Homebuilt Racing Sim Does Almost Everything From Scratch

If you desire a sim gaming rig, there are off-the-shelf options up and down the market that stretch as high as your budget can afford. Some choose to eschew this route, however and build their own from scratch. Few people go quite so far as [Popicasa POPStuDio], however.

The first version of the rig is about as hacked as you can possibly get, and it’s a joy to see it built from scrap. The wheel itself and the pedals are all built out of old PVC pipe, with a bunch of old wood screwed together for the frame. A cheap USB gamepad serves to handle input to the PC for the pedals and H-shifter. The H-shifter uses simple power switches, repurposed in an ingenious way to sense gear position. The knob itself is cast out of what appears to be hot glue. Steering is done by connecting the wheel to a flexible shaft that tips a smartphone back and forth, using its internal accelerometers and gyros to sense rotation. It’s not clear how this is tied into the PC running Project CARS, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

Version 2 of the build takes things up a notch, using an Arduino Leonardo to handle steering and pedal functions as a Human Interface Device. There’s also force feedback, via a hefty motor attached to the steering shaft via a belt drive. This version implements an H-shifter as well as paddle shifters too for a more modern experience.

Both builds are unique in the modern era for eschewing CNC or 3D printed parts. It’s all done by hand, taking days of effort, and using only basic tools. It’s refreshing to see such a complex build done with nothing but simple materials and sheer commitment. We’re sure [Popicasa POPStuDio] enjoys the rig, and we can’t wait to see where it goes next. Perhaps the next iteration will even feature a motion platform, perhaps built out of old forklift parts? Only time will tell. Video after the break.


16 thoughts on “Homebuilt Racing Sim Does Almost Everything From Scratch

        1. it could be argued that, given the vast majority of the planet are right handed, and that steering is the input requiring precision – that the steering should be in the right hand and the gear change in the left. Ergo – I conclude – everywhere driving on the left hand side of the right favours right handed people – and those driving on the right favours left handed people.

          1. Absolutely backwards. Shifting smoothly is best served by the instinctive motion accuracy of the dominant hand, whereas steering is done through force rather than positioning, moves on a single axis, and provides the limited motion of the wheel as a guide.

    1. As long as it works. As to the video I had to hit stop the instant the fast forward started. I won’t waste time trying to find the segments edited in realtime. Along with slit videos fast forward video is a curse.

      I drove in Indiana, postal Jeeps CJ linage made in Indiana for the US post office. Then they became cheap surplus. That’s when we came in with some of them painted in oldtime circus colors for the music store and the tuners drove them too. The automatic shifter was on the left of the only seat with a package and mail tray on the far left. One step entry and exit with the biggest side window when the door was left slid back. Kinda bummer to pass with on a 2 lane road.

  1. It is amazing to see how the author evolved in terms of construction techniques. And nice use of the toilet paper holders as coil springs to the pedals.
    I wonder why did the author haven´t use more robust connections to the arduino board. Is there any screw terminal shield ?

  2. What a fantastic build, great ingenuity! I’m not usually squeamish, but I did wince at the power tools so close to barefeet (especially the jig-jag with the jigsaw) – please, Popicasa, if you read this, wear shoes before you do yourself some serious mischief. I want to see more builds, not blood and gore :-)

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