Thursday, 24 December 2009

Build A Wheel Stand

This is a "blog" to show you how to make an awesome wheel stand. I made it ages ago, so I might miss some details out, but it's a wooden wheel stand, not a space rocket, so what's the worst that could happen?

Figure 1. Awesome wheel stand.

Overview, (feel free to skip this bit)

Steering wheels are cool. Force feedback wheels are super cool. What's not cool is clamping them to coffee tables or ironing boards, or whatever other crap you have to hand. What you need to do is build an optimum bunch of crap, (that handily folds away when you finish your session of understeering off the track because you're going too fast and you're steering at full lock with either full throttle or you're stood on the brakes. Anyway, you get the idea).

A while ago I bought some wood and screws and bolts and some rubber bubbly stuff, drank some beer and set about making an awesome wheel stand. I succeeded so successfully that other people wanted one. So I made one for someone, and Andy came over and we had some beer and made another one, it was bigger so that it could fit the giant robot game controller on it. Good times.

People write stuff about games on the "Internet" and I read it, then sometimes I type stuff in. Now, sometimes people yap about driving games when they could be playing them. This can sometimes lead to them talking about steering wheels and which ones are best, then they go on about clamping them to desks and stools. It's at this point that I post my awesome wheel stand. After that I'm usually inundated by one or two messages asking how to make one. I reply saying I'll write up how I made it, then I proceed to not do so. This normally happens just before the next "big release".

This "blog", details the "process", should you wish to make this bunch of crap - see figures 1. & 2., (that folds away - see Figure 3.).

Figure 2. Awesome wheel stand, without a wheel!

Figure 3.
Awesome wheel stand, folded away!


First of all you need some stuff. The thing is, to make it the most awesome it can be it needs to be fitted to you and your ass station, (where you sit). Therefore, I cannot offer you exact measurements for you stuff.

I used:

x metres of 45mmx45mm pine type wood.
y metres of 45mmx18mm pine type wood.
z metres of 18mmx200mm pine type wood.
14 long screws.
4 not very long screws.
6 long bolts with square bits near the top.
6 washers.
6 wing nuts.
Some bubbly rubber stuff.
Some staples.

Now, looking at figure 4, it seems I used somewhere between 3 and 4 metres of the chunky wood.  Probably a little less of the thinner wood.  1m of the shelf type wood will do for the bit you clamp the wheel to.

You can get the idea of bolt sizes from figure 5.  I guess it doesn't really matter how big they are, but those are the ones I used.

Figure 4.
  Folded awesome wheel stand, next to a metre stick.

So then, on to the making. The first thing I did was drink some beer, then I started cutting wood for the base. Power tools and alcohol aren't a great combination, but any kind of DIY can result in stress, stress that only beer can soothe. Think about when you're cutting an L-shaped tile, only to find you cut it the wrong way - man, lucky I've got a brew on now, just the thought could trigger a "mood".

I cut the long bits first, quickly followed by the shorter bits.  The long bits are just over 1m long.  The base is pretty stable, so I'd say 1m is long enough.  Although if you're going to make it taller than mine, which is about 65cm tall, you might want to make it longer. The width is mainly down to personal preference, but since it folds away you probably want to measure where you're going to store it, (mine lives in the airing cupboard. Sweet).

If you scroll down to Figure 9, you can see I used a thin bit of wood for the back section. That's because I used to have a futon that didn't have much clearance. See, custom made. Quality. Unless you have a similar height requirement, I'd use the chunky wood for maximum rigidity.

To join the bits together I used some pretty long screws.  I drilled holes where the screws would go so the wood didn't split - I used a drill bit that was just smaller than the solid part of the screw thread, so there was enough wood left for the screw to grip into.  For each joint I put in two screws, I think so they wouldn't twist.  Feel free to freestyle this bit, maybe make some pretty patterns with the screws. The most important thing is to screw them in like your life depends on it, or so it would seem from how far I seem to have screwed them right into the wood.

Figure 5. Bolt action.

Base done. Great. Now for the foldy bit. Do one, then the other. This way you can just use the first bits of wood as a template for cutting. Clever, eh?

First you need to attach some small strips of the thinner wood to the inside of the front joints, see figure 6.  This is to let the vertical "struts" pass by the diagonal "struts" when you fold it down. I screwed them in using two screws, one either end of the little bit of wood.

With your joint spacers in place, drill all the way through so you can put the long bolts in. Drill the hole so the bolt goes through freely, but so that the square bit doesn't fit. This way you can hammer the bolt all the way in and the bolt bites into the wood - making it easy to screw the wing-nut in later.

Now you need to drill a hole in your diagonal "strut". Don't cut the "strut" yet, because you don't know how long you want it. I think I marked it up by placing the "strut" on its end and poking a nail or something through the hole in the frame. Drill the hole, then, *sigh*, you need to round the end off so it can fold. I can't quite remember, but I'm pretty sure it's a pain in the ass to do. Good luck.

The vertical "strut" is like the diagonal one, but without the spacer. I placed mine about 40cm from the back, so you should probably keep the 100/40 ratio if you're pissing about with the length. You still have to round the bottom because it folds too. I suggest Foster's, or Carling at this point - and remember, when this is done you've still got the other two to do.

With both "struts" connected you need to figure out where to connect them. Get someone to hold the vertical "strut", ummm, vertical. Then hold the diagonal one so that it would deliver the wheel platform nicely to your hands. This is probably best done where you're going to be using the thing, so do it there. With the "struts" held in place I drew round each "strut" onto the other with a pencil. Next, drill a bolt hole through one, then poke something through it with the "struts" aligned to the pencil markings. Drill the other hole. You can now cut the top of the vertical "strut" off. Do this.

Get yourself a spirit level. Place it, level, against where you'd like the shelf to be. Remember to do this in-place, sat on your sofa, to get the ultimate in custom wheel standness. Draw a line along the spirit level, take the "strut" off and cut along the line.

One side done! Now take the "struts" off and make copies for the other side, and add the spacer bit in too. Before you put it all back together, get the diagonal "struts" together and drill a hole through for the horizontal strengthening bar, see Figure 7. Connect all the bits together and you should have a wheel stand with no shelf.

Get your shelfy bit of wood and place it on the stand. Figure out how big you want it and cut it to size. Now you need to connect it. I can't honestly off advice on this. Just look at Figure 8. What a mess. Just drill some holes so the wood doesn't split, then attach it the best you can. Again, good luck!

Figure 6. Front hinge.

Figure 7. Strengthening bar

Figure 8. Shelf attachment.

Figure 9.  Custom back-end.

Almost there. Now to add grip to the base. I've used my stand on laminate flooring and carpet - both good!

Cut a load of strips and staple them on. Done!

Figure 10.  Bubbly grip.

Congratulations! All finished. If you do bother making one, please email razu1976 at with pictures.

Have a nice day.

Oh, and use the brakes in a straight line before cornering.  Also, finish cornering before accelerating.

Take it easy!