DIY: Gran Turismo 4 / Logitech Driving Force PRO Steering Wheel Mount
It started simply enough. I heard that Fry's had the Logitech Driving Force Pro Steering Wheel and GT4 game for a combo price of $149.00 (after rebate). I've always wanted a steering wheel, and I've been with GT since it came out back in the PS1 days. I'm sold.
We show up and they have nothing other than Gran Turismo nirvana. I'm talking GT4 on a huge big screen TV. Surround sound system that is cranked. The steering wheel, which is hooked up to the Logitech race chair, and the two rear audio channels just to your rear on the left/right.
Of course I decide to take it for a spin (Lister Storm on Nurburgring). It was everything I expected it to be. The only problem, the Logitech chair is priced a bit high at $199.00USD. Given this is something I have to live with day in and day out there is unfortunately no space for it in my home.
So with the help of a few existing items at home (mainly the chair, and our entertainment center), I came up with something for less than a 10th of the price that really does a fine job.
Now. I make no claim to be a master craftsman when it comes to woodworking. On the other hand I'm not completely useless when it comes to drills, saws, and such. I think this is a fairly easy project, and I don't have any doubts that you could do at least as good, and quite possibly much better.
So how does this project perform? Quite well actually. For absolute certain, it beats just having the wheel in your lap. I'm not sure about the logitech lap attachment, because as far as I know they aren't out yet. Is it better than the logitech chair? Depends. The nice thing about this thing (and my wife is extremely happy about this feature), is that it folds up nicely, and can be put just about anywhere. If I find I get bored with it or the game in a few years, take the bolts out and burn it on our next camping trip and I'm out very little money.
A few things to note before you embark on this adventure. I took a bit more time because I knew I was going to do this write up. You also have to account for those additional trips to the hardware store when you thought you had the right piece, but didn't. I also took it apart to cut the edges. That all took a bit of time, but now that it is all figured out mostly, I'd say it shouldn't take you more than an hour or so to do this, to get similar quality to what I have.
I also want to talk about stability and rigidity. I'm sort of cheating here by using my entertainment center as a "mounting" spot so to speak. I just push the other end of the horizontal support under there, and then use another piece of wood to get a nice snug fit. I think if you don't have this as an option you're gonna want to make another front mount which would be exactly like the rear support mount except you'd probably only need an 18in. or so piece to get you by. This will increase the cost by a few bucks. I'm gonna assume that if you're making this project, you'll be just fine on your own to finish this last step by yourself.
Also, full sized images here.
So let's get on with it.
Total Cost: ~$13.00USD
Master parts list:
All parts for the project were purchased at Lowes, because they were the closest.
Step 1: Base and Steering Wheel Mount
You're going to want to have about 18 inches for the actual wheel to mount on. For the base you'll use about 30 inches (it will be the rest of [W-C]. The base will help provide lateral strength, so the more the better.
Step 2: Connection blocks for Base and Steering Wheel Mount
Now we will want to cut the connection blocks. For the Steering Wheel Mount, these will be used for our horizontal support piece to connect to. For the Base, these will be used for the legs.
Take a [W-A].
(As shown in the pictures, I've done the optional step of cutting the edges. Again, this so you don't stub your toe or run your thigh into a sharp edge)
Step 3: Drill holes into the connection blocks
The next step is sort of tricky, and you'll probably want to do this with two blocks at a time just so you can try to ensure a better match up. Basically we're just going to drill a hole into the middle/middle (meaning middle lengthwise, middle heightwise) into each of the blocks, but you want them to line up so the bolt will actually go through.
If you wish to round the edges, now is a good time to make those additional cuts. You'll notice in the pictures that the connection blocks are connected to the mounts, that is coming up so don't worry about doing that now.
Step 4: Angle cut and bolt hole drilling on the horizontal support.
What we're going to do here is cut part of the end of the horizontal support so that it will fit underneath the wheel mount nicely. There is no standard angle you need to adhere to here, just take off enough of the end so that it will fit, but yet still have enough thickness for the bolt hole.
Now we're ready to drill.
First we want to drill the hole for the wheel mount. This is the tricky part of this step because we want to make sure that we get the hole drilled so that it will line up with the bolt holes from the connection blocks.
A way to do this with a decent amount of accuracy with regards to your wheel mount is to take a connection block that you are going to use and align it so that the surface that is flush with the wheel mount and then you can just drill through your existing hole in the connection block through the horizontal support.
Looking at the illustration picture to the left, you line up the connection block ( red ) with the horizontal support, then drill the hole (red circle). Remember this technique, because it's used in another step below.
More drilling now. The way to get multiple "settings" out of this contraption is going to be to drill holes at random intervals down the horizontal support as it goes towards the ground. This will give you various degrees of height adjustability. I did about 5 random holes on the upper third of the support. In hindsight it would look a lot better if you centered these, but that is just cosmetic.
Step 5: Screw the connection blocks to the Base and Steering Wheel Mount
Now what we will want to do is attach these connection blocks to the base and wheel mount. The biggest trick in this step will be to make sure you get your spacing right. I'll explain a bit further.Base Mount
All we're doing here is providing a place for the "legs" of this project to attach to the base mount. To do this both legs will go between the connection blocks. We're doing both just so we get added stability and rigidity. To do this correctly though, the spacing between the connection blocks will need to accomodate the width of one of the legs.
The tricky part is that you don't want too much space or you'll get a lot of "wobble" from the loose fit (and thus not very much lateral stability). All I did for this was to take a spare piece of [W-A] and put it in the middle of your two connection blocks. Now put the connection blocks about middle/middle of your base and then flip it carefully over, so that the base wood is actually resting on top of the three pieces of wood.
From here eye-ball it and screw in two screws ([NB-F]) into each connection block. I was able to get them both in just fine, without the screw coming out the side, so I'm sure you'll do just fine as well.Wheel mount
This is pretty much the same story for the wheel mount, so just repeat.
Step 6: Cutting and drilling the legs.
We're almost done. By now we have the wheel mount and base mount all ready to go. The next step is very easy. We need to cut and drill the legs.
Taking a [W-A] board, and cut it in half (2 24in. long pieces).
Now, match them up so they are stacked on top of each other, and aligned up lengthwise. This will also be a good check to make sure they are the same length. Make any adjustments here if necessary. Now pick one end and starting about 2in. from the top, drill a hole through both pieces. Go down about an inch and repeat. Do this until you have about five holes.
Last, on the other end of the legs, drill a hole that is center, and then about a half inch up. Again, you will want to use the technique in Step 4 (about using one of the connection blocks to line up the hole correctly). You just want to do this so that all of the holes will line up so the bolt will actually go through.
Step 7: Connecting wheel mount to horizontal support.
Now we want to connect up the horizontal support to the wheel base. Simply put the horizontal support hole side down between the connection blocks of the wheel mount.
Using the [NB-C] bolt, and a [NB-D] wingnut, feed the bolt through all three pieces, and then put the wingnut on and tighten.
Step 7: Connect the legs to the horizontal support.
Using the [NB-B] bolt and the [NB-E] prong clamping knob, pick a hole in the horizontal support, and put it between the two legs. Put bolt through all three, and then tighten with [NB-E].
Step 8: Connect the legs to the base mount
Finally, taking the [NB-A] bolt, and your last [NB-D] wingnut, put the legs into the base mount, put the bolt through the holes and tighten down.
That's it! You're done.
Well, you're done if you have the entertainment center, or something like it to shove the front of your horizontal support under. If you don't (which is probably the case), just do the items in Step #1 for a front floor base mount and call it good.