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These College Kids Built a Roller Coaster

When I think back to my college orientation, I get hot flashes as I remember mortifying moments of inebriation, silly costumes, and an abundance of face paint. Luckily, the engineering students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology won’t grow old with embarrassing memories like mine, because for their orientation, they spent a week building a three-dip wooden roller coaster.

As I did some research into this, I found that there has been a tradition of roller coaster building on the East Campus since the year 2000, and when it petered out for a couple of years, three mechanical engineering students decided to end the hiatus. Ben Katz, Jaguar Kristeller, and Wesley Lau designed a roller coaster that was to be “bigger and better than ever,” and by the looks of this thing in the time-lapse construction video, it is made with some serious skill and creativity.

Check out these photos below, look at the size! This is the real deal.

MIT Rollercoaster

Are you seeing that steep ascent?! Let’s take a closer look at those glorious waves:

Rollercoaster Loops

My favorite part is that these kids were so ambitious, their original coaster included a complete loop. But due to concerns from MIT’s Health and Safety Department, they had to scale back their design. Life sure is tough for our young engineers…

Here’s a crash dummy (at least we know they were ultra safe there!):

Crash Dummy

And finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. A test run by a REAL HUMAN:

If you’re interested in seeing the 3D concept drawings and initial sketches of the structural elements, check this out. These are talented young guys who have a very, very bright future ahead of them.

What do you think of their design? Let us know in the comments below!

HT: Atlas Obscura/Monograph

IMAGES: benkatz94/little news/Ben Katz/Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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