Introduction: Hooking Up a Treadmill to PC Game
After running thousands of virtual miles in a plethora of MMORPGs, we wondered how hard it would be to keep up that pace in the real world. After concluding that the in-game characters are running at about 12mph, we decided that keeping up 6mph on a treadmill to achieve the same thing would be a fair start. Add some wood, a bike wheel, optical mouse and bicycle wheel into the equation, and you'll be burning mad calories every time you log into your favorite server.
Step 1: List of Materials
2x 44" length wood 2"x4"
1x 25" length wood 2"x4"
2x 15" length wood 2"x4"
1x box 6 x 1 1/4 all purpose screws
1x 23" bicycle wheel and tire assembly with axel
1x 20" x 20" corrugate cardboard
2x screw-in eyelets
1x 8 1/2" round mousepad (Staples)
1x USB gaming joystick
1x push treadmill (Amazon.com)
1x Logitech MX Revolution mouse
1x InMotion 2 push-style treadmill (no motors- user pushes the belt with their feet)
2x 5" x 5" x 1 1/4" L-brackets
2x 6" x 6" 1 1/2" flat L-brackets
2x 6" x 5 1/2" x 1 1/2" flat T-brackets
2x adjustable bungee cords
1x roll of masking tape
1x roll of duct tape
1x can of permanent spray adhesive
1x Exacto Knife
1x electric screwdriver
Step 2: Base Assembly
Arrange and "H" pattern with the two 44" pieces of wood using the 25" pieces as the middle support. Tie them together with the two T-brackets secured with the all purpose screws. The length of the 25" middle piece was determined by the overall width of the treadmill we used. Since the 44" help keep the assembly in place by bracing it against the treadmill, check the overall width measurement for your specific model of treadmill.
Step 3: Axle Guides
Drill guide holes for the wheel axle in both of the 15" pieces of wood 3/4" from the top of the section. Use a bit just slightly bigger than the outer diameter of your axle.
Step 4: Fork Assembly
Secure the two 15" pieces of wood on the "H" frame with the 5" x 5" x 1 1/4" L-brackets at a 3 3/4" distance from each other. This distance will vary depending on the overall length of your bicycle wheel axle.
Step 5: Bungee Secures
Drill eyelet guide holes in the two upright 15" pieces of wood 5" from the top. Screw in eyelets.
Step 6: Mousepad Disk Assembly
Trace the mousepad on the corrugate cardboard twice. Cut out the circles of cardboard with scissors. Cut out a small hole in the center of the mousepad, then cut out the same size small hole in the two pieces of cardboard. Spray a generous portion of adhesive on one of the cardboard pieces and place them together. Spray more adhesive on the back of the mousepad and line it up with the cardboard circles. Place stack of two cardboard circles and mousepad under a heavy box to set and let dry for time recommended on adhesive bottle.
Step 7: Attach Mousepad to Wheel
Fit mousepad and cardboard disc assemble snugly onto bicycle wheel axel as close to spokes as possible. Secure the cardboard disc to the bicycle spokes with several strips of duct tape.
Step 8: Add Cardboard Spacers
Cut out a couple of small cardboard spacers and fit them onto the cardboard disc side of the axle.
Step 9: Insert Wheel Into Fork
By prying apart the 15" uprights, fit the axle into the guide holes, securing the wheel in place so that it spins freely, the spacers giving about 1/4" max clearance from the mousepad to the fork.
Step 10: Reinforce Fork
With the wheel in, it is a good idea to strengthen the pliable fork assembly so that if you are close to the treadmill's 250lb limit, the wheel doesn't pop out of the fork. Screw the flat L-shaped brackets to hold together the front of the 15" uprights to the H-frame.
Step 11: Mouse Bracket Assembly
Fix two screws about 1 1/2" apart on the end of the mousepad-side of the upright 15", leaving 2" of space on the right. Using masking tape, secure the mouse snugly to the mousepad and against the top of the 15" upright piece. Be be careful not to tape any of the many buttons into the pressed position. Wedge a small piece of cardboard between the mouse and the two screws in the top of the 15" upright piece to hold the mouse firmly against the pad. Again, be careful that the cardboard or anything else does not press any of the mouse buttons. When a good position is determined, secure the cardboard with masking tape.
Step 12: Secure Treadmill to Wheel Assembly
Place your InMotion 2 treadmill (this is the model we used) into the H-frame of the wheel assembly so that the treadmill belt is resting securely against the tire on the wheel assembly. Connect the two bungee cords to the eyelets on the upright 15" pieces of wood and secure the other ends to the support beam under the belt on the front of the treadmill.
Step 13: Set Up Your Gaming PC
Place a monitor in viewing distance of the treadmill and a PC close enough to make the cable connections but far enough that it doesn't get kicked or act as the brake pad for the wheel.
Step 14: Adding Directional Control
Although you'll have to keep running on the treadmill to move forward, left/right taps on the joystick will keep you from running into trees and light posts. Using masking tape, packaging tape or zip ties, secure the joystick to the front corner of the treadmill handrail, routing the USB cable away from the wheel assembly and into the PC.
Step 15: Set Up a Computer With a Script
The hardware is done. Now all you have to do is get this bizarre contraption to interface with your game. This part is easy, and you don't have to be total computer geeks
like us to do it.
1. Download GlovePie from http://carl.kenner.googlepages.com/glovepie_download and install it
2. Download the GlovePie script we wrote off of this instructable.
3. Go to File/Open in GlovePie, select the TreadmillControl.PIE script you just downloaded.
4. Click Run
Now the forward movement of the treadmill will be seen by the computer as tapping on the 'w' key, and the joystick will simulate the 'a' (left) and 'd' (right).
**Read below only if you need to use other keys than the ones for most movement in games (WASD setup).
If you need the treadmill to tap a different key besides 'w', all you need to do is replace the variable "key.a" with "key.whateverLetterYouWant" for example, if you wanted
to tap on the 'r' key instead of 'w', just change "key.a" to "key.r." I told you it was easy!
Here are the lines that control forward movement and left and right. These will allow you to customize the script.
key.a = var.keya
key.d = var.keyd
The second part of the script you might want to customize is how fast you need to run for your character to run at full speed. All you need to do to change that is alter the
numbers in the lines of the script that look like:
if var.speed >= 15 then
Just set the 15 to a lower number, and it will be easier to make your character run full speed.
*You can download our script here. When saving, if the file saves as .tmp, simply rename the extension to .PIE