3D Printing roller coasters with Matt Schmotzer
Today I had the privileged of interviewing Matt Schmotzer, from "Print My Ride Detroit". He has just recently released his newest project, it is a full functioning 3D printed roller coaster. I hope you enjoy the interview.
Hello Matt, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hey there, I am Matt Schmotzer. I work at the Ford Motor Company as an engine systems engineer working on turbocharged 2.0L & 2.3L engines. I am also a distance grad student at Purdue University scheduled to graduate Dec. of this year. In addition, I love roller coasters and 3d printing.
How did you get interested in 3d printing?
I was first introduced to 3D Printing back in 2011 back in college. We had a project where we needed to make a toy in class using the old SLA machines the school had. Ever since then I knew I needed to get one and finally pulled the trigger and bought my first printer after landing a job out of college.
You recently finished Invertigo, was this your first roller coaster project?
This was my first roller coaster project that utilized 3d printers for the construction of the ride. I have actually made about 3 other static roller coaster models previously out of balsa wood, hot glue, and plastic tubing. This was my first project that I designed entirely in CAD to be built using additive manufacturing.
Did you design the models yourself?
Yes. The track layout was designed in NoLimits 2 coaster simulator. From there the track spine and rails were exported into excel for scaling. After scaling was complete I then imported the scaled layout into Solidworks to complete the supports, track, and train design.
What kind of printers did you use?
I have the following machines: Lulzbot Taz 5, Lulzbot Taz 5 (mod), Lulzbot Taz 6, Flashforge Finder (two of them), Mendelmax 1.5, and recently purchased a Formlabs Form 2.
What kind of filament did you use?
I mostly stick with Inland 3mm PLA. The roller coaster was printed using entirely PLA as I need a very ridged material where the brittle nature of PLA wasnt an issue for me.
How long did this take?
450 total print hours across all machines :)
Why did you want to do this?
I have a deep passion for roller coasters and absolutely love getting lost in CAD design and printing models. It was bound to happen where I merge all my interests together to design a fully functional 3d printed roller coaster.
Can we expect to see more soon?
Yes! I am working hard right now on the next one! I hope to be posting more pictures soon but right now I am in the development phase to see if it is even possible. Please stay tuned to find out more in the future!
If you have any other information or anything you would like to share, feel free to!
If you would like more information on the coaster, I will be updating my website shortly with design instructions and picture galleries for everyone to see here:
If you would like to 3d print the coaster yourself you can find all the CAD files here:
Lastly please follow me on instagram for the most current information!
Thank you for your time
Thanks for your interest and questions