Introduction: Wooden Roller Coaster Model (Engels/English)

Picture of Wooden Roller Coaster Model (Engels/English)

Deze Instructable is in het Engels.
Voor de Nederlandse versie, klik hier

This Instructable is in English.
For the Dutch instructables please click here:

For our physics project, we (Denise and Frank) built a wooden roller coaster model. Using this model, we then calculated the g-forces on the roller coaster. In this instructable we explain how we have built the roller coaster.

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

You will need:

• Ice cream sticks (amount depends on the size of the roller coaster)
• Wood glue
• Skewers (amount depends on the size of the roller coaster)
• Drill
• Drill bit (same size as the skewers)
• Strips lakboard
• MDF board
• Cable clips
• Any other clamps
• Cart. In our case a lego lego train cart with wheels (these wheels have a flange, which ensures that the cart stays nicely on the track)

Step 2: Drilling

Picture of Drilling

Guess how much ice cream sticks you are going ti use.
Drill two holes in each stick, about 0.5 cm from each end.
We had a template that we used every time, so we knew each time that the holes were in the right place.

Step 3: Construction

Picture of Construction

Build the structure in the shape of the roller coaster. Do this by sliding ice cream sticks over the skewers. Create a structure with squares. For some extra firmness you could glue two sticks together and place them diagonal. For added strength you can glue the intersections too. For a better view you can cut off the protruding skewers.

We chose a roller coaster with a hill. You can create your own design by constructing a different structure.

Step 4: Placing

Picture of Placing

Put the final structure on a MDF board. Secure the structure to the board using cable clamps.

Step 5: Creating Tracks

Attach two strips of flexible wood over the skewers. We used the cable clips without the nail, and glued them to the track with woodglue. Keep the space between the strips big enough, so the wheels of the cart can run on the strips. Make sure the two strips are synchronized at any place. This is important otherwise the cart will not drive correctly. To be sure we had the same distance at any place, we used a template that just as wide as the wheels of the cart.

Step 6: Details

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Measure the outer width of the strips. Cut the ice cream sticks to this size and attach it horizontally on the two strips. Keep the width a stick free between the sticks.

Step 7: Tracks

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Attach two strips on the horizontal ice cream sticks. Make sure that the wheels of the cart can run on the vouchers. Again we used the template. If it is not perfect, this is not a disaster.

Step 8: Tracks

Picture of Tracks

Attach an additional lane on the two strips from the previous step. Also use the mold again. Attach these strips precisely because of these strips is driving the cart. If the space is too big or too small will not drive the cart.

Step 9: Finished

Picture of Finished
Here you can see the final result.

Put the cart at the top and let it go. See it racing downhill.
If the cart leaves the track at the hill, you have to let it go at a lower level.

If you have any questions, please ask me.
Please, have in mind I'm from Holland, so my English is not perfect.

Here you can see it in action:


Roselliah (author)2017-06-04

I tweaked the design a bit so the train didn't just fly off. I made it so it could crash into an egg without breaking it. I aced my science class.

( we had to build roller coasters for physics.)

Xiongad2022 (author)2017-05-02

What was the exact Measurement for the bottom piece of wood?

João Lucas1234 (author)2015-06-14

Who make the loop of this type of coaster?

Anar1124 (author)2015-04-16

How long is the MDF board?

sitearm (author)2011-03-27

* Aha! Found the car picture (makes note to self, "scroll right") *

Cool project - "too cool for school" except it WAS school - nice!

My head is filled with questions - please ignore if not interesting:
. How long did you have to build it?
. What did you get for the g-force?
. What did the teacher say?
. Did you get in the paper?

Making a circle in the track would need the track strips to be put on their edges, yes, so they could be bent in a circle?


fraers (author)sitearm2011-03-28


- We worked on it for about 13 hours.
- we devided the track in 4 parts: the big hill, the valley, the hill and the straight track.
big hill: 0.72 g
valley: 2.62 g
hill: -6.22 g
straight track: 0.5 g
- The teachers of our school found it very good.
- We did not get in the paper.

We could make the track into a circle, but we only built this to calculate the g-forces.

maramason (author)fraers2011-10-22

How did you arrive at your calculations for the big hill, valley, etc...?

TANZMEISTER (author)maramason2011-11-07

Newton's Second Law
Force = mass times Acceleration

fraers (author)TANZMEISTER2011-11-20

Yes, for the big hill and the straight track we used that formula, but also another one:
Force = mass * gravitation * sin angle of the hill.

We combined those two formulas so we could calculate the acceleration:
acceleration = gravitation * sin angle of the hill

To get the g-force we divided the acceleration by the gravitation (9,81).

For the valley and little hill we used this formula:
acceleration = (average speed * average speed) / radius of the valley/hill.

To get the g-force we had to divide the acceleration by the gravitation (9,81)

Danny_Payne (author)2011-04-10

Hey, I really wanna make this and continue it round into the circle, maybe even the full coaster, but just wondering how many ice cream sticks you used, I couldn't see anything about it.

fraers (author)Danny_Payne2011-06-12

I don't know how much ice cream sticks we used. We had bought 500 sticks and I think we used about 300. Not all of them are in the roller coaster, some of them broke or were disfigured.

It also depends on the lenght of the rollercoaster how many sticks you need.

I hope you can make a full coaster. Please let me know when it's done!!

tinker234 (author)2011-06-02

hey just a thought this is amazing could i upscale to ride one yours is amazing just a thought

playfulplans (author)2011-04-17


This is an Excellible... thanks so much for sharing it.


slaitch (author)2011-03-23

Oh God, the sound effect. I just watched the video like 30 times for that alone.

D00M99 (author)slaitch2011-03-23

2 minutes of captured curiosity. XD

pineappleattack98 (author)D00M992011-03-24

well duh that's the sound roller coasters make! YAAAAAAHHH!!!!

It sounds even better in 480p!

Pe-ads (author)FuzzyBearGeek2011-03-29

The "p" in 480p stands for pow, right? So it's "480 pow," pow being that extremely complicated scientific measurement of sound (something like pi over wavelength per second)?

pineappleattack98 (author)Pe-ads2011-03-29

no clue. i thought it meant pixels but thats cause im weird=)

wait actually i get it! the people on the roller coaster are screaming cause theyre scared!

Pe-ads (author)slaitch2011-03-28

Press 1 repeatedly :D

bricabracwizard (author)Pe-ads2011-03-28

Thanks, i didn't know that - makes life so much easier having a few tricks up your sleeves!

Pe-ads (author)bricabracwizard2011-03-29

You're welcome! If you want to know, I learnt it from comments on other YouTube videos...

FuzzyBearGeek (author)slaitch2011-03-28

Haha. Me too!

Half-Life (author)slaitch2011-03-27

michaelgohjs (author)slaitch2011-03-27

i have to admit i did the same...

mashedpotato13 (author)slaitch2011-03-26


Spaceman Spiff (author)slaitch2011-03-25

HA HA, that was really unexpected!

chicopluma (author)2011-03-30


Beergnome (author)2011-03-28

First off, Kudos to a great project! I certainly hope your teacher gave you great marks for it!

second, the design you came up with for building it is great, simple, and expandable. the way it is right now is right around the "G-scale" model railroaders would use.

the Basic block makes for a stackable cellular structure that anyone could emulate to build a "full sized ride" with these techniques. anyone that wanted to make it look more "scale could replace the craft sticks with square dowels.

everything is there for making rollar coasters, to bridges. you can move this technique over to civil engineering studies as well!
good job!

augur45 (author)2011-03-27

May we see a photo of the cart?

fraers (author)augur452011-03-27

You can see the cart in Step 1

augur45 (author)fraers2011-03-27

AHA! Didn't see the scroll button on the photo strip... Thanx...

White_Wolf (author)2011-03-27

I love it!
Are you going to work on making a complete ride?

fraers (author)White_Wolf2011-03-27

Thanks. We are not going to work on making a complete ride.

janw (author)2011-03-27

Ziet er leuk uit! Mooi project!

Dream Dragon (author)2011-03-25

What an Amazing project, I've been wondering about something like this for a while, though I'd thought of using "coffee stirring sticks" I think the principles are about the same.

I'm not sure if the Video link is working right, I can't see it at all in the "English version" I had to go to the Dutch version to see the video.

Incidentally, you have no need to appologise for your English, it seems fine to me, and a HELL of a lot better than my Flemish.

fraers (author)Dream Dragon2011-03-27

Thanks for your comment.

BTW in Holland we speak Dutch, not Flemish (that's Belgium)

Dream Dragon (author)fraers2011-03-27

LOL, well I guess that would explain something.

rbbiggs (author)2011-03-27

I don't see the video either

zack247 (author)2011-03-25

very nice!
in theory you could do this and make a full roller coaster, and then use one of those mini rc cars to (possiby) drive the cart!

projects like these are so cool, its one of those ones you could build on a bigger scale, but its just so sweet small scale. 5*s.

alexsolex (author)2011-03-23

your video looks private.... I can't access it.

fraers (author)alexsolex2011-03-23

I've changed it to hidden. hopefully you can access it now.

Emsaid (author)2011-03-23

noice! but your video isnt working... really wanted to see what it look like in action...

scoochmaroo (author)2011-03-23

This is incredible!!

fraers (author)scoochmaroo2011-03-23


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