Friday, June 25, 2010

Cantilevered Roller Coaster Kinematics Test

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Taste of Things to Come...

Lower chasis for the Cantilevered Coaster concept, designed in Catia V5 and rendered with 3D Via.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

ASTM Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices

I am sending in my application today to join the ASTM Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices. ASTM International (which stands for American Society for Testing and Materials) is one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world- a trusted source for technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services. The F24 Committee was formed in 1978. F24 meets twice a year, usually in February and October, with approximately 100 members from around the world attending two or three days of technical meetings. The Committee, with current membership of approximately 500 members, currently has jurisdiction of 17 standards, published in the Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Volume 15.07. These standards have and continue to play a preeminent role in all aspects important to amusement rides and devices.

Membership fee is $70 per year. You get a free volume of one of their standards so I figure at the very least I am just buying another textbook, as well as putting it on my resume. At the most, I hope to meet many individuals involved in the amusement industry and maybe even help set some of the standards!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Who is Will Koch? Forever Remembered

Who is Will Koch? He is probably the closest person to Walt Disney I will ever get. A little more than twelve hours after returning from another amazing trip to Holiday World, I read the stunning news that the president and owner, Will Koch, had passed away. The news was completely shocking and surreal to me. I just saw him in the park on Saturday, checking out the operations on his newest creation, Wildebeest, and making sure all the guests in line were staying hydrated and cool. Now he is gone.

Saying hi to Will in the park was like an attraction all on its own. He was the Walt Disney of our time. Holiday World has the best public relations and customer service of any park I've ever been to, and that comes straight from the top.

I saw Will's mom, Pat, outside the front entrance on Saturday and Sunday morning and to hear that she was in the exact same place on Monday morning after all this, wow, just wow. There are a few videos of her online and they are different to watch. Very emotional.

I will greatly miss Will's passionate video explanations of how his rides worked. A fellow coaster enthusiast and engineer, he touched many lives. Today, I find myself asking, how can I be more like Will? How can I help as many people as he has? How can I make as many people smile as he did?

"If you hear thunder today don't worry, it's just heaven's new wooden roller coaster."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Amusement Park Operations

I should also give some back-fill to those who might not be aware of one aspect of a park's operations. On a day-to-day basis, there are down-time reports generated that cover all of a parks rides and attractions. Any time a ride is non-operational, it gets logged on a report. There are three main reasons a ride/attraction can be coded as down:

Weather is what you would expect and is the only "uncontrollable." Operational down-time is anything related to operator errors, guest issues, bio clean up, etc and gets charged against the operations department. Finally, mechanical down-time is just that, anything resulting from a mechanical, electrical, or technical perspective causing a ride to go down and is charged against the maintenance department. Using this information, the park can keep track of trends and issues pertaining to a certain ride/attraction and use it as a pro-active tool to keep the ride up and operating (preventive maintenance). Sometimes it's as simple as retraining employees if a ride has a lot of operationals or it could mean closer examination of systems needs to be monitored by the maintenance department.

Fun Facts: Disney Hollywood Studios Tower of Terror

The Tower of Terror located at Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) is probably my all time favorite Disney attraction. Here are some fun facts about the attraction from a mechanical engineering perspective that you may not have read before.


The library show doors are hydraulically controlled from their own hydraulic supply which is
electrically controlled from the control panel in the library area. The exit doors from the library are pneumatic and are electrically controlled by actuators. There are two sets of sliding wall doors.

Located throughout the boiler room queue are steam leak effects. The system utilizes air water atomization nozzles to simulate leaking steam to create a creepy atmosphere.

The two elevator machinery props are located at the load level between load queue A and B
and load queue C and D. They simulate a failing elevator drive motor.

The Ride

The ride consists of six elevator lifts: four in the back and two main drop towers in the front. Cars from two of the back lifts feed into one of each of the front lifts via a hallway. The back four lifts are named A, B, C, D and the front two lifts are called E and F respectively. If one of the two main lifts is broken the ride's capacity is essentially cut in half (one of the reasons all the other versions of the Tower of Terror throughout the world have three lifts- if one goes down capacity is only cut by a third instead of half).

The ride vehicles are automated, wire guided and powered from battery banks. They crawl from one of the back lifts down a hallway to the other set of lifts. This is called the "fifth dimension." There are five charger stations to convert induced AC power to DC power in order to maintain a steady power supply for the ride vehicles.


The two sliding screen effects are located on the fifth dimension level and are controlled

The star field doors are located on the fifth floor. They consist of two doors on E-Lift and two doors on F-Lift where the guests look out on the fifth dimension.

The pneumatically controlled Sparker special effects are used on the Hollywood Tower sign on the outside of the tower building, which looks really cool at night.

The projection equipment includes video, fiber optics and film projectors.

The Horton doors are located in electric equipment room, to the right of the service elevator on the
second floor. They consist of three doors on E-side and three doors on F-side where the guests look out on the park.

The two eyeball effects are located on the fifth dimension level and are controlled pneumatically.

Props and special effects are used throughout the attraction. Most run on 110 V supply and are
powered by local outlets. Other effects include: Ghost figures, E=MC2, Clock, and breeze fans which create a ghostly effect located in the corridor scenes, show area, and elevators. 

I've included a really great diagram of the layout of the Tower of Terror attraction. This is a great illustration of how the cars negotiate from the back to the front set of elevators and back again.  Do you have a specific attraction in mind to learn more about? Comment below to request it. Stay tuned for more!

What Would Walt Do?

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