Teens Build Roller Coaster in Backyard for School

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Here's one school project that moved -- literally! -- two Texas teens.

Nathan Rubin and Ian Mair worked together to build a roller coaster in Nathan's yard for their senior project as part of their school's independent study and mentoring program.

Nathan says the class "allows you to get insight on a career and figure out if it's the one you like. If you have a passion for something, like roller coaster design, it allows you to really explore your passion."

And that's exactly what the two boys did.

So, how do you go about planning to build a roller coaster? "I have a structural engineer mentor and a mechanical engineer that helped us with the calculations and they taught us what to do," Nathan explains.

This school assignment also came with a hefty price tag -- Nathan and Ian spent about $1,500 to build the coaster and Lowe's Home Improvement and Home Depot donated $1,200 worth of wood, screws, and metal.
Three months later, a 10-foot roller coaster named "The Predator" stands in Nathan's backyard. It has a one-seat cart that drops 10 feet and then continues up and over two smaller hills -- although they've yet to master how to make the car get over the second hill.

"We are still working on it," Nathan -- who will study engineering at the University of Austin this fall -- reveals. "We are working on getting enough momentum to get over the second hill."



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