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Marbleocity Dragon Coaster
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- Build your own working roller coaster model made of real wood! The Dragon Coaster is full of dips and turns with some engineering and physics thrown--so once you build your coaster, you can run marbles through it!
- The assembly instructions feature a graphic novel with the Tinkineer cast of characters--Kelvin, Joule, Newt and friends--to communicate meaningful STEM concepts in an engaging format.
- It's a fun way to learn about roller coaster design and conservation of energy while making an awesome kinetic sculpture!
- The Dragon Coaster takes approximately three to five hours to build, and measures 8" when finished; for ages 12 and up. Made in the USA.
- It also connects with the Skate Park (sold separately), so you can expand your marble empire and shuttle marbles back and forth!
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Toy contains a marble. Not for children under 3 yrs.
CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
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From the manufacturer
Introduce children to STEM with fun, hands-on model kits!
The satisfaction and pride of making your own kinetic sculpture!
Engineering principles and physics concepts engage young minds, so it’s a unique and playful learning experience for beginner and experienced Makers alike! No special tools required; only household white glue (not included) is needed! The activity lasts several hours because of all the different building steps and waiting for glue to dry, so it's long-lasting fun!
A cool, fun, working marble run machine to play with!
The Dragon Coaster is full of dips and turns—so once you build your coaster, you can run marbles through it! Just turn the crank to start the action!
USA-made wood kit includes:
- Laser-cut birch wood parts
- Metal axles
- Tinkineer graphic novel with assembly instructions
- Note: Household white glue required for building; not included.
Meet the Tinkineers!
The graphic novel with the Tinkineer cast of characters— Mosfet, Newt, Kelvin, Joule and Iggy—communicates meaningful STEM concepts in an engaging format. It’s a fun way to learn about roller coaster design and conservation of energy while making an awesome kinetic sculpture!
Crank the marbles up, up, up...and then watch them go through dips and turns!
Whoooosh! The Marbleocity Dragon Coaster was inspired by the real wooden roller coaster of the same name, located at Playland in Rye, NY.
Lots of cool details make this a mesmerizing sculpture as well as a fun marble run!
|Marbleocity Skate Park||Marbleocity Mini Skate Park||Marbleocity Mini Coaster|
|Build Time||3 to 5 hours||1 to 2 hours||1 to 2 hours|
|Features||Run marbles through a lift, stair descent, rail slide and a jump! Connects to the Dragon Coaster (not included), shuttling marbles back and forth, so you can expand your marble empire!||Run marbles through a lift, stair descent, rail slide and a jump!||Run marbles through awesome dips and turns!|
Tinkineer’s Marbleocity introduces children to engineering principles and physics concepts with dynamic hands-on STEM model kits made of precision-cut wood in the USA. Each kit includes easy-to-follow assembly instructions in a graphic novel that features the Tinkineer characters. The comic introduces a physics concept or engineering mechanism that is the focal point of the model, all in a fun and engaging way! The result is an awesome kinetic sculpture and some new physics and engineering insight! Building requires only household white glue…no special tools! It’s a unique and playful learning experience for beginner and experienced Makers alike!
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Marbleocity Skate Park
Marbleocity Mini Coaster
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Ideal Amaze 'N' Marbles 60 Piece Classic Wood Construction Set
|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Item Dimensions||8 x 8 x 8 in||8 x 8 x 8 in||4 x 6 x 6 in||3 x 14 x 22 in||4 x 13 x 11 in|
|Item Weight||2 lbs||2.16 lbs||2 lbs||4 lbs||5 lbs|
|Number of Pieces||80||80||30||900||60|
Top customer reviews
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All in all, the build is quite fun and you get to learn a bit of physics along the way. Since I bought both this and skate park, I'm just waiting for the motor so that I can automate the set and run it all the time in the office!
TWO QUICK CLARIFICATIONS REGARDING THE INSTRUCTIONS
1. On the bottom of page 17 in the instruction book they neglect to tell you that PART 19 should be sloping slightly to the left (rather than perfectly level). I didn't realize at that particular point in the construction, but this is the chute that feeds marbles into the pinwheel-shaped rotating piece that in turn feeds marbles into the largest gear. Little did I know that the "marbles" (actually more like ball bearings) would CONSTANTLY stall there unless PART 19 sloped to the left. So I ended up squeezing a 1/2 round needle file in there and I filed and filed until there was finally a slope.
2. Page 19, installing PART 30 - in the middle of the paragraph of text they mention that this is press-fit, and not to be glued. Everywhere else in the illustrations they include an image of a bottle of glue with a line through it to remind you if parts are NOT to be glued, but they missed it in this particular illustration, and I ended up gluing the part in by mistake. Luckily, everything functioned as it should have and so I didn't need to remove the piece.
OK, now for a quick review. I am really very impressed with this kit. The laser cut pieces are very well done, easy to pop out of the plywood sheets, and fit together well. There is a tiny bit of play when connecting most pieces, but this is desirable because it means that there is room for the glue, rather than a force-fit that may scrape off the vast majority of the adhesive.
As I was assembling (and certainly once it was up and running) I couldn't help but marvel at the level of though, engineering and cleverness that went into this design. Very few things manage to impress me on an intellectual level AND excite my inner child at the same time. The Dragon Coaster kit did both, and I was delighted.
Lastly, here are some things I found useful as I assembled the project. They were nice to have, but by no means absolutely necessary:
1. Bamboo Skewers. I used these instead of the toothpicks provided in the kit to apply the glue. The blunt ends of the skewers also came in handy for popping the smaller pieces free from the plywood sheets. I think I got mine from a dollar store, but here's an example of them here on Amazon Bamboo BBQ Skewers, 100ct
2. Condiment Cups. I use these all the time to mix small batches of epoxy, or to hold paint. In this project, I poured small amount of glue into the cups, and then would dip the tips of the skewers in to get glue for assembly. Crystalware, Disposable 2oz. Plastic Portion Cups with Lids, Condiment Cup, Jello Shot, Soufflé Portion, Sampling Cup, 100 Sets - Black Cups with Clear Lids
3. Needle Files. I used the round file to remove the tiny burrs inside the teeth of the gears left over from where they had been attached to the main plywood sheets. I also ended up using the half-round file to fix an assembly mistake that I made. These are probably the least necessary, but I was happy that I had the set. Needle File Set (HIGHEST QUALITY 6 PIECE SET) Hardened Alloy Strength Steel - Mini Needle File Set Includes Flat, Flat Warding, Square, Triangular, Round, and Half-Round File.
4. Wooden dowel with a disk magnet glued to one end. A quarter inch dowel fits nicely (9/32 inch might be a more precise fit) into the holes built into the base. I cut one to about 4 inches in length and glued a quarter inch diameter neodymium magnet to one end. This comes in handy ALL the time. If a marbles falls off of a track for whatever reason, they seem to have a distressing tendency to hide under parts that I can't get my fat fingers into, lol. The magnet on a stick grabs them from out of wherever they may try to hide. The non-magnetic end of the stick can be used to nudge a ball back into motion.
I highly recommend this kit!
THE BOX - On the front of the box it has the Marbleocity logo and the Dragon Coaster Maker kit name. There is a remarkable photo of the built Dragon Coaster in all its glory and off to the side it says "Build this amazing Marble Machine" which is interesting since the actual machine uses ball bearings and not marbles. There's probably a story behind that so I'll have to look into that later. You can tell they've geared this kit for a younger audience with some cartoon images of kids on the box and learning type images scattered around the cover. On the back of the box is a full color photo of a girl in the middle of building the dragon coaster kit. On the bottom it gives the Tinkineer's mission statement and a photo of another kit that can be linked up to the dragon coaster to make for an even larger coaster or you can add a motor to your kit. Tinkineer is the company who produces the marble machines and Marbleocity I think represents the different types of marble machine coasters. The box says that it is for ages 12+ but I'll give my impressions of that age limit later in the review.
WHAT'S INSIDE - First let's talk about what comes inside the box. When you open the Dragon Coaster box you'll find everything laid out in a neat clean style with everything in packages and nothing floating around inside. The box has two separate compartments which hold all the components. On the top compartment you'll find the instruction manual and a plastic zip lock back with a number of plywood sheets with laser-cut pieces on it. In the bottom compartment is another sealed plastic bag with more plywood sheets with more laser-cut pieces on it.
THE MANUAL - Personally this is where I feel the kit shines because you can tell they put a lot of time and effort into creating a beautifully designed, well detailed color assembly instruction manual. The manual is 28 pages including the front and back covers. It's printed in full color and made of rather thick cardstock style paper material. There is a nice introductory from the company explaining the kit and their desire to make sure you have the best building experience possible. There is also a nice intro from Adam Hockerman the Chief Tinkineer and designer. Next there is a cool comic strip about an amusement park "again for the younger audiences which my kids loved" that explains the physics behind the coaster and physics principles such as Potential Energy, Kinetic energy, friction and conservation of energy. All this in an easy to understand dialog with a cartoon teenager and adult explaining the details. There is a section on "TIPS ON TECHNIQUES" and the necessary materials needed for the build. One page covers the parts in a graphical representation with each part numbered. I will say that the images are rather light so it's hard to make out each pieces along with its corresponding number. The way the build is laid out is that you will build the coaster in a five day progression allowing time for the glue and pieces to dry properly. You have to supply your own glue, where I actually used a wood glue, they mention that you could use Elmer's white glue. The kit includes toothpicks and a single wax candle, which I'll explain their uses later. Believe me when I say the toothpicks are a must because they make the build so much easier with all the tight spot and grooves. You'll also have to supply your own wax paper to help keep the glue off your building surface. As I mentioned earlier, the manual instructs you to build the kit over a five day period and I recommend you follow this detail especially if you use Elmer's glue which isn't as quick drying as a specific wood glue product. So, for each of the five days they break each day into either a three or five step process. Each step gives a detailed description of what to expect for that part of the build and what pieces will be glued or not glued. There are multiple images of numbered pieces aligned together forming the construction section. Each pieces will have a colored highlight indicating where you will apply glue and what tips to follow to help you along the way. THIS IS IMPORTANT so I'll say it again, read each instruction step first, then follow the instruction to the letter to make sure you don't end up applying glue where it shouldn't be applied! The build images for each step are very detailed and easy to follow. The text is pretty small and I found myself having to use glasses to read some of the text for the tips and steps. The last part of the manual covers where to go from here and what other coasters you can build to add to this one to create a huge coaster, which I will probably end up doing in the long run.
THE BUILD - As I mentioned earlier, the build takes five days and is given in three or five steps increments per day. As you follow along the steps you will pop-out the part in question by looking at the images of the parts since to me the numbers were useless without having the number punched on the actual piece. Each wood piece is laser cut from a number of single sheets of 1/8 birch plywood. The material itself was of a very high quality and I didn't found any knots or blemishes which they said they would replace it found. They did an excellent job of pre-cutting each piece because I had no problem popping out any of the pieces from the sheets. Also, I didn't find any tabs or notches on the piece edges from either misaligned cuts or bad cuts. All the pieces were very clean and had very little burn from the laser cutter. They were also very particular in making sure you used the clean side as much as possible when assembling the kit so you wouldn't have to see a burned side. As I was building I found everything fit wonderfully with only a few times that I had to push rather hard to get it into place. Here is where I have an issue with the age standards in that I'm 50 and a wood worker by trade so this assembly was rather easy for me but I did have some instances where I had a rather hard time dealing with gluing the piece, holding the piece in place at a specific angle, with a certain amount of pressure so as not to break the build and make sure I was able to hold it in place so it would start to dry in the correct position. Some of the specific pieces are oddly shaped and must fit perfectly of your coaster won't work correctly and I found that even when I completed the build I had some issues of misalignment and incorrect positioning. I just couldn't see a 12 year old doing this kit on his/her own, following all the instructions, gluing each pieces and making sure they were correctly positioned without messing something up. They tell you to always roll a ball through the area to make sure it flowed smoothly but there are sections that you have to glue pieces together and can't pre test with a ball; these were some of the areas that caused the most difficulty after the build was dry. To me I see this as a kit that if built by a youngster or young teenager that the parent must be present to help guide the build and make sure each step is followed to the letter because once the build is dry you don't get to move pieces or make changes; it's just too late by then! So I feel the age range is more practical at 14 or 15+ just to cover all basics but that's me. Also, there are a lot of small curved pieces that must fit in tight grooves and these pieces were the hardest to fit without breaking the securing piece. The manual does do a great job of highlighting which pieces is being built and where it is going to be attached. The graphics on this were very clear and rather detailed which was very nice to see. With regard to the wax candle I mentioned earlier, you only use this to help grease the bearing for the Ferris wheel bearings and gear bearings. This is a must since wood on wood is a very high friction surface.
MATERIAL QUALITY - Everything in this kit is high quality! From the manual to the plywood sheets, they made it a points of giving you the best material they could use. The paper in the manual is thick, clean and non-smudging with high quality images and diagrams. The instructions are laid out with computer aided designed drawings that are very easy to follow and colored when appropriate. The birch plywood used for the actual coaster pieces is flat, clean and straight without any blemishes or discoloring that I could see. The laser cut pieces are very clean with no miss-cuts or hard to pop out pieces and there was none of that burned residue you normally find on laser cut wood. The box is very sturdy and small in size. Everything was package neatly and organized with plastic bags. Just all an all a very nice, high quality kit that will last for a long time.
PRO'S AND CON'S -
The Pro's with regard to this kit are as follows:
1. Everything is well constructed, well designed and of the highest maker quality.
2. The manual is designed for either a young or adult builder and everything is very easy to follow and understand.
3. The kit is rather simple to build if you've had some experience using wood and glue products.
4. Everything was laid out in a straight forward manner with a lot of tips and examples to keep you on track and on task.
5. The finished product is amazing and teaches the builder about mechanics and the principles of physics in general as you watch and play with the coaster.
6. The kits is expandable with the ability to add more kits for more fun!
The Con's with regard to this kit are as follows:
1. The process of taking five days to build this coaster is going to be very hard for some kids to follow and will probably cause them to try and build the kit faster, which may cause problems in the long run. It's not easy to have a child wait a day when they really want to play with the finished kit "you can't believe how many times my two boys say "is it done yet" and it would be nice if they could figure out a way to make it so this time frame could be shortened.
2. Some of the pieces are very odd shaped and when they are to be glued they can be very hard to get positioned correctly which can cause misalignment and problems later in the build.
3. The kit should come with glue because if you open the box and want to start building you can't unless you have glue on hand or until you go to the store and get the glue!
4. They really need to highlight areas in the manual with big red letter with regard to pieces that should not be glued because it is easy to hurry and miss something that tells you not to glue a piece.
5. Once the build is complete it has mechanical issues such as if you turn the wheel to fast it won't pick up the ball bearings or the ball bearings will fall out of the Ferris wheel. If you misalign any track pieces once they are glued, the ball will travel slow or will bump and cause the coaster to not work correctly. Sometimes the ramp or track edge pieces can't be pretested until they are glued and after that I had a couple that needed to be hammered into place or sanded to stop them from causing the ball to stop in place. Randomly a ball will pop out from the track or from the Ferris wheel which is very annoying!
CONCLUSION - Overall I truly love this kit! It's incredibly fun to build even if it takes five days to do so. It's very educational to read through the manual and cover all the topics involved especially all the physic concepts and principles. It looks amazing when complete and truly does function like a mini roller-coaster when all the balls are moving around the tracks. It's incredibly cool to watch and makes a neat sound when in motion. It's expandable with the ability to link up to three other coasters to the dragon coaster to make for a huge four piece coaster. It teaches teenagers about real world concepts while allowing parents to work and instruct younger children about the same principles of physics and mechanics. It allows you to build something that actually works and functions as a mechanical rollercoaster. This truly is a wonderful kit that will give your kids years of enjoyment.