2005 - Volume #29, Issue #4, Page #02[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
He Built His Own Roller Coaster
However, now that it's there, his grandchildren and other kids from the neighborhood think it's just great.
Building a backyard roller coaster had not even entered Litchfield's mind when he went to an auction where they were selling off equipment from a closed factory.
"When they started to auction off some metal conveyor rollers, I decided I might find a place for 20 ft. of it, so I bid $20 per foot and got it."
The next section sold for less. Then there was almost no bidding on the rest of it. Litchfield ended up with most of it at 17 cents per foot. Then he got the inspiration to use it to build a roller coaster.
For many people, that might sound like a tall order. But Litchfield is an established innovator with quite a few inventions to his credit.
He selected ground with just enough natural slope to let the proposed roller coaster car run. At the end of the 570-ft. run there's a raised braking slope which brings the car to a gentle stop.
Children and adults ride in a car attached to the track with rollers. He designed the car to run on salvaged corn planter wheels. There's a guide in front and back which keeps the wheels on the track. The conveyor rollers actually aren't used to roll the car.
A golf cart and rope is used to return the car to its launching pad at the top of the slope. Litchfield might add a motorized return next year.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Marshall Litchfield, 15340 N 700th Rd., Macomb, Ill. 61455 (ph 309 254-3481).
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