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Modular desk for working and driving with a G27

G27 do it yourself desk modular structure CAD ergonomics work-racing balance engineering wheel

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#1 Reno

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 01:03 PM

Hi all!

 

Here is a piece of purely mechanical hardware. We’re not talking about wheel, pedals or shifters. We’re not talking about computers. We’re not talking about racing seats. No, my children, we’re talking about the best thing since sliced bread and radio cassette players.

 

Let’s be more serious now. Last year, after receiving my all-new Logitech G27, I realized it didn’t fit on my old wooden office desk. That gave me a great excuse to throw it away –the desk, that is- and buy something more convenient. But I had no guarantee that a stock desk would allow me to play AND work –yeah, sometimes we forget that last part. A racing seat specifically designed for the G27 would have been perfect to play, but I would have had nothing to hold my keyboard, my papers, my other gamepads and all the crap that was on my desk. Besides, I didn’t have the room to fit both an office desk and a racing cockpit at home.

 

The only solution was to create a modular structure. I built it from scratch, as I found no one with the same needs on the internet.

 

Special thanks go to:

- MRS Technologies (www.facebook.com/mrs.technologies) for the engineering and CAD consulting;

- Viale Heavy Duty Industries for the technical knowledge, the skills, the tools, the materials, the time and basically everything that allowed this project to be a reality now.

 

 

Step 1: computer-assisted design

 

Thanks to a former life spent in racing teams’ technical offices, I acquired some knowledge in CAD softwares.

It took me around 30 hours of CAD work to get the final design. I have never been a fast and efficient designer, which may explain why I quit this job…

 

1zwj2ol.jpg

 

Here is the first sketch. From the beginning, the whole structure had a floor with little wheels, for practical reasons –including setting it in the room and moving it aside to vacuum. With the same idea in mind, it was an “open” structure, supported by only one vertical panel, to ease the building, the cleaning and the wiring of all the electronic components.

In green, computer elements: monitor, keyboard, mouse.

In red, G27 elements: pedals, shifter –the wheel is coming in the next pic.

 

2ql7ig5.jpg

 

Did I mention it was modular? Well, here is the trick: the panel under the keyboard is mobile. When you use the keyboard, it is angled, so you can type without bending and hurting your wrists. Then, when you need to drive, you can set it back to a horizontal position and put the wheel instead.

 

2enqqh4.jpg

 

Ergonomics played a key-role in this user-oriented design. The most important aspect was to avoid any tiredness or pain in the long run, when typing or driving. I used biometrical data and specific modules from the CAD software to get the ideal position for my own body. Most people can still use it because the seat can be adjusted… but you’ll see that later.

 

1e8712.jpg

 

The finite elements model I ran showed an important bending of the top horizontal main panel, when loaded. As a consequence, I added an upright panel to the back of the desk, to make the whole thing stiffer. Also, the pedalboard received a stronger support.

 

 

Step 2: building

 

25qt9ua.jpg

 

We used plywood panels with different thickness, depending on their function and placement.

 

23k9km.jpg

 

As it has already been said, the whole structure has wheels. The “floor” is divided in two parts: one for the desk itself and one for the seat –the square panel you see at the bottom of the image. Later, they will be reattached together with three pins. Of course, you can remove the pins to separate the seat from the desk. Again, it’s very useful for vacuuming!

 

2zyebts.jpg

 

Now, the seat. Trust me, finding the right seat was the hardest part because I had set drastic specifications. I needed two armrests so I could… well, rest my arms when typing. This was a non-negotiable feature. A simple office chair would have sufficed BUT, as the armrests would have impeded my movements when driving, I needed retractable or foldable armrests. This is a common feature in some compact cars or sedans. BUT there is usually only one armrest. So I had to search into several junkyards to find an alternative solution. I bought two front seats from a Peugeot 307 SW and we transplanted an armrest from one seat to the other. This is my personal interpretation of Peugeot Sport.

 

k3pu2o.jpg

 

The seat is supported by a metallic chassis. The adjustment mechanisms are still functional, which means I can move the seat up/down and forward/backward. Almost anyone can find a comfortable position to type and play. And I got a nice storage space underneath the seat.

The shifter can be vertically adjusted to any position, thanks to a simple telescopic system. When you drive, the shifter is set high. When you type, it is lowered to make room for the mouse.

 

2z7fq8k.jpg

 

The pedalboard is mounted on another metallic chassis. It is angled in order to have a realistic position of the pedals. My ankles say “thanks” every day.

Funny detail: the front “legs” of the chassis make a weird angle so I don’t hurt my toes when I put my feet on the floor, under the pedalboard.

 

3501lx1.jpg

 

After hours of sawing, welding and screwing, the desk was taking shape.

 

2znpvrb.jpg

 

Here is a close view of the moving panel that supports the keyboard. To the right is a sliding panel for the mouse. When you need to set the shifter to a higher position, you slide the panel in.

 

rm5qo2.jpg

 

Do I look good or what? Holes have been poked in the plywood panels for the computer/wheel/monitors cables.

 

 

Step 3: undercoat

 

156soyu.jpg

 

 

Step 4: painting

 

Two to three coats were needed.

 

2q2k8yc.jpg

 

 

Step 5: installing it at home

 

2s7zyvc.jpg

 

2yv06s8.jpg

 

In “desk” configuration, the wheel is pushed aside, without unplugging anything else than the USB cable.

 

51d5k0.jpg

 

In “racing” configuration, the keyboard is pushed back, the mobile panel is set to a horizontal position again and you can gently slide the wheel along your desk until it’s between the seat and the screen. Then it’s fixed with the built-in jaws of the G27 and two screws that go through the desk –the G27 has two threads underneath, for that purpose.

It takes less than one minute to go from working to racing, or the other way around.

 

352or41.jpg

 

The bass box –or whatever you call it– fits under the pedalboard. The low frequency sounds are better conducted by solid materials than air. So they resonate in the structure, including the seat, for a better immersion in the game. But as the whole structure is on wheels, with minimal contact to the actual ground, your neighbors may be less bothered… unless the desk touches a wall, like in this case :)

Finally, you can notice the importance of the holes I made for the cables!

 

 

Thanks for reading this topic. I won’t lie: I’m very proud of this modular desk. So far, I haven’t found any flaw, which is a victory per se. I love it. Feel free to ask questions, say anything about this project or share this topic around.


Maybe there is something more important than just winning races. (Mark Donohue)
All race drivers return to the obscurity they came from. (Mark Donohue)

A noi date vittoria e poi l'eterna gloria in paradisu.


#2 clark10

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 02:46 PM

You can be proud. Great idea and concept. Very good realization.

Congrats, have fun

SQ : 922 / Miles raced : 83 682 / Car owned : 118 / Favorite : Maserati Tipo Birdcage

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#3 j_smith

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 04:04 PM

You sir... are ... genious



#4 Reno

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 06:43 PM

Thanks, guys :)


Maybe there is something more important than just winning races. (Mark Donohue)
All race drivers return to the obscurity they came from. (Mark Donohue)

A noi date vittoria e poi l'eterna gloria in paradisu.


#5 AresWorksCZ

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 09:30 PM

simply "WOW"

 

Thats problem im facing for years... and im definitely the customer for which is this product created... Maybe you can fill hole in the market with this :)

Im really interested in your solution, only a few details that are only about personalization or needs of my work would i change...

 

Anyway, can i ask you to post here ( or in message, but i think that everyone else, interested in, will apreciate it too ) a short video, that shows transformation from work scheme to game scheme and back?

 

Thank you for sharing your idea, and hope you enjoy your "hardworked" desk


/ / / If you experiencing HW, OS or gaming performance related issues, feel free to PM me ;) / / /

 

"DRIVE YOUR LIFE"


#6 YardStick

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 12:58 AM

Yes. This is clever. You can start your own company now. :)

Currently I have no real need for it, but I have been toying around with similar idea. A desk suitable for serious work, but with a purpose built sim-readiness. Currently only commercial product I know about getting anywhere near to this is Obutto R3volution. Yours is better. More functional. Thank you for sharing it.


"Drive these cars like you drink your coffee! Always with a smile, even if it's too hot at first and you burn your lips. It will taste great after a while!" - Tiptoe -
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#7 Reno

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 10:14 AM

simply "WOW"

 

Thats problem im facing for years... and im definitely the customer for which is this product created... Maybe you can fill hole in the market with this :)

 

Yes. This is clever. You can start your own company now. :)

 

 

Thanks! A few friends of mine already suggested that idea :D I have a female friend who doesn't like cars or even driving, and she still would like to play with it. That's when you know this desk is a true success :rolleyes:

 

 


Im really interested in your solution, only a few details that are only about personalization or needs of my work would i change...

 

Anyway, can i ask you to post here ( or in message, but i think that everyone else, interested in, will apreciate it too ) a short video, that shows transformation from work scheme to game scheme and back?

 

Thank you for sharing your idea, and hope you enjoy your "hardworked" desk

 

Indeed, it's easy to re-use the basis and shape the desk according to your needs.

 

It won't be easy to hold the camera and do the rest with one hand but I'll guve it a try this week-end or next week.

 

 

 

Currently I have no real need for it, but I have been toying around with similar idea. A desk suitable for serious work, but with a purpose built sim-readiness. Currently only commercial product I know about getting anywhere near to this is Obutto R3volution. Yours is better. More functional. Thank you for sharing it.

 

Mine has been specifically designed for a G27, with personal specifications about my working need, my harware, the room available, ... As everyone may have different needs, I understand why I didn't find any stock solution. But there may still be a little market for custom-made desks, with a similar basis. But it wouldn't be cheap ;)


Maybe there is something more important than just winning races. (Mark Donohue)
All race drivers return to the obscurity they came from. (Mark Donohue)

A noi date vittoria e poi l'eterna gloria in paradisu.


#8 AresWorksCZ

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 04:46 PM

Ok, if you will have time then, just try to place the camera on spot where we can see what and how long youre doing, or ask a friend to help you :) I only want to imagine, hows dificult to change workflow and what it takes, and from video it will be more accurate... playing with idea to build something similar for a while, and you refreshed my need of it :)


/ / / If you experiencing HW, OS or gaming performance related issues, feel free to PM me ;) / / /

 

"DRIVE YOUR LIFE"


#9 niraceway

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 01:23 PM

Great job reno !!! :) ...one quick tip , the monitor should be as close to the wheel as possible for best experience :)


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India                  Team SDEv


#10 Reno

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 10:14 PM

Great job reno !!! :) ...one quick tip , the monitor should be as close to the wheel as possible for best experience :)

 

It's about compromising again. I had to find the right distance to drive and write comfortably because the monitor is not designed to move back and forth. It would be a pain, with all the cables. But I will think about it for the next generation of modular desk :D

When it's too close, the brightness of the screen burns my little eyes. I always seat in the back rows when I go to the movies, I never liked being too close  :)

The monitor is actually 70 cm (roughly 2 feet) behind the wheel. I admit that things in the mirrors appear even smaller, which is sometimes a problem, especially when I play Euro Truck Simulator 2. But when I work, this is the perfect distance because I can read a regular-sized character font without tiring my eyes or sizing up the text -and thus reducing the quantity of text displayed.

Also, I have enough room between the wheel and the monitor to put the keyboard or my laptop.

 

By the way, I didn't have it when I took the pictures, but I now there is a second monitor on the right-hand side... so I can read my emails when I play... because I play during working hours... but I'm allowed to... I swear...


Maybe there is something more important than just winning races. (Mark Donohue)
All race drivers return to the obscurity they came from. (Mark Donohue)

A noi date vittoria e poi l'eterna gloria in paradisu.


#11 j_smith

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 03:01 PM

While this may just be nit-picking, the only thing I can't figure out is, on the seat how would you go about mounting your G25/27 Gearshift on the left instead of the right, (for the people who are used to driving right hand drive vehicles (like myself)). The closest Solution that I can think of, is when building the seat portion, mirror the design maybe?

 

However mirroring the design may not be a perfect solution for this.

 

How would you go about engineering around this issue?



#12 Reno

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 10:22 PM

While this may just be nit-picking, the only thing I can't figure out is, on the seat how would you go about mounting your G25/27 Gearshift on the left instead of the right, (for the people who are used to driving right hand drive vehicles (like myself)). The closest Solution that I can think of, is when building the seat portion, mirror the design maybe?

 

However mirroring the design may not be a perfect solution for this.

 

How would you go about engineering around this issue?

 

For the drivers using a left-hand shifter, I suggest calling the Great Inquisitor to judge them and burn them alive. This is the most simple, efficient and entertaining way to deal with heretics.

But, for the sake of engineering, let's pretend they are human beings like us and they deserve to live.

[End of the joking part.]

 

This is not nit-picking but a truly interesting question. I'm forced to answer it before going to bed or else I will never sleep.

I hadn't thought about a left-hand shifter but I had a similar question which ultimately leads to the same technical conflict: what about the left-handed persons who put the mouse to the left? Yes, I know, they should be sentenced to death and thrown off a cliff. No, wait, this is not where I was heading!

 

The structure cannot be mirrored unless you put both the mouse and the shifter to the left. Let me explain in details:

 

You can only access to the seat from the left-hand side. This is a compromise I made very early in the designing process because I wanted a fixed shifter. Installing/uninstalling, pluging/unpluging the shifter every time would have been a pain in the butt and my original specifications included a time limit to go from "working" to "racing", under one minute. The main reason was not to discourage me to play, even for a few minutes (instead of saying "nah, setting the wheel takes too long, I'm not gonna lose five minutes just to play five minutes").  Engineering solutions could have been implemented but it would have been unnecessarily complicated and I had something else in mind.

 

If you look closely at the top panel of the desk, it is not symmetrical. The right-hand part is a bit longer (along the longitudinal axis). It has two purposes: first, I can put my calendar, my phone and other stuff and I can reach everything easily, whatever the seat position is ; secondly, the mouse support panel slides in beneath (along a transversal axis). As you cannot access the seat from the right side anyway, I chose to use all the room I had there and make the top panel longer. So even if you take the shifter out, you still cannot seat down easily from the right side

 

So here is the problem:

- if you mirror the whole structure, the mouse automatically goes to the left side;

- if you just put the shifter to the left side without modifying anything else, you cannot leave the seat anymore. You're trapped! You'll be forced to work and play sim racing for the rest of your life (which should be dramatically shortened, unless you teach your dog how to bring you cooked food and water. A wife/girlfriend would also come in handy but I assume she would dump you soon if you spent all your time behind this desk. Anyway, the problem of going to the toilet remains... But I digress.)

 

J_Smith, thank you for stimultaing my brain. I don't work as an engineer anymore but I still like a good engineering challenge from time to time.

 

Now let's pretend you are a right-handed person but you drive with a left-hand shifter. The goal is to get a practical solution with minimal changes to the existing structure.

That would mean the seat access would be to the the right-hand side. Indeed, I would start by mirroring the structure. The current mouse support panel would be eliminated. I would make a new one to the right side, sliding along a longitudinal axis. It would have to slide in completely so you don't hurt yourself when you leave the seat -that would be my biggest concern.

As a consequence, the rails underneath the desk would prevent you from putting the wheel to the right side when you don't use it (remember, it has two "jaws" that pinch the edge of the desk). So, in "working" configuration, I would move the wheel to the left side, where the mouse has disappeared. Little adaptations to the shape of the main top panel may be necessary but nothing unsurmountable, really.

 

Here you go. I hope I made it clear enough. Maybe it would have taken less time to actually draw a new structure... Things may be clearer after I make a video, showing how it works in live conditions. I'll do it as soon as I have a little time in the afternoon.


Maybe there is something more important than just winning races. (Mark Donohue)
All race drivers return to the obscurity they came from. (Mark Donohue)

A noi date vittoria e poi l'eterna gloria in paradisu.


#13 j_smith

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 02:38 PM

Stimulated your brain huh...  your welcome :D

 

I've thought of some ideas, but the more I look at it, and visualise it in my head with your existing structure, the more your excellent ergonomics and practicality that I also really like, in which you've already thoughtfully designed in, gets compromised.

 

At the end of the day It just boils down to personal preferences, however truth is, it's just easier to adapt to the current location of the shifter. After all, there's really no difference between shifting on the right versus the left. (in which the reason why I said it was just nit-picking)

 

 

Although I'm glad that I was able to pick your brain a little though.



#14 Reno

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Posted 08 October 2014 - 04:31 PM

Stimulated your brain huh...  your welcome :D

 

I've thought of some ideas, but the more I look at it, and visualise it in my head with your existing structure, the more your excellent ergonomics and practicality that I also really like, in which you've already thoughtfully designed in, gets compromised.

 

At the end of the day It just boils down to personal preferences, however truth is, it's just easier to adapt to the current location of the shifter. After all, there's really no difference between shifting on the right versus the left. (in which the reason why I said it was just nit-picking)

 

 

Although I'm glad that I was able to pick your brain a little though.

 

Starting again from scratch would be the best solution to adapt to someone else. From an ergonomical standpoint, it's always better. From an economical standpoint, it would be more expensive as the new user would have to pay for a whole new study and design :)

 

The part I liked most about computer-assisted design was the user-oriented, user-friendly details, to make the workplace a better and safer place for everyone.

 

Thanks for the kind words :)


Maybe there is something more important than just winning races. (Mark Donohue)
All race drivers return to the obscurity they came from. (Mark Donohue)

A noi date vittoria e poi l'eterna gloria in paradisu.


#15 Reno

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 04:40 PM

Ok, if you will have time then, just try to place the camera on spot where we can see what and how long youre doing, or ask a friend to help you :) I only want to imagine, hows dificult to change workflow and what it takes, and from video it will be more accurate... playing with idea to build something similar for a while, and you refreshed my need of it :)

 

The sad thing is... Geographically-wise, my closest friend is 30 miles away from me...  :D 

 

BUT HERE IT IS, FINALLY! :)

 

I found a workaround: I shot several videos. The sound is not great so feel free to ask for clarifications if there's something you don't understand.

 

[Note: can anyone tell me how to integrate a Youtube video directly in the post? I know it's possible with a special HTML command but I don't know it. Thanks!]

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=gHT7xlI7Inw

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=iTITvPX712w

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=ZBJuCRRWWiI


Maybe there is something more important than just winning races. (Mark Donohue)
All race drivers return to the obscurity they came from. (Mark Donohue)

A noi date vittoria e poi l'eterna gloria in paradisu.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: G27, do it yourself, desk, modular structure, CAD, ergonomics, work-racing balance, engineering, wheel

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