Neil’s ET Machine

Division: M (6-8)
School: Orlando Science Schools Team Size: 1

Neil’s Anti-Procrastinator-Inator

It all started last year when I made an energy transfer machine to play with me because I was bored since I was doing online school and everyone was in quarantine, but this year IT’S THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE I’m going to school in person, not having enough time to time to play, or watch, and on top of that I’m a huge procrastinator. So, I made a machine that would force me to do my work by taking my tablet away from me so I can do on my homework. My machine solves a problem that I face on a daily basis. One of the best parts of my machine is that I didn’t buy anything for the machine. The whole machine is 99% made from old materials I had lying around in my house such as, cardboard, “hot wheels” tracks, old lampshade, boxes, marbles, cups and Legos etc. (except for the slingshot that I designed and 3D printed).

The Full Story

My problem was that I had to get my work done on time because I’m terrible at being on time, so my machine makes me do my work. But it took a lot of effort to get to this point. First, I had to plan out what I would do then I built my machine, but I made a lot of steps that didn’t make the final cut, such as a scissor that would cut paper to trigger my slingshot. I also had to tweak the part where the marble exited the funnel and jumped onto the other track. At first the funnel was on the side of the track, but it took up too much space and was hard to control so I mounted it on top. Also, the part where the clay pot falls lifting the track so it can pour the marble onto the other track that triggers the bead chain was not originally planned, but I put it there because I had to use the blue tubs to mount the funnel, so I decided to save space by putting a step on the blue tub. The last step where the tablet falls was supposed to be different where a RC car would push the tablet off the table, but my car stopped working and it wouldn’t turn on, so I decided to use my train instead, but the train had less force so I used a weight that would be pushed off the table to complete the final step of pulling the tablet away. I also put some signs around my machine for a bit of humor (I don’t actually hate school).


NOTE: It took me over 50 runs and 3+ hours to get to this run 😉


an upper view of my funnel and various other steps
A close up of my slingshot P.S-this is my favorite part of the machine
The back of my machine where the bead chain triggers the rest of the machine


  • my mom-helped me record my intro and my machine
  • my dad-encouraged me to participate
  • my little sister-moral support
  • Joseph Hercher-inspired me to start making energy transfer machines (Joseph Hercher is a youtuber who makes amazing Rube Goldberg machines)

6 thoughts on “Neil’s ET Machine

  • Neil I saw your project last year and enjoyed your entry this year. I liked how you reused materials that you had on your project last year, yet you created a completely different Energy Transfer Machine. Keep up the good job on your homework. Liked the train. Nice addition Good luck!

  • The number of transfers, variety of motion, and the reuse of space for more than one motion are terrific! Thanks for the extra info in the website text, learning about behind the scenes is always interesting. Looking how to capitalize on a necessary change is a great mindset to have. Well done!

  • Wow! Fantastic Energy Transfer Machine and what a great inspiration behind it. Every kid should have one that limits their time on tablets, gaming, and social media. Good luck!

  • Really Nice work Neil. I thought this was one of the most excellent projects I was honored to judge. Thanks for your efforts.

  • I have seen your work on the Energy Transfer Machine progress from last year’s machines to this new one. You set the bar pretty high last year and I was not sure if you were going to be able to top it, but you did! This is wonderfully creative and detailed. I really appreciate you explaining it all first because there is so much to watch in the video and it goes so fast. It is evident that you designed this and know all of the science behind it as well.

  • Great work, Neil! I can tell you put in a lot of time to create your machine.


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