While it can be argued that Rube Goldberg machines are neither art nor technology, we love them anyway. We’d be monsters not to, considering the sheer delight these chain reactions instill in spectators. Despite our usual analytical eye, for once we’re not here to break down why these things are awesome. We’re here to watch with a smile, tilt our heads to follow the action, let out a little noise of delight when it’s over, and rush to share it with you.
Today, we bring you HeyHeyHey‘s Melvin the Traveling Mini Machine, or Melvin the Machine for short. All of Melvin’s working parts are contained in two suitcases. In fact, once the contents of the first case get moving, they open the second one and continue their chain reaction.
This compact version is a portable replica of the original Melvin, which was a full-sized display. Budgetary limitations drove them to scale it down, and in the end the compact Melvin turned out to be even more charming than a run-of-the-mill Rube Goldberg machine.
Since the purpose of a Rube Goldberg machine is to accomplish a simple task in the least efficient way possible, Melvin goes through a ton of steps simply to hand a man a postcard. Charming.
For a full breakdown of each step in the machine, read about how it works. Below, see some images of Melvin at work.