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K’NEX: What is your first memory of playing with K’NEX?
Jeremy: My first time playing with K’NEX did not involve snapping pieces together, rather it involved sneaking a look at what was a Christmas present for me in 1993. I found it hidden in my parent’s closet, and for weeks I kept sneaking in to look at it, anxiously wishing Christmas would come.
K’NEX: What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever built with K’NEX?
Jeremy: I don’t really have a favorite. Perhaps my most unique build was a model suspension bridge that had roller coasters and a train on it.
K’NEX: What skills did you learn/strengthen by building with K’NEX (problem solving, critical thinking, innovation)?
Jeremy: The main thing that I learned (by building with K’NEX) was how to make solid structures. This is one of the things that I like about K’NEX, the way that big structures can be made bigger and stronger than other building toys.
K’NEX: What other interests do you have, besides building large models with K’NEX?
Jeremy: I’m primarily a magician/Gospel Illusionist AKA: “Jeremy The Illusionist”. Each summer since 2008, I’ve been performing at Word of Life camp in Schroon Lake NY. Each year, during free time I build a large K’NEX display there.
K’NEX: What is your biggest success thus far in building with K’NEX?
Jeremy: My most successful experience so far was the giant Ferris Wheel at the Mall at Steamtown in Scranton PA. In 2012, I had built a 14 1/2 foot tall Ferris Wheel at “Word of Life”. Since then I’ve wanted to build an even bigger one, and not just for fun, but also to raise money for a worthy cause. In Nov. 2013, the Philippines were hit by one of the worst typhoons in history. While watching coverage of the disaster, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity. I went to the mall where I presented the idea, and to my surprise, they loved it. Construction began the next day. It took about 75 hours to build, over the course of a few weeks. It was 18.3 feet tall, 16.4 feet in diameter and contained approximately 35,250 pieces. Approximately $3,000.00 was raised to help people in the Philippines.
K’NEX: Do you have other huge builds planned for the near future? What are they?
Jeremy: I’m hoping to build the world’s tallest K’NEX roller coaster. I’ve always liked the “Screaming Serpent” type roller coaster. Last summer, I found a way of doing an unlimited vertical lift hill, and I’m hoping to use this technique to set a new world record. I don’t know yet when or where it will be. I’m also making a model pinball machine.
K’NEX: What inspires you?
Jeremy: Usually the main thing that inspires me is simply the thought of seeing the finished product. I also look forward to seeing people enjoy them. Raising money to help Philippine victims was another inspiration to doing the Ferris Wheel.
K’NEX: What other future goals do you have for yourself?
Jeremy: My main goal in life is to be a full time Gospel Illusionist. I also want to be an actor. Another dream I have is to someday start a Gospel Themed Amusement Park.
K’NEX: What advice do you have for K’NEX builders?
Jeremy: My main advice is to not rely just on instructions. Obviously instructions are important and helpful, but be creative, don’t hesitate to experiment, and make your own designs, I’ve always found this to be a whole lot more fun. People often seem surprised when I tell them that I’m making it up as I go, and that I don’t have any drawings or blue prints. But unlike building with wood, or other materials, with K’NEX if something needs to be changed, you don’t have to start all over again. Building original items can take a lot of trial and error, but with K’NEX it’s completely possible.
K’NEX: Do you have any advice for parents of K'NEX builders?
Jeremy: If your kids truly enjoy building with K’NEX, don’t hesitate to buy them more, (especially roller coaster sets).