Rube Goldberg

So we’ve been working on a project for the last while. To me personally, this is a BIG project. Probably the largest thus far of my photography career, and it’s not even a photo-shoot. Along with the usual workload at 2D Photography Inc., we’ve been secretly (somewhat) working on this Rube Goldberg Machine for nearly six months give or take. Some of you may have guessed what we were up to from our teasers (TeaserTeaser 2 for ?????Third Teaser ie Teaser #3) but hopefully it was still a surprise.

It’s been a while since the idea came to me in late November, 2010. We started construction on it in January and while there have been a lot of delays, we’ve essentially just worked our butts off to get this thing shot. So without any further adieu.. here it is!!

Well, I hope you all enjoyed that! It was a fun and painful project. Certainly most of the people that were heavily involved (including myself) had a love-hate relationship with it. I’m sure there may be some questions regarding this video and I believe after we get some in a follow-up post will be written in order to address them. In the mean time, we did put together this other video briefly explaining the process.

Sufficed to say, this Rube Goldberg video could not have happened without the support of a few organizations.  I’d like to say “Thank you” to:

Penny Auctions Canada
Florentina Foods
The Brilliance
Running Red Lights
Track Avenue Records
Bruce I. Millar Gear Co. Ltd.

Additionally, a fair number of people have had a hand in helping or bearing with both 2D Photography Inc. and myself with this project. For your help: building the damned thing, painting, repainting, and for your support and faith I’d like to thank the following people (I know I’m missing a few as well so I apologize, you know I love you) in no particular order other then alphabetical-by first name:

Andrew Smith
Angela Roy
Ashley Walker
Autumn Hachey (Our model for the video)
Ben Fong
Brendan O’Donnell
Dan Osadstuk
Danielle Blancher
Dave Shram
David Topping
Eitan Blinder
Elene Brett-Evans
Elly Dassas
Graham McIntosh
Isaac Levy
Ivan Ryzebol
James Walker
Jasmine Graham
Kevin Luc
Mali Dvir
Michelle Lenarduzzi
Mitch Masters
Noumi Dvir
Tracy Rendell
Zippi Dvir

One last note. There’s a part of the machine that’s a bit hidden. The problem was that we really wanted to include a photo-booth in this video since they’re so cliche. The trick was that we just couldn’t think of a way to make: countdown, fire some flashes, eject an image and STILL look like a photo-booth. So most of the elements were inside. With that in mind, we’ve included this clip to help flash some light on what’s going on in there. (Description below)

Essentially there’s a whack of mousetraps in this thing. The lens case triggers the first trap and the attacking arm of the trap pulls down a string which goes up and over the ball on the top right, lifting up a block that’s holding the ball in place. From then on, each ball triggers another trap with simultaneously pushes the panel on the front of the booth (revealing the countdown numbers) and pulls the block on the row below letting loose the next ball. At the end, a crane of sorts lifts up another set of blocks releasing five balls: four marbles, and one ball bearing. The marbles land on a pocket wizard firing our flashes while the bearing goes for a longer trip to pull the pin on our image. Lastly the image falling lifts the lever below it, sending the golf ball on the outside away.

Thank you all for watching and reading. We hope you really enjoyed the clip and we’ll catch you all on our next adventure!

David Dvir

  • P Smith

    Your advertising of penny auctions, (HUGE RIPOFF BEWARE!!!!!!)ruined an otherwise great looking project.

    • Steve

      Agreed. Penny auctions are total scams. Once I saw the crap advertising it really killed the video for me :(

    • Minju

      They need the money to make things like that.

  • Carlos Santos

    There you go, great job you guys. This video is amazing, you have to see it over and over again in order to get everything. I loved the video about persistence too, it is very inspiring. This video is all about creativity and that’s what photography should always be. Congratulations for the achievement and on my part I’ll do my best to make everyone I know watch it. It is really worth the time.

    • David Dvir

      Thank you, Carlos. We’re so glad you appreciated our efforts so much :). Cheers

  • Matthew G. Monroe

    Oh my… THAT was great! And worth watching two or three times just to catch all of the fine detail elements that make the contraption work.

    I would love to see what sort of mad ideas would result if you guys were to get together with Synn Labs — the folks who did the OK GO “This Too Shall Pass” video. I suspect that you already have a Rube Goldbergian mutual admiration society of sorts going on right now, and a joint project between your two companies could be off the charts in its brilliance.



    !! FANTÁSTICO ¡¡

  • Nettleton

    So how many takes did it take to get a successful take?

  • Mecanotropo

    I want to see the checklist you had to go through for each try. Or at least tell us how many items it had. Because you HAD a checklist, RIGHT?

    • David Dvir

      We did have a checklist. It was 4 pages long and covered every element of the machine. Even with the checklist we missed things, however. There were over 400 single pieces of things to “touch” during setup. If even one of them was not set, the machine would fail.

  • Brian Carey

    Your video was excellent and must have taken a ton of work. It came out very well congratulations!

    Greetings from Canada’s Far East!

  • Dominic Martello

    I love this. It reminds me that I’m not the most insane photo addict out there. Thank you and more please.

  • P&V

    It is really amazing. I can’t guess the efforts you have to made to get the proper sponsors for all(most) that equipment.

  • nicu

    i was glad to see you used in the clip also one of my drawings – the rocket at 3:21, clipart image released as Public Domain :)

    • David Dvir

      Thank you! Glad you didn’t mind :)

  • maggiejen

    Brilliant work. It takes my breathe away that you can create such an amazing and fascinating devise. What an incredible world that my 62yo self can sit in my lounge room with my coffee, turn on fb, discover this on and watch your greatness. I had to then find this website and read as much as I could about the making of the video and your company. I mention my age to reflect on the fact that I don’t have to be younger and techy and working in a high powered career to see your brilliance. My brain is going wow! wow! wow! and I’m feeling a whole heap better than I did before I saw your video. Thankyou

    • David Dvir

      Awesome comment, Maggie. We were very glad to read that. Thank YOU!

  • James

    were do I get back the time wasted watching this…your time wasted ~ well, that’s your concern…

    • TaosMax

      I’m pretty sure that you can recover 4 wasted minutes by turning off your computer and doing something productive for a change.

    • Lefty@birth

      Wow there James. Do you have to try very hard to be a jerk…or does it come naturally. Or how about the lack of imagination…does that make for a boring, cynical life or do you always come off as the happy go lucky guy you do in your very worthwhile comment?

      Awesome work David. You and your efforts ARE appreciated.

  • Jared Cullison

    Absolutely incredible. The thing that astounds me more than anything is the amount of passion you had necessary to fuel the persistence in your project.


  • Michael Willems

    Guys. That’s just amazing. And inspiring. And mind-blowing. You sure had energy!

  • Mason Resnick

    Here’s a fun game to play…who (besides the producers) can name all the different photographic products (or pieces of products) used in this video?

    Really, an amazing job. Congratulations!

  • calauche

    If you are adults,get a job, boys !…The bigest MEMEZ that I’ve ever seen.
    A lot of sponsors and a empty soul.Aaaaaargggg!

    • Lefty@birth

      Try not to sound so upset at your own failed dreams and passions.

      Better to keep your mouth shut and let others assume you’re an idiot than to open it and remove all doubt.

      No hard feelings there bub…just sayin’.

  • Hans Heilman

    I wanted to let you know about the Friday After Thanksgiving Chain Reaction that takes place at MIT in Cambridge on the afore-mentioned day. About 25-30 participating teams bring partial Rube Goldberg machines and chain them together into one giant one that takes about 15 minutes to execute. This year will be the 14th annual running. Videos and details are at the bottom of this link:

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  • Moussa

    I loved it

  • hampton bay remote control

    I love these type of projects, you have a good idea.

  • judy

    Fantastic, thank you!

  • Some kid

    This must have taken an obscene amount of time to make but it was worth it thank you for making it!

  • pDD

    I wonder how can I make printer to print automatically after taking the photo?

  • H.

    Fantastic, Fantastic, Fantastic!!!!
    you could send me a 64GB card, I never had and you with so many! ;)

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  • Penny Auctions

    photography is an amazing thing.

  • hboy

    poor 24-105 L gets smacked with a hammer …

  • Genius Photography

    Thank you for your nice posting.

  • Tony

    You folks must have spent a lot sleepless nights on that project or you have to much time on your hands. Great JOB..!!

  • woodlands wedding photographer

    this is stink in awesome! Good job guys!

  • Digital Photo Frame Reviews

    Wow. So rad. My son and I have talked about making a Rube Goldberg creation for ages. Might have to be a project this winter.

  • Ron

    amazing – really, really cool .. :-))

    you did a great job with a lot of work… Congratulations!

    greetz, Ron

  • Neil

    All that for an AD???
    Oh good grief.

  • Jason

    What an amazing machine…these are always fun to watch, an I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of time it took to build this whole thing ( though I know you said it took 6 months). What app was that on the iPad for the X-ray scanning? Super cool!

    • David Dvir

      Thanks for the comment, Jason! Actually it’s not an app, we shopped the bags to to get an xray look to them and then stitched/timed the photos into a movie which the machine played during the run. If you look close the soccer ball rolls over a keyboard that’s hitting the play button for the iPad.


      • Jason

        Well, that solves the mystery and about 4 “X-ray” downloads from the app store that were too lame to even mention…LOL! Tks! ;)

  • greg

    when did they finish this awesome project?

  • Fred D, Lloyd

    Great job. I really smiled when I saw the reference to “This Too Shall Pass”

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    This is awesome!

  • Shahar

    I liked the nod to OK GO.

  • CEEA

    Very very cool project.
    And so many Gorillapod. Please send me one. I like this tripod.

    Thank you for this great idea!

  • Chris

    I am quite impressed with the project.

  • Girish Kumar

    Thanks for all its very good job

  • Free India Classifieds

    this is really awesome

  • Fwhite

    Rube lives on, perpetually honoring his time at U of Calif, Berkeley and his pursuit of studies there. No one seems to know what he really learned there as whatever it was has never surfaced. Thank you.

  • Mailosh Simon

    Mind blowing! Amazing. I will definitely think of this video when things are getting hard, needing more persistance and hope for a good outcome! Thank you for your hard work.

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  • Alex124

    Wow just wow

  • Vera Moraes

    Ola David. Seu vídeo chegou hoje através do facebook. Incrível sua máquina!!!! Imagino quanta dedicação e esforços foram aplicados. Parabéns!!! Incrível!!! Abraço aqui do Brasil!!

  • jose

    your welcome