Upcycle Final Report 2020: Cardboard Roller-coaster


My inspiration stems from some of the videos I watched when I was younger. Numberphile gave me a lot of math, science, and engineering inspiration. Stable rollers was one of the very first videos I watched and it amazed me how beautiful, fun, and creative engineering can be.

While MarbleLympics is less about the STEM field, it still captures pride, determination, and creativeness. The amount of effort and thought that are put into these videos is what inspired me to make this upcycled rollercoaster.


This project is really an exploration of this concept for the final project. I hope to make a larger version of my current project. My hopes are to have a long roller coaster with winding turns, a loop, and a set up to return the coaster to the beginning. My plan for the exploring was to see how well the laser cutter worked, how to make curved pieces, how to construct the roller coaster, and see how well the concept worked. In terms of how it looked, I wasn’t too concerned with how it might look, rather I was focused on the form and the function.


Design Process:

While other projects certainly have had design iterations, this project by far had the most “loops” that I’ve had to work with. Other projects that I’ve faced were very long loops and were iterated only a couple of times. The upcycle project differed in how much time I spent analyzing my art piece and come up with new solutions. This is because of the material I had at hand. It’s hard to come by very large singular piece cardboard. When I had laser cut and engraved the piece, it was my opinion to avoid cutting new pieces and use the material I had at hand. Thus, I needed to consider how to not ruin the cardboard with every cut (after the laser cutter).


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7 Comments. Leave new

  • I never knew that about roller coasters and it was a really intriguing part of your presentations along with the explanation of why you chose what you did. And thank you for including a video as part of your post. Really makes it interesting and somewhat interactive. Did you ever thing about a way to make the cup go faster with air or something, or were you just wanting its movement from gravity? The explanation of your project was incredible and worth so much more than just seeing pictures. Keep up the presentation skills. You know how to communicate what you are thinking well.

  • Great job done. The product looks really cool and fun. I would love the product to be a little more aesthetic. Would love to see how this moves ahead. I would encourage you to take this up into your major project.

  • I think your presentation was good. You detailed your inspiration for your design in a manner that allowed the audience to feel and understand exactly why this was your passion to pursue. With regards to your final project, it is functional and dynamic which is awesome! I think it would have been cool if you provided calculations you made to ensure that the potential energy conversion to kinetic energy and back to potential would make the “coaster” operate efficiently. I would love to see the roller/object that rolls down the track, return back to the starting position automatically so that the user would have to input a touch of the finger to trigger the “ride” again.

  • Hailee Pritchard
    February 17, 2020 11:49 am

    Hey Justin! I think this was such a cool project. I love how you made such a specific, clean design with all recycled materials. I would LOVE to see you make this into an even bigger, more stable piece. Maybe if it was made out of old wood pieces, you could even use little tooth pics to make a roller coaster aesthetic. Really cool project!! Great job!

  • Justin,
    Nice work, i loved the demo i think it really grabbed the attention of the audience and showed the uniqueness of this project. I would love to see the project with a very “clean” and minimalist aesthetic added with the clean cardboard and nicely cut laser cutting. I hope to see a bigger version in the future.

  • Really cool work! I think this is a really interesting project and the way it came out and how well it functions is impressive. I would love to see a larger, more complex version for your main project. Really cool idea and very reminiscent of toys and physics demos I’ve played with and seen through my years. I liked hearing your thoughts on how it relates to railroad designs as well. Nice work!

  • I’ve never seen cone rollers before but it is pretty cool to look at! I think having it as a continual rolling device would be awesome. Also the Rube Goldberg aesthetic is a really cool one.


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