Wooden Roller Coaster Model (Engels/English)




Deze Instructable is in het Engels.
Voor de Nederlandse versie, klik hier goo.gl/zz6BA

This Instructable is in English.
For the Dutch instructables please click here: goo.gl/zz6BA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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:



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    47 Discussions


    Question 2 months ago on Step 5

    Where did you get the Flexible wood?


    2 years ago

    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.)


    2 years ago

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

    João Lucas1234

    4 years ago

    Who make the loop of this type of coaster?


    4 years ago

    How long is the MDF board?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    * 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?


    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction


    - 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.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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!!


    8 years ago on Introduction

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


    8 years ago on Introduction


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



    8 years ago on Step 9

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

    5 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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)?