Do You Know How To Build A Roller Coaster?

Published: 14th May 2010
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All good roller coasters begin with a model; a model shows possible customers what the ride will look like, how firm it will be, and helps their decision about whether to buy it or not. So here are a few steps in building a roller coaster model that can later become an actual roller coaster ride.

Required Tools
Super glue
Regular marker
Permanent marker
Wire cutter

Required Materials

Your preference of material for the model (e.g., clay, tin)
1 yard of wire
Scenery pieces such as artificial trees, miniature people, plants etc.
Small pieces of plastic

Decide on the type of roller coaster you want to make and select the material you prefer to use to make it. You can use clay, some kind of metal, or some people even use popsicle sticks and toothpicks, so select which you prefer to work with and get started.

Use the regular marker to outline the shape of the track onto the plexiglass, - the lift hill, inversions (loops), secondary hills, etc, and as soon as you have decided on the shape, use the permanent marker to go over it to stop it from getting rubbed out. The structure, tracks and support are all very important pieces of the model and must be sketched clearly here. Now you can start building.

Using the clay or other material of your preference start putting the model together. Take your time to put in every piece and install support pieces where necessary to ensure the model is sturdy and firm and does not collapse.

Every roller coaster starts with a very big hill known as the lift hill, this is because roller coasters normally are driven by gravity and the lift hill is the only spot on the track that an electric motor is used to move the coaster to the top and then gravity takes over. So it is critical to perfect the height and shape of the lift hill.
To build the lift for your model, use a wire cutter to cut 3-4 pieces of the wire and lay them side by side in the center of the lift hill. Then choose 2 areas at the top and bottom of the lift hill that the lift will go through to meet below the tracks. Next to the side of the lift hill, thread the wire beneath the supports to make a sort of chain until both ends meet. Glue the ends together and permit them to dry.

Using the glue place 2-3 additional pieces of wood on the top section of the lift hill as the launch section of the track, and additionally on the inversion and turn sections of the track. Finally take the small pieces of plastic and glue them one by one along the inner section of the selected track to represent the magnetic mechanisms used to launch roller coasters. Paint and decorate your roller coaster, make a small train for aesthetics and your model is complete.

Now it is time to get out there and find a customer to make your model into a actual ride!

Tips and Warnings
Because gravity is what keeps the coaster going, the length and height of the lift hill will be what supplies the momentum to keep the coaster moving. Thus bear this in mind when designing the height and slope of the lift hill.

Make your model on a surface which is the color of the ground, either brownish for dirt or green for grass.

While you make the model, contrast it to the plexiglass outline to ensure that all the track sections and supports are where they should be and none are missing.

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