Entrust You Kid’s Life To A Homemade Roller Coaster?

So you fancy yourself as an amateur engineer? Been working on those welding skills for a while? The real test is to trust your children’s lives on a roller coaster you’ve designed and built (translated).

Now we’re not talking some tired old carnival ride like the teacups. This is a full-blown roller coaster, complete with an upside-down loop. The ride starts off with a chain-lift to the top of the garage/barn roof. From there it’s off and away on the single-rider train. We’d recommend keeping your hands and feet inside the car… if there was a car. The ride utilizes an automobile seat, but you’ll have to settle for a lap-belt as there’s no shoulder restraint here. We’re a bit wary of the track footings – we’d bet they’re not well anchored in the ground – but the fact that the entire length of track has been painted makes us think that [John Ivers] might have known at least a little bit about what he was doing. Don’t forget to catch the video below the fold.

Update: Much better video now embedded after the break thanks to [Tom 101’s] link in the comments.

Update: Source link changes to the original thanks to [Mike’s] comment.

Well produced overview of the coaster:


Quick and dirty demo:


[Thanks Andrew]

49 thoughts on “Entrust You Kid’s Life To A Homemade Roller Coaster?

  1. speaking of darwin, can you think of anything less adaptive than killing your own *child*? that’s probably evolutionarily worse than killing yourself, for humans that only have a couple kids anyway. *definitely* a darwin contender.

  2. My neck as in pain from whiplash I received from being in one of the roller coasters at Great Adventure and I can’t help but think that you would receive the same from this one due to the sharpness in the loop.

  3. It needs more than just a back head rest. Side bolsters for the head too. Look how their heads are thrown about as they go around those curves and through the loop. Probably the only thing saving them from serious neck injury is the fact that the upper torso isn’t locked in with a 5 point harness.

  4. When you consider all the coasters built from the 40s (or earlier) that generally worked this isn’t a far stretch.

    Think of the last plane ride or your car and the people that put it together. The engineering can be great but it’s still put together at some point by a guy who is way more concerned about what he’s going to do as soon as he can punch out from his crappy job.
    If you’re building your own coaster, you’re likely not going to cut corners. Mistakes maybe, but I’d bet you’d tend to over engineer than under.

  5. I work in a theme park (Silver Dollar City, MO) and run coasters for a living.

    Overall, the track design looks okay. The support frame follows a standard design, as does the bracing under the rails.

    The materials overall are a lot smaller than I’m used to seeing. Most rails are at least 2″ pipe, and the under-track frame usually starts around 6″. OTOH, most coasters seat 8-12 people, carry hundreds or thousands of people per day, and have a working lifespan of about 25 years. That takes a lot of extra strength. I can’t say whether this coaster is strong enough without seeing a complete engineering analysis, but it looks fairly solid in the video.

    The ‘oh HELL no’ point for me is the lack of a braking and safety system. Every chain lift has a slotted rack beside it, and every car has a toggle known as the ‘rollback prevention pawl’ which fits the rack. That’s what makes the ‘click-click-click’ sound universally associated with going up a hill in a coaster. If the chain breaks, the motor fails, or the lift pawl comes loose, the anti-rollback system keeps the train from coming back down the hill backwards.

    Coasters are also designed around a principle called ‘blocks’, which are sections of track with some kind of brake at the end. The first rule of safety for coasters is never to allow more than one train in the same block at the same time. That’s moot here because there’s only one vehicle, but the only thing that stops forward motion on this one is the lift hill itself.

    The other thing real coasters have is a crew of mechanics who do daily maintenance and inspection, plus operating standards that say, “if you think there *might* be a mechanical problem, shut it down until the mechanics can check it out.” That’s where this one will be dangerous, assuming it continues to be used. Metal fatigue and wear will accumulate, early warnings will be missed or ignored, and something will eventually break in a scary way.

  6. I really ~really~ want to be impressed with this guys engineering prowess, his mad welding skills, his patience and vision. Because, lets face it they’re all impressive.

    But all I can think of is what kind of f-ing idiot would strap his kid into this with only a lap belt. Just goes to show all the talent, drive, and ambition in the world can’t make up for a little common sense.

    1. I’m guessing he did something like stick a egg or a blow-up doll in the chair to make sure it didn’t fall out. And what makes anyone think that’s his kid? Maybe he kidnapped the kid to turn into a future carnie. Check yer milk cartons.

  7. @mstone
    It doesn’t need an anti-rollback because there is only one car if the lift were to fail what in the world is it gonna smash into :P, Ill agree on breaks tho just one section to stop it from going in a continuous loop.

  8. He’s going to break his neck doing that, anyone who knows anything about roller coaster design knows that a circular loop gives you whiplash and he should have built a teardrop loop. But that past, it looks good.

  9. Whats everyone complaining about the Russian site states “homemade American roller coster”. Now that whiplash looks likes its going to hurt after the 4th or 5th time doing the loop.

  10. I agree with Mike, I would get on it too, seriously what is the worst that could happen on that coaster? Maybe fall out of the seat going around that loop and fall on your head??

    Unless you’re elderly or extremely frail, that would be sore as hell, but it wouldn’t kill you. It’s such a TINY roller coaster, why are people freaking out?

    Has anyone here ever been on a real roller coaster? You know those ones that make you feel like you’re gonna die, DESPITE the 5 point harness system and whatever else they can strap you in with.

  11. Epic win in my book.

    on a side note:
    “Bond being excited about coasters as he is was offered a ride on the Blue Flash. No we did not send him up the lift and through the loop but John strapped him in and pushed him back up the helix and then let him go just like he does for his grandchildren.” from negative-g.com

  12. As far as lap belts go, I’ve been on wooden coasters that, while not having a loop in them, went way fast and generated way more lateral Gs than that thing does with just a lap bar.

    I would be worried a bit about the strength of that seat under those repeated loads though.

  13. Dear hackaday: I _really_ hope that 100% of your readers with kids know WITH CERTAINTY whether this is within their reach.

    As a parent, I would be devastated to find that someone tried to ape this unsuccessfully and tested an unready knockoff on their own child with grave consequences. It’s a really cool idea, don’t get me wrong, and I didn’t even view the source link, but the pic of the kid in the modified car seat just shakes me up a little — and I’m not a person who is normally able to experience fear or nervousness.

    1. Well said, there’s quite a few comments on safety issues, maybe the guy thought about it for more than an hour and then designed it with reliability in mind instead of what ifs, then used the words “hang on tight” as the various riders strap themselves in.
      The lack of safety features is what makes it safe, people respect stuff that looks dangerous, imagine driving a modern car with 1960s brakes, no driver seat belt or air bag, obviously the passengers get them, in the center of the steering wheel there is a big dagger facing the driver, how carefully would you drive?

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