Upcycle Inspiration: Roller-coaster

I want to build a roller-coaster for my upcycle project. The material used in the project will be mainly cardboard. This is the base of the roller-coaster and will act as rails for the “roller coaster”. I am going to utilize the double cone so that the “roller coaster” will stay on the track and stay centered. Here is a link to a video by RWTH Aachen University explaining the phenomenon. I plan to use plastic (or paper) cups to roll down the cardboard rails. Here is another link from Numberphile and Tadashi Tokieda explaining the  phenomenon.


Image: LInk by George Retseck

My inspiration is taken by the tooth pick roller coaster built by Scott Weaver. As well as the marble races done by Jelle’s Marble Races. I would say the video from Numberphile is my main inspiration. I currently have plans to make a simple version before creating a larger and more complicated piece for the main project. The upcycle project will test out the success of this idea. I plan to cut the cardboard and paint to apply another aesthetic to this project.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • I am excited to see the turnout of this project! I watch marble Olympics with my friends more often than I would like to admit. It always fascinates me how he comes up with so many different marble events and courses, what material do you plan to use for the track? Each student should bring a marble and we do time trials as a class, that would be hilarious!

  • Davis Robertson
    February 9, 2020 5:08 pm

    Sounds like a cool project! I’m curious about the scale of the roller coaster you have in mind. I imagine it won’t be nearly as elaborate as the toothpick coaster, but do you plan on having multiple twists and turns, or just a simple hill (and loop) like the George Retseck image? Either way I’m curious to see it in action!

  • Nicole Leon-Molina
    January 29, 2020 9:47 pm

    Hell yeah! I feel like this is gonna be really awesome once it’s put together. You say you’ll be using plastic or paper cups to run along the track. I wonder if that’ll work on the first try or if you’ll have to do some manipulations to keep it centered on the track like in the video. Depending on how you build the roller, I wonder if Legos would be useful in helping you distribute the weight nicely.

    • I was thinking if I need to make it heavier in the center. I could use clay or maybe another material to help bind the two cups together. That material could be larger than the cups so that it’d have to stay on the track (however it would rub on the track possibly creating some problems). I think I am more worried about twists and turns. I play to cut into the cardboard so I can bend them allowing it to be flexible.


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