Yegor's Sim-Rig (YSR): From Start to Finish

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by yegor, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. yegor

    yegor Premium

    Messages:
    119
    Location:
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    Hi everyone!

    It's been more than a month that I've completed my long-term project, but I haven't had a chance to share it with you.

    You have two choices: either skip to the bottom where you will find a gateway to the full gallery of my sim rig, or enjoy the reading, as the story might provide an idea or two for your future projects.

    _____________

    Yegor's Sim-Rig

    I am very passionate about cars: started drawing them when I was two-three years old and drove a real one for the first time when I was six (it was a manual, of course :)). However, my story related to the cars is even longer and this is about sim-racing, so I will tell you instead why and how I created a perfect sim-setup for myself.

    It all started in 2005 when I bought my first new, fun car: a MINI Cooper S. It brought a grin to my face, thus I started following forums and car blogs trying to get the most out of it when one day, checking the morning posts on Jalopnik, I came across a short footage of a race-car carving the Nürburgring, after which someone's comment grabbed my attention. He said: “Watching this I can’t wait to get out from work and hit the ring on my GT4.” I didn’t know what the GT4 stood for. After a short search found out it’s a console game and has a very accurate Nürburgring track. I walked out from work and went to the nearest electronics department store, bought a PS2, GT4, Driving Force Pro wheel and headed home, connected everything and... Wow, it was so much fun! Apparently not enough with 27” tube, so the next day a new 42” plasma with B&W speakers and Yamaha receiver completed the setup.

    At that point I thought I was done, but very soon a Playseat arrived which made everything so much better, however I wasn’t satisfied with the overall experience, quality, ergonomics, and so on, and started searching for alternatives.

    The new Playseat and G25 wheel made the difference, a big difference, but--again--my nature of doing anything I do either perfectly or not at all, didn’t let me rest and brought me to the decision of replacing the G25 with Fanatec 911 GT2 wheel and ClubSport Pedals. After several months of waiting, it arrived. I liked it very much, so much, that I understood it just can’t be mounted on the Playseat, I definitely needed something else.

    Almost a month passed with countless hours of search for the best rig without any obvious winner among all the sim-rigs in the market within price-range of up to $1500: either they looked good, or had good functionality, but not both. So I decided to make one and started the project in February of 2011 by first visiting the local hardware stores searching for anything that could be used as the frame.

    The goal of my project was for it to be compiled with perfect ergonomics and adjustability, graceful and delicate design and exceptional craftsmanship accompanied by flexible features. Also, not a single bolt, nut, screw, wire, or any other constructional element must be visible, plus everything must be easily assembled and disassembled.

    One of the key elements of the adjustment features was using a real car steering column as a mounting base for the wheel. An MKIV Golf column came in with help, which provided the ability to perfectly position the angle, height and distance of the wheel with just one locking mechanism. I also planned on using a car seat with a height adjustment option, but again I couldn’t find anything good within a reasonable price-range and settled on a Sparco R300 seat mounted slightly reclined on the rig base. All the other measurements of pedals, seat, and wheel relations to each other were taken off my MKVI GTI, which should have worked just fine for long hours of gaming sessions.

    I gradually started buying parts and assembling the frame, but it was going very slowly. I didn’t have a final concept, but a mere picture of what it was going to be. Something was missing and that “something” put a halt on my project. I was wondering if it’s worth it at all to spend the precious time on it, and those thoughts caused me to partially pause the work for almost nine months. I would go to the garage, spend an hour or two without any valuable results until I realized it wasn’t about the game: it was about completing something that I had already begun. So I decided to enjoy the process and resumed the work. Very soon I started really enjoying every second I spent in my garage and everything went well from that point on with--of course--its routine complications. But the "biggest complication" arrived along the introduction of the Fanatec CSR Elite. I had to have that! Building everything around the GT2 wheel didn’t make sense anymore and the Elite replaced it requiring alterations in design and construction, which took weeks to accomplish.

    Although I am proficient in technical drafting, I always create most of the parts of my projects' blueprints in my mind instead of through traditional sketching on the computer or paper and even though it brings insomnia along, it’s my own preliminary 3D application, which runs on the best processor of our galaxy [perhaps]--the human brain. Ironically it starts performing the best when the owner is finally set for bed time. I can clearly see everything during that time: solve the problems, fabricate parts, redesign sections, invent my own techniques of various tasks and so on, then wake up in the morning and continue the work the way it was outlined right before my vivid dreams. I used the Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign only once, when I needed to fine tune the shapes of the side panels.

    For the main skeleton structure I used two rails from a set of closet parts, which connect all the pre-drilled L shape metal bars, which themselves are the bases of the seat, steering wheel and the pedals. Various thickness MDF and several types of wood boards were used to make all the panels. The side panels also play structural role in the construction. The rig itself is carried by 6 casters (4 under the seat and 2 in the front, each rated at 80 lb. load) and easily accommodates people from five up to seven feet tall. The overall structure is extremely strong and sturdy, but the best part is that all the panels can be assembled literally in about 15 minutes. All the connections between the CSR Elite wheel, ClubSport pedals, TH8 RS shifter, InterfaceOne, Buttkicker are done on the rig, which enables it to be completely autonomous when not in use. All the connections to the rig are done in the front compartment (you will see it in the pictures), which houses the AC female jack, USB and RCA keystone connectors, and additional two keystone ports in case I need to add a feature or two.

    Several yards of black vinyl, automotive carpet and about 10 cans of glue were used to wrap all the panels and parts and everything was done exceptionally well. In fact, when I wanted to hire an upholsterer to replace the red fabric on the seat with orange, he saw the finished parts and wouldn't believe that I did those without any prior experience. He mainly was astonished on the part that covers the steering column. I wrapped it with one piece of leatherette without any cuts, which truly was the most difficult one. Another very time consuming part was making the cover of the back side of the wheel's base: it had to cover the gap between the base and the the rig, but also allow the steering column to fully move up and down and back and forth.

    I worked hundreds of hours and never settled with simply satisfactory results. To convert the red stripes of the seat to orange, for instance (was too expensive to reupholster), took me 16 hours: 9 hours to paint with prime and 7 hours to apply the orange. And the finished result? it looks and feels like a leatherette, which perfectly matches the CSR Elite's base orange color. By the way, I used regular glossy water base paint from Home Depot. :) Even the inner parts of the rig were finished in a certain way so that they look pleasant and all the hidden sections were carefully covered.

    I am posting several images here, but you can view the full gallery at the link below. There are 180 images however. It might seem too many, but I posted all those photos to provide the best possible viewpoint of how everything was made. I filmed the assembly process and several functional movements as well, but wasn't able to edit the video to post. I will definitely update when the clip is ready.

    There is much more to share and talk about, but I believe this is enough for now and all I can say to conclude my lengthy story is that I am very-very happy with the end result. As I planned initially, the rig is very comfortable, practical, has the features I wanted, and is pleasing to look at and I call it YSR, which just stands for Yegor's Sim-Rig. :)

    I greatly appreciate your patience and thank you for reading! I also would like to express my deepest gratitude to all those who helped me with this project and, why not, to all those who didn't. :)

    Here is the full gallery link:

    YSR Full Gallery

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    Last edited: Aug 5, 2014
  2. Hwangm

    Hwangm

    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    Australia
    daaaaaaaayyyyyyyym, Yegor, , that is fantastic job. I love it, is that all wood?
    Love the leather lining , what is that small drawer for .
    oh good job on the painting the seat, is that going to last though.. the paint i mean, will in fade since it's on the fabric.
     
  3. yegor

    yegor Premium

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    119
    Location:
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    Thank you very much Hwangm. The paint on the seat is extremely strong, it is like vinyl.

    I know the writing is long, but you will find plenty of interesting information about the project if you read.
     
  4. Hwangm

    Hwangm

    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    Australia
    Yeah I got too excited with the picture, it looks so so good , sorry , missed reading. (also a picture worth 1000 words, so im reading 1000 words every 3 seconds :dopey:)
    ps watching that 180 picture of slideshow is better than watching movies.

    WOW, what did you make the wheel mount with looks like tank armour material
    you did a fantastic job and kudos to the person in green shirt for helping. unless that's you.
    now I read...
     
  5. yegor

    yegor Premium

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    :) That's my daughter.
     
  6. Hwangm

    Hwangm

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    564
    Location:
    Australia
    oh and thank you for sharing you rig with us . please post in ISR too buddy. shaun will love it.
     
  7. Coxis

    Coxis

    Messages:
    3,446
    Location:
    Mexico
    Wow, that is simply outstanding. I'm positive when I say that on the looks department at the very least you're just stomping any commercial rig out there. Congratulations. Kinda wish you were my neighbor so you could maybe build one for me? :p
     
    tosue likes this.
  8. yegor

    yegor Premium

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  9. yegor

    yegor Premium

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    Location:
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    :) You can invite me for a vacation :)
     
  10. KookiDowg

    KookiDowg Premium

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    446
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    United States
    wow, just wow...
    The cleanest rig that I've seen so far.
     
  11. Mars Attacks

    Mars Attacks

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    338
    Location:
    Greece
    Hello yegor, is there any other place where I can see the photos? Your link doesn't works for me, unfortunately.
     
  12. gordie44

    gordie44

    Messages:
    251
    Location:
    Canada
    Awesome rig Yegor! It has generally the same shape as mine but the construction process and of course the time it took as well as the finish are different.

    Finished very nicely :)
     
  13. CLIFFO_83

    CLIFFO_83

    Messages:
    371
    Location:
    Australia
    very nice mate....well done
     
  14. HoiHman

    HoiHman

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    1,166
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Great looking rig :tup:

    Very clean, i like clean :)

    I also like how you used the colour of the CSR Elite in your rig. I never liked the colour of the CSR Elite base on my rig (i even thought about painting it), but on your rig it looks awesome.
     
  15. neema_t

    neema_t Premium

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    8,101
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    Incredible. I can't think of anything else to say!
     
  16. fatkrakr

    fatkrakr

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    2,802
    Agreed. One question though are you a carpenter? Thats some excellent wood working skills you got that there.
     
  17. lunarwolf

    lunarwolf

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    638
    this man got skilzz!

    wow the finishing is first class.
     
  18. museumsteve

    museumsteve

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    681
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Outstanding job and love the colour scheme :)
     
  19. Troysloth

    Troysloth

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    125
    Location:
    United States
    That is the best looking Sim rig I have ever seen. You have some definite skills. The fit, form, and function of that rig is amazing. I watched the slide show a few times and it still amazes me. I don't think there is anything you didn't think of.
     
  20. K_Soze

    K_Soze

    Messages:
    557
    Location:
    Canada
    I am voiceless... I look the slideshow looping. Some got serious skills.
     
  21. paskowitz

    paskowitz

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    3,207
    Location:
    United States
    In terms of fit and finish this is by far the best sim rig I have ever seen. The color coordination is a nice touch.
     
  22. RReed43

    RReed43

    Messages:
    404
    Location:
    United States
    Exceptional rig, wonderful fabrication skills as well as outstanding photography.

    I do have one question. How easy will it be to upgrade as new sim equipment becomes available?
     
  23. yegor

    yegor Premium

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    119
    Location:
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    Oh, no, I am not a carpenter, I am a graphic artist. This is the first time in my life I worked with MDF as well as the leather wrapping.

    I used regular tools throughout the entire project. Not having a table saw was the biggest drawback, as I sometimes spent hours to shape the angle I needed by hand plane. I like fabricating. For instance, when I couldn't find a good iPhone car cradle, I just looked around, found parts and fabricated one that perfectly fits my needs.
     
  24. yegor

    yegor Premium

    Messages:
    119
    Location:
    United States
    As you see, I designed the rig specifically the CSR Elite and the ClubSports in mind. However, everything can be converted to accommodate new equipment. Let's say, if the new ClubSport Shifter comes out and I decide to replace the TH8 RS, then all I have to do is make just one panel, which will take about two hours.

    The surrounding panel of the wheel can be easily altered, too, it will take longer time though.

    When it comes to pedals, I thought the CSPs are long term and the best in their price range, plus I definitely wanted them to be reverse mounted, so didn't spend additional time to think of the future pedal upgrades. But, again, it can be done as well with a little more effort.

    I can even change the orange color theme if needed, it will require about 16 hours of work, though.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  25. yegor

    yegor Premium

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    Location:
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    I just added another gallery. Please, try that one instead.
     
  26. stephenb

    stephenb

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    29
    Beautiful, a real work of art. Love the colour scheme.
     
  27. derekspeare

    derekspeare Site Sponsor

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    Excellent!
     
  28. zedfonsie

    zedfonsie

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    2,186
    You have done an amazing job fabricating and finishing your rig! Blows most rigs off the planet!
     
  29. left888

    left888 Premium

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    1,791
    Location:
    Canada
    Great job
     
  30. spinner

    spinner

    Messages:
    778
    Location:
    Australia
    One of the best looking rigs I've ever seen. Beautiful work man !