Contest Rules

Below are the rules for the The Amazing Spaghetti Machine Contest 2014.

If you have any queries. please contact us:

Competition Entry and Registration

Registrations Open
Monday 3 February 2014 at 9am (AEDT)
Registrations Close
Wednesday 5 February 2014 at 5pm (AEDT)

  • The Contest is open only to Victorian high-school students enrolled in year 10.
  • A maximum of 50 teams will be accepted in the contest. Schools whose teams completed the build period and then participated in the judging event in previous years will receive an automatic place, should they register again this year, in recognition of their achievement in the previous years of the Contest. After these schools, all teams registering for this year’s Contest will be accepted into the competition as Successful Registrants in the order in which registrations are received online, via the registration page.
  • A maximum of one team per school may register for the Contest.
  • There is no minimum or maximum number of students required to form a team, though the team should have a sufficient number in order to be able to complete the task. If you are unsure about how many people you will need, refer to our ‘Spaghetti Workshop Q&A’s
  • All teams must have a nominated staff member from their school to act as a Team Supervisor
  • Teams taking part in the Contest agree to enter at their own risk. The Melbourne School of Engineering (MSE) acts as a coordinator and promoter of this event, and will not be liable for any loss, damage, expense or injury that is suffered by the teams in connection with the Contest, except for liability that cannot legally be excluded (in which the MSE’s liability is limited to the maximum extent permitted by law.
  • All applicants will be advised of the outcome of their team’s application by email on Thursday 6 February 2014. In addition, successful Registrants will also be listed on the contest website on this day.


  • Each team will be required to build a machine according to the Task set by the University of Melbourne.
  • The Task will be announced on the contest website on Thursday 6 February 2014. Building can commence from this date.
  • The machine should be able to complete the Task as set by the contest organisers.
  • The machine should be contained in an area no larger than 1.3m (W) x 1.3m (D) x 1.5m (H). The machine may be smaller than these dimensions.
  • The machine must be transportable in order to take part in the judging event at the University of Melbourne.
  • The machine must have a minimum of 10 steps. There is no maximum number of steps. A ‘step’ is defined as the transfer of energy from one action to another action (e.g. a series of dominoes collapsing that then triggers another action is a step).
  • Identical transfers of energy in succession should be considered one step (e.g. two separate sets of domino lines in succession, with one line triggering the next is considered one step).
  • Machines have a minimum time limit of 25 seconds, and a maximum time limit of 2 minutes from the time of launch in which to complete the Task.
  • The machine should not represent a safety risk to either its operators or to spectators standing within 1 metre of it. This should be achieved through appropriate safeguards within the design, and the avoidance of dangerous materials or parts as part of this design. Machines that are not considered safe by event organisers at the judging event will not be allowed to run.
  • The machine must not contain any:
      • Hazardous materials
      • Explosives
      • Naked flame
      • Live animals
  • A maximum of two items within the machine may be run by power cords connected to a wall-socket power outlet. A powerboard running from a wall-socket power outlet will be provided for each team's display area, from which these two power cords may run if needed. There is no limit on the use of batteries and other non-wall socket power sources.


  • Successful Registrants of the Contest will receive one $50 voucher for a hardware store in their local area, to be chosen after the successful registration of all Contest teams is confirmed. Please note that these businesses are not in any way affiliated with the Contest.
  • These vouchers are to be used for buying parts or materials for the team’s spaghetti machine.
  • Schools are not required to return the unspent portions of vouchers at the end of the construction period.
  • Once sent, vouchers and their security are the responsibility of the Team Supervisor. Lost or stolen vouchers will not be replaced.
  • Vouchers are to be used only by the Team Supervisor or team members. Selling, auctioning, or exchanging of vouchers is forbidden and will result in the team responsible for the voucher being disqualified from competition.
  • If a school withdraws from the competition before the vouchers are used they will be required to return the vouchers to the University of Melbourne to:

    Attn: Theoni Sklavos
    Melbourne School of Engineering
    University of Melbourne Parkville, VIC 3010

Judging and Prizes

  • Judging will take place at the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus on the afternoon of Thursday 29 May 2014, with time for teams to set up in the morning. Exact running times will be provided on the date the Task is announced.
  • All teams will be allocated a Designated Area on the floor of the judging venue in which to setup their machine.
  • Teams will have a maximum setup time of 4 hours to complete their machine set-up at their Designated Area prior to the commencement of judging.
  • At the end of the competition, teams will be required to immediately pack up and remove their machine from the contest venue.
  • The order of machine presentation will be determined by drawing teams from a hat at the end of the official setup period.
  • There will be two rounds of judging with each team ‘running’ their machines once per round. Teams will have the time between their first and second round runs to reset their machines in preparation for the next run.
  • After launch, human intervention or interaction with the machine while running (i.e. to ‘fix’ a problem or reset a step) is permitted, but will attract a small penalty for each interaction.
  • Entries will be judged on:
    • Reliability of machine (ability of the machine to achieve the Task with minimal human interaction over three separate runs)
    • Timing of machine (the Task should be completed in a time span between 25 seconds and 2 minutes)
    • Variety in the use of different types of energy transferral within the machine (in particular natural and renewable energy sources)
    • Innovative and original use of materials in machine construction (in particular recycled or re-purposed parts and materials)
    • The team's display area, which should contain informative and engaging display material for the public visiting the judging event regarding the machine's operation, and the team's process in building it.
  • A score will be given to each team at the completion of the second run of their machine, with a running tally being publicly announced and recorded at the contest venue.
  • The overall winners will be announced at the conclusion of the second day of competition on 29 May 2014, following the tallying of all scores. Winners will also be published online at the Contest website on 30 May 2014.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no appeals or protest will be heard.
  • Prizes will be presented to the team and will be the responsibility of the Team Supervisor.
  • The prizes for the winning team are:
    • A unique ‘Spaghetti Champions’ trophy;
    • $200 cash prize (to go towards a team celebration event nominated by the team supervisor); and
    • $300 online voucher for Haines Education & Learning, to be spent at the discretion of the winning school.
  • In addition to the overall award for best machine there will be additional awards given out on the day of competition for achievement in different aspects of design and presentation. These awards will be determined by the judges.
  • An ‘Audience Choice’ award will also be awarded, and will be decided by the following process:
    • One vote will be allowed for every person attending the event, visitors and spectators alike, via an entrance ticket doubling as a ballot paper.
    • The team with the most votes will receive the Audience Choice award.

Photos and Video

  • Persons present during the Judging at the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus on 29 May 2014 will be permitted to take photos and video.
  • The University of Melbourne may also take photos and video of person attending the Contest, as well as teams and Team Supervisors. Photos and video may appear on the Contest website, internal reporting documents and the University’s promotional material.

You can also download a copy of these rules:

Download Amazing Spaghetti Machine Contest Rules