Inclined 2 Loop

3d models of roller coaster track for the desktop.

My first Alpine Coaster And pov

I just moved jobs. Hence the lack of updates recently. I moved to Germany, home of beer, sausage and travelling rollercoasters, the latter I will hopefully try in October. However after visiting Europapark (review to come) I decided to try something new and not that common in the UK, an alpine coaster. 

Travelling two hours south, past Munich, a Great Wall of mountains meets you, this is the start of the Alps. Winding your way through tiny villages with large, beer producing monasteries, above 3000ft you arrive at ski resorts. In the summer these are full of german families hiking up to the mid mountain cafe, feeling a sense of accomplishment then hiking down again. Not any more.

I got on the chairlift at Kolbensattel near Oberammergau and was going up the mountain, when I saw, descending on the other side of the chairlift two umbrellas.

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It was at this point I realised two things. Alpine coasters are small, no luggage is allowed whatsoever. The second thing I realised was, not everybody is using the chairlift to ride this ride. Some are hiking for 2 hours to get to the top just to ride it down.

I however am a lazy tourist so I enjoyed the gentle swaying of the chairlift all the way to the top, well over 1000ft above.

Alpine coasters, for their size, are technically very advanced. Automated chairlift transport via conveyor belt and hook, detaching via pneumatic ramp, spiral stacking storage, magnetic speed limiting brakes, however, when all is said and done, you are still basically seatbelted to a tea tray with wheels, and believe me, this is a good thing!

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Alpine Coasters are good for anyone, brakes on board mean you can control how exciting an experience you want. Mother and baby can go down at a leisurely pace, taking in the views. Or you can hang back at the top and go hell for leather, up stop wheels banging in the corners and the magnetic brake kicking in whenever you have a steep section of track. It is a great family ride. More exciting than the rollerskater type family coaster at your local theme park but could be tamer than a whacky worm.

I love the scope there is with an Alpine coaster. A mile of mountainside, go play. Drops down pastures and through tunnels, spirals over and under the track, diving curves like a giant slalom skier. The flow is none stop (providing you left a big enough gap to the person in front) no block brake, no mid purse brake run. However, there is a big but. Because you can brake anytime you want, that means you can also come to a complete stop anytime you want. And by extension this means the track always has to be going downhill so the carts don't valley and get stuck. This means apart from one or two pops at the start of drops there is zero airtime on an Alpine Coaster.

I absolutely loved riding the Kolbensattel Alpine Coaster. A really long ride compared to anything at your local park. Better scenery by a long way than almost any theme park. The staff were friendly and helpful but most importantly I had a lot of fun!

www.kolbensattel.de

Phantasialand

Two tier Carousell

Two tier Carousell

Phantasialand, is a park situated not to far away from Cologne and Bonn in the north east of Germany. Approaching the park from one direction leads through housing estates and 'Spielstraße' (where the speed limit is drastically reduced because there is a high probability that children will be playing) this suburban environment gives clues to how the park has developed and challenges it has faced in its growth.

Phantasialand is not a big expansive park, in many respects it seems that all of the attractions are built on top of each other and overlap, with high walls and buildings all around as well. This is shown to the greatest extent on Colorado adventure (formerly the Michael Jackson ride).

Vekoma gets a bad reputation in the industry. It's 'hang and bang' SLC's whilst being a well thought out ride layout unfortunately suffer from being shakey, not helped by their restraints. Their looping roller coasters (Goudurix, I'm looking at you) also suffer from bone shaking, a flaw in both the track design and lower engineering tolerances of the past. That aside, the work Vekoma has done for Disney has been exemplary. Space mountain, de la terre a la lune remains one of my favourite coasters, newer track design on Expedition Everest leads to a great ride aside from the Disney architecture and visuals. But Vekoma stands head and shoulders above the rest in its Runaway train roller coasters. No doubt borrowing from the success of Arrow mine trains in the States, the licence was given to Vekoma and the jewel in the crown is Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland resort Paris. Colorado adventure is however a very competent and fun mine train.

Resplendent in the usual Wild West theming, the ride has 3 separate lift hills and each section has long loops of track in separate barns, crossing the midway and diving down high walls built to screen the screams inside the park to the outside world. The ride is not the typical mine train we are accustomed to. There is little to no 'terrain' built up, instead bridges and buildings are the interaction pieces. The lift hills also are not chains, rather kicker wheels, a shame as I believe the clickety clack of the mine train ratchet adds to the vintage appeal, though the kicker wheels are no doubt due to noise abatement.

The climax of the ride is a drop down into darkness and a dark series of helices, very effective and a lot of fun. It is definitely one of the best mine trains in the world, it just lacks a bit of the charm of others so whilst the ride is top class, the experience isn't quite as memorable.

(Incidentally, it was originally called Colorado adventure, the Michael Jackson ride purely because he opened it.)

One of Phantasialands themed areas is a fantasy/magical/fairytale land. It is of course the children's area of the park and the usual frog hoppers, magic carpets and various wet attractions abound. At the centre of the land is a large round building, this building houses two rollercoasters (probably for noise abatement again). The rollercoasters are two halves of Winjas. Fear and Force are Maurer Söhne spinning coasters, a rollercoaster type that even in off the shelf models (sonic spinball, crush's coaster) give great rides. When they are a custom layout (Dragons fury) they are stunning. Add to that, duelling paths, trick tracks and special effects and you have Winjas, in short, outstanding.

Winjas

Winjas

The ride starts out with a very fast elevator lift, as you ascent the lift, the car is tipped forwards so that at the top of the lift, you are immediately on the top of the first drop and pointing down. The first drops at good and steep, more so than on other spinning rollercoasters. It then pops back up and starts a traditional wildmouse switchback section, encouraging the spin of the cars. The coaster works towards the centre of the building spiralling almost like a plug hole around each other crossing paths with the 'twin' Winja which set off in the opposite direction. The ride then hits a block brake in semi darkness, at which point the track twist both laterally and vertically, pointing you down another drop.  Making the way back to the station there is one more trick up its sleeve, a seemingly straight piece of track suddenly drops away from under you as you are still travelling down it, only to bounce you up to the same level again. The disconcerting part is that the car stays absolutely level throughout. A neat trick.

You don't get any rollercoasters that are more fun than Winjas. Personally I would have liked to see more story through the ride, almost dark ride projections or interactions when the trick tracks happen, however despite this Winjas is a great ride!

Temple of the Night Hawk is proudly proclaimed as European longest indoor rollercoaster. It is a long ride, very long, amplified by the fact that the pace is never that great. The station has very good jungle/Aztec themeing, the queue line preceding it did not. The ride itself is completely in the dark, inoffensive, long, tame and borderline boring. It is how I expect the dated Japanese Jet coasters are like on a warm summers night. Not bad in any way, just not, thrilling.

Maus au Chocolat  

Maus au Chocolat  

I have to take pause and mention some of the other none rollercoaster rides in the park. A glorious two tiered carousel, sets the standard. There are also good dark rides, a toy story mania equivalent interactive shooting ride based in a chocolate factory is good fun, but its immaculately themed queue line steals the show (and leaves you very hungry craving anything sweet). There is launch/drop tower that I didn't get to ride which is completely themed to a castle tower and as such is completely enclosed in a medieval tower (noise reasons again) and a brand new log flume called Chiapas with a very fun airtime hill.

Chiapas log flume

Chiapas log flume

I have to give special mention however, to the chairoplane. It is the centrepiece of one of the themed squares. Looks standard enough however it has metal grating for the floor instead of concrete. When the chairs start to spin around, fountains erupt from the floor underneath. The piece de resistance is when the ride tilts to have the chairs orbiting none parallel to the ground, the fountains change their height accordingly, so at no point on the ride the water is more (or less) than meter from the riders feet. This adds spectacle to what is otherwise a standard theme park ride. It gives a dual purpose water feature, and is fun for riders and none riders alike.

Wonderful Chairoplane (Neptun Wellenflieher) 

Wonderful Chairoplane (Neptun Wellenflieher) 

Nemesis at Alton Towers is one of the best rollercoasters in the world. The ride it is compared to the most is Black Mamba at Phantasialand. This B&M invert is compact, well themed and packs a punch.

Black Mamba

Black Mamba

The station is dark and dramatic. The lift hill takes you up and through African themed buildings (noise) and the first turning drop launches into a vertical loop. Following that everything is a blur. It is basically zero G roll, dive under bridge, helix, repeat. Lots of leg choppers and interactions with the midway. I have read that the tightest helix B&M have ever made is on this rollercoaster. Wherever it was, it lacked the speed, change in elevation and closeness of the terrain that makes Nemesis' helix a star in its own right. Black Mamba is a great rollercoaster. A rollercoaster I could ride and ride again. It just isn't as memorable as others. It's the difference between The Swarm and Flüg der Dämonen. Dragons fury and Sonic Spinball. Manta and Air. I am spoilt to have grown up with Nemesis, it's a tough act to follow and any Invert I go on will automatically be compared to it.

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Phantasialand is a fantastic park, it has no end of great rides and like Alton Towers, it benefits from its restrictions. It is characterful, charming and not overly big. I definitely recommend a visit!

Heide Park

Last year I was fortunate enough to travel to Germany to meet up with friends of mine over there. These trips, of course included theme parks!

Heide park is South of Hamburg and North of Hannover near the town of Soltau.  The park is owned by Merlin but could have been made by Rollercoaster tycoon. The combination of flat rides, various uncommon water rides as well as a few great roller coasters.

Before I talk about those great rollercoasters, the park also has some not so great coasters. Not meaning to put a downer on Vekoma but they have an SLC, which in my opinion are a fantastic layout but just too uncomfortable, they also have an old Vekoma corkscrew rollercoaster which to be fair wasn't as shaky as I expected.

So let's skip to the good bit:  Desert race, an intamin rocket coaster with almost the same layout as RITA at alton towers but with actual themeing unlike RITA. The control box, for example is perched inside a helicopter cockpit. To those unfamiliar with the layout of RITA, it is basically a launch into a figure 8 with one extra loop where every time the tracks cross in the middle there is an airtime hill. The launch is good but not brutal, the positive G's through the turns are fun and the airtime is proper out of your seat negative G's. The one thing the ride misses is any real height, at its highest point it is less than 100ft and with a 60mph launch this means there is not much variation in speed, it needs the top hat element, that would give the ride pace and breathing space, I wish that they had added RITA to the end of Stealth at Thorpe park, that would have made a ride greater than the sum of its parts.

 

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Schweizer Bobbahn was one of the surprises of the trip. A bobsleigh rollercoaster with the station in a typical Swiss building, so far so normal. The ride goes on forever! Three lift hills, tunnels, hills, multiple helices an absolutely insane ride that uses the best of its topography situated on the top of a hill to give a long ride in an unexpected order. My favourite bobsleigh rollercoaster and I don't know that another could beat it.

 

I like Oblivion at alton towers, it's a short one trick pony that does its trick well with good themeing and extensive landscaping. I liked Krake at Heide Park more. As dive coasters from B&M go, this is a small one, 6 across seating and 3 rows. The layout is pretty standard faire, holding brake, vertical drop, Immelmann, bunny hop. However it is the moments in between these elements that add to much to the ride. The vertical drop plunges through the mouth is a sea monster whilst it is in the midst of devouring a ship. You then burst out of the ship skidding over water throwing out rooster tails pluming 50ft in the air behind you. Having the Immelmann straight after this means you look up and see the plume of water chasing the train as you loop over and above it.

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The newest addition to Heide Parks coaster line up is Flug der Dämonen (demon flight) a gothic themed wing rider.

My only wing rider to compare this rollercoaster to is The Swarm at thorpe park. It begins with the diving loop drop similar to Swarms but with a faster transition, missing out on the hangtime at 100ft up. Following is a bunny hop sadly missing any great airtime. The layout that follows besides one Immelmann is mainly zero g rolls interspersed with fan turns. It stays close to the ground so the sense of speed is amplified however in terms of a dynamic layout with the scenery interaction that wing riders are famous for, it sorely loses out.  Don't get me wrong, it is a good ride, well paced and smooth as silk, it just doesn't match up visually or physically to its big brother at Thorpe Park.

 

The Jewel in Heide Parks crown is Colossus. 

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Unfortunately in the UK we lack new wooden rollercoasters being built, so to sample the prototype Intamin prefab was a big deal.

it is currently the tallest sodden rollercoaster in the world, standing over 180ft tall and is an imposing sight of huge airtime hills going off into the distance.

Colossus gives floater airtime on the drops, smooth positive G's at the bottom of the hills and huge ejector air over the crests of the hill. The turnaround is a downward curve with great lateral G forces. The ride finishes up with a helix followed by ever diminishing bunny hops.

It is a great ride, far and away the best wooden rollercoaster I have been on, I would love to sample some of the later Intamin woodies which explore more of the twister type of wooden rollercoaster as opposed to the straight out and back Colossus.

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I would highly recommend a trip to Heide park, a great selection of rollercoasters, large amount of flat rides and water rides, I would recommend looking for discounts, when I went we managed to get a buy one get one free entry offer the day before just by searching online.

It's been too long!

A long time not updating the website, not updating my designs or products or photos. So now an early New Years resolution, starting with a brand spanking new offering.

branching away from rollercoasters but staying in theme parks, I have designed a model of the Haunted house at Alton towers, originally designed by John Wardley. A couple of research trips and lots of photos were taken to get this fine detail model to my standard and I think it's great. 

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Here is the original:

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The great thing about this new model is it is delicate and detailed, it is also hollow which means it's details are highlighted when lit from within. This photo also shows the scale of the model.

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This new model is available through my shapeways shop: 

http://tinyurl.com/kgwpnhy

 

Have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year, Matt

It's Christmas!

Hello everyone! Once again I have had zero time to do anything with the website recently due to having too much work with my day job. Sob story over, I have branched out and made my first example of theme park architecture, stay tuned for tweets in the near future.

Over the Christmas break I plan to work a lot more with software I have to make new track pieces and elements, to start producing them in the new year, I also have my own personal 3d printer due to arrive in the new year which will help to streamline my creative process and make custom work much easier (and cheaper for you). 

 

Have a very Merry Christmas from Inclined2Loop! 

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Price Drops!!

Good news everyone! The service that I use for printing and shipping the models has changed it's pricing. This means YOU are going to save up to $15 per item. Prices now start at $5.

The price of the Steel items has also dropped in price, now starting at $17.50.

There is also two new products to the line-up.

X-Car style track paperweight/talisman

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And tri-rail track style paperweight/talisman.

Click through the links on my website or go directly to my shapeways shop

Homemade track

This post will detail the printing and assembly of the straight track pieces I designed to be printed at home on a consumer 3D printer.

The files can be found here in .stl format. Printing-wise, I used PLA plastic, with a .15 layer height and 50% infill. I also used CURA as my slicer/gcode generator and make sure you use a >15mm skirt for stability during the print and use support structures everywhere.

Once the models are done printing (around 9hrs on an Ultimaker) they should look like this: 

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All of the support structure is still in place, they need tidying up and a little bit of sanding/filing down.

I use readily available tools to do the clean up. Hobby knife, modellers files, sandpaper and side-cut pliers.

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Some of the support structure should just snap off but the supports between the track ties needs more gentle removal to avoid breaking the track.

 

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Once the support structure has all been removed, tidy up the joining surfaces with a small file or sand paper. This just means cleaning up any excess plastic and smoothing it over so the parts will fit smartly together.

 

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I used plastic cement to glue it together but superglue works fine. Apply to the indent of the end and fit the second piece inside. Hold it together with small modelling clamps if you don't to wait an hour for it to go off.

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Once it is clamped you can repeat the process with the remaining piece.

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Once the glue has set. The finishing touch is to sand down the tracks removing any dry glue and smooth through the join lines.

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You are all done! Enjoy your very own 3D printed roller coaster track!

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Did I mention it fits CoasterDynamix trains?

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I'm giving this away for free so I ask just two things. If you show someone this and they think it's cool, point them to my website and, if you print this, take a picture and send it my way, I will be putting it on the blog!

Hope you like it. More to come soon.

And so it begins

The website is up and running and I have a good product line up already. I'm working on a couple more items to go up for sale, and getting a home user 3d printed track piece as well.

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I will keep posting any developments, and hopefully have a couple of home printable .stl files that you can download too.

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The Coaster wars in the UK, 20 years on.

For my first review blog post I thought I would share something a little different.

With the boom in popularity of steel roller coasters in the late 70's and early 80's, Theme parks around the world were vying to out do one another in having the newest, biggest and best. The start of this in the USA was Magnum XL-200, the worlds first hypercoaster.

This then carried on with rides like Millennium force, Top thrill dragster and arguably concluding with Kingda Ka, the (at the time) tallest and fastest rollercoaster in the world, opened in 2005.

In the UK things panned out a little differently.

The Revolution at Blackpool pleasure beach was Europes first looping steel roller coaster. Built in 1979, it is an Arrow shuttle coaster and made waves across the UK.

One year later, a small park with beautiful gardens built around a dilapidated mansion built the Corkscrew. The bright yellow Vekoma Corkscrew put Alton Towers firmly on the map and started off the coaster wars in the UK.

The third park in this particular war was Drayton Manor. At the time they had just started to install bigger rides and gained their first looping roller coaster in 1984. Whilst other parks in the country were opening new rides at the same time, the choice of these three parks to include in my Blog post will soon become clear.

Alton towers, under new management, had been slowly expanding the parks collection of rides. To be a true theme park however, they would need a signature attraction with an underlying theme and backstory. John Wardley started to look at Arrow Pipeline coasters, but was then taken by the new Batman the ride suspended coaster by the Swiss firm Bollinger and Mabillard. This was the Genesis, of Nemesis.

Pleasure Beach Blackpool also wanted to boost attendance, seeing numbers stolen from them by (relatively)nearby Alton Towers. They then began planning the tallest, steepest and second fastest roller coaster in the world. The Big One.

Drayton Manor, like Alton towers, wanted to make its first big investment and first attack on the other UK theme park players and so invested £4 million into a new, state of the art roller coaster and mini land.


The year is 1994. Britains 3 best rollercoasters are opening this year. The final shots across the bow in the UK war of coasters.

Blackpool had the biggest, most spectacular, record breaking hypercoaster. Alton had the first Inverted roller coaster in Europe, but due to the planning restrictions barely has a drop and doesn't get more than 50ft above the ground. Finally Drayton Manor has Europes first stand-up roller coaster, built by Intamin.


20 Years on.

So now, 20 years on, how do they all stack up?


The Shock Wave, Drayton Manor.

the shockwave

Hindsight is 20/20. Stand up roller coasters are uncomfortable and do not allow you to experience the same forces as regular sit down roller coasters. That combined with awkward restraints and slow to load times and you can guess I am not that enamored with this coaster as it stands.

After boarding the trains climb the lift, there is a three stage first drop, the pre drop, a curving banked drop to the left which then straightens and steepens. I like this however there is no perceptible airtime whatsoever. Following the drop is a vertical loop with plenty of hang time, then a zero-G roll (the only heartlined inversion on ANY stand up rollercoaster) which again provides hang time combined with strange rotation dynamics due to the heartline being far above your feet, this is magnified whilst stood in an outside seat. Two corkscrews follow and then a high speed slightly banked run back to the station which is my favorite part of the ride. Being stood up and rushing towards a building where another train is boarding and not having the brakes hit until you are inside the building. It's a fun ending to a ride that was relatively smooth, but short and frankly underwhelming and due to the restraints, uncomfortable.


The Big One, Pleasure Beach Blackpool

the big one

The Big One was built to impress, and it does look impressive. Its is an architectural monument, as recognizable as Blackpool Tower, further down the strip. Unfortunately, in many respects this is style over substance.

Leaving the station you climb the 213ft lift hill, offering amazing views of Blackpool and the Irish sea, If you look behind on a clear day you can also see the Lake district. The first drop is interesting, dropping steeply and banking right over to the right, so far infact that it has to bank back to the left midway down the drop. Its fast, and a little rough, but manageable. It then pulls out of the drop and goes up the first hill, but its a shallow incline, followed by a shallow drop at the other side. There is a great sense of speed near the bottom of the hills, but little to no airtime at all. There follows a turn-around, high in the air designed without the aid of computers showing what force there will be. It is hideously overbanked and leaves riders hanging out of the cars doing what seems like 10mph, 100ft above the arcades and fun houses that adorn the rest of the pleasure beach. after a couple more hills and the mid course brake run, there is a helix which starts out slow and builds in speed before a diving drop into a tunnel which has to be the highlight of the ride. The Big One is a good ride, but only because of the lack of Hypercoasters in the UK, compare it to GE-force or Silver star and it is tame and ill thought out in comparison.

 

Nemesis, ALton Towers

nemesis

There are many reasons that Nemesis is world class.

The queue wanders down into a hole blasted into the side of the hill (one of the fixes on the building restrictions) there are rivers of 'blood' cascading down around you and coagulating in a lake at the bottom of the hole. Eerie music plays. Not a bad start.

The floor drops and you ascend the lift hill, not straying far from the hillside, a pre-drop and banking drop to the left leads into what seems like a 20ft straight drop which inexplicably gives the train enough energy to fly around a corkscrew. The best helix in the world then follows, high G force, skimming a fence, close to the ground before dropping slightly under a path then climbing up, over the station in a zero-g roll. A wingover then leads to the lowest point of the ride, just above the blood lake where a forceful vertical loop awaits. Another stall turn over the midway then drops down into a tunnel with a lightning quick corkscrew at the end of it. Nemesis is forceful and super smooth. Its themeing is great and it interacts beautifully with the landscape. It really is a masterpiece.

 

Welcome to Inclined 2 Loop

This is a pet project, by no means a full time job. I am a roller coaster fan and decided to have a play at CADing up some bits of track, I then thought, hey, why not get it 3dprinted, it would look good on the fire place. I also found that apart from the mass produced toys and diecast models you can find at some parks, there isn't anything like this to buy.

So here is my shop, my designs. If you like them, great!

If you want something more custom, get in touch.

I will be posting here any developments I have in the future. I shall also be posting park/ride reviews if that interests you and some good old iPhone pictures in the gallery.

Thanks for looking, and bear with me while I get the site looking 100%

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