2017 Spring Internship Lucas Gorentz

By , October 11, 2017
Lucas Gorentz

Hello, I am Lucas Gorentz, and I was an intern for Great Coasters from early January to late June of 2017. I know this blog is a little late, but my experience at Great Coasters is too exciting to not share.

My time at Great Coasters was incredibly eventful and provided many experiences that challenged my knowledge of roller coasters, manufacturing techniques, and general engineering practices. I was fortunate enough to be an intern at Great Coasters during one of the busiest periods the company has experienced. Although this meant that everything happened at an extremely quick pace, it also meant that I was able to experience many different aspects of coaster design and fabrication.

I experienced far too many valuable learning experiences to list here, so instead I am going to focus on some of the bigger “projects” that I was a part.

Actuating Magnetic Brakes

Like most of the other interns at Great Coasters with me, the first main thing I did was assemble actuating magnetic brakes. Many other blogs have provided detailed descriptions of these brakes so I will keep mine short: These brakes use a magnetic force to slow down the ride vehicles to a manageable speed. Once the train is moving slow enough, the brake will drop out of the way allowing the train to continue moving down the track. Although I have had similar assembly experience as a ride mechanic at Cedar Point, this was my first time working with brand new ride components. This look at these ride components without years of grease and wear on them was fascinating, since I could easily see how everything functioned and interacted.

Train Assembly

After assembling numerous brake systems, I moved to the train shop to help Dan, the GCII Train Mechanic, assemble trains for most of the 2017 projects (Chongqing, Chengdu, Kings Island, and Lake Compounce), and the early stages of a 2018 project. This is where I spent most of my time as an intern, and by the end of the six months, I had helped construct 12 Millennium Flyer trains (not cars!). The experience I gained from working on all of these trains is incredible, and by the end of the internship, I was very comfortable with my knowledge of these fantastic ride vehicles.

Mystic Timbers Lead Axle Body Frame

After most of the dust had settled from train assembly, one key component for the Mystic Timbers trains still needed to be designed and fabricated: the frame that holds the decorative truck body onto the front of the train.  I was fortunate enough to be asked to complete this, what seemed like, simple design. That simple design soon turned into a couple of days of looking through old engineering drawings trying to exactly match the existing profile of the lead car. After finishing the design and sending them off for fabrication, nearly a month of anxious waiting passed. There was not enough time left for redesign and refabricating, so my design had to work on the first time.

After what seemed like an eternity, three massive boxes containing the decorative truck bodies arrived at the GCII shop. it was finally time to see if the new truck body frame would work, and it fit onto our test car like a glove! After testing out the all three of the truck bodies, we packed them back up, loaded them into the truck, and set off for Kings Island that same day. We arrived at the park late at night and were, at first, expecting just to drop the bodies off at the park before installing them the next day. However, it turned out that the awesome people from Irvine Ondrey Engineering were at the ride for their last night of testing. Anne and Brian graciously welcomed us to the ride that we had worked so hard on, and let’s just say that we had a fantastic time experiencing our first rides on the awesome coaster.

 

Truck_Body

 

After resting up from our hour plus long marathon of riding Mystic Timbers at 3:00am, we went back to the park to finally finish the trains by installing the decorative truck bodies. As they did on the test car in the shop, the truck body frames fit perfectly onto the front of the trains, and the trains were finally completely assembled. Looking back now, it is incredibly humbling to know that every time someone looks at those trains rolling into the station or around the course, they can see the frame that I was fortunate enough to design.

New Shelving Units

The last major task that I completed during my time at Great Coasters was to design and fabricate new shelving units for the train shop and the outside storage shed. I completed the design in cad along with the help of Taylor Evans, another intern. The new shelving units were extensive and greatly increased GCII’s storage capabilities, especially in the train shop. Three shelving units were designed in the train shop: one unit to hold 29 unfinished car chassis with room for smaller shelves underneath, one unit able to hold 12 large boxes of seat foam, and another unit capable of holding 36 pallets of heavy train weldments. The shelving unit in the outside shed was designed to hold 16 heavy hardware pallets.

After the designs were all finished and drawings were printed, Taylor and I set out to fabricate and assemble the shelves. Fabricating the shelves was a hard and tedious job, giving me a massive appreciation for the people that have fabricated the steel structures for some of GCII’s coasters. All in all, fabricating and assembling the shelves took nearly a month, and the finished shelves were massive in relation to the shelves that were originally there. The largest shelving unit measures in at 12 feet tall and 44 feet long, and the second largest isn’t far behind that.

 

Train_Shop_Shelf

 

A large reorganization project then began in the train shop allowing me to watch my shelves be filled to the brim, signifying the end of the project, as well as the end of my extended internship.

Chassis_Shelf

 

 

I could continue talking about the cool opportunities that GCII provided me for many more paragraphs, but this blog is long enough already. However, here are quick tidbits of some of the other large tasks I was able to do: redesign of the magnetic actuating brake instillation gantry, completed over 100 sales orders for train components including, what I believe to be, a couple of the biggest sales orders in the company’s history, a visit and delivery to the Bush Gardens job site, and over 4,000 miles driven for various tasks.

Looking back, I learned a tremendous amount from my time at Great Coasters especially from the people that work there. Adam, Dan, Ryan, Joyce, Todd, and everyone else that I didn’t directly work with at GCII provided me with a tremendous amount of insight and expertise that I will continue to use for the rest of my career. The often hectic pace sure kicked my butt from time to time, but looking back, I would not want it any different.

As Great Coasters made a huge impact on my life, I think that I was able to make a dent in the company’s history as well. A great mentor of mine always lived by one main motto: leave it better than you found it. Whether it is by picking up trash on the sidewalk or reinventing the way the world thinks about something, find some way to make it better. I like to think that I was able to do that at Great Coasters.

Thanks again to all of the amazing people that have guided and been with me through this journey. I can’t wait to see what is in store for the future!

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