Step 5: Corners and Tricks
This is where track making can get a little tricky and requires yet more trial, error and more trial.
Start off by having a think about track layout - remember you are relying on gravity to get the ball travelling around the track. You can get away with very slight gradients to get the ball moving slowly. You can include sharper drops for loops and jumps but bear in mind that this will get your ball to the bottom of your track much more quickly.
Increased ball speed also means that some corners may need to include side barriers to keep the ball on the track. These are the things that you will find whilst building your own track.
Start off by trying to make a corner piece. Make a section of straight track with a few sleepers, then take the track out of the jig and convince round into as smooth a curve as possible with your hands. Do one track rail at a time.
Once you have something that looks pretty much right, put the straight at the other end back into the jig and solder on your sleepers. You can then add sleepers to the corner section too, making sure that you keep the gauge of the track as consistent as possible.
Test your corner out and see if the ball bearing runs smoothly around it. Once you have done this, start thinking about other sections of track to make.
Remember that you can make your track modular to a certain extent: make corners, straights, loops and so on individually. You can then start to assemble the pieces into a rollercoaster.
Experiment with different track pieces and peculiarities - loops and screws are fun. We also made a small jump with a cage to catch the ball bearing, and a swinging bridge in an earlier prototype.