Building a Log Flume Replica need advice

Alright, for years I have always thought about building a replica of Knoebels Log Flume, in the basement just for fun kind of like a hobbie.

Now I am looking for ideas. I need to make conveyor belts both for lifts and for the station. I have to find a way to be sure the log is picked up by the belt and doesn't slide back. I need logs/boats. I also need to find very small water pumps so when I have water coming down the drops that it falls nicely and doesn't spray everywhere. The reason I put this post here is I figured you all might throw out some very useful ideas. Thanks!

gary b
Raven-Phile's avatar

It's too easy. I'm not going to make any log flume, trough, boat or sadness related jokes, I'm just not.

First thing, make sure you have flood insurance. You'll need lots of water. ;)

Original BlueStreak64

It will be a small scale... Maybe on a sheet or two of ply wood.

gary b
LostKause's avatar

I like the idea. It's like building a K'NEX roller coaster, except it's a homemade log flume.

Post it on YouTube when you are finished, because I am sure there would be a few interested people who would like to see that. Oh, and don't listen to people who have "normal" hobbies like Manga drawing, collecting Star Wars toys, or riding roller coasters when they make fun of you.

It's always been a daydream that someday, when I'm too old and decrepit to spend much time in parks, I'll build my own, fully functioning scale model of an amusement park in my basement. Like a train layout, except way cooler.

Did I mention I'm a geek?

My author website:

1EyedJack's avatar

Get a copy of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 and all the custom scenery you can find and do it on the PC. Do a Youtube search for RCT3 park. You will be amazed at what people have done with it.

LostKause's avatar

Maybe I am old fashioned, but staring at a screen for hours seems like a lot less fun than actually building something. RCT3 would be a lot easier though. The problem I would have with that is that RCT3 (or 2, 0r the first one) doesn't replicate the awesomeness of a log flume accurately.

And for the first time, I realize that I don't understand 100% the way a log flume's water system works. Spillways, deep (slow) troughs, Shallow (fast) troughs, duel drops, turntable load and unload stations... I think that that's why I love log flumes. You can't replicate that in RCT3.

That would be cool! I would love to have the time and such to build something like that. One day I plan to make a nice train layout... I have some HO scale stuff, but would love to do something with it, with really nice theming. Even if on a smaller scale. Maybe something I can work on this winter.

As for belts, what about some thin rubber stripping? That you could cut out and glue together to make a long chain/strip. If you put some rubber on the bottom of the boats, it should be quite non-slip with the right materials. I would think!

As far as log/boats, what about hand carving? I just thought of this because I bought scale model boats from the woodsmith at CP... They look amazing! Look like they would be pretty easy to make. Get a block of solid, soft wood.

Im sure you can find water pumps pretty easily... Route the lines to the top of the lift and have it dump in a resivoir. Then allow it to fall right down the center of the chute. You can add some type of texturing to cause it to ripple on the way down.

Good luck with your project! Could be a fun one.

Vaccuum Cleaner belts? You probably need to attach some rubber to the bottom of the boats so you have enough friction to pick it up.

What scale or size are you thinking about? Could you use lincoln logs for the boats? I'm thicking cut the ends off one of the longer logs and carve out a section for the seats.

Jerry's avatar

The pumps should be easy - I got some really tiny ones from a wedding cake fountain for my train set.

Is there actual water in that model?

My author website:

Raven-Phile's avatar

According to the Youtube poster, there is. It's kind of neat, but I'd play with it for an hour and then it would collect dust in the basement.

Jerry's avatar

Apparently Faller models - out of Germany made many of these kits for different rides. Top spin etc... and although they are not common anymore I think I found my new winter hobby. Now I just have to clear space in the spare room for it.

CoasterDemon's avatar

Gary B said:
It will be a small scale... Maybe on a sheet or two of ply wood.

Don't use ply wood, Gary. It flexes and will break your model :) A good thing to use is a hollow flat-panel door you can get at Home Depot. They are cheap - around $20 and will not flex much at all.

As far as your home made model goes, keep trying things out. I have been working on model coasters since I was 10 and it takes time to refine your design and techniques. (So much so in fact, that I have never actually finished a single model). Good luck with your construction!

I would think some sort of flat/wide rubber band would make a good lift conveyor. Several, glued together of course.


Or you could look for a used table tennis table, if you don't think your model will be too heavy. It might cost a few bucks, but it saves the time and expense of building a frame for your platform.

You might want to look *very closely* at how real log flumes work.

Hint: They almost NEVER pump the flume water to the top of the tallest hill. Kennywood being the notable exception...but even at that, the water goes to the top of the first hill; I think the second lift is actually taller, and the bulk of the water runs under that.

Take note of where the highest point and lowest point on the flume are located, and consider what kind of a reservoir you need. Figure out how to make sure that the flume always flows downhill (again, Kennywood providing the notable exception...).

Also, if you are planning to build a working model, FORGET trying to duplicate a real-world ride. Build a ride in the scale you want that has the flavor of the original, but is built to work. It's less of a problem than it is for building roller coasters, but it is still a problem: gravity does not scale, and neither does water.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

Another challenge will be to properly replicate the gum trough at the top of the second hill. :)

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