I used to have a bunch of those things. The lift hills never worked and the track never kept the shape you gave it so they required constant tweaking. Cool concept but horrible execution. Still, it was the only option before K'Nex and CoasterDynamix came along.
Istill have two 30 sets my wife bought me for xmas in '90 and '91. I can get the rails to go where I want. It's just a matter of spacing the crossties and using cut length of tubing. Most of my tubing is cut to 5ft.
My issue was keeping the banking and turns as I set them (I always used continuous pieces of track because I didn't like the plastic "U turns"). After a few days of use the track wouldn't retain the exact shape I gave it.
A classmate of mine brought his to school when I was in elementary school. His worked fine while it was there and I was always pretty jealous of him for having it. Surely, there has to be a modern version somewhere out there. I wonder if you could get a marble to do a corkscrew...
Loved mine, but I think I pushed the design envelope too much. The biggest problem I had was friction, which was only compounded when I would keep changing the track configuration, and the crossties would carve notches into the plastic tracks. I resorted to using a three-foot first drop off any piece of furniture I could find in order to generate enough speed and momentum to get the marble through the course.
The second problem was brittle plastic for the crossties and support joints. Those things could take very little abuse before snapping.
The lift hill, while ingenious, sucked. I think it worked for all of an hour.
I found that making looping designs was pretty fruitless because of the aforementioned issues with momentum and speed. I mostly stuck to making single-element designs or simple wooden twister designs.
I had one of these as well. I remember ditching the U-turns in favor of a all-track turn, mainly for appearances. I also remember the lift having issues. I remember using a D-cell battery or two C-cells to get around any friction issues with the drive system. I wonder where my parents have that thing stored away?? :)
I still have mine set up in my basement. I liked it because, unlike K-nex, the possibilities are endless. After I built the one in the instruction manual, I designed my own tracks, with jumps, triple loops, etc.
I never had any maintenance issues, either, although I never used the lift hill because I thought it was stupid (a plastic corkscrew that spiraled marbles up to the top).
Here's a few shots of one of my Spacewarp creations. I forgot that I actually had four tracks running on this one. You can also see some empty paper towel rolls in the background. Those were what I used to make tunnels. Until I realized it was more fun actually watching the marbles go through the course.
I remember seeing this somewhere like a yard sale or flea market when I was younger and wanting it but for some reason I couldn't :( . After reading about some of the problems some of you have had though, a second hand one perhaps wouldn't be such a good idea.
I have mine somewhere in a box. A friend had a set and could never understand why I wanted to keep playing with it. Once I finally got my set, I kept changing the layout and used the ties as "near collision" elements to "freakout" the marbles.
I forgot about the flimsy ties! They'd always break when I dismantled one coaster to build another one. A long time ago I remember seeing a Spacewarp coaster that took up an entire room- the thing was all over the place.