Coaster designers(need some help)

Sunday, November 25, 2001 5:01 AM
My life long dream was always to become a coaster designer.Now I know that there is a lot of positions in that one field,but what I would realy like to do is use the CAD system instead of using all the math(I don't mind doing a some though),like Steve Okamodo on "The Making of a Coaster", you know?

Is there anything in this one field and how long should i go threw college for it?

Sunday, November 25, 2001 5:49 AM
Well, Computer Aided Design is not really a profession unto itself, as far as I know.  Often, I think companies prefer that you have some sort of other technology/science skills, in addition to being proficient with a CAD package. 

Math is inevitable, I'm afraid.  I'd suggest pursuing a degree in civil, mechanical, or structural engineering.  There's no sure-fire why to get a job in the amusement industry, as most of these companies are very, very, *very* small. 

Of course, be sure to familiarize yourself with CAD, as well.  CAD, for the most part, is pretty consistent across different platforms and products.  There are some differences, but it's a lot like word processing - there are only so many different ways one can make the text bold.  Usually, it's the same no matter what you're using.

The most popular CAD packages are Autodesk products (AutoCAD, Mechanical Desktop, Architectural Desktop, Inventor, etc.) and Pro/Engineer.  I have pretty extensive experience with the former, but none with the latter.

If you're not sure you'd be interested in an engineering/technologist job outside of the roller coaster industry, that's something to consider thoughtfully before you get your degree!  There's a good chance you won't move directly into that industry, and will have to work somewhere else. 

Are you in high school?  If you are, would you mind telling me which one, in private or in public. . . your decision.  There's a great program I'm involved in that gives students a chance to see what a real engineer does on a daily basis.  It's called the FIRST Robotics Competition, and if you're interested, I could find out if your school participates, or if a school nearby participates - and then you can see for yourself that the math isn't all that bad :-)

Sunday, November 25, 2001 6:23 AM
Im actualy in 8th grade i go to a Public school called Brown Middle Svhool in Ravenna Ohio.

This sounds realy confusing!I dunno if im able for this coureer now.

Sunday, November 25, 2001 7:13 AM

Nitro230 said:
Im actualy in 8th grade i go to a Public school called Brown Middle Svhool in Ravenna Ohio.
This sounds realy confusing!I dunno if im able for this coureer now.

Heh. . .with a name like Nitro230, I figured you'd be closer to NJ.  Anyway, what high school will you be attending?  I'll see what I can find. . . If there's not a competing high school in your area, perhaps you'd consider heading to Cleveland in March - there's a regional competition there.
Anyway, I'm sorry I made it sound confusing.  It's really not that bad.  Any engineering program is difficult, and it all relies heavily on mathematics and physics.  I'm not too big a fan of either, myself, but I don't mind doing it when it's required for my robots or something like that.  If you're interested, and Jeff doesn't censor this, you can see some of my work at
That's a design for a robot to be entered into this competition that I'm talking about.  It's a fantastic introduction to the world of science and technology - I can't speak highly enough of it.  To tie it all back together with Coasterbuzz, one of our team's corporate sponsors is HoloReality, a themed attraction design firm based in Louisiana.  It's a good way to make contacts in industry and line up internships and stuff like that.
I know they probably don't tell you too much about that stuff in the 8th grade, but it's worth thinking about.  You've got a much better shot at this stuff if you get to know the people who are involved; either by writing letters or getting directly involved in an engineering project.

Oh, by the way, our National Championship event is the single largest event held on Walt Disney World property. . . we have an entire stadium, seating 20,000+ people erected in front of Epcot, and our wrap-party is in Future World.

~ Michael ~

*** This post was edited by Chernabog on 11/25/2001. ***

Sunday, November 25, 2001 7:25 AM
It still souns kinda confussing,and why do u need to know physics to build a robot?

And ill be going to Ravenna High School next year, maybe,depends on if Im moving,i might be going to Stow its stll too early to tell.

But thanks for all the info i realy didnt just get what u just said all there,but thanks anyways.

And thats pretty cool that u have the thing at Epcot.

Sunday, November 25, 2001 7:39 AM
I know this is probably impossibly boring for everyone else, but Nitro230 doesn't have an e-mail address listed, so I can't take it to e-mail.
You need physics to design just about anything, whether that be a computer, or a robot, or a roller coaster.  The uses of physics in coaster design are probably a lot more obvious, of course, but there's probably an equal amount of physics in robot design.  For example, I often have to do some calculations to determine whether or not a certain motor can lift something, or move something.  That's all physics.  As you get older, you'll understand all of that more.
A quick search reveals that your school district doesn't currently have competing robotics team.  If you are interested in seeing what engineers and technologists (Technologists are skilled laborers in technological fields, by the way - welders, draftsman, etc.) do, there is one rookie team in your area.  In fact, they look to be not too far from Stow :-)
They're team #978, running out of Cuyahoga Heights High School.  If you're interested in actually finding out what I'm rambling out, e-mail me privately (my address is in my profile) and I'll see what I can do about getting you the contact information of that team.  From there, maybe we can arrange some sort of meeting or something, so you can see what this is all about.
If not, that's okay, too.  And, I guess, if anyone on Coasterbuzz (young or old!) wants to know what I'm talking about, just drop a note here (until someone closes this thread) or e-mail me and I'll see what I can do to help.
~ Michael ~

*** This post was edited by Chernabog on 11/25/2001. ***

Sunday, November 25, 2001 7:52 AM
>>say Six Flags America in my area, how would I be associalteed with planning for the new rides it will get, whats that job called? 
Master planning is more of a function of business models and numbers than anything else.  Parks rarely get a new attraction just because someone think it's cool - rather, they bet money that other people will think it's cool, too. . .and drive their family out to the park, shell out over $40, and buy souvenirs because of it.  So, master planning on a park level, as far as deciding what attractions the park needs, is handled in a business-like sense.

Master planning of a park in terms of it's layout and design is often handled by a third party firm hired by the park to do this work.  While parks keep a small staff on hand to handle small, day-to-day design and upkeep stuff, most major expansions are done by outsourced firms.  For this type of work, studying environmental design, architecture, interior design, and a wee bit of sociology is useful.  You'd look toward firms like Walt Disney Imagineering, Universal Creative, BRC Imagination Arts, or ITEC Entertainment for a job like that.

Finally, the nitty, gritty nuts-and-bolts design work is handled by engineers.  They're the folks that most often have a patent associated with their name, as they're responsible for making the rides do what they're supposed to do.  Mechanical engineering is probably an ideal profession for someone interested in that field.
So, it'll be pretty hard to wear all of those hats at once, I think, but there's no hurt in trying it out.  You may find that you love the business end of stuff, and hate getting your hands dirty - or vice versa.

~ Michael, who feels like he's thought far too much about this stuff ~

*** This post was edited by Chernabog on 11/25/2001. ***

Sunday, November 25, 2001 12:00 PM
Nitro230ft., you better learn how to spell career before you try to get one.
SFA 2002-What are they building?
Sunday, November 25, 2001 12:35 PM
GRAWL!Intamin fan,I think that was sarcasm...Sorry bout my spelling I was in a rush to head out the door,my apologies.

*** This post was edited by Nitro230 on 11/25/2001. ***


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