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My Other Hobby: K'NEX Models

Karate Pyjamas

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It's a hobby I try to hide from people in real life for quite a while, the reactions are always a bit mixed, but mostly positive.


I've been actively building with K'NEX since 2007 when I met my best friend online. He has been building for ages with K'NEX and posted video's online of them. I got into contact with him and we've been best friends ever since.


We build K'NEX models of Roller-Coasters and fairground attractions. We also run a hobby group in the Netherlands (and Belgium) and are both core staff on the international K'NEX forum. Last year we were also contacted by a toy distributor in the Netherlands who had obtained the rights to sell K'NEX in mainland Europe. We've been doing some models and fairs for them where we display our models and promote the brand. My mate is actually go to start an intern ship after the summer at that company. Oh, and before you ask, yes we are sponsored since we were approached by that company. However, we have so much K'NEX at home that more free pieces don't really make a difference in our collection ;) It's hardly a dent.


Showing our models to the public isn't something new to us, we've been showing our models at fairs and museums since 2009. We've invested a lot in our stand and everything around it, banners, cards etc. We also found the potential of running our models via an Arduino or a similar electronic circuit. Interactivity with models is great to the public, being able to start the models yourself keeps children and adults hooked for hours! (Plus, when the model is not running it saves us a lot of maintenance ;) )


Enough of the talk, let's show you some videos!


The first model we displayed under our group "Dutch Details" (the origins of which lay at the international forum where people ran fictitious coaster building companies, we wanted to provide a safe haven for Dutch speaking members), was Looping Star. Modeled after classic Schwarzkopf Roller-Coaster in the Netherlands (the themepark is 'Slagharen').

Also the first time we had an Arduino installed and flashy lights at the top ;)

The year after I built XenoX which is a roller-coaster that travels on European fairgrounds:


This model was more advanced as it allowed for multiple trains to run at the same time.

My mate then saw the potential of the Arduino and started developing his own platform, which he implemented in this BEAST of a model, which was displayed at a toy museum:


But when more orders came in and large roller-coasters weren't always possible to place at fairs we had to develop some flatrides too. Like a record breaking ferriswheel standing over 4.60m or 15ft tall!


(That's my mate who is 1.95m tall posing in front of it)

You can find more on it here:

The museum we've been at before then invited us for a second time, this time to build an entire themepark spreading over 120 m2!

I'd suggest you stroll through our portfolio to see ALL of the individual rides we've built over the years. Also, the newer roller-coasters feature some on-rides videos! So be sure to check those out!


Cheers for watching and reading! (Subs on our YT channel are welcome too ;) )
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never be afraid to show your hobby mate ;). It looks really nice best i can make with k'nex is a spaceship further than that.. nope XD so keep up the good work and as we Dutchies do keep going while eating cheese and/or stroopwafels! :P

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That is fucking awesome! how long does it take to build something like that and how do you even begin to plan it?

WOW just WOW

It really depends, some models take half  year to complete but that's merely because we aren't there where the K'NEX is for the majority of the time. You'd be surprised that some of the larger models may only take 3 months to build while smaller models take sometimes half a year or even longer. There's no real estimate but usually all models take longer than 3 months to complete.

The large Ferris wheel went through multiple design iterations, it's very hard to create a closing circle at that size. The wheel itself including all the gondolas weighed in over 32kg. The structure and (steel)axle was tested by hanging 40kg worth of potatoes in shopping bags from it.

The entire themepark was planned out two years before it went on display, building all the rides took over one and a half year. And we only managed to complete it 15 minutes before the grand opening, which had plenty of press involved. Some of the rides in the themepark were so big that we were unable to test them at home. We really had to rely on our experience and knowledge to make sure they worked when fully set-up.

Planning wise, larger models are generally draw out on grid paper, as the foundation for it will be made out of squares, or sizes multiple of those on the grid. This allows for accurate planning of the ride. Shaping the track is different, we get an estimate by using basic trigonometry and calculus, which is also transferred to grid paper. But getting the track to connect to the support columns is always trial and error.

The large coaster (Koloss) took 3 days to re-assemble on the spot. One day consists of merely putting the plastic tubing (on which the coaches ride) on the track connectors. This is very tedious work, sore fingers are a given, but every bump causes a huge amount of speed loss, working with hot or cold weather (or changes in temperature in general) cause the track to warp or buckle. You'll have to go back top that point and re-do it every time that happens. In the end the track does warp, especially after extended periods of running time, but this actually increases performance, as it is caused by the coaches trying to find the most ideal path on the track.

Smaller rides generally don't get this treatment, but are sized after the amount of space we have in the car that's to transport the model. Sometimes we go slightly bigger, we then cut/break/split the model in half and reassembled it on the spot.

We get our inspiration from roller-coasters around the world, sometimes we just come across a picture and we want to either replicate it or build something inspired by it. Same goes for smaller rides.

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