‘This is the same technology that’s on the real rides’: College student makes model roller coaster

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — When Jared Holladay was in middle school and stood in line for his favorite roller coasters, he didn’t just watch the ride.

He watched how the ride worked, from the chains that move the car across the steel rails and braking systems and calculated the g-forces in each turn.


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In between screams, he realized, “I could do that.”

And he did.

The result is this Project Infinity.

This isn’t just some Lego or K’nex toy set, but a handmade and designed, 3-D printed, fully working and controllable roller coaster.

A master class in STEM, science technology engineering and math.

“You have the math of making the ride, the physics of the train going through the course and making sure the structure will stay together and also the technology. This is the same technology that’s on the real rides and you can see it in person.” Jared said.

Jared spent two years building all this while studying computer engineering at the University of Cincinnati.


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Using computers, a 3D-Printer and having the cooperation of the world’s coolest mom who let him take over her dining room table for two years, he was able to construct the eight-foot-long coaster.

Initially, Jared was gathering up junk parts to control all this and that’s when Rockwell Automation in Twinsburg heard about the ambitious scope of the project and helped him out.

“This student was inspired from as early as the seventh grade to build roller coasters, so he took what we would do on a large scale and turn it into an exhibit,”  Marzell Brown from Rockwell Automation said.

It features the same technology and controls that you will find in use right now at Cedar Point.

The track has safety sensors, that know where each car is at any given moment. It automatically applies brakes, opens the gates and keeps the cars running smoothly.

It can even add another car to the ride, like if you’re going to a park on a holiday weekend and they need to speed up the lines.


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Jared has always loved the intricacies of operating a 100-plus mile an hour ride and the thrill it gives people.

And he hopes his coaster will do just that as it begins a summer of display at the Great Lakes Science Center.

He also hopes it inspires young people to not only build their own, but to build one better than his.

“I want to be in the automation controls field. This is the same stuff we’re using on roller coasters and factory automation equipment. I take away a bunch of new knowledge that I didn’t have before on that. Also, I take away the knowledge of having it here at the Great Lakes Science Center and inspiring the next generation of engineers in our society.” Jared said.

The roller coaster will be on display at the science center this summer.

Jared by the way, starts a new job next week creating automation systems.

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