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It doesn't get any easier than the flywheel launch mechanism, perhaps most famously seen on the Schwarzkopf shuttle loops. A flywheel is a large, generally solid wheel. In the case of the Schwarzkopf coasters it weighs over 5 tonnes. Their purpose is to smooth out vibrations and prevent slight variations in speed that inevitably occur, allowing for a smoother launch and reduces the likelyhood of things like metal fatigue etc. by making it in general, a smoother process. Picture an axle. At one end you have a fixed pulley (2m in diameter). At the other you have a belt that connects the axle to a motor. Close to the belt end is the flywheel. There are also a few clutches and speed reducers along the way to make sure everything goes right and to handle the recoil that will be felt once the train has left the launch (once the train has launched a clutch midway along the axle disconnects to stop the spinning of the pulley). This flywheel machinery is situated very near the loop end of the launch track. A cable system is threaded through this pulley, through what is more or less a trough built into the middle of the track, around another "floating" pulley at the back end of the station and under the track to meet back at the flywheel pulley.

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clears it up perfectly Richard, thanks a bunch. i spent hours googling it with no luck. i just couldn't understand how the pulley came into it. I didnt understand that this pulley was "fixed" to the cable so to speak. all the pulleys I was thinking of were like a pulley in a chain block, where the cable spun through it freely. i was picturing the pulley side on ( =====(o) to the axle rather than ======| . but anyway, thanks for clearing that up.

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