DIY PC Steering Wheel and Pedals From Cardboard! (Feedback, Paddle Shifters, Display) for Racing Simulators and Games




Introduction: DIY PC Steering Wheel and Pedals From Cardboard! (Feedback, Paddle Shifters, Display) for Racing Simulators and Games

About: 16 years old, I thrive to be an engineer. With every project I do I try to learn something new, better myself and teach myself something new. I am doing the most with the mediums I have available. My next step…

Hey all! During these boring times, we're all lolling around looking for something to do. Real life racing events have been cancelled and have been replaced with simulators. I've decided to build an inexpensive simulator that works flawlessly, provides feedback, and looks rad. This design is wildly customizable. You could very easily add a knob shifter and handbrake, a different kind of wheel, a clutch pedal, anything you can think of, if you use your creativity you can use this design to do it. I've Had the idea for a while. There is obviously some compromises that come with this as opposed to buying a 200$+ sim rig, but hey- this works very well for a cardboard creation.



Cheap wheel. I mean it cost me 20$ to make, can be lower.

works extraordinarily well for what it is.

Has fully functional vibration!

If following this instructable, should only take a few hours


Neat, clean design

Display that shows Telemetry data from game


I mean, it's cardboard- you can't expect premium quality or perfectly polished looks.

The fact that it uses an old PS4 controller to function (however, these can be found used on Offerup for ~15$.)

Pedals could use some work- I'll post a list of some things that could be done with more time and money.

Paddle shifters aren't premium quality.

Cardboard will never look as good as herder to work with materials, but I think it looks pretty fine for the limitations.


You will need:

Cardboard (Duh!) For this, I used a very dense cardboard that can be found usually in cheap Ikea boxes, etc. It's stronger and easily sand-able. Normal cardboard will work fine, in fact I'll post the wheel I did with normal cardboard at the end.

A cheap controller (found mine on amazon for 10$-

An old PS4 Controller (If you don't have one, they can be picked up cheap used on Offerup for about 15$.)

Hot glue gun

Extra wire

Soldering Iron


Hobby knife (careful with these!)

Extra blades


Masking Tape (optional)

4x strong about 3/4" earth magne

A software called DS4 Windows -

Dashpanel on steam and an android/ios device (Optional if you want the display on the wheel)

Some thick paper

A sturdy straw/dowel/pvc tube

Some Popsicle sticks for extra durability if needed

Patience and a few hours!

Step 1: Creating Your Wheel.

This is a step where you can have all the creativity you want. The process I generally follow is to:

Find a reference image online

Print out that image at a proper scale (F1 wheels are 11")

Make some templates

Trace those templates out on cardboard+cut


Make different layers, and wrap each one with a material called carbon fiber wrap separately

I wrapped my handles in Duck Tapes' friction tape. Better materials could be used such as suede or, perhaps stick tape for drumsticks. I've seen people 3d print handles aswell, but that's not even close to this project hehe.

For carbon fiber, I simply bought some Vinyl wrap and used a hair dryer to form the wrap to the wheel. I highly recommend this, it looks amazing.

Make sure you build your wheel strong no matter what shape you choose.

For my display in the middle, all I did was I cut a hole in the center of the wheel appropriately scaled to how large the display would be on a real F1 wheel. I then put a phone case behind this with the top of the case cut off so my phone could be slid in and out of the system. The rev counter lights are just another hole in the wheel lined up with where the lights are on my phone (I have a Galaxy S7, this ended up being the perfect size.)

Build a box on the rear of your wheel. This box will house our PS4 controller and paddle shifters. You can see how I built mine in the image. DO NOT GLUE THE LID OF YOUR BOX ON UNTIL THE VERY END. Place your axle in the center of your lid and add supports. For simplicity, if you've used a hollow axle make sure you have the axle going through your lid so that later we can thread wires through it.

Step 2: Paddle Shifters for the Wheel

This step is optional, if you want to have functional paddle shifters on your wheel. ALWAYS CHECK MY PICTURES FOR REFERENCE TO WHAT I'M SAYING. THIS IS DIFFICULT TO EXPLAIN. ALL IMAGES HERE ARE TAKEN OF THE BACK OF THE WHEEL. If you want, ask me about a simple way to make paddle shifters- I know one but I won't post it here. Use your creativity!

Step one:

create some paddle shifters. Mine are just a flat sheet of PVC in the shape seen in the pictures. Basic, but make sure the arm sticking out of it is long (mine's about an inch and a half each.) Create 2 of these.

Step 2:

Take the lid for the box we made on the back of our wheel off. Then, follow the steps shown in the pictures above. What we're doing here is making a way for the paddle shifters to spring back to position using magnets. These are very basic but are very satisfying to use. If you want your paddle shifters to be easier to press, place a sheet of cardboard or popsicle stick on one of the magnets. Your magnets should still be able to connect to each other, but just more weakly.

Step 3:

Now, we place the button on top of our shifter arm. This arm then hits the top of the small box over the hole we created in our lid (follow the pictures.)

Step 4:

Attach 2 wires (make these wires long, i'd say 1.5'+ each) to the leads on the button.

Step 5:

Repeat on the other side.

Step 3: The PS4 Controller

This is the step in which we take apart our PS4 controller completely and attach to the inside of our wheel box. Tutorials to take apart controllers can be found online, youtube etc. I have previous experience with this so it's simple, but take your time. Strip the controller down to only the main board and the charging board with the LED on it, connected to the board with a (usually) blue ribbon cable (check images). You will not need the battery, button connections, etc. (Save the motor with the large counter weights if you want vibration!) I then mounted this board ONTO the back of my wheel in my box. The pictures will explain this better than I can. It is extremely important to not break the fragile ribbon cable. Hot glue the micro usb board onto the board itself, that's just convenient for me. Then, attach a micro usb cable into the female port. Hot glue this cable to the wheel somewhere for support. Finally, cut a small hole in your wheel lid and below your axle hole on your base. Thread your micro USB cable through both of these and plug in.

You can get rid of EVERYTHING except:

Charging assembly

Main Board (Only what's shown in pictures)
ONE of the motors with the larger counter weights (If adding vibration)

Step 4: Our Feedback Vibration

For this step, we add our vibration motors.

As our PS4 controller will only be running off USB power, this makes only one of our motor outputs function. You need to wire 2 of our vibration motors with the large counterweights on them (One from the PS4 controller and one from our cheap controller, so take our cheap controller apart for this step) to the place shown in the image. Then, attach the wires where shown in the images above. I've fount that this is the best location for them to be without getting in the way and providing the most feedback. Don't glue the lid of the box on the back of our wheel yet.

Step 5: The Base

Here's where the wheel's going to be anchored in and our cheap controller will be housed in a future step.

Build a structure (this can be as simple as a box) and drill/cut out a hole in the center the size of your axle. (see pics)

Then, VERY IMPORTANT STEP. Take your thick paper and fit it around your axle and glue. You're making a tube for your axle to go through so it's stable and stays in one place. Add plenty of supports around this tube (again, see pictures to see what I mean.) Make sure your axle rotates freely with only a small amount of friction when in the base. I made mine fairly tight as I wanted some friction in my wheel.

Make your base as sturdy as possible, and add something heavy (I used 2 spare 550 motors) for weights on the back. You can use anything here, be creative :)

Also make sure you have enough room where about the board for your cheap controller can fit somewhere in your base. I also added friction tape to the bottom of mine.

Step 6: Our Basic, But Functional, Pedals

These are very basic pedals, but function fine. All you need to do is place 2 buttons on a sheet of cardboard and attach 2 wires to each button. These wires will later go to the cheap controller. You then need to find a way to push these pedals- this is a very simple way in which I just folded a sheet of cardboard and used it to push down on the pedals. (see pictures.)

Step 7: Our Cheap Controller

Now we get to our cheap controller. Our first step is to take apart our cheap controller we found on amazon. (If you added vibration to your wheel, your controller is already apart.) Your controller is held together with 4 screws on the back. This should come apart without any issue. You need to make sure to not damage the ribbon cable connecting the joysticks to the main board like I did. I had to solder the whole part back on. This controller will be where your PEDALS and PADDLE SHIFTERS are wired to.

put your wheel in your base.

I will go through the soldering steps picture by picture. Picture one: This is showing where all of your negative wires should go. Your buttons don't have a distinguished positive or negative wire so, to put it simply, you need to have one wire from each button soldered to this point. Picture 2: This is showing the positive wires. Simply, you need one wire for each button to go to one of these points. This is where your 1,2,3,and 4 buttons are connected.The order in which you connect any of these does not matter. You need to hook up one wire from every button- thats one from each pedal and one from each paddle.

Put our controller guts onto our base.

We can then seal off our base.

Step 8: Finally, the Software!

The software, DS4 windows can be used to harness the built in 6 axis gyro on the ps4 controller to give controller movements. I'll walk you through the process. After installing the application off github,

Launch DS4 windows

Connect the cable that's threaded through the base connecting to the PS4 controller board to your computer

This should show up as a ps4 controller and the light on the Micro USB board should turn Blue, this means your controller is working

Go to Edit

In the Controls tab on the left side, disable the following:






LS up/down/left/right

RS up/down/left/right
In the Lightbar tab on the right, you can change the color your LED shows

Go to the Gyro tab on the right

Set output mode to CONTROLS



Steering wheel axis NONE

Steering wheel range 90


Change the name of the profile to WHEEL in the top left and save!

Next is to test our cheap gamepad. Go to this site - and plug in your cheap controller. When pressing your paddle shifters and pedals certain buttons should change on the screen too, showing value 1.

Next, plug in your PS4 controller and open DS4 windows and set our controller to our wheel preset we made. Go back to our HTML5 gamepad tester and check to make sure that when you turn your wheel, the value of AXIS 0 changes.

Step 9: You Should Be Up and Running!!

Plug in both controllers to your PC and launch DS4 windows making sure you're on your wheel profile. (after adding some final touches :))

(If you made the display, launch Dashpanel. You can use tutorials online to figure that out, I'll upload a custom profile I made for F1 2014 on the community.)

Launch your game of choice (I play F1 2014 and Dirt 3)

Change your settings to match your wheel, and play!! (If you have vibration motors, make sure you turn on your vibration setting in game and turn it to 100%)

Thank you all so much for taking your time to read through my instructable. If you really enjoyed, please vote for me in the cardboard contest- I'm saving to buy a 3d printer so I can expand my making ability. I've been saving for a while and this would help me a lot. If you made this project, show me! Any questions I will answer, I know this may be a bit confusing. Any vote is very appreciated. Thank you all!!

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    Question 1 year ago

    Can you program it to play on ps4?


    2 years ago

    i mean cut wood. or u could even go as cheap as bulk popscicle sticks and a hot glue gun and cardboard. use a glue that actually fully cures rock hard. or use plastic metal over the sticks and u can literally make amazing pedals just needs to be creative. lol i got some bondo i could literally completly make some but im having issues with my god damn analogs on my arduinos 3 diff pro micros. 3 pedal potentiometers b10ks and for some weird issue 1 of 3 no matter what i do doesnt read or jumps even after calibration lol .


    2 years ago

    That's a thousand views!


    2 years ago

    Another thing- PS4 controllers for parts can be found on OfferUp for free- since all you need here is the board's gyro, you can use those, pretty much no matter how broken. I did not make finals for cardboard contest but thanks to anyone who did :)


    2 years ago

    Really cool design!

    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    2 years ago

    That looks like fun! Thanks for sharing the video, showing how it works :)


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks Nicole!!


    2 years ago

    this is dope


    Reply 2 years ago



    2 years ago

    Be sure to vote and feel free to ask as many questions as you want! ~I'll answer as well as I can~