Steel Shots: What’s Cool in Steel

(Photo courtesy of Fabco Metal Products)

Thanks to all of its amusement parks, Orlando is known for unique structures. One of the newest, at Universal Orlando, is a steel-framed volcano, which serves as the centerpiece for the new Volcano Bay water park.

Designed by structural engineer GRAEF and fabricated by Fabco Metal Products (an AISC member and certified fabricator) — and filled with waterslides, not lava tubes — the 200-ft-tall volcano is formed with space frames consisting of a series of vertical bent trusses that rotate around multiple vertical axes. These trusses span various lengths and are interlaced with secondary framing to support multiple platforms. To maintain consistency, all of the members were W14 shapes, ranging from W14×30 to W14×398.

The structure consists of approximately 1,400 tons of structural steel. The erector, Coastal Steel, Inc. (an AISC member and certified erector) preassembled as much of the framing as possible on the ground in order to minimize connections that would need to be made in the air. Since the entire structure slopes in multiple planes, it was imperative to minimize deflections until the steel could be supported at the shoring towers. In addition, Coastal had to install the waterslides and their supports within the structure during the sequential erection.

For more about the structure and other projects showcasing the cool use of steel, see “What’s Cool in Steel” in our August issue (available now!).