Ever build a scale model of a roller-coaster?

Ever build a scale model of a roller-coaster?

Post by Kevin Denelsbe » Sun, 23 May 1993 01:58:24


My roommate (avid modeller) and I are contemplating building a 1:144 (or so)
scale model of a roller-coaster.  (This would not be of any currently-existing
coaster, but one of our design.  We have a lot of ideas.)  Anyway, has anyone
out in net.land ever done this?  We're especially interested in the
possibility of a *working* coaster model, one that moves mostly by momentum
but perhaps uses little friction-feed belts (like *** bands on capstans)
for the lifts.  A friend thinks N-gauge track is the way to go for most
of the straightaways, both because of the availability of track and the
availability of flanged wheels/trucks to ride the track.  For features like
loops or corkscrews we might consider something a little more flexible and
do some fabricating by hand.

Suggestions?  We'd be interested in hearing if anyone ever tried this and gave
up out of frustration (would save us the trouble of finding out for ourselves).

Thanks,
Kevin

--

                                 | least as complex as that of provinces and
I'm just a grunt looking for a   | nations.
        few truffles.            |              -- _Tigana_, Guy Gavriel Kay

 
 
 

Ever build a scale model of a roller-coaster?

Post by Raymond L Jue » Sun, 23 May 1993 03:57:48

I've been contemplating doing a similar type of working model using
N scale flex track but have found that the plastic "beams" holding the
tracks a set distance apart is not attached strong enough to bend into
hills.  Also, I bought some N scale trucks to make into cars but haven't
had time to attempt molding the rest of the cars.  I was thinking of
using molds to pour melted lead in to give the cars some weight to add
momentum.  If you have further ideas you can either write me for feedback
or post on rec.roller-coaster.  I'm sure there are others who would
be interested in helping.

Good luck,

Ray L. J.

 
 
 

Ever build a scale model of a roller-coaster?

Post by Thomas Re » Sun, 23 May 1993 09:06:01

|> My roommate (avid modeller) and I are contemplating building a 1:144 (or so)
|> scale model of a roller-coaster.  (This would not be of any currently-existing
|> coaster, but one of our design.  We have a lot of ideas.)  Anyway, has anyone
|> out in net.land ever done this?  We're especially interested in the
|> possibility of a *working* coaster model, one that moves mostly by momentum
|> but perhaps uses little friction-feed belts (like *** bands on capstans)
|> for the lifts.  A friend thinks N-gauge track is the way to go for most
|> of the straightaways, both because of the availability of track and the
|> availability of flanged wheels/trucks to ride the track.  For features like
|> loops or corkscrews we might consider something a little more flexible and
|> do some fabricating by hand.
|>
|> Suggestions?  We'd be interested in hearing if anyone ever tried this and gave
|> up out of frustration (would save us the trouble of finding out for ourselves).

I assume that you are building this for a layout (then 1:160 for n-scale makes
more sense).  If for N-Scale, then I would make the track Z-Scale since the
width of the track will be smaller than 4'8" and more like narrow guage.

I would think you would attack the problem in a mmaner close to building a
tressel -- only one that the rail goes up and down rather than the ground!

Tom

--
Dr. Thomas F. Reid, Manager - Diploma in Software Engineering
Institute of Systems Science, National University of Singapore
Heng Mui Keng Terrace, Kent Ridge, Singapore 0511


 
 
 

Ever build a scale model of a roller-coaster?

Post by Jmen Pow » Sun, 23 May 1993 17:10:07


Quote:
>My roommate (avid modeller) and I are contemplating building a 1:144 (or so)
>scale model of a roller-coaster.  (This would not be of any
currently-existing
>coaster, but one of our design.  We have a lot of ideas.)  Anyway, has anyone
>out in net.land ever done this?  We're especially interested in the
>possibility of a *working* coaster model, one that moves mostly by momentum
>but perhaps uses little friction-feed belts (like *** bands on capstans)
>for the lifts.  A friend thinks N-gauge track is the way to go for most
>of the straightaways, both because of the availability of track and the
>availability of flanged wheels/trucks to ride the track.  For features like
>loops or corkscrews we might consider something a little more flexible and
>do some fabricating by hand.

>Suggestions?  We'd be interested in hearing if anyone ever tried this and
gave
>up out of frustration (would save us the trouble of finding out for

ourselves).

Well, I have tried (with some sucess) to build a model roller coaster.
So, maybe you can get something out of my work...  First, I figered I
needed a base...  I was in luck, because my uncle just got a pool table,
and the slate part came encased in plywood.  So I used that and since it
was raised up a few inches, it was perfect.  I guess it would be just as
easy to make this out of plywood from the hard ware store.  For years
before, I have drafted a couple of roller coasters based on
calculus/physics/guestimation on friction...  So me, and a friend decided
to use one of those plans.  For the track, we used copper tubing, the
supports we used iron rods, to separate the track we used sheet metal. And
held it all togather with copper wire, locktight, and solder that we dug
up from school and the hardware store.  When we got started, we found out
it was a lot more difficult than we had planned!!!  One, we used a tube
bender to bend the piping with ease, and rigged up a small section of
track to test things out on.  (I had gotten a kit a  year before by mail
order that you could quickly throw togather pieces of roller coaster
track, and test it out with a marble. that I also used, because it is MUCH
easier to change the track.)  But, I quickly learned that we could not
assemble anything like a roller coaster train, because any cars that could
be made were not smooth enough to go down the hill and up the next.  So,
we had a friend get us some large ball bearings that worked quite well.
But even with the ball bearings, we could never get them to `act' like
trains.  For starters, for some reason, they would loose momentem QUICKLY.
The second hill (in the test track) we could only get about 1/2 as high as
the first for the bearing to make it over.  It seams that in real world
roller coasters such as Cyclone, MeanStreak, etc have much higher second
hills.  But, then again, the Magnum's second drop is not nearly as high.
(The only thing I could possible think of is that vibrations in the track
slowed the ball?)  And, second, over small hills, the ball did not act
anywhere close to a coaster, because not only the ball had foreware
momentum, it spins, so when going up a hill the ball decelerates, but
because it is spinning, it `pulls' the ball over the top of the hill.  So,
we ended up testing on the fly as we built..  If the ball did not go over
the next hill, we just bent the tubing down a bit..<g>  And we ended up
with (sorta) a coaster with a huge first drop going in to a horizontal
helix, going into an ovel, and back through the helix with a vertical
loop, and then many camel back hills back and forth.  We did not build a
lift hill, because it would have been to big of a pain in the --neck, and
I have no idea what scale it is, because we just built till it worked.  It
ended up being 4'6" high at the first hill, 'bout 4feet wide, and about 5
or 6 feet long, and is now collecting dust in my ba***t -- but my cousin
(4yrs old) likes to come over and play with it.  (This year we are taking
him to CP he also loves roller coasters, and nags to go -- I guess I got
him started on roller coasters early... <BG>)  I hope this is helpful, but
if it comes down to it, I have no idea how to make a perfect working
roller coaster.  (BTW, last year while at CP, in the town hall musium I
noticed a model of the Mean Streak made out of TOOTHPICKS!!!  So, this
summer, I am going to give it a try to build a wooden roller coaster
model.  Not working, of coarse.)  I am by no means good at scale models or
anything like that, just like to have fun, and have something to do.  HOPE
YOU HAVE BETTER LUCK THAN I DID!!!!  Have fun!!!!

--
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<|J M E N   P O W E R|>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<| F L A T L I N E D |>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 
 
 

Ever build a scale model of a roller-coaster?

Post by Michael Brodes » Tue, 25 May 1993 05:47:11

Quote:

>My roommate (avid modeller) and I are contemplating building a 1:144 (or so)
>scale model of a roller-coaster.  (This would not be of any currently-existing

        When I was 16, I built two rollercoasters. One was for the
display window at FaoSchwartz and the other for a window at Macy's fifth
avenue. I made the rollercoasters out of fischertechnik. When making
a loop it is easy to make the go forward and come back type. You can
use bicycle chain with thumb tacks or pins glued to it. Which would be
used to pick up the cars and bring them up hill. The big problem with
rollercoasters is the turns. You need to have the wheels spinning at
different speeds. So they can not be attached.
        The easiest way to make a rollercoaster is to use ping pong
balls instead of cars. Then you don't have to worry about the turns. I
think the guy who makes models for airports copies mine from Macy's
cause he uses balls.
        You can buy railroad rails from a model shop. This would be
better than just buying n-scale track. The pieces I have used come in 3
foot lengths.
        For the car you might have to have six wheels. Four for support
and two to keep it on the track. By inverting a piece of track below The
car, and then run two wheels on it in turns and upside down twists.
have fun.

Micha


UUCP : {pur-ee,qanad,oliveb,decwrl,hplabs}!intelca!mipos3!td2cad!brodesky
I hate to listen to cassettes of LP's that skip. Rootbeer^2 = Beer ?
Arrowhead Arete In Yosemite, A great climb. A Great time. Great Photo'S

 
 
 

Ever build a scale model of a roller-coaster?

Post by Bob Backw » Tue, 25 May 1993 10:32:39

In article Kevin Denelsbeck writes:

Quote:
>My roommate (avid modeller) and I are contemplating building a 1:144 (or so)
>scale model of a roller-coaster.... We're especially interested in the
>possibility of a *working* coaster model, one that moves mostly by momentum
>but perhaps uses little friction-feed belts (like *** bands on capstans)
>for the lifts.

    While not having considered roller coasters I have thought of using
magnets attached to undertrack belts to shift timber or mining trucks up an
incline so as to give the appearance of being cable hauled. Test have prooved
that the concept works up a 45 degree slope providing the truck had a
reasonable amount of iron mass on board (I will use iron rod "trees") and in
your case a heavy car will help the system run smoothly with the momentum
required to do loops.

Quote:
>  A friend thinks N-gauge track is the way to go for most
>of the straightaways, both because of the availability of track and the
>availability of flanged wheels/trucks to ride the track.  For features like
>loops or corkscrews we might consider something a little more flexible and
>do some fabricating by hand.

   My tests were using PECO N flextrack which with some care could be
corkscrewed. Using flextrack should also help keep the track at the angle
required to keep the centre of gravity within the track.   I think its
something like banking the curve so that both rails are the same length.

Quote:
>Suggestions?  We'd be interested in hearing if anyone ever tried this and gave
>up out of frustration (would save us the trouble of finding out for

ourselves).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Telecom Research Laboratories  *    *        Phone: +61 3 253 6359
770 Blackburn Rd                   *         FAX:   +61 3 253 6362
Clayton 3168
Melbourne, Australia             *         Insert favourite disclaimer here
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
 
 

Ever build a scale model of a roller-coaster?

Post by John A. Purbri » Tue, 25 May 1993 13:46:51


Quote:
>My roommate (avid modeller) and I are contemplating building a 1:144 (or so)
>scale model of a roller-coaster.  (This would not be of any currently-existing
>coaster, but one of our design.  We have a lot of ideas.)

A scale model roller coaster may not perform as you'd like it to. The major
problem would be that the machine is highly dependent on the mass, friction
and air resistance of the moving parts (principally the car wheels), and these
don't scale anywhere close to linearly. Also, how should a scale roller coaster
actually run? Meaning, how long should the car take to roll down a hill? On a
1:144 model the time would be close to zero because the acceleration due to
gravity doesn't scale at all--your passengers would be getting one hell of a
ride! What you ought to see would be the car accelerating on the downslope
very, very slowly. To achieve this you'd have to drive the car actively, by
some kind of mechanical contrivance. Or, you could hire an aircraft to
generate near-zero-G conditions on a parabolic climb and run the model
(briefly) in the cabin.

I visited the Model Railroad Club, Inc., in Union NJ, a few months ago and
they're contemplating a very large hump yard--kind of a roller coaster! But
they know that the amount of momentum that an HO freight car builds up on
its way down a hill a couple of inches high isn't nearly enough to push the
car down the distribution tracks, so they have plans for a drive system to do
the job.

--
John Purbrick


 
 
 

Ever build a scale model of a roller-coaster?

Post by Tom Maglio » Wed, 26 May 1993 07:37:23

(some stuff deleted)

Quote:
>Suggestions?  We'd be interested in hearing if anyone ever tried this and gave
>up out of frustration (would save us the trouble of finding out for ourselves)

>Thanks,
>Kevin

Kevin and others, you should contact Randall Strong, an ACE member who also
builds coaster models and I understand has started a newsletter and club for
others interested in the same thing. He lives in Portland, Maine, but has
just moved so I don't have an address, but here is his phone # (207)780-0646.

Happy modelling,
Tom Maglione

 
 
 

Ever build a scale model of a roller-coaster?

Post by p.. » Wed, 26 May 1993 18:06:20

Quote:

> My roommate (avid modeller) and I are contemplating building a 1:144 (or so)
> scale model of a roller-coaster. ..... We're especially interested in the
> possibility of a *working* coaster model, one that moves mostly by momentum
> but perhaps uses little friction-feed belts (like *** bands on capstans)
> for the lifts.  

This may not be quite what you are looking for Kevin, but might interest less
adventurous modellers and other roller coaster freaks, so I will post it
anyway.

Note that this posting is going to both model trains & rollercoaster lists,
so explains features you may find obvious, but which the other group may not,
so please be patient.

The German model kit manufacturer Faller has a HO scale (1:87) roller coaster
model announced for 1993 introduction - item reference 450 for release in
October (obtainable from Walthers in the US).

Quoting from the catalogue, it contains:

1. fully functional big dipper, entrance and passenger areas with safety grilles
   (TPM!), intricate uprights and supports, extensive signs and deco sheets,
   many typical accessories.
2. ride length circa 5 metres.
3. 2 big dipper car trains, with easy glide rollers.
4. driving motor (12 v DC or AC) for pulling up the cars. Circulation with
   2 car trains possible.
5. rotating, reflecting mirrored column with spotlights and driving motor.
6. fairground noise unit providing the typical atmosphere of a big dipper ride.
7. 2 transport bed trailers with stanchions.
8. lighting elements to illuminate the dipper track.
9. numbered certificate.
10. Occupies space 60 * 41.8 * 41 cms.

The English price is expected to be about UK pounds 130 (= 200 US dollars).

Points 3 & 4 above are a little confusing (& maybe lost something in the
translation from German) as the catalogue illustration shows 3 trains on the
track, each consisting of 3 cars. It is not possible to see how they work,
but use of the word 'rollers' rather than 'wheels' is perhaps significant.
NO lap bars or restraints of any type visible :-).

The track looks pretty extensive with what looks like a form of rack and pinion
up the curving 'lift hill', side rails and cat walk up lift hill but nowhere
else, then a fairly compact track circling round on itself several times - no
inversions though.

Forget your woodies and your steelies, this could be your first plastic coaster,
and your choice whether you want screaming or not (see 6 above) :-)

(Incidentally, the US-manufactured IHC Carnival Fairground range in the same
scale has advertised on the boxes of other kits in the range that a coaster
is an 'upcoming' model, but I have seen no details of it. Experience suggests
that if and when it appears, it is likely to be operational too but cheaper and
possibly less impressive.)

Usual disclaimer applies that I have no connection with either manufacturer
other than as a satisfied customer.

Paul Griffiths

 
 
 

Ever build a scale model of a roller-coaster?

Post by Geoff All » Thu, 27 May 1993 00:19:22

Another possibility if you just want to play with coaster-type stuff is
the Spacewarp coaster sets from Ban-Dai (I'm typing the name from
memory, so it may not be correct).  They're sort of an Erector Set for
building roller coasters, though the coasters are balls running on
plastic tubing, rather than trains running on rails.

As others have pointed out, the physics doesn't scale correctly.
Friction and molecular attraction are much stronger forces in relation
to gravity than they are at our size.  (This is the same reason ants can
walk up walls and you can't, BTW.)  Momentum, on the other hand, is much
smaller.  One thing the manual for my set (just purchased and not yet
completely constructed) advises is that a loop should only be half the
height of the drop into the loop.  There are a lot of full-size looping
coasters out there that have loops more than half as high as the drops
leading into them!

But, if you want to play with it, and don't care for full-fledged
accuracy in the physics, then a Spacewarp set could be just what you're
looking for!

Geoff ``Can't wait to make a Schwarzkopf Thriller with my set'' Allen

--
Geoff Allen          \  All of our rides are smooth.
uunet!pmafire!geoff   \      -- Walter Bollinger, when Allen Ambrosini praised