Posts Tagged ‘3d printed wheel adapter

Computer games that simulate realistic car driving experience have come a long way and so do the peripheral devices used to control the cars in the virtual world. Racing wheels for your computer game simulation do play a very important role for a good experience and the ultimate realism is achieved when you actually mount the same racing wheel on your simulator as the one that you use in your actual car. This is still not happening from the store as it would further drive the price up for the computer peripheral and good racing wheels already are pretty expensive when you are buying them to build a computer-based simulator at home. Fortunately there are alternative options available as I have discovered when a friend asked me to 3D print him a mounting adapter for a real car racing wheel that would allow him to attach it to the Thrustmaster computer racing wheel he is using. He didn’t even have to design the 3D model by himself (or ask me to do it for him) as it was already available on Thingiverse from another user, so that makes things much easier.

Getting Ready to 3D Print
The 3D model of the wheel adapter is not very complex as far as 3D printing goes, there are no hard parts that would require you to use support materials or do some extensive postprocessing work. It is probably best to use ABS filament for printing this adapter as it will provide a stronger part, but there are some additional requirements such as a heated build plate for the 3D printer and ABS is generally harder to work with. For the specific requirements a PLA print with higher infill percentage should be more than enough in terms of strength as well. Since there are no high temperatures in the usage scenario there should be no issues with using PLA filament whatsoever, though I have used a PLA/PHA mix as it offers a bit more tougher and less brittle build than when using regular PLA.

The printing parameters I have used are 0.2mm layer height, usually referred as Medium, because we don’t actually need that much detail and for the required precision this level of quality is more than enough. The infill percentage I have settled for is 40%, no need to go all the way to 100% to have a fully solid object, as even at 40% the inside grid should provide enough strength and durability without needing that much material as a fully solid object would require. With these settings the slicer said it would need a bit more than 3 hours to finish the 3D print of the wheel adapter, however it took more like 4 actually from the start to the finish.

Some Photos from the 3D Printing Process

Photos of the Finished 3D Printed Wheel Adapter

Mounting the Wheel Adapter to the Wheel
The mounting of the wheel adapter to the real racing wheel is done with 6 screws and 6 nuts, the nuts are being locked in place inside the adapter, so all you need to do is to fit them in and tighten the screws. The 3D model of the adapter should provide a very tight and accurate fit for the screw and the nuts, though that may depend a bit on the material used and the 3D printer you have. In my case it was a perfect fit, but with ABS filament shrinking a bit it could be a bit more challenging to assemble things.

The Final Step Left to Do…

The only thing left to do now is to mount the new racing wheel on the place that the original Thrustmaster is and give it a try with the adapter. The drawback for this relatively easy conversion is that there are no easily accessible buttons on the new wheel, though there is a DIY solution for that as well. Some people are hacking the Thrustmaster interface with the help of Arduino boards and are adding extra buttons to the real racing wheel, so it gets even better for the simulator. I’m not doing that for the moment, but if my friend asks me for that I can actually do it for him as well as working with Arduino boards is really easy and fun thing to do… and if I do that I will probably also have a short post about it.

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