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Hand-made wood rollercoaster for marbles that you stick on the fridge - arrange it anyway you want to roll, drop, jump, and swoosh!

The Project

Well, who wouldn’t want a roller coaster in their kitchen?

History

My children have had various car and track toys over the years, but they were always something fixed and planned. After putting the sets together they would get played with for a few weeks (or days!) and then get banished to the closet, forgotten. Longing for the Hot Wheels(TM) tracks of my youth, we would put together tracks and runs from bits and pieces we could find around the house – cardboard tubes, vertical blinds, vacuum hoses – you name it. As cool as anything we put together it wouldn’t last. Either the materials would get worn out, or it was just time to clean up.

The Idea

A few weeks ago I got the crazy idea to build a marble roller coaster that would stick to the front of the refrigerator. I grabbed some bass wood, glue, a roll of rubber magnet sheeting, a knife and started in. I made straights, double hills, drops, and box to catch them at the end.

Right away – failure. The marbles would fly off the track. I tried cutting up an old plastic bin and making side fences – brilliant! That is, until my youngest ripped them all off. Then I tried some copper wire. There was oodles of it laying around, and it worked pretty good. Of course, since bass wood is light and easy to work with, it is also fragile in the hands of eager children.

Phase Two

Again with hand tools, I sawed, sanded, and hacked out some more track pieces from a pine board, using the rubber magnet sheeting to get them to stick to the refrigerator. My children tested, suggested, and tested again. More failures – the rubber magnets liked to slide when the marbles jumped from track to track, but the fences and the tracks held up.

Phase Three

More new tracks cut by hand but now each track was held in place by little rare earth magnets – SUCCESS!

My eldest son said we should call it Fridge Tracks. My aunt, the scientist/teacher said it was cool, if we could figure how to do a loop-the-loop. I said we should go on Kickstarter and share this with everybody.

The Project

Here we are. And yes, we can do a loop-the-loop.

I have a video posted of the loop in action on the project page of my studio site.  We found about a dozen ways to get this to work, this is just one solution.

http://www.manrunningstudio.com/fridge_tracks.html

We want to build 100 roller coaster sets for our backers.  We need the equipment and materials to do it.  That's our project in a nutshell.

The Track

Each track will be cut and routed out of 3/4" Ash using a custom router bit for the groove that the marbles travel in.

Each railing will be made from nickel plated steel wire.  The track are held in place by licensed rare earth magnets.  Who knew you needed a license for making magnets?

REMEMBER

Magnets are not to be put in your mouth, swallowed, put in your scrambled eggs, placed on the television, stacked on your smartphone, or used for mayhem.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Everything made so far has been created with hand tools. We are going to take this to a machine shop level of production using a router table, table saws, routing jigs, wire jigs, and a drill press to make sure we make quality pieces in a repeatable, rapid process.

I have made fixtures for wire forms before in my workshop, and I have run production wood and plastic hand routers in a high volume production facility. I am familiar with the equipment operation and the processes required.

Professionally, I have helped launch dozens of products in a manufacturing environment; in my experience there are going to be bumps along the way and they just need to be met head on.

My biggest risk is that it may take too long to eliminate any process problems, which would affect delivery of the coasters.

FAQ

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  • Pledge $15 or more
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    4 backers

    SMALL BAG - 30 Marbles in a Blue Pouch (6 each of Sun, Milky Way, Blue Jay, Mars, and Iguana) + Project Sticker

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $20 or more
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    1 backer

    SINGLE PIECE OF TRACK - One Straight or Curved track (your choice) + Project Sticker + TWO 16mm Marbles Randomly Selected by my 3-year old Assistant Spencer Ships Via US Postal Service

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $12 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $40 or more
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    0 backers Limited (24 left of 24)

    T-SHIRT - Anvil Ringer Style 100% Cotton Shirt with a Full Color Project Logo + Project Sticker

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $21 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $75 or more
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    18 backers Limited (32 left of 50)

    FRIDGE TRACKS Starter Kit - 5 Straights, 5 Curves, 2 Drops, 1 Catcher Box + Project Sticker + 3 Each of Sun, Milky Way, Blue Jay, Mars, and Iguana 16mm Marbles in a Black Velvet Bag

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $90 or more
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    0 backers Limited (20 left of 20)

    POSTER - 18 x 24 Full Color Giclee printed on Somerset 100% Cotton Rag + Project Sticker - Signed and Numbered by the Artist (Jon "Poster Man" Sosso)

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $21 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $95 or more
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    11 backers Limited (19 left of 30)

    FRIDGE TRACKS Advanced Kit - Everything in the Starter Kit PLUS 2 Straights, 2 Curves, 1 Catcher Box and 15 Extra Marbles

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $115 or more
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    7 backers Limited (3 left of 10)

    ** INTERNATIONAL SHIPMENT ** FRIDGE TRACKS Starter Kit - 5 Straights, 5 Curves, 2 Drops, 1 Catcher Box + Project Sticker + 3 Each of Sun, Milky Way, Blue Jay, Mars, and Iguana 16mm Marbles in a Black Velvet Bag ** INCLUDES SHIPPING via US Postal Service **

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $135 or more
    You selected

    6 backers Limited (4 left of 10)

    ** INTERNATIONAL SHIPMENT ** FRIDGE TRACKS Advanced Kit - Everything in the Starter Kit PLUS 2 Straights, 2 Curves, 1 Catcher Box and 15 Extra Marbles ** INCLUDES SHIPPING via US Postal Service **

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (30 days)