Upcoming Events

Weekly BMW races on Simracing.GP Other regular AC events on Simracing.GP Weekly GT3 Sprint Races on Simracing.GP Rookie friendly WTCR sereis Weekly rFactor 2 events

DIY Sim / Productivity Rig with Tactile - Build Log

Messages
30
Points
41
Hi All!

I am starting this log as a story of my journey in upgrading my outdated desk to proper sim rig. In the process I stumbled across a lot of issues and questions, for which I could not find detailed information and pictures (as far as I saw it is quite common for the subject). This I decided to write up a build log with all that was done.

First of all, here is what I started with:
image001.jpg

image003.jpg


This is my old gaming desk, which was used both for sim racing and work (I work home office). The biggest issue with it was that when I switched to Fanatec setup it was not adequate support any more and I had to start thing of something more stable. Also another issue was that every evening after finishing work I had to mount the wheel and handbrake to drive, then had to remove them in the morning. This is not so big deal, but some evening I was just too laze to do it so I wouldn't play.

First I started investigating buying pre-fabricated rig, but all of them wouldn't fit my needs. As I am long years experienced computer modder, of course decided to pursue the DIY path. Lucky for me I was able to source all materials locally and they were rather cheap - I was way under the pre-made rig prices.

First of all started by listing all the requirements:

1. Completely DIY scratch build by my design
2. Will be used both for work and sim racing
3. Seat has to be high so I can rest my feet on ground (as I am 1.90m tall this required seat height about 40-50cm above ground)
4. All driving gear should be mounted permanently and not get in the way of monitors while in work mode (Fanatec coming with QR system is great advantage)
5. Ideally pedals will be mounted so I can stretch my legs and rest on them while working
6. Integrated monitor stand is preferred
7. Shifter, handbrake should be mounted in such way that mouse can be used all the time in comfortable position (work mode)
8. Seat should have sliders to be comfortable for other people, also for easier access

Having this in mind, I went ahead and downloaded MayCad (apparently the preferred tool for designing with Alu extrusion profiles). Right now I do not have the original design at hand, but either way we will get to this stage later in the build log.

For now let's start with a Teaser picture of the current state of the rig:

image002.jpg


After building the first version, I could not stop so added the following:

1. Made new gear / info displays (I am using Simhub)
2. At some point switched to complete Fanatec setup (pedals and shifter)
3. Added a wind sim
4. Added 4 Aura bass shakers in chassis mode for tactile feedback
5. Added addressable RGB lighting showing REVs and light effects

Here is short video demoing the RGB lighting:


Of course I have other upgrades planned, but they will be done later on after the summer ends:

1. I have 4 more Dayton DAEX32EP-4 exciters, which will have to mount for additional effects - still have not decided where to put them exactly.
2. Will change monitor setup - actually already got whatever I need, but no time to install it - will be updated later when I get to it
3. Will have to upgrade my PC - I am still using Athlon FX 8350 with GeForce 1060 and it is getting very outdated
4. Will be retiring my modded PC case as it does not provide easy access. Already made preliminary design how all will look

In the upcoming days I will be posting replies on the topic with a lot of pictures and technical details following the extensive collection of photos I took in the process and also sharing all the technical solutions I came up.

Hope this helps others and you enjoy my story,
Cheers,
Stoyan
 
Last edited:
Messages
30
Points
41
Part 18 - Shaker Main Switch, New Wheel

Finally managed to complete the new main switch for powering the shaker amps. Again the same basic materials were used:

image001.jpg


Etalbond, 3D printed custom box, some carbon vinyl and 2mm acrylic panel. Fuse was added for short circuit protection, voltmeter is used to monitor volt drop under load:

image003.jpg

image002.jpg image004.jpg

And here is how everything mounted looks like:

image005.jpg image006.jpg image007.jpg

I have preordered the McLaren GT3 V2 Fanatec wheel, which actually came long before schedule:

image009.jpg


All day I was printing additional QR Fanatec wall mounts, all wheels were relocated as follows:

image008.jpg


And here is the final picture - the current state of the rig at this moment:

image010.jpg


With this the initial build log is complete. I have some upgrades planned as mentioned, but they will come in at earliest end of next month.
 
Messages
30
Points
41
Part 19 - Showcase

Having completed the project at this stage there is not much more to be added, but still have some pictures left, showing the whole setup in more detail.

After assembling everything, finally there were no more parts, cables and random stuff lying around on all horizontal surfaces. Here is how it looks now:

IMG_4839.JPG


My collection of model cars (not so big, but I have about 50 more unassembled kits waiting for better times to be done):

image001.jpg


This is roughly where the keyboard stays in working mode, second picture is when retracted. Have to say the monitor arm works like a charm - stable enough at least for working, still have not tried it in gaming:

image002.jpg image003.jpg

Close up of current pedal plate + vibration isolators mounted:

image004.jpg


My gaming PC mounted on the side of the rig:

image005.jpg


Windsim, cable management, RGB lights all around, SimHub dashes:

image006.jpg image007.jpg image009.jpg

Play mode with the WRC wheel:

image008.jpg


This concludes my initial report, hope you enjoyed it.
Stay tuned for more next month when I figure out how exactly to proceed with the project.
 
Messages
8,496
Points
7,228
Thanks for sharing your rig build with us. It is really nice and I hope you really enjoy it. I still fly and drive a desk:O_o::unsure: and I see my gaming chair at your table. The dream is to one day have something like you have, but I'll probably build a cockpit out of wood since I'm into things like that. Just need to get my health better so I can undertake the task.

The way I understand your story is you really started the upgrade process in March of 2021, is that correct? You have really worked your butt off to get that much accomplished in that short of time:thumbsup: I've really enjoyed reading and looking at what you've done.

As someone that's been married for 33 years, here's a word to the wise: "This is why we wind up having homes larger than we need and/or basements/garages/work buildings";):D The women understand us...............to a certain extent, but then you hear a fuse pop in their head, facial expression you've never seen before and then you hear "This looks like a child's room" to which my response was.........."Exactly". She just had to crack a smile and laugh. Now I have mine in the bonus room of our house. I play golf so she's used to being a "widow" and is very understanding.

Cheers
 
Messages
30
Points
41
Thanks for sharing your rig build with us. It is really nice and I hope you really enjoy it. I still fly and drive a desk:O_o::unsure: and I see my gaming chair at your table. The dream is to one day have something like you have, but I'll probably build a cockpit out of wood since I'm into things like that. Just need to get my health better so I can undertake the task.

The way I understand your story is you really started the upgrade process in March of 2021, is that correct? You have really worked your butt off to get that much accomplished in that short of time:thumbsup: I've really enjoyed reading and looking at what you've done.

As someone that's been married for 33 years, here's a word to the wise: "This is why we wind up having homes larger than we need and/or basements/garages/work buildings";):D The women understand us...............to a certain extent, but then you hear a fuse pop in their head, facial expression you've never seen before and then you hear "This looks like a child's room" to which my response was.........."Exactly". She just had to crack a smile and laugh. Now I have mine in the bonus room of our house. I play golf so she's used to being a "widow" and is very understanding.

Cheers

Thanks, hope you manage to build yours soon!

And yes, it really started in mid March and was done in about 3 months in total.

I was thinking initially to build something from wood and reuse my desk, but turned out locally profiles are quite cheap - 1m 4040 is 10 EUR, 4080 is 15EUR per meter. This got me thinking I can build only half a rig using the Chinese gaming chair (like the one you have) and 4080s, put it on wheels and be done. I went for the full rig because after calculating the cost for complete rig and the minimum for the "half rig" the difference was not that big. Also full featured rig is quite easy to expand and adjust, this won me over than trying to do something with different materials - it was just too easy and fast to achieve.

As for the space - as they say, it will never be enough. I really had big issues and spend long time measuring, testing ad designing, as I have small apartment and we have to live and work from home with my girlfriend together, so it had to take as little space as possible. At the end the footprint turned out to be the same as my working desk, so the it looks like the project was worth it.

Cheers!
 
Messages
8,496
Points
7,228
Thanks, hope you manage to build yours soon!

And yes, it really started in mid March and was done in about 3 months in total.

I was thinking initially to build something from wood and reuse my desk, but turned out locally profiles are quite cheap - 1m 4040 is 10 EUR, 4080 is 15EUR per meter. This got me thinking I can build only half a rig using the Chinese gaming chair (like the one you have) and 4080s, put it on wheels and be done. I went for the full rig because after calculating the cost for complete rig and the minimum for the "half rig" the difference was not that big. Also full featured rig is quite easy to expand and adjust, this won me over than trying to do something with different materials - it was just too easy and fast to achieve.

As for the space - as they say, it will never be enough. I really had big issues and spend long time measuring, testing ad designing, as I have small apartment and we have to live and work from home with my girlfriend together, so it had to take as little space as possible. At the end the footprint turned out to be the same as my working desk, so the it looks like the project was worth it.

Cheers!
Thanks for the response and the pricing info and your thoughts. It gives me something to think about.

Cheers
 
Messages
30
Points
41
It has been a busy month! Completed a lot of upgrades, new PC and monitor, made some more boxes, added some of the Dayton exciters.
For a change decided to make a video of the current status of the rig, so here it is:


Also made a small instruction video for the Fanatec WRC wheel magnetic shifter mod - if somebody needs it:


And of course will be continue the build log later on sharing all the new details.
 
Last edited:
Messages
30
Points
41
As I received a lot of questions about how I set up the aRGB lights, decided the best place to put detailed information is here.


So, basically my setup consists of 4 separate aRGB strips, connected in series - right strip - back bottom - back top - left strip. Right and left are 36 LEDs each, back ones are 31 each. All effects are just offseted to start in the correct LED count.

RPM display is using the standard SimHub effect. Side strips start from the end and display it full length, back ones start in the middle of the strip and have only 16 led count to fill up towards the ends (one LED overlaps as I have 31).

RPMs.jpg


The "Raindrops" and "Big Bars" effects when not in game are drawn by me, following the same idea - they start offseted at the end of each strip and loops:

Back.jpg Side.jpg

Complete profiles are attached below for convenience and further reference, hope they are helpful:

 
Top