The Storm Rider Fairground Ride

After years of designing and constructing a succession of fairground models, in 2010 I gave myself the challenge to come up with something a little more radical. In an era where thrill seekers are constantly demanding bigger, better and more exhilarating rides from fairgrounds, and amusement parks becoming more and more sophisticated, I decided my new model would need to be up to the challenge.

I initially started by making some design changes to my previous model, Arachnophobia, which began as a facelift with just a few changes, but ended with a deconstruction and a reconstruction from where a much larger and heavier beast emerged.

From the Arachnophobia model, only the old tower with its motor and gearing system survived, which was used to tilt the old deck. This is now enclosed inside a new square tower which is supported with seven strong arms instead of the five used in the previous model.

The new top deck holding the rotating hub or canopy is now permanently fixed to stabilise the long arms supporting the passenger cars which otherwise would not produce a steady ride due to their length.

The large toothed quadrant used in ‘Arachnophobia’ was supported with rubber wheels which had a lot of friction. This I replaced with a new geared roller plate (part 167d) giving the ride a smoother and steadier rotating speed. A new driving unit using two elastic bands from the motor to two large pulleys (part 19b) power the pinion to drive the model.

To ease transportation I designed the model in separate sections containing the main deck, the tower (which is the largest and heaviest part), a newly built heavily reinforced rotating canopy or hub, the eight long detachable arms of the passenger cars, and the base where the model sits, which has a recessed back that accommodates the model’s transformers.

Lights have been added inside the deck and inside the tower, both top and bottom. Opening doors have been designed to access the lights and cables and also to access the main driving bands that power the model.

I believe the Storm Rider would be very much the ‘Iron Giant’ of the fairground world. Its passenger cars clasped by eight huge arms operate at very high speeds where would be thrill-seekers emerge feeling like they have just ridden a storm.

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