The Brake Run

By , January 9, 2018
Robert Cybulski

Hello! And welcome to my final blog. It has now been a couple weeks since I finished my internship at Great Coasters, but I wanted to wrap up this blog with a final post.

During the final weeks of my internship, I spent most of my time in the train shop working on the assembly of a brand new set of trains. The previous set of trains (recently announced for Alton Towers) had already been started and were about 30-40% completed upon our arrival in September. However, this set of trains had not yet been touched, and I had the opportunity to work on them from the very beginning. It was cool being able to see the beginning of train assembly since I missed that part of the process with the Alton trains.

Since I had already learned how to assemble many different systems while building the first set of trains, Todd allowed me to independently install many systems including the anti-roll backs, chain dogs, brake fins, guide wheels, and upstop wheels while he focused on tasks such as assembling and pressing wheels. Of course, he checked all of my work and would answer any questions I had, but it was cool to have the responsibility of assembling the trains with minimal guidance. By the end of the internship, I felt like I had a pretty good idea of how a Millennium Flyer is built and the processes used to create the parts.

I briefly mentioned above that the first set of trains that Mike and I were working on was for Alton Towers. I am finally able to say this because Alton recently officially announced their new for 2018 roller coaster, Wicker Man, a Great Coasters creation that fuses wood and fire. The layout has yet to be revealed, but you can find the promotional material at the following link:

https://www.wickerman.com/

Before I say goodbye I would like to thank everyone who followed along with my adventures at Great Coasters through this blog. I really appreciate it and hope that it was entertaining and educational. I would also like to thank everyone at Great Coasters who made this opportunity possible, and who took the time to teach me something. It was a great experience and I learned a lot during my time here. I can’t wait to apply my experience as I continue my ride in this amazing industry.

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Drawings: Lego Instructions for a Roller Coaster

By , December 6, 2017
Robert Cybulski

Since our first set of trains (as well as Dan) left the shop a couple of weeks ago, the shop has been rather quiet. To fill in the time between tasks in the shop, I have been helping Jase with upgrading and modifying the engineering drawings for the Millennium Flyer trains. I have mainly been working with the assembly drawings for multiple subsystems of the trains (for those that are unfamiliar with engineering drawings, an assembly drawing basically shows the assembler how the parts fit together- kind of like Lego instructions).

My first task was updating the drawings for the trains that were recently sent out. Since the trains had a couple of special modifications due to the added sensors, there were a fair amount of changes to be made to the standard Millennium Flyer trains. Although many of the modifications were simple changes, our CAD (computer aided design) program used for drafting the drawings did not always agree with the changes I wanted to make. Although frustrating at times, these challenges gave me the opportunity to learn the various tricks of the program as well as to improve my understanding of train assembly.

My two proudest achievements as far as drawings are concerned were my drafting of a new seatbelt installation drawing and a sensor installation drawing for a new assembly placed under the floorboard. These were completely new drawings which required me to create an assembly model, an exploded view, and drawing with a bill of materials. Now that I have wrapped up most of the drawing changes for the last set of trains, I have been helping Jase get through his list of required drawing changes. We’re slowly cleaning off his to-do list whiteboards.

Thanks for reading!

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This Crazy Coaster Dream: My Advice

By , November 27, 2017
Robert Cybulski

About two weeks ago, Mike and I had the opportunity to travel to the annual IAAPA Trade Show. For those who don’t know, IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) is the biggest event in the industry where hundreds of companies from around the world come to show off their products. With enough money, visitors can buy everything from replica fire hydrants to steel hyper coasters. IAAPA is a great event for students looking to get into the industry to start making and maintain connections with companies and individuals. With IAAPA still fresh in my mind, I wanted to provide my advice for getting into the amusement industry. Obviously, everyone’s path into the industry is going to be different, but this is what I have learned both through experience as well as from other professionals in the industry:

  1. Take advantage of every opportunity. Many times in this industry, opportunities will come from the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times. I had about 3 weeks left in my internship at Universal when I got a call from Adam House asking me if I was interested in interning at GCII. Of course, my initial reaction was “YES!! Let’s do it!!” However, I quickly remembered that I was already registered for classes, housing, school projects, etc. for the fall semester. Thankfully, everyone I talked to about the opportunity and my advisors at RIT were extremely supportive and told me to go for it. Obviously, timing, finances, and location might not always be ideal, but when opportunity comes knocking you should do your best to open the door.
  2. Hard work and persistence will not go unnoticed. Whether it is in your schoolwork, an extracurricular club, or on an internship, hard work is going to pay off. When our school’s theme park enthusiast club competed in the Ryerson competition at Universal last year, it was our first amusement industry competition, and we had no clue what to expect or how much effort we would have to put in. We decided that we were going to give it our all and hope for the best, but as we finished up the first challenge at 3AM the day of the presentation, we wondered if the effort and late nights were worth it. Thankfully, the judges were impressed by our performance, rewarding us with first place in the competition as well as internships at Universal Creative. So for all those students pulling all-nighters and drinking more coffee than might be healthy, know that your hard work will pay off.
  3. Go meet people! Do your best to get to IAAPA and ASTM F24 and network with professionals and students in the industry. Although IAAPA is one of my favorite events each year, I think the ASTM F24 conferences might even be more valuable as far as networking goes. Everyone at ASTM is there because they care about the industry and are generally very open to talking to students. If you can’t get to ASTM, try to attend IAAPA on Thursday and Friday after many companies have finished their sales for the week. Also, companies take notice of students who are consistently going to these events and it shows that you are serious about working in the industry.
  4. No person or task is too unimportant for you. There were times at Universal, and even at Great Coasters, where I was given a task that I felt was below my skill level. Although I may feel that my skills could be put to better use elsewhere, I’ve realized that all these small tasks have to be done by someone and they are important to a project’s success. The same can be said for people. No matter what position someone might have in a company, it is important to respect them. This industry is relatively small, and you never know where someone might end up working or what position they might eventually have.

Like I said, everyone’s path is going to be different, but I hope this advice helps all of the other students like me who are chasing a crazy roller coaster dream. I look forward to continuing to learn and grow as I continue my journey in this amazing industry.

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A “Sensitive” Topic

By , October 27, 2017
Robert Cybulski

Hello Again!

The shop has been extra busy the past two weeks as the current set of trains is nearing completion and we are preparing for shipping. One of the final tasks before the trains can be shipped is installing the multiple lapbar monitoring systems. Many Millennium Flyer trains do not feature any type of electronic lapbar monitoring; however, every customer is unique and has different requirements.

This particular set of trains actually features two individual sensors for each lapbar. The first of these sensors is located in the lapbar can (the housing for the restraint locking mechanism), while the second is located near the floor in the center of the rider compartment. These sensors, called inductive proximity sensors, use a magnetic field to determine when a metal object is present. In our case, certain metal parts of the lapbar system move in front of the sensors only when the lapbar is locked.

Near the end of last week, Jase, our engineer in Sunbury, showed me how to correctly install and position the sensors such that they would only trigger when the lapbar is in a locked position. It can be a pretty tedious and difficult task because the sensors only have a range of between 2-4 mm, leaving little room for error. At first, I was pretty slow with installing the sensors; however, I quickly began figuring out the tricks to aligning them correctly. By quitting time Friday, Jase and I were able to finish installing sensors on all but three cars of the first two trains. I spent most of the past two days installing all the sensors for the 3rd and final train.

Although it was a difficult and, at times, frustrating job, I took pride in really owning the task and making sure everything was installed correctly. With that being said, I will definitely enjoy a break from the sensor life.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

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Getting Started

By , October 18, 2017
Robert Cybulski

Hello!

My name is Robert Cybulski and I am one of GCII’s newest interns! I am a 5th-year (yeah I’ve been in school too long) mechanical engineering student from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). I started my internship at the beginning of September and will be here through the end of December (at which point I will return to school to finally finish my degree).

Going into this internship, I really didn’t know what to expect. After a couple weeks, I still never really know what to expect because every day is a different experience! Although there have been many side-tasks and random trips to pick-up/drop-off parts, our main job has been helping Dan and Todd in the train shop. We are currently working on finishing up a set of trains for an unannounced coaster opening somewhere on planet Earth in 2018.

The beginning of the internship started kind of slow since we were waiting on parts to arrive to finish the trains. This resulted in various smaller tasks such as assembling seat components, restraint locking components, gluing floor mats to floorboards, etc… However, as the trains get closer to completion, work has picked up and I’ve gotten the chance to really get into actually adding parts to the chassis. This past week (actually 2 weeks ago by the time this is posted) I installed guide wheel weldments, brake fins, and anti-rollback (ARB) systems on 8 cars of one of the trains. It was amazing getting to actually add components to trains that will some day ride the tracks of a roller coaster, thrilling hundreds of people daily.

That’s all for now! I will do my best to write often with interesting posts and updates on our progress. Thanks for reading!

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