Nearly anyone can build a backyard roller coaster. You can maximize safety while using a minimum amount of science and math. (I took care of that)
Just realize, that at some point in your near future, you will be standing in your hardware store with a bunch a PVC pipe and lumber. Let’s get this on!
What You Will Learn
Start with the Basics
We first need a fundamental understanding of how roller coasters work and what makes them good. There's a little math here, but my spreadsheet makes this much easier to handle.
Design and Build a Cart
A good cart is worth the effort. I've seen some carts made out of wood that may work, but is it worth the risk? I've gone with steel construction and it was fun to learn how to weld and the solid construction worth the effort.
For some, this is the scariest part of building a roller coaster. Will it be good? Will it get all the way around? Will it be safe?
Let's answer all those questions
If you're not screwing up, you're not doing anything. With something as cool and dangerous as a roller coaster. Things are probably going to run afoul. Let' be sure to learn from these things.
Advanced Track Design
Caution - Super Nerdy! If you have ever been banged around on a coaster, it is probably because of bad transitions. Let's learn the source of headbanging and one method that coaster designer use to smooth out transitions.
Exploring Mechanical Launches
So...we built a roller coaster, now what? Well as the old adage for engineers indicates, "If ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features." Well, that is true here. Besides, I'm tired of pulling that rope for everyone (I think they want me to lose weight). Let's strap an engine to this thing and see what happens.
When I was about 14, my brother caught me taping conversations with his girlfriend. I wasn’t being malicious, I just wanted to see if I could wire the phone into my stereo mic.
Well the same goes for this launch system. Can I implement a magnetic launch? We’ll see.