Introduction: Dragon Fire - K'nex Model Roller Coaster

Picture of Dragon Fire - K'nex Model Roller Coaster


Many people have asked me for K'nex roller coaster building help, here I'm going to walk you through the steps I took to create a recreation of Dragon Fire at Canada's Wonderland. I'll also point out some guidance and tips I use in creating a model roller coaster.

Step 1: Planning & Preparation

Picture of Planning & Preparation

You may be anxious to start snapping pieces together right away, but any project requires a bit of preparation and planning before you begin.

If you're just starting out in your roller coaster building career, I recommend starting small and getting a feel for how K'nex works. Starting small also helps gauge how big you can build with your current K'nex collection. In my opinion you'll need at least 2-3 roller coaster sets before you can really start building.

First off I needed to decide the scale, to do this I used a google maps image of the real ride, as well as reference pictures found online. If I'm not recreating a real life roller coaster, I usually draw a couple aerial view sketches to get an idea of the layout. (this idea almost always changes, but it helps to start somewhere)

Step 2: Starting Construction - Lifthill

Picture of Starting Construction - Lifthill

Typically, I find starting with the lift hill a good approach. This will determine the overall height, and will help me guage how much momentum (in the train) I have to work with.

Using real life pictures of the ride, I try and recreate everything from the supports and track into the K'nex equivalent. As a guideline I like to use 7-8 track ties (the black pieces in the pictures) per flexi rod length. Using this many will help keep the track smooth.

If you're having trouble with the mechanic's of a lift hill I recommend building the lift from the Screamin' Serpent roller coaster set first.

Step 3: Construction - Loops

Picture of Construction - Loops

Again using a reference picture I began piecing together the loops, each loop took me approximately 4 hours to get it shaped to my liking.

When I'm building I like to start with a solid base, in this case it was constructed using blue rod boxes, but it can be anything really. A solid base for your roller coaster to sit on is key to keeping the track from moving around while the train is running. If you can keep the track work sturdy, this will help maintain as much speed as possible.

After the base, I tend to construct a 1-2 foot long section of loose track. I then hold this track where I would like it, and build the supports to hold it. I find this way works the best to keep the track smooth as you go.

Step 4: Construction - Turn

Picture of Construction - Turn

Pretty much just like the loops, I found a reference picture and tried to recreate it to the best of my ability.

As you can see in the third picture, I started laying out where the base was going to sit for the next elements. I kept referencing the google map aerial view in this process.

Step 5: Construction - Corkscrews & Helix

Picture of Construction - Corkscrews & Helix

Continuing onward with the corkscrews and brake run. Sadly I had to use a chain on the brake run as I was running out of speed.

Step 6: Construction - Station

Picture of Construction - Station

The last little bit of construction. Stations always take a while for me to build as they consist of a lot of parts.

Step 7: Motor Mounts

Picture of Motor Mounts

Since the model was going on display, I wanted a stronger motor to power the lifthill. I did a CAD drawing for a motor mount, which then got CNC cut. The motor I purchased can be found here:

I'm very happy with the performance of this set-up. It gives me a very sturdy system that works well with standard K'nex parts.

Step 8: Final Setup

Picture of Final Setup

Everything was taken apart into section's and transported to be put on display.

The base of the ride was made from 7 sheets of plywood, sonotube (tubes they use to make concrete posts out of) and some green carpet. It turned out well and was super sturdy. Overall dimensions were about 30 feet long x 6 feet wide x 4 feet high.

Having the train lubricated is crucial to keep your model running smoothly. I recommend silicone spray, use a little bit on each wheel axle. I tend to re-lubricate every month or so of continuous running.

Step 9: Notes

If you are looking to build roller coasters I highly recommend this website: There are many tutorials for certain elements with helpful members who can guide you on the construction process.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions, I will do my best to try and answer them.


Ethan1023 (author)2016-04-15

That's just ridiculous. I love it!

master-splinter306 (author)2015-08-28

Great job man!

KnEx FrEaK 1 (author)2015-08-08

I really like the coaster cleanliness

Lolman4000 (author)2015-06-08

Nice, First prize! You deserve it, that's an amazing build. It's nice that you win a rollercoaster with the same tracks that you use for your builds!

Thanks! I'm happy I won the roller coaster as well, it's the only set out of all the prizes that i'd actually use.

Gargamel-Knex (author)2015-05-31

WooaaaW ! Congratulations ! You are a finalist ;)


Knex2thelimit (author)2015-05-30

Congrats on being selected as a finalist!


ArekG (author)2015-05-10

Zorn Industries (author)ArekG2015-05-10

There are a few Arrow roller coasters with a very similar layout.

ArekG (author)2015-05-10

AyushR (author)2015-05-03

Im left speechless...

KNEXnCoding (author)2015-04-26

This is absolutely amazing. I dream for the day I'll have the classic track parts. To be totally honest, I hate micro K'NEX tracks.

I'm entering in hope for at least the first prize but seeing all these other great people such as you I doubt I'll make it. I would love for that Son of Serpent rollercoaster.

Thanks! I'm not a big fan of the micro K'nex either.

Wish you the best of luck in the contest!

Thanks! You too!.

KNEXnCoding (author)KNEXnCoding2015-04-26

Wait, is your YouTube knexpert06?

Yep, that's me.

hunter999 (author)2015-04-23

Neat. Not just neat, almost perfection lol! Correct me if I am wrong but was this on sscoasters? Grats on the feat also!

Yea, I post all of my roller coasters on sscoasters. Thanks!

Amazing! :D I think this will take grand prize for sure, unless Shadowman posts Citadel or something :-).

Unfortunate for me I have exams. It would be cool though to post and win for 3 consecutive times this contest. Thanks for the follow also, I returned the favour!

Thanks and good luck with your exams!

Trask b (author)2015-04-25

How much do you think a roller coaster like this would cost.

Zorn Industries (author)Trask b2015-04-25

It really depends where you buy your K'nex from. If you're patient and watch eBay for good deals, find sets at a goodwill or second hand store, you can probably build a roller coaster this size for around $500-750 USD. If you purchase parts from K'nex directly, you'll be spending several thousand dollars.

gravityisweak (author)2015-04-22

Holy crap, that is an incredibly impressive build! How many total hours did that take you? Does it still exist, or did you take it apart after its display?

Thanks! I spent around 150 hours in building and setting it up. As with all my roller coasters they eventually get taken apart. :(

makeosaurus (author)2015-04-20


Mr. Noack (author)2015-04-19

This is really cool! This was always one of my favourite coasters because it was tucked away in the corner and I could ride it over and over again without getting off when it wasn't busy at the park. What was the display for if you don't mind me asking? Was this a commissioned piece?

Thanks! It was built for the children's museum here, every year they have an engineering week where they have some K'nex set up for kids to build things. I asked if I could build a roller coaster for display, in which they said yes. They ended up liking it and it stayed set up for about 6 months.

ctzeckas (author)2015-04-19

WOW! That is an awesome Roller Coaster. I can see that alot of skill,creative planning and hardwork was put into this amazing design.

Zorn Industries (author)ctzeckas2015-04-20


EverythingAbby (author)2015-04-16

Can you add a video of it in action? Great job by the way.

Video should also be right after the first 3 pictures, let me know if it doesn't work for you. Thanks


Espariz (author)2015-04-18

Incredible Job!

sandroknexmaster (author)2015-04-18

Very useful! That coaster looks great!

jamescox (author)2015-04-17

I love that coaster!

Zorn Industries (author)jamescox2015-04-18


BrettHacks (author)2015-04-17

Amazing job! Voted.


pearlshah (author)2015-04-18

nice one.voted :)


Knex Lego Maniac (author)2015-04-16

Excellent build!


viralsurvivor (author)2015-04-17

I think the forces are smaller at smaller scale and I mean more than scale - which overall means you can pull tighter turns and more G force at this small scale compared to the real life ones you are scale modeling from. There is an equation but I don't know it. it's the same reason why a small bug can withstand a fall at its own scale but a giant bug on a giant scale would not survive because the G forces become more than scale.

The tightest turn on a K'nex model is determined by the design of the train car. The difference between a model and real roller coasters is that real roller coasters cannot have G forces which are harmful to the riders. Where a model it doesn't matter, so you can make turns as tight as you want. There is a lot of variables that come into play in a K'nex roller coaster like the weight of the train or stiffness of track that will determine the forces. I'm no where near smart enough to figure out what the difference of force would be if you scaled down a curve of a roller coaster, and translated it into K'nex.

dzcz63. (author)2015-04-16

Very proud of you my son!

CJStephens (author)2015-04-16

Awesome job! you really did good one this one.


About This Instructable




More by Zorn Industries:Dragon Fire - K'nex model roller coasterFunctional Nintendo Controller Coffee Table
Add instructable to: