I recently stumbled across a website with some incredible looking theme park concepts and I just had to know more! The inventor and owner of the website agreed to answer a few of our questions.
CB: My name is Camiel Bilsen and I’m a student at a technical university in Eindhoven the Netherlands. I started my own company in October 2012 named Coaster-Lab and I’m a designer at Gerstlauer Amusement Rides GmbH. My passion for Roller coasters started a long time ago. Ever since I can remember roller coaster fascinated me because of the technology behind them but also because they give us a feeling that we can’t get in daily life. The Rush, the adrenaline has always kept me going and I knew I wanted my hobby to become my job.
C101: How and why did you get involved in the amusement park industry? What fuels that passion you spoke of?
CB: As stated above, the speed the height the technology always fascinated me. There was nothing keeping me from getting into the Amusement Industry. In my opinion the ideal way of life is to do what you love.
C101: One of the first concepts that stand out to me on your website is the ejector seat (I’m a big fan of airtime). Can you explain how this concept works and how you came up with the idea?
CB: The Ejector Coaster was one of my first ideas. This concept revolves around “the next generation of airtime” is what I call it. This seat is designed in a way that it will slide out and lift up whenever negative G-forces are present meaning that your feet will lift up from the floor making you feel as if you are about to fly out of the coaster car.
C101: That sounds incredible! Where did you get the inspiration for the trick tubes waterslide concept? What material would the fake wall be made out of?
CB: This concept is all about tricking rides with optical illusions. The slide needs to be pitch black from the inside to really make the concept come alive. Somewhere in the middle of the slide there is going to be a transition. In this transition, guests will take a sharp right turn but that not what they will be expecting. In this fake piece of tubing, light artifacts or even a 3D screen can be placed to fool the riders in the wrong direction. Guests will see the lights at the end of the fake piece and automatically think to themselves: that’s the direction I’m going to. But what they don’t know is that they are looking into a fake piece of waterslide which isn’t even accessible cause it’s closed off with a transparent wall so that riders can still see through it. Riders are going to be intensely surprised by this sudden change of direction.
C101: You’ve got some great pictures on your website. One of our most asked questions is “what programs do roller coaster designers use?” What software do you use on a daily basis and what program was used to create the renderings?
CB: The program I use the most is SolidWorks 2012. With this great CAD program I design and render most of my coaster concepts such as the ejector coaster, TrickTubes and all my coaster trains. Some other programs that I use are: Google Sketchup Pro 8, Anim8or, TackPackager, Construction Kit, Newton2, NoLimits 1.8 and finally Rhinoceros3D 5.0.
C101: What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the amusement park industry?
CB: If I would have to give advice to someone who is trying to get into the Industry it would be that you should always have faith in your own designs. I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve seen someone giving up on their designs because they thought it was too crazy or just not good enough. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the Industry it is that these crazy ideas really do come alive and that these people are needed to stimulate innovation.
C101: Great advice! What are your future plans? What are your career goals?
CB: For my future plans I would very much like to continue working for Gerstlauer. I also plan to continue visiting every Amusement park Trade shows such as the IAAPA. Of course I will go on designing more things in the future as it is my true passion. But it is my absolute goal to see one of my designs to become an actual existing ride that everybody
C101: Since this is for Coaster101 I have to ask, do you have a favorite roller coaster?
CB: My all time favorite roller coaster would be Top thrill dragster. That might seem a little cliché but I just love to go that fast and high with only lap bars holding me in the train.
Top Thrill Dragster is an exciting ride. Thanks again to Camiel for taking the time to answer our questions and we hope we’re able to take the ejector seat coaster and his other creations for a ride one day soon!
To see more of Camiel’s concepts and designs check out Coaster-Lab.