This annual competition is open to all international high school students between the ages of 14–17, outside Australia and New Zealand.
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.
Now redesigned for students to compete in their teams physically distanced.
To be the first to hear when registrations open for the 2023 contest, submit an expression of interest now!
Find out when registrations open and close, when the task will be announced, and the date of the contest.
Find out the task for the contest. See the list of schools competing in this year’s contest.
Information on how to design your machine, how the contest is judged and what prizes you can win.
Engineering and spaghetti
So, given that engineering is all about finding the most practical and efficient way to solve a problem, why are we trying to design and build a machine that’s overly complex and very inefficient?
The answer is simply this – design a machine that will perform the set task, whilst also being entertaining and amazing to watch! You will still be able to demonstrate many of the key principles of engineering during this task, including design, prototyping, construction, testing, and team and project management. There is also the opportunity to incorporate elements from a wide range of engineering disciplines, such as structural, electrical and electronic, mechanical, and chemical engineering!
Rube Goldberg and ‘The Self-Operating Napkin’…
The US inventor and cartoonist Rube Goldberg was a master of Spaghetti Machine ideas, so much so that they are sometimes also known as ‘Rube Goldberg machines’.