Introduction

This blog is for people with an interest in backyard roller coasters.  I’m new to blogging, but if you have a question I’ll try to help.

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3 thoughts on “Introduction”

  1. Hi. Must congratulate you on a beautyfull roller coaster build. I do have a similar background like you beeing a aircraft machanic on DC-9, MD80s and -90s and B737NG, (sheet metal and systems). Think this could bee a fun project. Does your book cover more than the “back and forth” type coaster tracks?? We live in Norway, and have frost half the year, so I´m not sure if it is safe/ wise to build outdoors. Don`t want to use a fortune making frost safe supports. What do you think? Also: Can you give me a better description on the PVC pipes, since I´m not sure if they are sold here. Happy for any answer. Sorry for any bad spelling.

    1. We love Norway! We rented a motorhome there a few years ago and drove through the fjords.

      Our book covers the basic physics of roller coasters, and shows how we designed and built the out-n-back coaster. It details how we shape the PVC pipes with hot sand, how we make the cupped ends on the wooden ties, how we make the framing for the track, the design of our cart, and how the cart is made, as well as what kind of wheels and bearings are used. It also explains how we build in extra safety, verified by several kinds of tests.
      Painted PVC and stained wood, put together with corrosion-resistant fasteners, should last as long as a fence or deck. Any wood which touches the ground is pressure treated lumber. I would drill drain holes at low spots in the track rails so water cannot build up inside, freeze, and break the PVC.
      It is sunshine which degrades PVC, but paint protects it.

      We are planning a second book which will cover complex tracks and carts, but will not repeat the testing and fabrication methods in Volume I.

      I’m not sure where you would get PVC electrical conduit (pipes) in Norway. If not at a home improvement center or hardware store, then maybe at an electrical contractor. I use 1-1/5 inch PVC schedule 40 conduit. 1-1/2 inches is 38.1 mm, and that’s the inside nominal diameter. The outside diameter is 48.26 mm.

      I would say that a PVC/wood coaster with welded steel cart is suitable for children up to 80 pounds, or about 35 kilograms. Above that, you should probably use a steel track, which will be much more expensive and permanent.

      1. I recently tired hot sand forming of schedule 80 PVC, and it worked well. So I would use the thicker (0.200 inch vs 0.125 inch) PVC pipe, especially if riders are over 60 pounds.

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