IAAPA: Close up of The Gravity Group's engineered precut track

Jeff's avatar

There were some questions earlier in the year about what TGG's new track looks like, integrated with classic track. Here's a good view of the vertical stuff:

They have a great demo of it transitioning to the horizontal track.

This stuff is gonna be everywhere next year.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Are the horizontal boards really put together with deck screws? That seems so minimal.

Jeff's avatar

Not sure, but remember there's a mess of glue in there too.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Shades:

Are the horizontal boards really put together with deck screws? That seems so minimal.

There are loads of different structurally-rated fasteners that could be used in this application, along with the mess of glue that Jeff referenced. Many of them have heads that look like deck screws.

Last edited by cmwein,

Okay, but what do they do if it has to drop and turn at the same time? 😉

The track is a laminated *and milled* construction. If the track needs to pitch and roll, the assembled stack is milled accordingly. Someone who knows more about this than me can confirm…the top two layers are still built conventionally, I presume?

—Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Jeff's avatar

I think so, because what I recall from the photos on shipping pallets was the vertically laminated sections.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

LostKause's avatar

TGG's retracking of KI's Racer and The Beast was very much necessary. If Kings Island finishes Racer, it might once again be a phenomenal ride.

KD's Grizzly is probably getting this too. I hope so. It needs it.


Looks like a bunch of this is going on Voyage this off season at Holiday World. 25% (~1600ft) of the layout is being replaced.

https://www.facebook.com/HolidayWorld/videos/725823775507939/

Jeff's avatar

I'm pretty excited to see Voyage getting that treatment, because I suspect it will make a huge difference.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

The one and only time I made it to Holiday World was late in the season in 2011. Voyage was good, but I also knew I was far from riding the best version of it. Hopefully this will make it so the ride doesn't have better years than others and is always as great as I'm sure it can be.

Honestly, watching that video, it surprises me that in 100+ years of coaster design, I don't think any one else turned the wood up in a vertical direction - which from a carpentry standpoint honestly makes no sense...

Jeff's avatar

That's exactly what I said to those guys last year when they introduced it. It seems so obvious. I imagine the reason though is that you can't really build the track in the field. Horizontal lamination allows you to bend vertically, and the layers can "turn" on each other to turn horizontally. But the vertical bending is exactly the thing that makes it less rigid, rough and necessary to maintain. So hurray for CNC machines.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Schwarzkopf76's avatar

Michael Graham from The Gravity Group gave a fun presentation yesterday at ACE's No Coaster Con here in Chicagoland. He had track samples and was bouncing on them to show how the new track is much stronger than the regular horizontal track. He also said they got the idea from the Camden Park Big and Little Dippers, which have vertical wood track on the curves.

They did a great job at Kings Island. But I did feel with the harder track it's easier to feel the microbumps. This would probably be more pronounced on the steel-structured rides. Not perfect, but very nice.

Jeff's avatar

Mike is the best. Met him 20+ years ago, and he and his wife are some of my favorite people. Thrilled to see him and his business partners thriving.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

As Schwarzkopf76 alluded, vertical laminations were actually common on wood coasters; I suspect their demise was brought on by the hand-held electric circular saw. The other coaster where I saw curves made from vertical laminations bent into the curve was on the Cannon Ball at Lake Winnepesaukah. That was how they got enough flexibility in the wood to build a flat curve...back when all the curves were basically flat. Now, curves are laid flat just like everything else on the coaster, and the inside radius is cut with a circular saw.

Well, if you can build a flat curve by successively angling the laminations and then cutting the whole thing with a circular saw, why not turn the whole assembly sideways and cut the vertical curves in the same way? And if you can do it on a CNC mill to make the track go exactly where you want...well, now that's even better, isn't it?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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MVR used horizontal stacks in some curves on Monstre at La Ronde, so Bill Cobb designed with them.


RideMan:

The track is a laminated *and milled* construction. If the track needs to pitch and roll, the assembled stack is milled accordingly.

I wanted to bring this back up as I've seen people questioning this recently. Do we have any any further evidence or confirmation this is true? From the information on The Voyage, it seems that the vertical track is only being used on the first drop and second hill.

Last edited by cmwein,

There's clearly a market for wood coaster retrofits, and it's interesting to me how the two main wood coaster companies have responded, particularly GCI. For those are not familiar, GCI's solution is fully steel track that is comparable to RMC's I-Box track. This is interesting to me because GCI, the company largely associated with the modern renaissance of the wood coaster, is now actively involved in campaigning parks to renovate their wood coasters into steel rides. I totally understand that GCI is a business and is going to pursue all available streams of revenue, but it's also kind of sad to see wood coasters becoming less, uh, wooden on their watch.

I'm thankful that Gravity Group's solution is being widely adopted, because rides that implement their precut track still have the qualities that make wooden coasters so loved. Imagine if KI went with steel track for their Beast project -- the ride would have never been the same.

Jeff's avatar

I wouldn't consider GCI any more of a "renaissance" contributor than the defunct CCI, which is superseded by TGG. While GCI built new trains, the extent to which they innovated was trailered trains. They were still heavy, and they weren't building the coasters any differently than it had been done for a hundred years.

Steel options are always going to be more expensive than wood though, at least in the short term. I guess we don't really know what the longevity of the vertical wood is, but it's certainly going to be better than replacing it every few years.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

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