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Designing Rides


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In much the same way as Pixar have taken existing software packages and altered them to better fit their needs, coaster companies also have personalised software packages that focus and excel in the specific areas they will be required for.

 

Therefore they will be using uniquely commissioned programs (or mods of existing programs) which will not be available to anyone else.

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They don't design them in CAD

 

I don't know exactly how it works, but they have their own programs in which they can enter desired force vectors and it produces the desired result.

 

They then represent the ride in 3D through a CAD like program such as 3D VIP

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They don't design them in CAD

Preliminary drawings must be done at some point to show design intent. And those my friend are done by a drafter using CAD software. The design must be done before they can measure forces. Then the designs can be revised after those results are known.

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They don't design them in CAD

 

I don't know exactly how it works, but they have their own programs in which they can enter desired force vectors and it produces the desired result.

 

They then represent the ride in 3D through a CAD like program such as 3D VIP

 

Ok, lets learn something today!

 

CAD:

 

Computer

Aided

Design

 

So technically, if they design it with a computer, the program is CAD.

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Basically it's a bunch of splines in a CAD program. The splines are generated by mathematical formulas by a program like Maple (actually, the program used is Maple...), which also calculates forces.

 

You then have a CAD drawing that you can use to generate site plans/blueprints for ride contruction/fabrication and you have a roller coaster! Of course, that's a very, very simplified version of what actaully happens.

 

 

You can see how this is useful in designing a coaster:

 

http://www.maplesoft.com/products/Maple11/professionals/index.aspx

 

and

 

http://www.maplesoft.com/engineering_design/index.aspx

 

 

Check out the first demo in the second link. Amazingly powerful stuff...

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They don't design them in CAD

 

I don't know exactly how it works, but they have their own programs in which they can enter desired force vectors and it produces the desired result.

 

They then represent the ride in 3D through a CAD like program such as 3D VIP

 

Ok, lets learn something today!

 

CAD:

 

Computer

Aided

Design

 

So technically, if they design it with a computer, the program is CAD.

 

No, because if I make a flyer and print it with my computer is that CAD? Going by your definition it is.

 

I am a computer geek so I know what CAD means.

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Premier Rides uses Solidworks for the mechanical side of design, as for the track design itself it is very mathematics intensive (3d parametric equations out the ass) in which every company approaches it a different way. Some just outsource the dynamics and statics calculations to be done by a vendor such as Stengel, while some do it in-house such as Moher Sohne in which they have their own software (check out XTRAC). Some companies use a more numbers-based visualization system such as spreadsheets (which I prefer) while others will use a much more visual approach such as the XTRAC software.

 

As for the NoLimits software and such, that is still used but mostly for "blue-sky" stuff, imagining up layouts and doing quick testing to see if it would work, whether clearences seem good, and if it is exciting. The engineering work is completely different.

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There are a number of DVDs available that explain how coasters are conceived using Computer Aided Design programs. I have pasted a write-up of one such example (from the Media Library) below, which features John Wardley.

 

[DVD 58] REAL SCIENCE: DESIGNING THRILL RIDES FROM START TO FINISH. [DVD-R / 2004 / 25 MINS]

This programme travels to the home of Colossus - the world’s first ten-inversion steel roller coaster – to reveal the physical, mechanical, and psychological forces that make the roller coaster the undisputed king of thrill rides. Concepting, computer-assisted track design, 3D simulation, track construction, and car safety mechanisms are covered by some of the experts who know roller coasters best. The goal? Pulse-pounding speed and mind-blowing disorientation through the manipulation of potential and kinetic energy and plenty of positive and negative Gs.

 

Simon Baynham

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