try 68 times before getting my first successful run.

  • Great work once again, Neil! Your creativity, knowledge of science, hard work (even to make a zero effort machine), and precision never cease to amaze me! We are all rooting for you at TLE!

  • The use of water to cut the streamer was a great idea, something I’ve never seen before. Excellent work describing your process and motivation. Your ETMs are always a joy to watch.

  • Each year, your creations become more and more involved. I think my favorite part of this one is the running faucet breaking the paper strip. I have seen some of the other parts before but that one was new to me. Well done! Your description and pictures are very detailed and well thought out.


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