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I made a big thing :) 
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Post I made a big thing :)
After purchasing my CSR Elite pedals I decided it was time to build a dedicated rig. This was mostly due to pushing the new brake pedal caused me to roll away from my desk ;)

So I looked up a lot a lot of different DIY rig options and decided to go with SIMUL8R's design. So props to him for posting up the plans for free over on the ISRTV forums.

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The first step was to procure the materials. So I (sort of) fit 3 2" diameter 10' length PVC pipes into my car (plus all the fittings) and headed over to a friends house.

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My friend was nice enough to let me borrow this so I wouldn't have to cut all the pipes by hand.

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Not long after all the pieces were cut to length. PRO TIP: Write the length of the pipes on the cut pipes so it's easier to assemble.

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Next we quickly test fitted everything to make sure all the cuts were the right length and that I had the correct number of pieces. PRO TIP: Number the connections so when you're reassembling later with epoxy you know everything is going together correctly.

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Then we broke down the rig and packed it back into my car to for final assembly at my apartment.

So I decided to listen to a lot of the people on the ISRTV forums and NOT use PVC Cement on this project. Instead I used a 2 part epoxy for plastics (including PVC) so that I would have some more time to work with and align the pieces during assembly. This was a good plan, which will become obvious why in a minute.

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I started with the seat section of the rig as it seems the most straight forward.

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These pieces gave me the most trouble, mostly because I didn't plan ahead while gluing the pieces together. Basically if you do not connect the pieces in the exact right order you'll end up with a piece that can't be connected because of needing to be connected with two pipes at once. What I should have done was build the "V" shape first and then connect it to the "—" Piece. Or best, just due a test fit again so you can see how everything needs to go. Luckily since I wasn't using PVC cement I was able to get the pieces apart again (barely) and do it again in the correct order.

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I glued everything together (except for the two middle section pipes, you'll see why next), assembled it and tossed on a scrap piece of MDF I had lying around to see how the wheel would attach. It should be noted that due to the way I mounted the seat in the end. I shortened the middle pipes from 19.5" to 16" so I could get the seat in the position I wanted.

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I decided I wanted to be able to brake this rig down for storage if I knew I wouldn't be playing on it for a while. To do this I didn't glue the two 19.5" center pipes (now cut down to 16") and instead used this pins I picked up at the hardware store to hold the pipes in place. This was also done on the shifter rail. The rig can now be broken down into a front section and rear section for storage.

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Next I needed to decide how to mount the pedals. It seems everyone does this in a different way, and this build will not break that trend. I wanted the pedals to sit lower and at a shallower angle than normal so I didn't want to mount a baseboard to the rig and then mount the pedals to that.

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So instead I decided to use these super heavy-duty clamps I found at the hardware store. All I changed was to cut one of the winglets off as I only needed the mounting points on one side. My Dremel made quick work of this. These clamps are super strong and can be clamped down with the adjustment bolt so they do not move at all, even under panicked braking situations. If you're curious about them here's the link, and they can be found in the lumber section of your local hardware store: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Simpson-Strong-Tie-ZMAX-Galvanized-12-Gauge-2-in-Pipe-Grip-Tie-PGT2Z-R/100374928?N=5yc1vZ615

Next I needed a seat. I didn't already have one so I started looking around on forums and craigslist to see if anyone had anything good for sell. In the end a friend of my who has an autocross prepped Miata had his factory seats in a barn, and I could have them for free if I wanted them.

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I decided to take him up on his offer and grabbed both seats. You'll note however from the picture above that the seats were really rough. They've been sitting in a barn for longer than he could remember. Pictured is the passenger seat which had it's headrest destroyed. The driver seat had an intact headrest but the seat bolsters were crushed from having a box sit on it for who knows how long. End the end I decided to give the driver seat with the crushed bolsters a shot.

At first I was going to just scrub and clean the fabric, but I decided to actually go for a more complete restoration of the seat. I had never tried to do this before so I wasn't sure it was going to work out.

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I started with breaking down the seat. This picture shows how bad the seat cushions had been crushed during storage.

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Then through trial and error I figured out how to strip the seat skin off the foam core. It was held on by a bunch of metal clips for those wondering. I had to pry/cut them off to remove the skin.

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First thing before continuing was to see if I could fix the crushed bolsters (pictured above). If this couldn't be done there really wasn't any point in continuing.

I had read online somewhere that you can apply steam to foam to make it return to its original shape. But, I didn't have a garment steamer, which was the recommended method...

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...So instead I got out my iron and set it to high steam and low heat. And guess what?

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It worked great! The foam puffed right back to its original shape (or at least close enough to it).

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Here's one more example of before steam/heat...

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...and after.

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With that having worked out I decided to just toss the seat skins into the washing machine on gentle cycle and see what happened. SPOILER FOR LATER: It worked out just fine.

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While the seat skins were in the wash I decided to primer the belly pan of the seat to help prevent further rusting. I want to state I did a lot of things here you should NOT do if replicating this build. I did not strip the existing rust off the belly pan before priming it, you should do this. I also painted the belly pan outside with snow on the ground, you should not do this. Paint doesn't react well to sub-freezing temperatures. But it was good enough for my requirements.

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With the seat skin finished washing and air-dried (do NOT machine dry) I reassembled the seat. Picture above shows how I replaced the metal ring clips with zip ties since I had to destroy the metal clips removing the seat skins.

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With the bottom of the seat reassembled I started working on how to mount the seat to the rig. I ended up using 20" pieces of 2x4 with one end slanted so I it would mount up to the factory seat rails.

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With the seat fully reassembled and loosely in place on the rig you can see that the Miata seat cleaned up really nicely. I'm quite happy with how it turned out considering I had no idea what I was doing. :)

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With all of that going well I started running some tests to make sure pedal, wheel and seating position was where I wanted them. I ended up changing out the MDF top piece with a 2' x 2' piece of wood (pictured above) so I could get the wheel to come out closer to where I wanted it for my desired seating position. After testing I got all the pieces mounted and screwed down in the positions I wanted them. To raise the seat up to the height I wanted, I used double stacked 2x4's to create a 4x4 under the seat rails.

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I also decided I wanted to hard mount my iPad Mini for use with iRaceDash. I started with a spare piece of wedge-shaped wood I had leftover from the seat mounts. After I screwed that down into the table top I started to see what extra hardware I had lying around. I had a nice, strong swivel mount left over from a https://www.proclipusa.com/ car mounting kit that wasn't used. With that screwed to the wedge I epoxied a clear plastic iPad Mini case to the swivel mount. I picked up the clear plastic iPad Mini case at best buy on clearance for $2.99. ;)

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I drew lines in the center of the case to make it easier to epoxy the swivel mount in roughly the center of the case.

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I think it turned out quite nice! :D

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Final assembly before paint, this is after I shortened the center section to 16" to bring the seat closer and also attached the shifter rail.

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Channeling my inner serial killer.

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I want to state that this isn't how you should do this. I was being really lazy on a Sunday afternoon, and thus the paint didn't come out perfect like it should. Just so we are all clear. I should have removed the tabletop, removed the seat mounts, and broken the rig down into pieces for easy painting. I also didn't sand down the PVC first. I highly recommend doing all these things if you are following along.

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I first tried to use a nice gunmetal black spray paint, but this proved to not work because of my lazy actions before. It's hard to get the spray paint to cover all the little nooks and crannies that I made by not removing the tabletop, etc. So I decided instead to move to a flat black oil-based brush on paint (pictured above). This will end up being more durable, but doesn't look as good because brush on paints don’t lie smoothly (can see the brush marks). But it's good enough. Maybe one day I'll strip the paint off and do this again the right way, but for now it's all right.

One note about the paint, this oil-based paint took FOREVER to dry. I finished painting at around 5PM that Sunday, and the next morning around 10AM It was still tacky to the touch. So just be prepared if you use an oil-based paint.

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After the paint (eventually) dried, I brought the rig back inside for final assembly. I also added a small area rug I picked up cheap so the paint wouldn't scrape off onto the floor.

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And here's the final product. I decide to move the computer off to the side for aesthetic reasons. I'm very pleased with the way this has turned out. This is a way better experience than sitting at a desk in a wobbly office chair.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions I'll be happy to answer them.

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Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:24 pm
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
VERY NICE!!!!..

nice job for seeing it through. looks like a fun project.

you could also look into using Plasti-Dip next time. it works wonders. i recently started using it to paint the front bumper of my car to give it the ZL1 look, and it was easy to work with, and can be taken off easily like a vinyl. i am actually going to use it to paint my hood black soon as i get my ZL1 wheels put on.

nice job!

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Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:52 pm
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
Can't believe I didn't think of that considering I have already plastidipped the wheels on my car.

I'll have to look into it once I decide to strip the bad paint on this one.

Thanks!

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Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:44 pm
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
looks amazing. But that car dude. Love me some e46 m3.

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Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:48 pm
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
dog2525 wrote:
looks amazing. But that car dude. Love me some e46 m3.


Yeah, Man. I love the M3.

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Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:00 pm
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
how hard was it to plastidip your wheels, and how did you do it, did you take the tires off?

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Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:48 pm
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
BAM! wrote:
how hard was it to plastidip your wheels, and how did you do it, did you take the tires off?


Not hard. Clean them really well first. I then used tape and paper to mask off the tire so it doesn't get sprayed. I used the spray can plastidip and not the brush on. Has held up nicely for a couple of years now.

Every time I see someone do large surfaces though (like your hood) it looks really splotchy because it's hard to get equal coverage with a spray can.

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Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:40 pm
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
interesting.. i really want to can paint it myself, since the front bumper turned out really nice. now i am torn on whether or not i should pay someone to wrap the hood, or stick to my gun.

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Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:51 pm
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
that is just friggin awesome. Had to share it with my buddy at work who's been totally into Elite Dangerous. Not quite the same genre but I'm hoping it will spark some ideas

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Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:21 am
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
BAM! wrote:
interesting.. i really want to can paint it myself, since the front bumper turned out really nice. now i am torn on whether or not i should pay someone to wrap the hood, or stick to my gun.


I also wrapped the hood roof and trunk of my car. That was a pain in the ass, about 20 hours of work. But it's something that can be done. Two man job though.

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Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:40 am
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
stlouis1 wrote:
that is just friggin awesome. Had to share it with my buddy at work who's been totally into Elite Dangerous. Not quite the same genre but I'm hoping it will spark some ideas


I've seen a few people use this design for sim cockpits. They just attached the cross member to both sides of the rig so they can mount both a joystick and throttle.

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Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:41 am
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
i don't see a wrap on your trunk, are you talking about the different car in the past?

i think i might just can spray plastidip the hood. 20 hours seems like a lot of work. i have a pretty steady hand. last time i did the front bumper, only took me 3 hours.

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Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:53 pm
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
BAM! wrote:
i don't see a wrap on your trunk, are you talking about the different car in the past?

i think i might just can spray plastidip the hood. 20 hours seems like a lot of work. i have a pretty steady hand. last time i did the front bumper, only took me 3 hours.


I still have the BMW 325i, that's the one I wrapped.

Be sure to post up some pictures after so we can see.

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Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:23 pm
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
well.. i am getting the ZL1 wheels put on tomorrow. i'll put up some pics too.

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Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:38 pm
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
BAM! wrote:
well.. i am getting the ZL1 wheels put on tomorrow. i'll put up some pics too.

yes please. :mrgreen:

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Fri Mar 13, 2015 2:33 pm
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Post Re: I made a big thing :)
This is a really cool project. Thanks for sharing!


Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:17 pm
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