Ghost Town

By , March 31, 2011
Adam Yerdon

There aren’t many people in the office today, so that gives me a moment to write up another blog.

Great Coasters was started in 1994, and not a lot of digital cameras existed back then. When rides like Wildcat, the Roars, Gwazi, and Lightning Racer were being built, all photographs of the ride had to be developed and printed. One of my assignments for this week has been to scan in all the old photographs to a digital format. This of course has lent itself to some funny pictures of people in the company in their younger days. It seems that everyone had a mustache at one point in time (at least the men of the company).

As I’ve been scanning in photographs, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of different components that go into the construction of a wooden coaster. All things to be considered when designing a Great Coaster.

In the Brush

By , March 30, 2011
Adam Yerdon

One thing I’ve noticed during this internship is that every day is something new. In college, one of the courses I had to take toward my degree was a Surveying class. Basically we learn to go out and map out the topography, and find key points on a property. Little did I know that I would have an opportunity to put on some crumby cloths and go out into the wilderness with a tripod and a total station.

The goal for the day was to determine the edge of the property based on one known point, and a few old plot descriptions. The whole project would have been fairly simple other than the fact that this particular plot of land is heavily wooded and full of underbrush. Some of the obstacles could not be cut down or moved, so we had to shoot around them and use some trigonometry. Ideally, when using a total station, you set up at one or two points and shoot the whole area, but when you are dealing with the woods, it’s a whole other story.

It just goes to show, you never know when a certain set of skill may come in handy.

Floating Away

By , March 14, 2011
Adam Yerdon

We have been pretty busy in the shop this past week. New shelving units are on their way, so it’s been a game of “where to put things” in the mean time. On top of keeping things organized and out of the way, we also started bending track steel.
It may seem like an interesting or fun job to bend track steel, but I assure you, it is not. The steel is very heavy, and needs to be brought to the bender piece by piece. Due to the crazy mix of snow and rain in central Pennsylvania, all the steel we had on site was covered in ten inches of snow. This all had to be shoveled off before we could bring it inside. Once inside, it had to be run through the bender at a certain tolerance and specification. Adam has gotten to be pretty skilled at getting the bend to come out right on the very first pass, but a couple pieces – out of the fifty we did – still had to be run through a couple times to ensure that they were up to snuff. After a full day of getting my cloths covered in rust, the pieces are now finally palletized according to size and bend radius, ready to go.

The new office expansion is now in it’s final stages, with just a few little details left to be finished up.

That’s all for now!


By , March 1, 2011
Adam Yerdon

Hello readers, my name is Adam (yes another one). I am the new intern here at Great Coasters, helping hold down the fort here in Pennsylvania. I was hired on to help finish the new Millennium Flyer trains for Gwazi – an older GCII ride that opened in 1999, but featured a different set of rolling stock – and to help get the new shop organized, as well as any other misadventures that may come up.
To tell you a little about myself, I’m from Omaha, Nebraska (“somewhere in middle-America”). I attend the University of Nebraska at Omaha for Civil Engineering. I grew up in Omaha, but did find myself living in the Black Hills of South Dakota for a number of years. If you haven’t heard of the Black Hills, or have considered visiting…I would highly recommend it. Mt. Rushmore is truly something to behold.
I have always had a passion for things that featured rails, which got me into model-making at a very young age. Building models and playing games like Roller Coaster Tycoon were all part of my misspent youth, along with outdoor activities year-round…my favorite of which has been Ice Hockey.
Keeping a creative outlet in model building and artistry, led me to keep searching for ways to stay passionate, and use my talents for good and not evil. I decided at a very young age that designing roller coasters seemed like an ideal carrier for me. Since then I have been following the necessary steps to get into the industry and make a name for myself. Going through college and continuously putting my name out there is ultimately what landed me an opportunity to come out here and be an intern for Great Coasters.
With this blog, I look forward to telling you the stories of one of the top roller coaster manufacturers in the world. And just remember, if you feel strongly about something, you need to take the right paths to get there, and never be afraid to ask for directions along the way.

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