So What’s *Really* in the Shed?

By , December 16, 2016
Tyler Mullins

As a Great Coasters intern, and having grown up with Kings Island practically in my backyard, one of the most common questions I now get from friends and family is “So what’s really in the shed?” For those unfamiliar, Kings Island’s new roller coaster was announced in July with an exciting POV of the ride and a mysterious hashtag, #WhatsInTheShed. The ride will end in an eerie and overgrown shed, its contents a mystery.

Well, mostly a mystery. I can’t comment on the seemingly paranormal contents of Mystic Timbers’ shed, but I can talk a bit about the engineering side of things and my role in making them a reality.

The beginning of the structure will include a transfer track, otherwise Mystic Timbers couldn’t simultaneously run three trains (fun fact – ignoring the few dueling coasters, this is only GCII’s second coaster with that many trains). One of my recent assignments has been to take a 3D model of the transfer track and create drawings that show how to construct the complete assembly. The task has been extremely challenging but super rewarding – I’ve learned about plan reading, communication, and several other skills that are critical to being an engineer.

For starters, the plan reading. If you’ve ever built a Lego set and followed the detailed instructions, placing brick by brick until you completed it, then you’ve read plans. That’s an extremely simplified idea of how the transfer track is built, albeit with some noticeable differences. For starters, the size – versus a small plastic toy, crews will be building something that’s over 50-feet long, weighs over 15 tons, and consists of more than 3,400 individual parts. And instead of having numbered steps in their plans, instructing the crew in what order to complete different tasks, these plans only show a completed structure and then pages of details and dimensions. It’s up to the crew to decide what order of steps is most efficient and the most logical.

The next skill I’ve learned about is communication. Since the plans don’t just walk the crew through step-by-step, it’s important to make sure all the necessary information for building the structure is communicated clearly. This has been tricky, as you don’t want to leave any questions unanswered but you also don’t want to overload the pages with unnecessary information. You want to find that balance where the crews are told just enough, which I’ve discovered is a lot more difficult than it sounds.

While working on the plans I’ve also learned a lot about the mechanics of a transfer table itself and the names of so many different parts and components I never even knew existed. Plus I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time in Autodesk Inventor, further familiarizing myself with all the software’s tools and features. I’m now really excited to potentially use Inventor in the future for school projects and elsewhere.

My internship with Great Coasters International ends a week from today. I can’t believe how fast it’s flown by, but I’m super grateful for all the amazing opportunities I’ve had and all that I’ve learned. I’ll make sure to post at least once more before then, so stay tuned!

Oh, and for what’s really in the shed? Like, outside all the engineering stuff and the lessons I’ve learned through working on a transfer table? Well, I guess you’ll have to wait till the ride opens to find out ;)


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