Engineer builds miniature self-launching roller coaster

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Sometimes you come across a project so exciting you want to share it with the world. This is the case with Dan Fritsche’s 3D printed miniature roller coaster. The project took nearly 3,000 parts and 900 hours to create, and Fritsche told us exactly how he did it.

He started by prototyping the train, the goal was to make it functional from the start, but this strategy had its drawbacks as he will explain later. It took him three iterations and slight redesigns, but in the end “I was able to figure out the best way to scale down the build to a full size gear and still maintain all the necessary degrees of freedom and clearances”, Fritsche said. THAT IS TO SAY.

The next step for him was to come up with a short and simple layout. He had to keep it short and simple because it was still a proof of concept at this point, a proof of concept that he could turn into something complete.

Source: Dan Fritsche for IE

He explains, “Once I designed and tuned a layout in NL2, I exported the spline coordinates and imported them into Fusion 360 where I modeled everything by hand. It was all relatively simple, but extremely time-consuming — around 600 hours for the train, track, columns, station, launch, brake run, etc.”

Engineer Builds Miniature Self-Launching Roller Coaster With 3,000 Parts
Source: Dan Fritsche for IE

Fritsche added that he had already prototyped the launch mechanism about a year before starting his project and that throughout the 3D modeling process he was printing parts as he went, so he could verify the design in minutes. minutes to a few hours.

Engineer Builds Miniature Self-Launching Roller Coaster With 3,000 Parts
Source: Dan Fritsche for IE

“The last thing was to automate everything, so I put micro servos where the movement was needed. Then, with the help of a friend of mine, I wrote some simple code to make the mechanism work. the launch pad, the brakes, the station doors, and the drive tires,” Fritsche said, adding that writing the code was the hardest part of his entire ordeal.

Engineer Builds Miniature Self-Launching Roller Coaster With 3,000 Parts
Source: Dan Fritsche for IE

Fritsche now has some great advice for future designers of 3D printed roller coasters: “I highly recommend slowing down and not immediately tackling a working model. Start small and progress with a static train and track design after have a solid base of 3D modeling knowledge.”

Engineer Builds Miniature Self-Launching Roller Coaster With 3,000 Parts
Source: Dan Fritsche for IE

Fritsche has a degree in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University and is currently working on a Weebly website where he will present a deeper insight into the process behind his project, he also has an Instagram account and a YouTube channel.

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