K’nex Coaster Models

As a mechanical engineer and a roller coaster enthusiast, I have always wanted to design or build roller coasters. While I may never get the chance to work on a real one, I have built several coasters out of K’nex back in the day. You remember K’nex right? The plastic rods and connectors which you connect together to form all kinds of contraptions. I recently found some pictures I took of my creations and would like to share them with you today. First, a few notes:

-I built everything with the original K’nex Roller Coaster set, way before the Screamin’ Serpent models came out.

-This is my parent’s basement before they remodeled. Why they would ever want to get rid of that carpet and furniture is beyond me.

-Sorry the quality of the pictures isn’t better. This was before I had a digital camera. I really wish I had been able to get video of these running too. Maybe I’ll have to rebuild them someday.

Now on to the models!

Intamin Giant Drop Tower: Wind the crank and pull the car to the top of the tower. When it reaches a certain point the hooks automatically disengage and the car plummets to the ground. The car is slowed by two brake fins protruding out of each side of the tower which use rubber bands to slow the car, and actually give it a little bounce back up for a nice pop of air.

Intamin Free Fall: Inspired by the former Demon Drop at Cedar Point, this is a fully functional Intamin Free Fall ride. The car has 6 wheels in a triangular configuration. Wind the crank and the elevator hoists the car to the top with chains. The car moves forward on its own but you have to manually disengage the mechanism that lets the car drop down the track and into the brake run.

Inverted Coaster: My attempt at an inverted coaster. Didn’t get very far with this model but I did prove it is possible to do.

Intamin Style Track: I attempted to make a roller coaster without using the supplied tube track, more in the Intamin style. It worked well for straight-aways but I never did figure out how to put a curve in.

Hypersonic Hill: Recreated Hypersonic’s first hill, just because. Non-working model.

Vekoma Tilt Coaster: This is the tilt coaster recreation. The car arrives at the top via your typical chain system but is then stopped at the apex of the hill. The track is tilted 90 degrees and a mechanism is switched. The car flies straight down then completes the rest of the circuit.

4D Coaster: My best creation was probably the S&S Arrow 4D coaster. This was built before X opened at Six Flags Magic Mountain. All I had to go by was a short video of a car being run through the test track at Arrow’s facility.  The Lego people riders do a backflip over the camel back hill. I only had enough track to make the one hill. The car used a ton of wheels and was pretty heavy, similar to the real ride.

That’s all! I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

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5 Responses

  1. Derek says:

    Wow, that’s pretty impressive stuff. I’ve tried to do things like that in the past, but always failed epically.

    But you’re right – why would your parents ever want to change out that awesome carpet and couch?

  2. John says:

    Amazing! I have a lot of respect for anyone with the patience to build those awesome creations!

  3. Nick says:

    Thanks! I really wish I had gotten video of these creations in action.

  4. James M says:

    Wow! This really is amazing. Great job man especially the 4D coaster, that looks like it was a pain to make. The Intamin Free is just jaw dropping! 🙂

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