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Name: Melinda
Status: educator	
Age:  N/A
Location: N/A
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Date: 4/27/2005

I am doing a project on similarity for my geometry class. I have to make a small scale replica of the roller coaster Superman the Escape. I know I have to multiply all the measurements by like 1/205 to make it around two feet tall, but how do I figure out the curve of the ride and how wide to make it? Any help would be gratefully accepted!!

You are on the right track regarding scale. The accepted practice uses rulers marked off in given distances. An architectural scale,is triangular shape, with 12 different scales. The explanation in words gets complicated.

The scales are used to convert something in feet to inches, either for drawings or models. Something 12 feet becomes at an 1/8 th inch equals a foot scale one and a half inches.

Let us look at your model, you did not mention the height but a guess, say 50 feet. or 50 x 12 = 600 inches. If the model was 1 inch equals 1 inch, that is "full scale" or a 50 foot high model. But if 1/8 inch equals one foot, that is 50 X 1/8 "= 6.25 inches. More convenient for drawings, or models.

The other common scale in use is an engineers scale. Like the architectural it has 12 scales, but instead of feet and inches, it is metric, or in 10 ths. It is used more for larger distances, like trying to make a drawing for something 200 foot long.

Back to your roller coaster. The physical construction related to scale, may be issues. For example, the rails. It could be their width is no more than a line width, will you try for three dimensions, or just opt out for drawing a line. Same goes for the railroad ties , their spacing. Often, it is best to think backwards, how big is the final product, how will you get it to where you want to go. It very well may be partial disassembly. It will be best to make those plans from the beginning. Their is a classic joke of building a boat in your garage, then having to tear the garage down to get the boat out.

James Przewoznik

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