It appears that our roller coaster fabrication will be halted for a few weeks.
Fortunately, everyone is alright. But, it seems like we need to build a new car…perhaps an aluminum roller coaster car.
Since we have some spare time now, we will continue to work on design. Fabrication will resume in a few weeks and it produce some truly great things. Thanks for following along, and we will update you as soon as possible.
Lately, we’ve been ramping up our production of the PreFab mini wooden roller coasters. We have made advancements in a sturdy foundation system, and large scale assembly will be taking place later in the week.
One key thing to consider when fabricating rides, large or small, is to make sure they fit prior to shipping the parts to the job site. Now, this is usually something that must be checked for steel roller coasters, but since our wooden coasters are machined to be in alignment it is good practice for us too!
Later this week we will begin full-scale assembly of the PreFab miniature wooden roller coaster, and we will be uploading a video to our YouTube channel. The video will show a few cars moving in our testing phase. Thanks for following along.
It’s finally becoming time to assemble and test what we’ve been designing for so long.
Since the last update, we switched to machining our Prefab track out of Poplar wood due to its strength and machinability.
Once we successfully fabricated the supports and track, we needed to mill our track brackets from our miniature angled aluminum.
Despite how simple these parts were to make, they are incredibly cool and aesthetically pleasing.
Next we tried our hand at assembling the various parts for the beginning of the station.
Although it’s not visible in the picture above, the station slopes downward at two (2) degrees to allow the train to depart the station under its own gravity.
Keep in mind the steel rails have not been installed which would allow the friction to be minimized. However, the car chassis did in fact roll down the slopes track as expected.
Now the problems….
The assembly, albeit as designed, was a complete bitch and is too cumbersome for the average person to complete. We are now looking into making it simpler and more of a press-fit assembly. We will also be uploading a video soon with our progress.
We have some big things in the works, and many of you have asked when we would sell these rides, track sections, or even cars. These comments and questions have not fallen on deaf ears, and we do have some possibilities in store and will hopefully be met soon. Thanks, guys!
We are nearing our tremendous breakthrough, guys! The components of our miniature wooden roller coaster are being machined and will soon be assembled.
From our design files we made in AutoCAD Civil 3D, even the largest of obstacles were overcome.
The design files are still in the works, but that doesn’t mean that we haven’t started fabricating our li’l working ride. We tried machining the wood that was ordered a few months ago in anticipation…yes, we were excited. However, Basswood proved to be too brittle and created way too much dust.
We soon found out that machining Basswood would produce an error. Shortly after the above photos were taken a piece of track broke off cleanly. Since we had one more operation to perform, drilling the track mounting holes, we cut our losses and decided to inspect the ALMOST track sections.
Since a roller coaster design incorporates hi-order spline curves, the CNC milling machine provides the precision necessary to cut the track accurately. Basically fancy circle like bends along the ride offering smooth ups and downs.
Since our Basswood attempts failed repeatedly, we began our search for new building materials. The wood we have chosen to use due to its strength, availability, and cost was “Poplar.” So, we began to cut our designed supports out of the Poplar wood planks.
After building a fixture plate to machine our wooden structure, we began the machining operations one by one.
The machining was executed flawlessly. The Poplar was a success, and we made more of the supports. Each support took approximately 10 minutes to complete. This included spotting, drilling, and profile cutting.
Our next update will show the machining of our aluminum track brackets, more track sections, and possibly a rolling test of our miniature PreFab Wooden Roller Coaster!
We are machining our miniature wooden roller coaster. In this video we take a look at the high-point station bent where the ride begins. Basswood, End mills, and Rivets will make this roller coaster happen.
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In this entry, we will be discussing our machining of the wooden roller coaster. We chose to machine our mini rides, and large ride supports, with the Taig CNC mill.
But let’s take a step back and discover where the numbers and code come from…
It all starts with our design phase. In the design phase we have a two dimensional (2D) plan look at where we want the ride to go. Once the layout is determined, we then move to the vertical layout.
This is where the calculations of kinetic and potential energy come into play. For this test track we have calculated one design hill. Based on theoretical friction values from our steel bearing wheels, we want the cars to apex the hill at one (1) foot per second. With these constraints in mind, we created a hi-order polynomial for the hill’s shape. Yes, remember back to Trig and Calculus.
Roller coaster hills are a combination of circular curves and varying parabolic curves.
If you use what’s called a “cross-product” you can cross the plan with the profile and make a three dimensional (3D) curve.
Now that we have our calculated support, or bent, heights, we can machine them with our CNC milling machine.
We begin by drilling the foundation holes and the holes to mount the track brackets. Our next procedure is to use an end mill and cut out the profile shape of the support to our design height.
Now the support is ready to be sanded to remove the holding tabs. Being that this was our first attempt at machining our supports, we kind of messed it up…
We accidentally broke the support while sanding with a router. Since we ruined the support, we decided to try using blind rivets that will hold the track brackets in place.
This design didn’t work since the rivet expanded and broke more of the support. Fortunately we have a few other tricks up our sleeves.
Follow along and “Like” our Facebook page and please offer any tips or suggestions to help build the Biggest Little ride. We’d love to hear from you, and want you to join the ride!
Our first attendance of the IAAPA Trade Expo was a complete success! So much so that we decided to patron the local parks of Orlando. By that we mean Fun Spot USA and the various Disney Parks.
Since we are close to the holidays, Disney was celebrating in grand fashion. Our first stop was the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Disney spared no expense on Christmas decorations and hot chocolate. Throughout Main Street there were dozens of jazz bands playing Christmas tunes with a bit of Disney flare.
We took a spin the various, classic, rides throughout the park: Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the completely revamped Snow White and Seven Dwarfs mine ride. The swinging cars on the mine ride were extraordinary!
During the day the park was immaculately clean, but at night it turned into a Winter Wonderland…
We will be uploading a video to our Roller Coaster Log (the YouTube channel) soon with a video recap of the festivities. In the video you’ll be able to see the fake snow that blankets the park throughout Mickey’s Christmas Party.
Our next park we visited was the always changing EPCOT.
Although EPCOT is promoted as a more educational theme park, it has been updated and reimagined throughout the years. One of their greatest rides is Mission Space.
Mission Space simulates Man’s colonization of Mars by subjecting its riders through “astronaut” training in a large centrifuge. The Imagineers are simply brilliant, and their execution of space exploration is unparalleled.
The next stop in EPCOT was another signature “hi-tech” ride: Test Track. Test Track takes your simulated car through rigorous hi-speed maneuvers and tests. The highest speed is reached at the end at 64.9 mph.
But, the largest jewel in the EPCOT crown is the EPCOT World Showcase. There are eleven countries on display around the lagoon and each portrays the culture and customs of the country represented.
EPCOT’s signature night time finale is a grand firework show, and the Christmas decorations were a perfect accent to the park’s beauty.
Our last Disney stop was to Disney Hollywood Studios. This was a first for us, and it proved to be our favorite. No offense to the Magic Kingdom.
One thing to note about Disney Hollywood Studios portrays a Hollywood and vaudeville of the 1930s. Since it looks much the same Los Angeles and Hollywood currently do, it’s actually done to a better degree than the real thing.
One of the best rides in the park is the Rock n’ Roller Coaster with theme music by Aerosmith. The ride is a Vekoma LSM launch roller coaster shrouded in darkness and New York City traffic.