Students work in teams and put their knowledge and skills in maths, science, design and engineering to the test in the creation of a ‘spaghetti machine’ — the Italian term for an overly complex machine or device that is used to perform a relatively simple task.
This contest is coordinated by the Melbourne School of Engineering.
Keen to get involved? Here’s all the information you need to know about this year’s contest.
Find out when registrations open and close, when the task will be announced, and the date of the contest.Find out more
Information on how to design your machine, how the contest is judged.Find out more
Find out what prizes you can win.Find out more
- How to enter
Find out more about how to get a team together and get registered for the contest.Find out more
2019 contest task
‘Squirt toothpaste onto a Toothbrush’
Welcome to the Spaghetti Workshop, where you can learn more about what it takes to plan and build a spaghetti machine, catch video episodes of tips and tricks, and get inspiration for your creation from some of the other fantastic machines from around the world.
TIP: Don’t get too complicated! Plan what you think you can achieve in the time you’ve got!
Q & A’s
- What do you need to create a spaghetti machine?
- a team that’s prepared and able to work together
- a space that you can build your machine in (and preferably one that allows you to leave it set up while you work on it)
- access to some basic tools and equipment to build with
- enough time set aside to work on it.
The team will also need a teacher or staff member from the school to act as the supervisor for the project.
Finally, you’ll need plenty of imagination, creativity, and a willingness to experiment and improvise in order to come up with solutions!
- How do we start creating a spaghetti machine?
Before you get down to hammering things together it’s probably a good idea to do a bit of research into other types of machines that have been created (check out our Video gallery) and to have a chat about what you want to do, and what you think you can manage. You’ll also want to think about what your resources are (people, space, equipment, time, skills, etc …) and how to organise yourselves to make best use of them. This might include allocating tasks for individual members, a schedule for what needs to be done by when (very important!), and how you want to keep track of who’s working on what.
- What sort of materials will my team need?
The great thing about spaghetti machines is that they can be made from just about anything. Wood, old bits of metal or plastic, toys, recycled gadgets or machine parts, everyday household items … you name it. We’re interested in seeing how inventive you can be, including your ability to recycle or re-purpose existing objects or materials for your design. Just keep in mind that whatever you use needs to be safe (for you to work with and for spectators to look at).
Check out this gallery of videos showing machines we think are pretty awesome. Some are instructional, some are inspirational, and some are just plain funny.
2018 Contest Winners
Congratulations to team Raid Zero from Taipei American School, Taiwan!
We would also like to say thank you for all the teams that submitted their entries – we loved looking at your amazing spaghetti machine creations.