Students put engineering skills to the test

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 2/18/97.

Several Paynesville Area High School students are testing their engineering skills in the ≥Letter and Junk Mail Opener≤ competition at Mankato State University, Friday, Feb. 21.

These machines will be up and running during the annual Rube Goldberg Contest (the wackier the better) sponsored by the colleget. Eighteen schools have been busy designing machines to open a standard legal size envelope with mail inside. The contest is named after Rube Goldberg, an engineer and a cartoonist who was known for drawing overly-complex machines designed to perform simple tasks.

Rules for the contest specify the machine can be made from any items available, including waffle irons, mouse traps, clay pigeon throwers, etc. The machine can be no larger than eight feet long by four feet wide by five feet tall.

The Paynesville ≥letter opener≤ includes 24 machines from a water wheel, hedge trimmer, bowling ball, musicbox, ice cream machine, pulley, sail boat, race track section, to name a few. It even has a record that plays ≥Please, Mr. Postman...≤

The Mankato State University College of Science, Engineering and Technology sponsors the annual event as part of National EngineerĻs Week, Feb. 17-21. Besides the contest, the students will receive small group tours of the College of SET engineering facilities, listen to guest speakers on engineering as careers, and more.

Members of the Principles of Technology class taught by Jay Thompson are: Mike Putzke, Josh Zwiefel, Chad Rien, Rob Schrupp, Josh Parks, and Lee Hiltner.


Enroute home from Mankato, the students plan on stopping at Hutchinson at Ridgewater University where Casey Meagher, Paynesville, is a student in the nondestructive testing program.

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