Backyard Roller Coasters 101

Meet the man they call Coaster Dad.

May 15, 2015 9:00 am

Sometimes Saturday arrives and a man’s not sure what to do with himself. Or his kids. Or his nephews. Or his girlfriend who loves robots. This weekend, that man’s got a plan: the 10th annual Maker Faire (tickets here). Think renaissance fair for cyberpunks. Below: the six vendors/creators/roboticists we’ll be checking out. Get your geek on.

Most dads come back from the amusement park with a headache. Will Pemble, aka CoasterDad, came back with a plan to build his own 180-foot wooden roller coaster in his backyard, which he promptly executed. Now, he’s a full-time COO and part-time advocate of science education. And roller coasters. Always roller coasters.

If you ever read a child The Iron Giant before bedtime, you will want to find that child and escort him or her to its real-life analogue: Robot Resurrection, a 28-foot sculpture made almost entirely from airplane parts. It’s fully articulated and human piloted, occasionally by members of the crowd. Also, it can shoot fire.

More on the fire tip: welder and sculptor Jessika Welz presents Celestial Mechanica, a model of the solar system with glowing planets spinning around a fiery globe — or, as she puts it, “a 16-foot tall kinetic steel sculpture of our solar system representing the majestic dance of the heavenly bodies.” Also, it looks very, very cool.

You should also check out:

  • The folks at the Scan-a-Rama portrait studio, who can 3D print a model of your very own family
  • Ark Reactor, because everyone needs to see how to make “personalized probiotics”
  • Graywrx Fab, which is doing something described only as “fire sculpture robots in the sand!!” And we’re not going to miss that.

It’s going to be a busy weekend.

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