Introduction: Racing Wheel Stand
Video game steering wheels (and pedal-boxes) make playing racing games/simulators alot more fun. Of course they do! And for the money they charge for them they better! But even if you decide to fork over the dough and buy one, it won't do you any good without something to mount it to. Off-the-shelf products do exist, but you can easily end up spending just as much for one as you did for your racing wheel and it might not work very well, hold up to abuse, or look good in your living room.
I picked up a Logitech G920 racing wheel for the XBOX ONE, and immediately set about building a stand to hold it. This instructable will cover the design and construction of a wheel stand which is specifically for the Logitech G920, but it should be easily adaptable to other wheels/pedal-boxes.
Step 1: The Test-jig
First I knocked up a quick and simple stand out of some 2x4, MDF and plywood scraps just to be sure I was getting the dimensions right. Getting the wheel at a comfortable height, and pedal-box set back at the right distance is critical to your future gaming happiness. I decided, for the sake of my living room space and my marriage, to just use the couch as my seat instead of going all-out on a racing bucket seat, so that is what I used to set my dimensions.
As it is, this simple stand is perfectly usable and I have done a fair bit of racing with it. But it does have some drawbacks:
- its heavy
- it has more slop in it than I'd like
- its not adjustable in case other people want to play
- its ugly
- it takes up alot of space
Step 2: Modeling the Wheel Stand
The design for the new wheel stand needed to incorporate the following elements:
- adjustable wheel height
- adjustable pedal-box placement
- suitable lateral support
- looks good!
- collapses for easier storage
- design for cutting on CNC router
I designed the stand in Pro/Engineer, and output .dxf files that I can open in Cut2D to generate the G-code I need to cut it on my homebuilt CNC router. The pedal-box hole layout on the baseplate is specific to the G920 and probably won't work with other brands, but the top plate should work with any wheel that has a clamping mechanism (I used the built-in clamps on mine even though it has threaded inserts for mounting bolts).
I made the holes on the uprights to fit 5/16" bolts since that is what I had on hand. I also had several 5/16"-18 threaded hand knobs that I was able to use on them, but I would consider them optional. The height adjustment method isn't so quick that the knobs are going to save you much over, say, wingnuts or even regular hex nuts.
The parts are cut from 3/4" plywood. I generally prefer to use Baltic birch plywood because its dense layers makes for an attractive edge, and its generally free of voids which is nice when you're cutting partial depth slots as I am here. It is slightly heavier than other less-dense plywood but I find the trade-off to be worth it.
The nominal 3/4" plywood I used turned out to be closer to 11/16" (about 0.70") so I made another set of drawings (slot widths set to 0.72") to give a tighter fit.
Step 3: Cutting the Parts
With the parts drawn, laid out in such a way to optimally fill a plywood sheet, and toolpaths generated, the cutting can begin. For this project I used a 1/4" diameter upcut Spiral O-flute bit, which I run at 10,000 RPM and a feedrate of 100 inch/min. The same cutter was used for all cutting operations (holes, pockets, and profiles).
This project should also be doable using more conventional tools. I designed it with slots and pockets for the various parts to fit together easily, but it can be made to work nearly as well without them. A craftsman fabricating one of these by hand will obviously need to be careful to accurately mark out all of the parts before they begin cutting. Special care should be taken when laying out the pattern for the holes in the risers.
Step 4: Assembly & Hardware Install
The cut parts can now be trimmed and sanded prior to assembly. There are two sub-assemblies: the lower includes the base-plate and the lower portions of the risers, and the upper includes the top-plate and the upper risers. Assemble the upper portion first, then use it as a spacer while assembling the lower portion. Its hard to fully account for material thickness even when cutting on the CNC, so its best to assemble the part which nests inside the other and use it as a guide for the outer pieces. The pieces were glued and screwed, then left to dry before a final finish sanding.
Since the plywood is so dense it would be impossible to drive the prongs of the threaded inserts into the wood as they would normally be driven, so I marked the locations of the prongs then drilled a small hole at each location about 1/4" deep. I then used a bolt and one of the threaded knobs, along with some washers and a piece of scrap plywood (as to not mess up the nicely sanded wood) to press the inserts into place. Once they were set, I put a few drops of superglue to hold them in place. Since they will normally be under compression when in use, the glue only needs to hold the inserts in place when its disassembled. I probably could have cut the prongs off, but its nice to have the additional glued surface of the prongs inside their holes.
Step 5: Final Assembly & Finishing Touches
I painted the sub-assemblies separately. All surfaces except for the bottom of the base-plate were painted first with a coat of grey primer then finished in semi-gloss black. After they were dry, I put some automotive spray wax on the inside mating surfaces of the base-plate risers so that hopefully the paint on the two pieces won't stick where they are clamped together.
I found some "no dent" carpet protectors for furniture and installed them - mostly this was so the base-plate would rest more firmly on the floor and not float on top of the squishy carpet. The cables were routed along the inside of one of the upper risers using some adhesive-backed cable anchors and zipties. I did not attach the cables to the bottom piece because I didn't want to cause cabling problems if/when I collapse the wheel stand for storage.
Step 6: Materials and Tools
- 3/4" Baltic-birch plywood, approx. 3ft x 5ft
- wood glue
- super glue (cyanoacrylate)
- 1" or 1 1/4" flathead screws (wood screws, drywall, etc.), approx. 40
- machine screws & hardware (I used 5/16"-18 threaded inserts, 2 1/2" long bolts and knobs that I already had, but any kind of machine screw or bolt hardware that can attach the upper and lower sub-assemblies would work)
- Rustoleum grey primer
- Rustoleum "Painters Touch" semi-gloss black paint
- Carpet dent protectors (one pack of 4, plastic)
- zip-ties and anchors
- CNC router (bandsaw, jigsaw, scrollsaw, tablesaw, or even handsaw would work, as discussed)
- Random-orbital sander
- Cordless drill/driver
Step 7: Improvements
There are a few changes I would make to this design if I were to make it again, and a few additions I may yet make to the wheel stand.
First, the stand is not really noticeably lighter than the old one. I would cut some "speed holes" into the base-plate specifically to lighten it up. Also, I messed up when cutting the mounting holes for the pedal-box so the inside pair of bolts do not line up. The bolt pattern for this pedal-box is asymmetric, and I accidentally cut mine with the inside bolts offset towards the wrong side (they would be perfect if the pedal-box was turned 180 degrees, but of course that would make it difficult to drive). No big deal since the 4 outside bolts are more than enough to hold it.
As for additions to be made, I'll probably drill an extra pair of holes in the upper risers so that they mate up with the forward holes in the lower risers when the stand is collapsed. This way I could then add a handle somewhere and be confident the two parts aren't going to move around when I transport it. This would also help address the current problem where the wheel touches the base-plate when it is collapsed (it can't be good to be putting a constant off-axis load on the steering wheel shaft).
Also, I'll probably attach a small box to the stand to hold the cables when in storage or transport.