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Building a custom Formula Style Wheel

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by dieselpower1988, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. Hi All,

    I've recently been planning to build a custom single seater style wheel for my G27. I'm currently still working on the design, but I'm getting pretty close to starting work on the first prototype. This is my first project of this kind, so I'm hoping the community can help with some of the questions I have :)

    First of all, in summary the design will be:-
    • Wheel cut from 5mm acrylic or aluminium. Acrylic (or another plastic) is preferred due to cost, but if it's not strong enough I'll use aluminium.
    • 10x Knitter/NKK Push Buttons
    • 5x Rotary Switches
    • SIMR-F1 Display w/ enclosure
    • Custom Moulded Rubber Grips (either sugru or ugligripz)
    • Simulaje Quick Release
    So my first question, does anyone have external dimensions for the Simulaje Quick Release? I've tried contacting Juan but I haven't had a response :(

    Lastly, here are some pictures of the design so far:-

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Here's a view of the back. I've had to approximate the quick release adapter for now, but as you can see it's pretty close to the shifter assembly. There's only a few mm there so if it's bigger than I've estimated, I could have a problem :( The other thing is the length of the mounting posts on the QR adapter, which if shorter than my estimate would also cause me a problem.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway next to do is the two clutch paddles. They will be very similar to the shifter assembly, but will integrate a potentiometer instead of a push button.
     
  3. EDIT: I got in contact with Juan, and now have more accurate dimensions for the quick release.

    Here are some updated images. I've added the rotary switches, most of the front panel is pretty much final now. All I need to do is holes for the SIMR-F1 wiring. The cut guide on their website is not ideal, so I'll probably get in contact with them for some additional measurements.

    I'm struggling with the clutch paddles a little bit. I was thinking of using a potentiometer with a paddle attached to the spindle, but obviously this would only give maybe 20-40 degrees of motion on the pot, would this be a problem?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2014
  4. Just a small update, I've finalised the design now, I've ordered the quick release and should have that fitted to my G27 next week. I'll be ordering the 5mm acrylic sheet for the wheel plate next week. Other than the wiring, cutting the wheel out and drilling the holes is what I imagine will be the hardest task.

    Here's a render of the final design:-
    [​IMG]


    And here's the part I will need to cut from acrylic:-
    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Wow!!! Looks awesome :).
     
  6. Here's a small update:-

    Quick release arrived from Juan over at Simulaje. I've now got that installed on my G27, and it's awesome! Here are some pictures of it installed:-

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I've also built a frame out of aluminium profile for my G27, which allows me to mount the unit further back on my desk. My desk is very deep, and I found the position on the edge of the desk was not ideal. Also, more importantly, installing the quick release moves the wheel position forwards at least 2 inches, possibly as much as 3 inches. With this frame I was able to mount the G27 using the standard clamps but also make used of the mounting holes on the underneath. The result is a rock solid mounting with absolutely zero movement when in use. Anyway, here are some images:-

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I'll post some pictures up of it fitted to my desk to give you a better idea, but it works really well. It also gave me a taste of building something with aluminium profile, which I will probably used when I get round to building a full rig.

    Anyway finally, progress on the actual F1 style wheel. I ordered two quick release adapters from Juan, one for my stock G27 rim, and one of the rim I'm building. I've fitted the second adapter to the back box for the rim, but unfortunately that's as far as I have got. My supplier for the plastic for the main wheel body has let me down and didn't deliver in time for this weekend so I wasn't able to work on it :( Here are some pictures anyway:-

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I've started to plan the wiring, and after having a good think about it, I've decided not to order the display straight away. I'm going to order the buttons and wiring first, and wire them up either using a stock G27 rim PCB (if I can get a second one) or using an old USB game controller. I want to do this to prove out the concept, before I invest in an expensive display. If I can't source a suitable second hand controller I may go for a Leo Bodnar button box controller, which would allow me to add the rotary switches and encoders to test as well.

    Anyway, I should have the materials next week to cut, drill and finish the main wheel body. Once I've done that, I'll order the buttons etc. as well as the materials for the shifters.
     
  7. That looks great! Will you sell these in the future ?
     
  8. Thanks sen. I'll certainly have lots of spare parts at the end of the project, so if all goes well I might consider building a some more wheels. I'll probably need to find a better way of reproducing the parts though. Making just one from hand is definitely taking time!

    Anyway, as promised in my last post, here's my rig mounted to my desk:-

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Also, here's a quick update on the project so far. I received the acrylic sheet last week and eagerly began working on cutting out the main wheel body. Anyway after attempting to do it only using hand tools, I realised it was going to be much harder than I expected. I shattered the first piece of acrylic trying to drill one of the larger diameter holes. I almost considered going back to the drawing board and choosing another material. However, my second attempt was much more successful. I decided to just rough cut the shape using a jigsaw, and then work down to the final shape using sanding barrels on a dremel. Here is the end result!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I've ordered some 3M Di Noc Carbon Fibre vinyl to cover the front and back of the main wheel body. I've also decided to try EVA foam for the grips covered with black plasti dip.
     
  9. Just a small update this weekend:-

    [​IMG]

    3M carbon fibre vinyl applied to the front. I'm waiting on a second sheet to do the back, supplier only sent 1 by mistake #-o

    Also test fitted the LED indicators as you can see :)

    That's as far as it will go this weekend as I am waiting for more materials now. I started working on some grips made from EVA foam, but I think the material is going to limit the shape and size of the grips, and not really produce the quality of finish that I want, so I've decided not to use it. I'll be going back to my original plan with the grips, which is to form them out of Sugru. I'll form them to the shape of my hands, and the sand them back a bit to give a smoother profile. Depending on how the Sugru looks after sanding, I might coat them in plasti dip.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. UPDATES!!!

    So, I've since ordered and received the first batch of electrical components. This includes the buttons, rotary switches, encoders and a button box controller. I've started to wire some of it up, I'm quite please with the way it is going so far. At current, I have wired up 2 of the rotary switches, 2 encoders and the two shifter paddles. The third rotary switch won't fit so I've left it out, this wont be a problem when I get the display though because I won't need the BBI-32 board that's blocking it. I've had enough of soldering today so I put it all together and took it for a test drive!

    I'll get some pictures of the wiring tomorrow when I do some more soldering, for now here's the wheel in it's current state.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I sanded the grips down to a smooth but rubbery finish, Sugru really worked well here!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Here are the completed paddle shifters. I need to get some little springs for the adjustment screws, to stop them working their way loose. The right paddle I'm still working on, I only finished cutting it today which is why it still has the protective plastic. After testing the wheel, I might cut a second set of paddles that are 10mm longer, these ones feel just a little too short.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. As promised, here are some images of the wiring in progress:-

    [​IMG]
    This is the rear with the Leo Bodnar BBI-32 PCB, and the wiring for the paddle shifters.

    [​IMG]
    Here is the wiring for the front panel components. I've used these JST connectors on all components so I can easily swap things about etc.

    [​IMG]
    Wiring for the push buttons completed. I used heat shrink and sleeving to cover the external wires. I may also heat shrink the rear body of the push buttons at a later date.

    [​IMG]
    I also added some prototype labels! All components on the wheel now function, so I'll be running it like this for a month or so while I make my final decision on a display.

    I'll most likely be going for one of these two Leo Bodnar displays:-
    [​IMG]
    The SLI-F1 (bottom) would be ideal and is what I initially built my design around. But if it's not available, or the cost is excessive, I'll use the SLI-PRO (top).
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Brian McManus

    Brian McManus
    Steam: Brian Mac Premium Member

  13. Great!
     
  14. I did a short video of the wheel in action

     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Very nice, how much Sugru did you use for the grips?
     
  16.  
  17. Awersome project! Well done!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1