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Chance Manufacturing Zipper! Amusement Ride
Zipper Amusement / Carnival Ride
About this creation

Update: July 2010 - Been away from my Lego models for some time, but I have had a few requests for a video. The only one I can find was shot on my cell phone back when cellphone videos were new and crappy. It's all I have of it in operation, so I hope you enjoy.

UPDATE: August 28th. The ride is complete! I have not got the new pictures done yet, but I have added a couple of the lights on the front of the Zipper. I will be setting it up on our driveway next week to take some well-lit pictures. This has been a very fun project, and I am happy with the results. Functionality is identical to the real ride.
I have started my next ride, which is a HUSS Enterprise.
I have received a number of requests to purchse my models. I am willing to sell them, as well as do comissioned work. IF you have a ride that you would like built out of Lego elements, or if you might be interested in purchasing an existing model, feel free to drop me a line at to discuss all the details. If you are interested in having your company logo, or other signage built, I am able to provide that kind of service as well. Again, drop me a line and I can share the current portfolio of work with you.
Thanks for all the kind emails, and compliments on my work as well!


July 27th, 2003.

This project is almost complete, But I will not be making it to Brickfest this year alas.

I had to completely redesign the bogey wheel section from a three wheel system, which used the friction of the bogey to rub against the rails, to a 4 wheel system, that is much like a steel coasters wheel set-up. This allowed for a much smoother flow to the bogey train. I have mostly everything working, just have to build a control point to adjust the speed of the main boom. The cars really whip around this thing, and when the boom starts spinning, it creates the identical ride motion as the real ride. As far as things that still need to be done, they are:

Finish car detailing and doors
Boom wiring must be concealed and cleaned up
Boom motor detailing and control mechanism
Drive belt adjustmens and tensioning
Boom detailing
Queue and signage
Ticket Booth

In answer to some of the questions in the reviews below:

As far as selling this, it is a possiblity, but not before the Toronto Hobby Show in November.
No this would not become an actual Lego set, as not many would be able to afford this many elements. Not to mention the shipping costs on 200lbs of Lego elements would be obscene! ;-)

End Update
Here is my current Project, The Zipper. The Zipper is a one-of-a-kind carnival ride that is still in heavy operation at many carnivals and amusement parks today. The reason this ride is popular is that it is both thrilling for the guests who ride, and a real easy two-man set-up for the the carnival employees. The design of the ride is very unique in that it is essentially a large boom with 'bogeys' mounted to a frame, which allow them to move very much like a bulldozer track. This boom also rotates, causing a double spinning effect on the bogeys as they round the ends of the boom. The cars are attached to the bogeys in such a way to allow them to be able to flip end-over-end, at the whim of either gravity, or the forces at work as the boom spins. The Zipper has a reputation to be a real 'puke bucket' as guests who are susceptable to motion sickness soon find there chilli-dogs coming back to haunt them. An interesting thing to note(and I read this at David's - Thanks David!) is that the first few Zippers that were released, had a much faster boom speed, causing a REAL vomit problem. It was later reduced in order to increase the rides popularity, and prevent it from getting a bad reputation from the start as 'NO FUN!'.

The translation to Lego was interesting, with one of the most difficult parts being the design of the frame/track that the bogeys travel around. I tried a few different geometries using 1x4 hingeplates with 1x2's on them for the round end of the track. I finally got something that would work within the dimensions I wanted, and began building the boom. The bogeys have a three wheel system on them that keep them traveling in-line around the track. Each of the wheel assemblies is articulated to allow them to bend around the curve. The four 'wagon wheels' as they are called on the real ride, were made of mostly plates and hingeplates, with slopes to form the cable grips. I had to use non-Lego thin, clear, plexiglass to form the rims that the 8 9volt Lego motors will rub against to drive the bogey train around the boom.

I built the basis for a trailer to start the actual boom support column, which is articulated to allow it to fold down to the horizontal position for travel. Because current needed to be supplied to the boom, I created a commutator out of some copper pieces, and some gold-plated speaker terminals. The boom support itself, has a back-bone made of technic 1x10 bricks pinned together. This will support the weight of the boom when mounted, preventing it from breaking apart with the almost 25lbs the boom will be when all cars are attached. I had to use non-Lego bearings in the boom support hub, simply due to the weight.

Thanks for having a look! Any questions or comments are welcome! :)



Tilt a Whirl
 I like it 
Paul Beach
  July 6, 2011
there is a zipper folded up in front of my bunkhouse right now, the owner is butler amusements, i think we have like 4 of them total.
 I like it 
  August 27, 2010
If you would sell this what would the price be?
 I made it 
  July 27, 2010
Quoting Isaac Sheaffer Can you send me plans for this ride? It's my favorite ride and its the best made model I've ever seen.
Thanks for the comments. Unfortunately, as with all of my models there are no plans but what are in my head. Basically I pick a scale, work out geometries, and then trial and error gets me home.
 I like it 
  July 27, 2010
Can you send me plans for this ride? It's my favorite ride and its the best made model I've ever seen.
 I like it 
  April 9, 2010
 I like it 
  October 8, 2009
That is aawsome i'm a BIG LEGO fan. And i love the much do you want for it. and or do you have parts list.
Tilt a Whirl
 I like it 
Juho Grohn
  April 13, 2009
That's just crazy! You're just crazy! But you are both just so awesome that it doesn't matter!
 I like it 
  April 13, 2009
some say u have no life, i say ur a rencarnated god in a past lego life.
  April 13, 2009
Juho Grohn said it here first!
  January 6, 2009
Wow i used to work at chance in wichita, ks, Omg that looks real!
 I like it 
  April 20, 2008
Stunning work! I would love to see some of your rides in action. Are you living in Manitoba? Drop me a line sometime.
 I like it 
  June 20, 2006
 I like it 
  September 14, 2005
I've seen one, but never riden one, i tried to make one and failed (broke one motor and ran out of bricks twice). On a scale of 1 to 5, i give it 9999999999999 (infinit 9s). Got any videos of it???
 I like it 
  February 9, 2005
An amazing technical achievement! If Keith Goldman is the master of Fascist state architecture, you are the master of Lego engineering!
 I like it 
  June 13, 2004
 I like it 
  January 16, 2004 That thing is AWESOME. Huge and brilliantly Words can't really describe properly.
 I like it 
  May 9, 2003
Wow, wow and wow again. All of your creations are amazing technical achievements while also capturing the spirit and essence of their real-world counterparts beautifully! What a great choice for your subjects too... LEGO and amusement rides together... fun+fun=tonnesO'fun! ...Makes me wish I was 4in tall !
By Tilt a Whirl
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LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Chance Manufacturing Zipper! Amusement RideOther structures

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