MIT students have created a wooden roller-coaster for the rush week celebration and it has been named as East Campus Roller Coaster. The stunt has become a sort of tradition among students studying engineering. Freshmen are invited for the ride and are strapped into a small buggy.
According to the students, “After a hiatus of a few years, the roller coaster was brought back and was bigger and better than ever.” The coaster has been designed by 3 mechanical engineering juniors – Jaguar Kristeller, Ben Katz and Wesley Lau. It was created within a week. According to Ben, “By the end, the total ride and reset time was under 3 minutes. In total I’d estimate around 400 people were able to ride the roller coaster between Sunday night and Thursday afternoon, when we closed it down.”
Ben further said, “Once the plywood track had been laid down, we slowly rolled the cart along the track, so make sure it traveled smoothly, then we did an unmanned test run with an empty cart, followed by a test run with 150lbs of sand in the cart. Then I got to go. This was my first time riding a roller coaster of any kind. It was awesome.”
The team, however, had to scale the design down and then had to get rid of the loop that was a part of the original design. The team said, “Unfortunately, we had to scrap the loop. One of the steps to getting the coaster approved by MIT and Cambridge was going through MIT’s Environment, Health and Safety department (EHS). Basically, EHS said No Upside-Down People. Period.”
The school and city put forward the requirement of submission of plans for the designs to the Inspectional Services Department along with a recommendation letter from a certified engineering firm. Richard Henige, VP of the firm LeMessurier, stated, “Students themselves developed the sketches and calculations, and at MIT’s request we reviewe the sketches and made some comments to them. We then submitted a letter to the city saying that the plans would conform to the Massachusetts State Building Code.”
Finally the structure was approved as safe and its construction was allowed. Would you go on this thrilling roller coaster ride?