Busy, Busy, Busy

By , February 22, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Just a short update this week, but a lot has been going on. I’ve done some work on the trains, and a lot of running around. We flipped some of the chassis (we start with them upside down so things like the brake fin are easier to install), and are ready to move forward with those cars that we did flip. My running around included picking up some of the hardware for the queue gates for Efteling. I also picked up some of the parts we use to build the trains. Things are starting to get busy as we start shipments to China while continuing shipments to the Netherlands.


Snow Day!

By , February 15, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey guys, we had a fairly interesting week, with one day off of work because of about 20” of snow. I started the week off by installing brake fins. We also installed some of the anti-rollback weldments, as well as the dogs (the ARB dogs are what hang down and make the clanking noise on the way up the lift hill). We also got some more guide wheel and upstop wheel parts in, so we installed those as well. Next week should be exciting, because we will begin flipping some of the trains.

Keep an eye on our photo section for more renderings of the mysterious GCI project!


By , February 8, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey guys, just a brief update on last week. I spent a good chunk of the week going to vendors for various reasons, including picking up extra pallets and getting seat backs from our painter. I also learned how to press bearings into the guide wheels. This was cool because bearings haven’t really come up in any of my classes, despite them being an essential part to almost any object with wheels.

Well that’s it for now. Oh, and be sure to check out the photos section of the site for a bit of a surprise…


By , February 1, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey guys, it’s been another exciting week for me here at Great Coasters, and I’d like to fill you in on what we did. We started out the week with bending some track steel destined for Worlds of Fun for their Timberwolf coaster. Later that day I ran out to one of our vendors to pick up some parts, so we could continue to build up our chassis. Also last week, we received more chassis, and currently have more than will fit in our shop, which is more than two trains worth of cars!

In the middle of the week, we bent some more track steel. I also spent some time catching up the newest chassis so that all of the cars in our shop were at the same point in assembly. This process, by the way, is a cool thing to point out, in that for most of the assembly process, we try to get each step done for each car all at the same time. We do this in order to most efficiently build the trains. It wouldn’t make much sense to dig out all of the parts, hardware, and tools for a specific task multiple times in stead of just doing that step all at once. This is one thing I can say has truly taught me something about how best to make your product, because school doesn’t really talk about production or fabrication, which should always, in my opinion, be a concern in the design process.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Last week we did the coolest thing I have seen yet. We flipped the lead coach and lead axle, and put the two together. When suspended by the crane, I could see how much articulation can occur between the two, and was amazed.

Well that’s all for now, it’s been a fun experience thus far, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.


By , January 25, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey guys, just a brief update on last week. I spent a day cutting out mud flaps for the running boards. I also spent a day looking over the drawings for our trains, in order to double check our parts list (and the drawings themselves). This was a unique task in that it was a chance to understand engineering drawings in more detail than what is briefly covered in school. After that, I finished up the batch of running boards for Efteling, and visited a few more of our vendors, one of which we picked the queue gates up from.

Well, that’s it for now. See you next week!


By , January 18, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey guys, just want to provide an update on my second week working at Great Coasters. I have learned quite a bit, and have worked pretty hard. Let me provide some details.

In the beginning of the week, I took a trip out to one of our vendor’s shops. It is here that our chassis are fabricated as well as various other parts. This shop is about five times the size of the shop I visited last week, so it goes without saying that I was drooling like a baby as we walked past rows of CNC machines, huge painting and sandblasting rooms, and welding stations. I was also (briefly) featured on the Coaster Crew’s In the Loop podcast. You can listen to it here (I come in around 70 min). The next day we spent the morning prepping the container, and then loaded it up. Check out the photo gallery to see some pictures of us loading it.

Later in the week we worked on installing the guide wheels and the upstop wheels. I also spent a considerable amount of time putting together the running boards, and managed to cut my hands three times. Apparently my hands like to get in the way of the hardware I’m working with, but I’m hoping this doesn’t become a regular event.

Well that’s all for now, be sure to check out the Great Coasters Facebook page.. There’s something interesting going on…

See ya next week!


By , January 8, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hi there, my name is Eamon, and I was recently hired as GCII’s new intern at their Sunbury, PA office. But before I talk about GCII, let me introduce myself. I am a student from the Ohio State University, and am heavily involved in the Theme Park Engineering Group. What we do is anything and everything related to the Theme Park industry. I personally am studying mechanical engineering, and therefore spend my time with design projects and exploring how the rides and coasters we all love work.

My GCII experience began with a trip out to Sunbury to meet, visit, and interview with the folks at GCII. (This trip was with the Theme Park Engineering Group in the fall) When we arrived, we met up with Chris to grab some dinner. After dinner, Chris invited us over to show us around his house and to give us a chance to get to know him and him a chance to meet us. If you’ve ever met Chris, you’ll know that he is quite the story teller, and from his stories I got a chance to see more of the personalities behind the people in the industry. I also learned that the job of ride design and construction entails more traveling than I had imagined it would. There might also have been a story about an epic party in Finland, but if you ever meet Chris I’ll let him tell the story. Also at Chris’s that night was Adam, a former intern who now works full-time. Adam offered insight on what it is like being an intern, and how to find things to do when living in Sunbury.

The next morning we arrived at the office to begin the interview process and the tour. We were graciously allowed to look over ride manuals, ride layouts, etc. and, as an engineer, I felt like a ten year old on Christmas morning. After the intern applicants (myself included) put together part of the locking mechanism on the Millennium Flyer train lap bar and were interviewed, Dan, who works in the shop assembling the trains, showed some of us around. He briefly explained any part we pointed out, and answered our questions about how the trains are built. I can honestly say that after seeing the parts and how they fit together, I had a pretty good idea on how to assemble a Millennium Flyer train.

After we finished up at GCII’s office, Chris offered to give us a tour of Knoebel’s, and, of course, we accepted. Personally it was very interesting visiting Knoebel’s, because I grew up near Cedar Point and have only been to corporate-run parks. It was cool to see a smaller park with a different layout that allowed free roaming; you could visit Knoebel’s and just hang out without paying any money. Also, seeing a park that interweaves with a forest was unique, especially when Chris informed us that at Knoebel’s they make it a point to avoid cutting trees down, even going so far as to let one tree grow through a ceiling! Of course it would have been more exciting if the park were open, but I’m sure now that I’m here for a while I’ll get plenty of chances to go.

My next experience with GCII was out at IAAPA in Vegas. I could talk a lot about that trip, but , as you know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited when Chris offered me the job, but tried to keep myself calm because I knew I had a month before I would start. Now that I am here, I can offer a little more to you about how we design, fabricate, and construct the best wooden roller coasters in the world.

My first week began with the drive from northern Ohio to central Pennsylvania. When I left, Ohio had just gotten a few inches of snow, so it was slow going in most of Ohio. (To give you an idea, my average speed on the turnpike was around 50) Once in PA, however, the roads were a lot clearer. Upon arriving in PA, I met up with Chris at my new pad, and he gave me a bunch of awesome GCII swag: a hoodie, a hat, a bunch of t-shirts, and even some poster pictures of GCII rides to hang up (sadly those have to go back to the office when I leave). He then took me to the office to meet my “esteemed colleagues.”

In my first week of work, I helped Adam and Dan begin the process of bolting together the upper and lower chassis of the trains. This process involves making sure that the bolts can fit through the holes, putting washers and stop-nuts on, painting the bolts with an orange line and using a torque wrench to insure that the bolts don’t come loose. (The paint is there so that if a nut works itself loose, the paint is no longer in a straight line, and on-staff mechanics at a park can see this immediately and replace the nut and bolt to insure rider safety) I have also put together part of the lap bar device, and even managed to cut myself using a pneumatic ratchet. One of the most interesting things I have done so far is bending track steel. We had to do this for some of the guide-wheel track needed down at Dutch Wonderland. I also got to meet the guys in an area shop that machine some of our parts, and, having two CNC milling machines and a CNC lathe, I can say that they work in a mechanic’s heaven. (You’ll come to see that I love everything that ‘mechanical engineering’ entails.)

Well, that’s it for my first (and lengthy) post. You can look forward for updates on what I hope will be a weekly basis.


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