Eamon Kelly - Roller Coaster Design

Discovering the Thrill of Engineering Thrills

Project Experience

MatLab Mania

Posted by Eamon Kelly on March 29, 2010 at 12:41 AM

So I spent a few hours today on my MatLab Layout code.  Right now I've got two separate programs, a courseline code and a code for a spine, two rails, and a heartline.  The second of the two is obviously significantly more complicated, but I've made it easier by doing the courseline code first.  Here is an example of the courseline code:

Sorry about the size, but it gets ugly if I shrink it.  What I've done with this code is create a 3D line in the shape of a coaster.  If you're familiar with NoLimits Elementary, I've done something similar, but simpler.  I should note that this doesn't have any physics worked into it.  I plan on going through and working out that partially in this code but primarily in the second.  I obviously can't represent things like banking when there is only one line, but I can with the heartline code.  For now, this is a way for me to digitally layout a ride.  My thought process here is that while I could layout a ride by hand, if done digitally, I can much more easily manipulate elements.  For example, I plan on being able to create a hill that has 0g at the top, or have a heartline roll where the heartline is straight while the track twists around it.  Another advantage is that if I set this up right, I could potentially design both wood and steel coasters, in which I only need to eliminate the spine line from the heartline code to go from a steel design to a wood one.  Here is a screen of the heartline code.  I've only worked out a straight section into a turnaround, but I will go back and add more:

I know it's hard to tell what's going on in the 3D pane, but that's why I included the other profiles.  I notice that my rails aren't quite right on the turnaround, so I'll have to figure that out.  I wanted to put this up so you could see the difference between this and the courseline code.  Again, this doesn't involve any physics calculations; they're just lines representing the spine, rails, and heartline (which is red).  After going through and doing this, I already know that the MatLab part of the project will require a LOT of time.  I haven't worked in anything regarding speed, acceleration, force, or friction.  I also have only worked out the equations for the elements you see in the courseline code (turns, lead-ins/lead-outs, and simple hills).  This is another reason why I may just start off with a wild mouse design.

I suppose that is all for now.  Check back later for an update on the modeling side of the project.  I've started some of it, so I'll throw up a segment about that too within a week or so.

Categories: Roller Coaster Design Project

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