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Main => Project Announcements => Topic started by: theCoder on August 31, 2006, 10:52:25 pm

Title: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on August 31, 2006, 10:52:25 pm
< original text lost in the hard drive crash of '07 > 

... I said something imaginative and thought provoking I'm sure.  Original concept drawing below.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on August 31, 2006, 11:04:56 pm
Awesome! This will be something to see. I'll watch this with a lot of interest.

You building this just big enough for 1 person or are you considering linking multiple systems? Racing alone is fun, but racing others is a blast.

Can't wait to watch it unfold.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Crafty on September 01, 2006, 12:16:56 am
You are well ahead of me on this project. I will be watching with great interest...

I got delayed in building a driving cabinet because I fell upon a Crusin USA Jamma Cab that set me back a little bit. (Cant keep anyone off it at the moment - see picture)
I have to agree that a driving cabinet sure passes the time, and even though mine only has the one game it is a real hoot.

Keep the posts coming as it will keep me motivated and also I hope with your good grace to borrow some of your ideas...
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 01, 2006, 12:21:40 pm
You building this just big enough for 1 person or are you considering linking multiple systems?
This will be a 1 seater.  I thought about making a 2 station system, but I want it small, cozy, loud, and engulfing.  A 2 seater might be a little too open for what I'm shooting for.  I'm planning on mounting a lan port somewhere on the exterior for linked multiple system play.  If I do a good job with the design/blueprints, maybe it will be a slam dunk making a second unit to sit side-by-side.

... I fell upon a Crusin USA Jamma Cab that set me back a little bit.
What kind of shape is it in, and, if you don't mind me asking, how much did it set you back? (don't worry, you're wife's not going to read this.)
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: GadgetGeek on September 01, 2006, 12:33:35 pm
When I first saw the sketch, the "yellow" on the drawing looked like an air-bag.  Now that is taking your driving sim a little too far! :)
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 02, 2006, 01:55:11 am
Seat Purchase

Today I picked up a nice seat.  It took a few hours searching my local wrecking yard.  In my research someone recommended going with an older model seat because they have flat mounting brackets, making them easier to mount than newer ones.  So, I was in search of a dark (my cab will be dark green), sporty seat with flat mounting brackets.  All I could seem to come up with were light blue, light tan, or pimped out maroon crushed velvet.  Also, most all were rotted from the sun and rain.  I really didn
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: NightGod on September 02, 2006, 02:31:25 am
Shoulda bought two seats in case you end up making that second unit-going to be a nightmare trying to find another one to match two months down the line...
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Crafty on September 02, 2006, 09:46:17 am
... I fell upon a Crusin USA Jamma Cab that set me back a little bit.
What kind of shape is it in, and, if you don't mind me asking, how much did it set you back? (don't worry, you're wife's not going to read this.)

Well it appears in pretty good shape...
There is some minor screen burn in the top left corner, (apparently common with these units as the logo displays fairly regularly) 50" Rear Projection Screen
The Screen is probably 5/10 but the rest is 8/10.
The steering wheel is a happs active drive (Or something similar) and its really fun to play. I had Crusin USA on the N64 and it was nowhere near as fun. There is just something about sitting in front of a big screen steering wheel in hand, gear shift in the other, racing.
If and when the screen craps out I will replace it with a more standard size unit and modify the unit the Rear Projection currently sits in to size.
As for cost it set me back $450 Australian Dollars, which at the time seemed a lot but Ive already spent countless hours playing it in the last month...
Secondly a gutted Ridge Racer Cabinet was purchased by myself prior to this cabinet for $200 so overall, I'm happy with the price.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 02, 2006, 05:25:42 pm
Shoulda bought two seats in case you end up making that second unit-going to be a nightmare trying to find another one to match two months down the line...
Good call.  I just went and picked up the drivers side seat.  I forgot to mention, if you need just one, get the passenger seat because they typically see much less use than the drivers seat.  Even if I don't use it in another cab, it is darn comfortable as a gaming chair.  My daughter prefers it over the $49 gaming rocker chair.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 04, 2006, 02:36:05 pm
Hacking a Fanatec Speedster 3 Wheel

I want to mount the wheel in my cab flush to the dash.  With a little encouragement from markvp's Pole Position project, I decided to take the plunge.  Ultimately I needed to remove all functional components from the housing then come up with a way to mount it into a flat dash board.  This write-up describes the steps involved in dismantling a Fanatec wheel. 

Remove Bottom Plate
The bottom section is held on with 11 Philips head screws.  Remove all screws and remove the cover.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56334)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56336)

Mark Connectors
There are two PCB's inside, each with lots of small connectors.  Using a Sharpie pen, make various marks on the connectors and their mating sockets.  I sometimes did one line, two, or three.  Sometimes on the corners, sometimes on the long edge, sometimes on the short.  Just make them different.  I made a mistake by not marking the plug portion.  When I removed my first plug, I noticed it was not marked.  I had only marked the PCB and socket.  Make sure to bring the pen all the way to the top (near the wires).  BEFORE YOU REMOVE ANY WIRES, take a couple of pictures, from different angles.  This way, if you can't figure out your markings, it will help in the re-assembly.  Also, make sure the pictures are not blurry before you proceed.  Using the macro mode of your camera usually helps for pictures like this.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56338)

Remove Connectors
Gently remove the plugs.  Some require a little persuasion, but they do come off.  I had the best luck by just grabbing it with my thumb and forefinger and pulling up while wiggling.  With all wires unplugged, you will need to cut a couple of larger wire ties to separate the wire bundles.  The picture only shows the green PCB, but you need to mark the wires and remove the connectors for the brown PCB as well.  I left a few connectors on that go to other components not associated with the main assembly.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56340)

Remove Wheel
The wheel is held in place with one large Philips head screw located on the bottom side of the steering wheel, where it goes into the housing.  Remove this screw.  Gently wiggle the wheel while pulling it off.  Once it initially separates, feed the wires through the hole as you pull the wheel.  Do not pull too tightly or else you will break a wire or connection. 
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56342)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56344)

Remove Main Assembly
Removing the wheel exposes 4 screws that hold the metal housing in place.  Remove these screws and the main assembly comes off.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56346)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56348)

Rumblers
There are two rumble motors mounted in the wheel.  You do not necessarily need to get at them, but if you do, you remove the silver ring, then three screws behind that, then the two green strips on the bottom portion of the wheel.  The center plate can now be lifted.  The wires are kind of tight so don't lift it too high.  I was initially disappointed when I didn't see the rumblers when I removed the bottom.  I'm planning on mounting a series of them in the seat.  I was very pleased when I found them in the center portion of the wheel.  Each motor takes two wires, one pair is red/black and the other is blue/green.  Each pair has a 2-conductor plug that plugs into the green PCB.  These two sets of wires are wire-tied together near the PCB.  I'm planning on cutting these wires, using them to power a small relay that will drive the series of other rumblers I hack from other controllers.  In general, there is no need for you to go into the wheel unless you need to hack the buttons or replace the rumbler motors.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56350)

Fabricate a mounting plate.
The mounting plate needs to be made of thin metal, of a similar geometry as the area circled in the picture.  The plate will be attached to the backside of the dashboard.  I'll post pictures of the completed plate and dashboard interface when completed.
(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56352)
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Crafty on September 04, 2006, 09:57:10 pm
Thanks for the detailed photos and description, you are inspiring me to hack apart my steering wheel controller when I get to my driving cabinet...
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: markrvp on September 05, 2006, 06:49:07 am
I forgot to mention that you still need that black circular piece of plastic in your picture above. 

The project looks great!!
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Santoro on September 06, 2006, 09:00:32 am
Sound like a cool project, can't wait to see the finished product.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 08, 2006, 03:54:39 am
Seat Effects
I really want to max out the sensory stimulus on this project.  The drivers seat will provide two physical effects.  Both involve vibrations.  This entry describes a low frequency sound effect driven by the audio of the game and an array of rumbler motors driven by the rumbler outputs of the controller.

ButtKicker
In my research for this project I came across a thing called a bass shaker.  It is basically a subwoofer minus the paper cone.  Instead of creating sound waves in the air, they produce sound vibrations in whatever they are physically mounted to.  The net result is the chest thumping vibrations (or rear-end in my case) you get while cranking up the volume without blowing out your family or neighbors.  The Guitammer Company has a bass shaker product called the ButtKicker.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56721)

http://www.thebuttkicker.com/ButtKicker%20Gamer_home.html

It comes with its own 100-watt amplifier!  They regularly sell for $100 plus shipping, but I picked on up on Amazon for $39 ($89 minus $50 rebate plus free shipping).  I mounted it inside the chair, on the lower frame.

Seat Rumblers
I'm not sure if anyone else has done this, but I knew I wanted to do it when I first started brain storming this project - get the rumbler effect out of my hands and into my seat; just like a real car.  I'm a big fan of buying discounted or used electrical components to hack-up and reuse components from.  A discount outlet was selling discontinued PS2 controllers for $6.00.  I picked up three. 

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56723)

Each controller has a low intensity and a high intensity eccentric motor. 

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56725)

This got me three rumbler motors for the low effect, and three for the high effect.  Now the trick was how to drive three motors from the controller signal originally designed for one.  I assumed that the motors were 5vdc because that is the standard USB signal.  I decided to use the controllers 5 volt rumble signal to drive a relay, and use the output side of the relay to drive the three motors using a more beefy power supply (hacked transformer from Goodwill - $2.00)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56727)

I used two 5vdc relays from Radio Shack.  The circuit above was doubled, one for the low intensity motors and one for the high.  There are three incoming wire pairs, low and high plus & minus 5vdc from the controller to drive the relays and plus & minus 5vdc from the hacked transformer to drive the motors.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56729)

I really appreciate having the zipper on the back of the seat.  It really came in handy when mounting this stuff.  I epoxied the motors to large Popsicle sticks to make them easy to mount to the chair.  Each motor/stick is mounted against the foam rubber, held in place by the seat springs and hot glue.  If I don't get enough sensation from this layout, I'll try adding 6 more motors.  If that doesn't work, I'll try to track down a Lazy-Boy vibrating massage motor assembly.  I put quick connectors on the relay board and brought them to the lower end where the zipper closes.  This will allow me to mount and connect the seat without having to solder in-place. 

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56731)

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56733)

A number of ideas were recommended by my co-workers for this aspect of the project.  One important consideration was I did not want AC motors in the seat.  If I have a failure with a 5vdc circuit, no problem.  If I have a failure with 110 volt AC, in the back of a foam rubber seat, I might lose my house & family to fire. 

With the zipper closed you can't tell there is all this vibrating hardware mounted in the chair.  So there you have it, low vibrations when driving in the grass, high vibrations when driving on gravel, and rock'n vibrations from the sound system when you wreck.  I can't wait to try it out !

Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Luigi on September 08, 2006, 04:49:53 am
That's an amazing idea.....I'll consider it when I start to build my driving cab ;)

Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Glaine on September 08, 2006, 09:52:56 am
Wow, awesome project. Keep us posted.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: brack on September 08, 2006, 07:05:45 pm
I had a similar idea with the rumble packs that I know I won't get to for quite a while.  I also have something like this that I wanted to use.

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-QiPuv6tKMYZ/cgi-bin/ProdView.asp?i=127SK1S&cc=01&g=229650

Since I likely won't be using the idea, I figured I'd throw it out there for someone to use.  Can't wait to see the project progress.  Maybe it will inspire me to get to my sit down some day.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 09, 2006, 12:55:46 pm
... I also have something like this that I wanted to use...
That audio controller looks cool.  I'm not sure if I can use it on this project, but thanks for the input. 

I really want this thing to be an experience to play.  To that end, I'm planning on:

1)  Putting rumble motors in the seat to get the low and high vibration feedback from the game. (done)
2)  Put a bass shaker in the seat to get the low frequency vibrations from the sound system without having to crank the volume. (done)
3)  Limit visual distractions by making the doorway openings small.  Hopefully this will keep down the visual "noise" you get with other stuff and people in the room.
4)  Put in a 100 to 200 watt stereo system.  I'll probably go with an old school, 3 way speaker system.  You can get very high quality speaker stacks (12-16" woofer, 6" midrange, and tweeter) from Goodwill for $20-40 a pair.  I was considering the newer 5.1 systems, but I'm not sure about the quality of the speakers.  A friend recommended using carpet on the inside walls to improve the acoustics.  I'm thinking of having the woofers behind the seat, the midranges down at the pedals, and the tweeters near the top of the monitor. 
5)  Using a very comfortable chair.  I understand why commercial driving cabs have hard plastic seats (wear & cleanliness), but mine won't get 1/20th of the use, and I can clean the seat myself.  Small price to pay for comfort.  (done)

I NEED YOUR INPUT
We're a creative bunch of people.  What other systems might I put into this thing to increase the driving experience?  Lets think crazy, laughable, grossly impractical.  Or maybe even cool and functional.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Glaine on September 09, 2006, 03:20:39 pm
Impracticle? Put in all the car functions you really don't need: headlights on the front of the machine (point the cab right into the living room so you can blind everyone), put a musical car horn in (with truckers pull-chain), rear-view mirror (with fuzzy dice) and side mirrors, turning signals, sun roof, small fans to simulate wind blowing in your hair (don't know how you could tell it when to activate realistically).

As far as somewhat practicle things that might be nice:
Hand brake, 6 gear shifter with reverse, extra buttons somewhere easy to reach to map to specific games needing radio and view buttons, light gun for player two (I can't think of any simultaneous driving/lightgun games, but it would be awesome), 2 or 3 part construction (meaning you can take the monitor of seat section apart from the main body to move it around).
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: original_maxlamer on September 10, 2006, 03:24:44 am
While we are on the topic or whacky ideas for driving cabs why not.....

- Add a "car phone". hands free, or old skool handset "like the original car phones"

- Maybe audio controls for the cab controled by a car sterio unit, or even load the game DVD's from the sterio if you wanted a real challenge

- Cup holders would be easy and in keeping with the theme if sourced from a a car

- Cigarette lighter socket so you can run 12volt car accessories

- Interior light out of a car would work nicely, or even neons if you prefered

- Air conditioning, all you would need is a small fan/heater blowing in through the dash vents (sourced from a car again)

- Make the roof of the cabinet retractable like a convertable/roadster roof

Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: arcadefever on September 10, 2006, 11:02:20 am
 :o that is a very nice project
good luck
 :cheers:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: gamecreature on September 10, 2006, 01:20:11 pm
Add a tray from a drive in (like "Sonic") so you have someplace to put your snacks while you're driving. :)
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Crafty on September 10, 2006, 09:32:40 pm
Crazy Idea ???

How about some ability to when you select rear view in the game what you actually need to do is look in to a real rearview mirror because the image is behind you on another screen..

Dont know if is is feasible or even practical but it sure sounds real....
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 12, 2006, 12:59:41 am
Thanks for the input.  Feel free to contribute more.  In a month or two I'll consolidate all ideas and write up the good, bad, and ugly.  Some of which will make it's way into this build, others of which are fun to laugh at.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 12, 2006, 01:20:17 am
Pedals
A few weeks ago I picked up a used set of Happ pedals on eBay ($28 US delivered.)  The seller said they came from a Crus'n USA cab.  Today I wired them up to the Fanatec pedal assembly cable.  I really lucked out because the resistance on both the Fanatec Speedster 3 pedals and the used Happ pedals are 5K ohms.   This really simplified the job.  I just to needed document which wires from the Fanatec cable went to which posts of the pots, then solder them to the appropriate wires on the Happ pedal pots. 

These Happ pedals are stout!  Notice the heavy duty springs in the second picture.  You can't see it but the rack & pinion gears are also made out of metal.  This puppy is going to be able to handle lots of abuse, unlike the plastic Fanatec pedals. 

On this post, there is little text for each picture, so I've just attached them (saves on the page size).  On more detailed posts, I embed the images within the text.  Anyway, Pic1 is the original, as purchased Happ pedal assembly;  Pic2 shows the internals of the pedals;  Pic3 (sorry for the focus) is the internals of the Fanatec pedals; and Pic 4 is the Happ pedal assembly with the Fanatec cable wired and ready to plug in to the wheel.

FREE to good home - Original Fanatec pedal assembly, minus the cable.  You pay shipping from 97321.  It will probably be somewhere around $10.  Drop me an PM if interested.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: masamunex on September 12, 2006, 07:28:57 am
Along with the different sized weights the PS2 rumble motors have they are also powered by different voltages. So I'm unsure if you will feel the dramatic difference in force feedback that you pursue.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: dweebs0r on September 12, 2006, 07:40:39 am
Great job on the pedals.  Those are going to be perfect.  This project is looking great.

-D
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Lutus on September 12, 2006, 12:20:22 pm
Will the seat be adjustable and I didn't notice if anyone else mentioned it but:

- Air freshener

-Turn key to start up the whole dealio!!!

Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: dweebs0r on September 12, 2006, 12:26:08 pm
-Turn key to start up the whole dealio!!!

I like that idea.

-D
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 12, 2006, 09:21:37 pm
Will the seat be adjustable and I didn't notice if anyone else mentioned it but:
...Turn key to start up the whole dealio!!!

The seat will be adjustable both forward/backward & recline.  I'm a hair short of 6 foot tall, so I'll mount it all the way back minus one "click" of the seat (one more for any really tall friends that come over).  This will make it so it can move forward another 9" for small kids.

On the ignition switch topic...  I thought of this, and have already drawn up the circuit.  I'm concerned that it would confuse people however.  In the off position, all power is off.  In the center position, the power strip is energized.  In the "start" position, the Xbox reset button is pressed.  The power strip is energized when the key is in either the center position or the start position.  So the basic operation is:  sit down, turn key to start position then let go.  Key springs back to center position.  All systems power up including Xbox.  Navigate to prefered game and play.  When sick of playing a game, and want another, turn switch to start position which powers down the Xbox.  (With a mod'ed Xbox the reset is the only way to exit a game.)  turn switch to start position again to boot Xbox.  When done playing, turn switch to start position to power down Xbox, then turn key to off position to kill all power.  The custom circuit will need to isolate the two different systems via relays.  This would be pretty cool, but will a guest be able to figure out to turn the key to the start position to exit a game?  Is it worth the additional time and money for a little "gee wiz" factor.  I'm leaning more towards a well labeled toggle switch and reset button.  I could compomise and just use the ignition switch for the main power switch and have a reset button to cycle the xbox (no custom circuit required).  What do you think?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Lutus on September 13, 2006, 08:57:04 am
Turn switch for power and a button for reset would do both...

"Oh sweet, you turn it on with a key!!!"

and

"How do I go to another game?  Oh, just press this button, got it"

and

"How do I turn this thing off?  Oh, just turn the key, no problem"


 :cheers:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: clanggedin on September 13, 2006, 12:43:04 pm
Pressing both triggers and the start and back button will take you back to your dashboard on a modded xbox if you have in-game reset (IGR) turned on. Then you don't have to shut down and restart your Xbox every time you want to switch games.

Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 13, 2006, 08:55:14 pm
Turn switch for power and a button for reset would do both...

Now that I think about it, I'll probably go with the key.  I can just forget to put in the key when the kids forget to do the dishes.

Pressing both triggers and the start and back button will take you back to your dashboard on a modded xbox if you have in-game reset (IGR) turned on.

Thanks, I'll look into it.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Lutus on September 14, 2006, 10:17:55 am
Hacking an Xbox controller and soldering to the buttons is super easy.  You could hack a cheap controller and run all the "reset button combo" into a single switch!
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 14, 2006, 12:10:36 pm
Hacking an Xbox controller and soldering to the buttons is super easy.  You could hack a cheap controller and run all the "reset button combo" into a single switch!
I was thinking the very same thing.  combine all buttons into a single one.  Actually, I was thinking about hacking into the switches on the steering wheel.  I seem to recall that the first controller used during a single player game is the only one the system recognizes.  If that is the case, I'll have to hack the wheel.  I'd much rather use a second port and hack a cheap controller and leave the wheel alone.  I'll play around with it to see what will work.  Thanks for the recommendation.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: GadgetGeek on September 14, 2006, 12:39:38 pm
I think working turn signals would be a fun addition.  Or you could have it permanently signaling for a left turn, just like the car in front of me this morning.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Glaine on September 15, 2006, 03:38:01 pm
I think working turn signals would be a fun addition.  Or you could have it permanently signaling for a left turn, just like the car in front of me this morning.

If you think its a fun addition that must have been one heckova fun ride then.
I just kindly help those folks get over to the left they seek by pulling up besides them and nudging them to the curb.
PS: Thanks for sharing, that line just seemed LOL funny.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 15, 2006, 05:33:43 pm
I'm going for the all out sensory experience.  I think I've got one for the sense of smell.  I can harvest a bunch of 6 month old french fries from under the seat of my car and put them under the seat of the cab.  Ah, that old familiar smell...

I'm hoping to cut wood in the next couple of weeks.  In the mean time I'm picking up more accessories, and playing with the controls.

I found out last night that I can reset games (IGR) from any controller plugged into any port, regardless of which one is "in control" of the game.  Maybe (??) I can get away with not hacking the wheel any more than I already have.  If so, I'll hack up a cheap controller, plug it into port 4, and call it good.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 16, 2006, 01:20:34 am
More Toys
Today after work I dropped by my local wrecking yard and then to the pawn shop for more goodies.

Amplifier
I picked up a 230 watt Pioneer power amplifier for $49 from my local pawn shop.  In the shop, I plugged in my Xbox without a monitor, plugged in a small pair of cheap speakers, hooked the Xbox to the amp, pressed my memorized sequence of down twice, the A twice.  Up came the roar and thunder of the intro to Need For Speed - Most Wanted.  It really lite up the pawn shop with the sound of a car blazing from what felt like front left to back right.  The smile on the pawn shop guys face was priceless.  I can't wait to hear it through a nice set of speakers (still looking) in a space 1/3 the volume of my car.  230 watts of audio plus 100 watts of buttkicker low frequency seat vibration.  This thing is going to rock!  I've now got to rip into it and de-solder the volume pot so I can mount it in the dash.  <<Edit:  Went with a pot between the Xbox and amp, no de-solder required.  Written up on page 2 of this thread. >>  I'm not up for the challenge of putting in a cannibalized radio, hacking in my pot, and an Xbox DVD.  Perhaps on the next project.  Thanks for the suggestion anyway original_maxlamer.

Cab Light
The inside of the cab will likely be dark.  I picked up a dome light to light things up when I need to read something or point out the on-wheel buttons to a friend.  I was thinking about putting one in, and original_maxlamer recommended it as well. The plastic molding has a slight bow to it to match the profile of the car it came from.  I'll grind it all flat.  I suspect it requires 12vdc which I'm planning on having in the cab anyway.  I'll probably paint the molding flat black to match the seat.  << Edit:  Yep, it is 12vdc >>

Air Conditioning Duct
A co-worker friend of mine as well as Glaine & original_maxlamer recommended putting in a fan.  This one makes sense given the closed in nature of the cockpit.  I'll come up with a nice way to mount this register into the dash and put a small CPU fan behind it.  I don't want to pull air from the front compartment of the cab because it will likely be hotter than elsewhere.  I'll probably make a small piece of duct and pull air from just below the dash.  I'm also concerned about the white noise that fans produce, so I might put a resistor in series with the fan to slow it down, making it quieter.  A little soap and water and this will clean up nice. 

Thanks for the compliments and keep those recommendations coming.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: NightGod on September 16, 2006, 02:03:00 am
Air Conditioning Duct
A co-worker friend of mine as well as Glaine & original_maxlamer recommended putting in a fan.  This one makes sense given the closed in nature of the cockpit.  I'll come up with a nice way to mount this register into the dash and put a small CPU fan behind it.  I don't want to pull air from the front compartment of the cab because it will likely be hotter than elsewhere.  I'll probably make a small piece of duct and pull air from just below the dash.  I'm also concerned about the white noise that fans produce, so I might put a resistor in series with the fan to slow it down, making it quieter.  A little soap and water and this will clean up nice. 
Just wire in a pot so you can adjust the speed of the fan on the fly (or buy one of those nice light-up fan control units). There are about a million places to go to buy/find info on doing that.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 16, 2006, 11:13:38 pm
Xbox Boot Screens and Power Switch
I spent a little time today tinkering with my Xbox.  I want to get rid of all evidence of the fact that it is an Xbox and have it boot to my custom splash screen and menu skin.  I got rid of the green "flubber" animation screen at boot-up by making a change to a configuration file.  I also learned how to have Avalaunch (Xbox menuing software) display my own graphic instead of its own on start-up.  I also played around with some images for a skin, but don't like what I've come up with so far.

I hacked in a remote switch to power the Xbox.  I got the front panel off (remove cover, remove hard drive, unplug yellow wire bundle, gently pull, twist, & squeeze plate).  There were 4 terminals behind the power switch.  With the power on, I tried shorting out combinations of the leads.  With one combination, the machine shut down.  I either just fried my machine or found the magic combination.  The moment of truth came when I shorted them together again (drum roll please...) the machine started up.  When I picked up the dome light yesterday, there was a multi-wire connector on it.  I made sure to cut it off past the connector.  Using the connector will allow me or my son to quickly remove the Xbox from the cab if it is needed elsewhere.  (My son went to his first all-night Xbox LAN party a few weeks ago.  Apparently you are more popular if you show up with two boxes.)   I routed the wire out the back then soldered one side of the connector to the wires.  Shorting these two wires together now starts and stops the box.  I'll wire the other end to a dashboard mounted button and the other side of the connector.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 16, 2006, 11:43:35 pm
It's going to be hard to get my son to give up the hardware I've acquired for this project.  Here's a shot of the him enjoying the components as they're coming together.  Even with cheap speakers, the stereo adds a new dimension to the game.  The car seat is very comfortable and the vibrations you get in your rear-end from each machine gun blast is also very cool.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Lutus on September 17, 2006, 12:19:51 am
Hey hey!!  Great news about the reset on any controller.  Very rarely do good things like that work out that easily.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 17, 2006, 09:13:02 pm
Controller Hack & Rumbler Test
Today I rigged up a controller to test the rumblers in the seat.  I figured that anything I do with the hand held controller will be leveragable to the wheel, and there will be times when I want to use a hand held controller anyway.  If I'm using a controller, it might as well make the seat rumble.  I needed to get the rumble signals from the controller.  I also need the controller to "plug" into the chair circuit.  Telephone hardware proved to be a good fit.  The current is low and hardware is cheap.

Getting the signals from the controller was very straight forward.  I brought the phone wire through a hole in the controller where the second expansion pack goes.  I tied a knot is the wire to keep it from tugging on the solder joints.  I then soldered the black to black, red to one of the motors red, and the green to the other motors red.  The black is ground and so I only needed one connection.

I picked up a 2-to-1 phone plug at the local dollar store.  This will allow me to connect both the wheel and a controller at the same time.  I'll just leave them both plugged in.  I wired the two relay commons from my custom circuit to the black, one primary to red, and the other to green.  I also hooked up a benchtop 5vdc supply to the contact side of the relays going to the motors. 

Good news and bad.  It worked.  Both sets of motors rotated.  I could definitely feel both sides, and one is stronger than the other.  I'm very pleased with how much vibration is transferred through the chair.  One stick came loose and I'm going to go in and put on a lot more hot glue all over the place.  The bad news is the relays chatter loudly when activated.  This is especially the case with machine gun fire.  I suspect the controller is providing variable voltage to the motors, which is going above and below the turn-on voltage of the relays.  I'll let it run for a few weeks and see if it wears out the relays.  If not, I'm good and will just move them to the front part of the cab (so I don't hear them as much).  I might also put in a capacitor to see if it smooths things out.  I'm not an Electrical Engineer, most of this stuff is trial and error for me.

One thing I have decided is that I don't want my custom circuit mounted in the chair.  Maintenance is going to be a pain back there.  I'll bring it to the front compartment and run some 5 conductor wire back to the seat.  This will minimize my chances of having to crawl back there or worse yet, have to remove the chair, to fix a bad relay.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 18, 2006, 01:21:25 am
Here's a short mpg video (900K) of the rumblers in action.  I found a place in Halo that I could control this for the video.  In this action, both sets of motors are activated.  Listen to the noisy relays.  It goes off twice, each time I pull the trigger (in the lower left corner of the image). 
http://home.comcast.net/~larmead/images/rumbler_movie.mpg
Somethings got to change.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Glaine on September 20, 2006, 02:34:14 pm
I just remembered there was some guy a whiles back that put a projector in a real car and used it as a game simulator, what was awesome was that he wired the speed meters to move along with the game. How, I don't know. He was using commands inside of a Nascar game I think.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on September 20, 2006, 05:12:54 pm
Coder -

Excellent work as always! I've been reading this with a lot of interest. Keep it up!

Lewis
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: SNAAKE on September 21, 2006, 12:47:37 pm
how did you get rid of the xbox green flab start up screen ???
edit bios or . . . ??

project looking great so far !
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: clanggedin on September 21, 2006, 04:22:05 pm
It's easy to remove the Xbox startup junk in the bios. There are a few programs out there that can do it. Just uncheck the box and save, threload the new bios onto the Xbox.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 21, 2006, 10:19:50 pm
how did you get rid of the Xbox green flab start up screen ???
edit bios or . . . ??

project looking great so far !
My Xbox came with a version of the X2 bios (don't know the specific version).  I dug around and found that the more recent versions of this bios supports a config file.  It is called x2config.ini.  It lets you control a number of parameters of the boot sequence including turning off the flubber animation (green machine with floating balls), change its colors, turn off the sound, etc.  Google for x2config.ini for more info.

Thanks for the compliments guys. 

I'm on hold with the woodworking 'til my friends shop frees up.  Perhaps next week...
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 22, 2006, 06:29:55 pm
Volume Control
I was really sweating how I was going to get the volume pot out of the stereo to mount it on the front panel.  The pot has about 12 solder points to the PCB.  I could unsolder it out, but that makes me nervous.  It is on its own PCB that has two ribbon cables with about 20 wires.  It would be easy but time consuming to cut the cables and solder in 12
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: richms on September 23, 2006, 03:22:05 am
The rumble motors arnt just on/off, they are pwm controlled at various frequancies to give different sensations. This will be why the relay chatters. Its also going to kill the relay in a short time and not very nice to listen to while gaming.

You should be able to get away with some transistors to drive the motors in the seat instead of a relay. Throw an optoisolator in there if you want to keep the isolation that the relay gives you.

http://www.sampson-jeff.com/tcrobowar/motor1/bipolar.htm shows the idea of using a transistor. Use 1kohm for R1...

I can draw a schematic for it with an optoisolator if you want, no schematic software on the laptop so it will be a photoshop one tho.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 23, 2006, 12:16:59 pm
The rumble motors arnt just on/off, they are pwm controlled at various frequancies to give different sensations. This will be why the relay chatters. Its also going to kill the relay in a short time and not very nice to listen to while gaming.

You should be able to get away with some transistors to drive the motors in the seat instead of a relay. Throw an optoisolator in there if you want to keep the isolation that the relay gives you.

http://www.sampson-jeff.com/tcrobowar/motor1/bipolar.htm shows the idea of using a transistor. Use 1kohm for R1...

I can draw a schematic for it with an optoisolator if you want, no schematic software on the laptop so it will be a photoshop one tho.
In college I built a PLC from a bag of opto-isolator chips I picked up from a surplus place.  You could save me a bunch of time and keep the magic smoke from escaping from the chips if you could spare me the time to draw it up.  Thanks for the offer.

This project would be much simpler if I  could drive 3 small motors off of the line designed to drive one.   I'm just concerned that the current might be too high for the XBox source to handle.  That is why I went with relays.  Is there a way to keep the analog nature of the input, but increase the # of motors (i.e. increase the current load)?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: richms on September 23, 2006, 08:59:15 pm
In college I built a PLC from a bag of opto-isolator chips I picked up from a surplus place.  You could save me a bunch of time and keep the magic smoke from escaping from the chips if you could spare me the time to draw it up.  Thanks for the offer.

This project would be much simpler if I  could drive 3 small motors off of the line designed to drive one.   I'm just concerned that the current might be too high for the XBox source to handle.  That is why I went with relays.  Is there a way to keep the analog nature of the input, but increase the # of motors (i.e. increase the current load)?

Try this, if the motors keep going when the xbox isnt signalling then it may need a pull down resistor on the input to the transistor depending on how leaky the optoisolator is. The last few things I have done have been fine, I just use whatever transistor is in the latest grab bag I have gotten, its only when you get to high voltages or currents you have to pay attention to the ratings and make sure you give it sufficiant base current. If the motors are too weak, then reduce R2, no lower then 100 ohms as that should be more then enough. it just depends on the transistors gain. The TIP120 is popular, but may have excess gain being that its a darlington
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 24, 2006, 07:41:11 pm
Quote from: richms link=topic=57479.msg575021#msg575021
Try this...
Thanks.  This should give me something to do while waiting to cut wood.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on September 29, 2006, 02:38:51 am
Platform
Finally !!!!! cut'n wood.
I picked up a big pile of wood yesterday, then headed to Jim's to initially rough in some big pieces.  One thing lead to another, and I've now got my base. 

The basic structure is made with 2x4's and the deck is 1/2" birch plywood.  The front side was made a little taller than the other sides to support the front access panel (I'll write this up later with drawings...similar to an Atari cab back panel.)

The build went very well and fast.  I used lots of wood glue and screws.  All that is left is to trim the top surface flush to the 2x4's with a router.  It feels so good to finally have some sawdust.

Work takes me out of town this weekend and into next week.  Lots more to do when I return.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on October 07, 2006, 02:07:45 am
Speakers
I got back from a business trip to find my local Goodwill had replenished their supply of speaker stacks.  I picked out the best pair of the bunch for $35.    The 12" woofers will be mounted behind the seat, the mids in the dash, and the tweeters pointing down from the above the TV.  This should give me great separation. 

Tonight I also drew out the entrance profile on one of the side 4x8 sheets, hoping to cut it out.  One idea lead to another, and I decided to re-think my dashboard design before committing to the profile.  This project would be so much easier the second time around !
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on October 10, 2006, 04:03:57 pm
The sides are finally cut!  The profile was hand sketched based on my scale drawing.  The two sides were screwed together to cut them at the same time.  I am not sure this was the best approach because the cut was not perpendicular in a number of places.  The blade angled in some cases up to 10 degrees.  To address this, I used a drum sander upside down as a makeshift hand tool.  Jim refused to have any pictures taken of this process.  I'm sure it looked comical using a large 30 pound bench top sanding machine as a hand held trimmer.  It was mostly safe (!! ??).  Anyway, a little more hand filing and sanding is in order, before cutting the t-molding slots then attaching to the base.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on October 11, 2006, 01:45:56 am
Try this...
Works great!  Much quieter.  Thanks for the input richms.  I Googled the parts and found an on-line vendor.  The most expensive part was shipping.  I picked up 8 opto chips and 4 power transistors.  The optos are cool.  This should quiet things down quite a bit.  I'm also thinking of bringing the LED's to the dash somewhere to see what I'm feeling when the Xbox gives me a rumble.  Minus shipping, this was about a $3 project.  Much better than the original circuit using relays.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: psychotech on October 12, 2006, 07:09:38 pm
Awesome!

So, from micro to macro.. Looks mighty fine!

PS. "the cut was not perpendicular" - I had the same problem even with two sheets of only 10mm MDF clamped together.. Well, hand filing and sanding never hurt anyone...

All the best with the build.  :applaud:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on October 13, 2006, 01:48:28 am
Awesome!  So, from micro to macro.. Looks mighty fine!
Thanks.  It`s really different, man handling 4x8 ft. sheets of plywood vs. finessing 18x1 inch cross members.  On the Partybox (micro) the focus was reduced size & weight and sweeping lines.  It came in at approximately 19 in. cubed and weighs around 29 pounds.  It was very tricky getting all the components to fit.  You can carry it with one hand.  On this project (macro) the focus is all about gaming experience.  Big amp & speakers, base shaker and rumbler motors in the seat, large screen, robust pedals, ergo considerations, etc..  The stereo components alone on this project outweigh the entire Partybox.  It will be around 4x6.5 ft. and weigh somewhere around 250 pounds when all is said and done. The Partybox can travel in the passenger seat of my car.  This thing is going to require a pick-up truck and a strong friend to move.  The funny thing is the macro will probably take as much time and money to build as the micro.  Go figure.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on October 16, 2006, 03:16:38 am
Structure Roughed In
Today was very productive.  I've finally got the sides on !  This is something I've been waiting a long time to get to.  You can now get a feel for the size this thing is going to be.

My friend has this great tool (I forget the name) to put screws in at a 10 degree angle.  It is designed for this type of application.  Instead of screwing in a block of 2x2, you just screw the two pieces of plywood together.  Apparently this is how the pro's do it (check your wooden desk or chest of drawers.)

Before putting the sides on, I marked the height of the TV shelf, and put in a couple of supports.  I figured this would be easier to get right while the sides were off.

The sides went on fairly easy.  I first put on the back piece.  It was very critical that this piece be square to the edges.  It took a little finessing to get it right.  A lot of glue and woodscrews later, and it's taking shape.  This was definitely a job for two people.

I'm thinking of using smoked Plexiglas on the top surface.  I haven't figured out yet how I'm going to handle the rounded edges; maybe just a series of 2 to 5 slats.  I probably won't spend all the effort of doing a ribbed/skinned surface like my previous project.

Ideas or comments?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: NightGod on October 16, 2006, 09:45:07 am
Structure Roughed In
Today was very productive.  I've finally got the sides on !  This is something I've been waiting a long time to get to.  You can now get a feel for the size this thing is going to be.

My friend has this great tool (I forget the name) to put screws in at a 10 degree angle.  It is designed for this type of application.  Instead of screwing in a block of 2x2, you just screw the two pieces of plywood together.  Apparently this is how the pro's do it (check your wooden desk or chest of drawers.)
Pocket Jig, of which Kreg seems to be the most popular brand.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on October 25, 2006, 02:23:00 am
I've been spending a lot of quality time around the house this week, away from the project (storing up the shop time credits).  While sitting on the couch, I started messing around with artwork for the project.  Given that this is an Xbox based cab, I wanted to include the Xbox X in the title.  With a little search I found a photoshop tutorial on the topic at:  http://www.pagecurve.com/tutorial.php?id=46_0_1_0

Any comments on the following drafts would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: psychotech on October 25, 2006, 04:34:36 am
As this thread is about Xcelerator I'd say you should get rid of the other c on the logo ??
Other than that, hmm, are you sure it has to be the 'actual' Xbox X in there ..

Well, anyway; more pix, more pix, as always ;)
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: SNAAKE on October 25, 2006, 05:38:51 am
bigger text and thicker border would be better and black background maybe. white is too "xbox 360ish" :dunno
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: whatzcrackn on October 25, 2006, 02:34:28 pm
Why not use a font that makes the letters look like they are xcelerating. 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: psychotech on October 25, 2006, 06:00:15 pm
Why not use a font that makes the letters look like they are xcelerating. 

..don't know 'bout if these are 'xcelerating', but anyway ..here's my take.. The Cab (still) looks good - but we're yearning for new pictures ......................................., U know
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on October 25, 2006, 06:10:55 pm
Damn man... this thing is looking good. Nice to see it taking shape. Good work coder (as always!)

As for a name:
LeapinLew's Lamborghini

and I'll give you a shipping address so you can send me this cab when it's done.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on October 25, 2006, 11:27:39 pm
As this thread is about Xcelerator I'd say you should get rid of the other c on the logo ??
The car part referenced here is an "Accelerator".  I go back and forth on the spelling.  I think I'll keep it with one C per the thread topic and your comment.  Good catch.

bigger text and thicker border would be better and black background maybe. white is too "xbox 360ish" :dunno
Good input.  Thanks.

Why not use a font that makes the letters look like they are xcelerating. 
Nice, I'll give it a go.


...we're yearning for new pictures ........
Work & home life have been hectic lately, not enough hours in the day.  I'm about to start a major bathroom remodel and need to get this cab ready to paint soon.  I hope to play hooky from work Friday and make more progress.  Stay tuned.

Damn man... this thing is looking good. Nice to see it taking shape. Good work coder (as always!)   As for a name:  LeapinLew's Lamborghini
and I'll give you a shipping address so you can send me this cab when it's done.
Sure.  You pay shipping and handling.  Shipping will be somewhere around $600.  The handling on the other hand will be somewhere around $4,500.  PM me and I'll tell you where to send the money order.

Thanks for the input guys.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Glaine on October 26, 2006, 04:58:10 pm
As far as the fan system:

Easiest way is as said before - to hook it up with a variable pot.
But would be really cool to just put it on an On/Off rocker and when it's on have it blow harder or softer by using the gas pedal as a register. So you really get the Wind in the Hair effect.

Man its great to throw out fun ideas of increasing difficulty when you don't have to do em. I can't even build a box for the life of me. Speaking of, I like your wood frame too.

I like your overhead light, my dad's truck has that same light. And I like the italic font art submitted by crackn. Though I personally don't like the X-Box symbol, but of the choices I like that.

Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: FunWithFire on October 26, 2006, 05:41:50 pm
Seems weird to me that you would go through the trouble of removing the Xbox load up screen, then still use the logo in the name. You didn't want people to realize it was an Xbox, but then you are reminding them.

Xcelerator is a good name, but you don't need the Xbox 'X' in there I think.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on October 26, 2006, 10:53:56 pm
So a few folks donít like the Xbox X.  I think it is cool.  Ultimately it is my decision, but what do you think?

Woofer Cabinet
Here are some pictures of the 12Ē woofer speaker ďcabinetĒ for the project.  It is one large piece of ĺĒ plywood.  The edges are cut at 45 degrees for a nice fit with the cab.  In an attempt to get good sound (like I know how to do this???) I put in a divider between the two speakers and a port hole per side.  The divider will effectively make them two separate acoustic devices.  Without it, one would affect the other.  Apparently you can tune speaker cabinets by the diameter of the portholes.  Unfortunately I donít have all the high tech gear to do this.  A 1 ĹĒ Forstner bit was handy and I decided to use it.  Iím sure it will be fine.  I havenít decided how to cover it yet, maybe with the original fabric, or maybe some felt.  The seat will be approximately 6Ē in front of these puppies.  This thing is going to rock !

More Wood
I also cut the top wood piece and frames for the front-top surface.  The top piece was very tricky to get in.  I was by myself and had to rely on 4 clamps, and a bit of finesse.  It is not in permanently though.  Iím planning on covering the entire back and top surfaces with a sheet of smoked Plexiglas.  I still need to route a groove in this piece so the Plexiglas will mate flush. 

The top front needs to be removable.  This is so I can get to the TV in case it dies.  Iím going to make a structure similar to the one I did on the PartyBox project.  The contoured sides will have 1x2Ē ribs between them with a 3/16Ē skin of pressboard.  The entire piece will slip in and out.  Iím thinking of using a slot and clamp at the top because it will be tight in there with the TV in place.  At the bottom Iíll have more access room so it will be pinned with wood screws.  More to come.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: MaMeNnO on October 27, 2006, 02:35:32 am
About the Xbox X, what I think is that the whole image should look as one.

I can't wait to see this cab finished! Keep up the great work and write up! :applaud:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: GadgetGeek on October 27, 2006, 12:37:30 pm
I don't know how visible the back side of the cab will be, but if it will be visible, consider putting in a license plate marquee as well.  The Xcelerator logo would be good there as well.

Keep up the good work.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on October 27, 2006, 09:59:58 pm
I got in some more time today.  My primary objective was to get the front frame piece done.  I didn...<whoa, part of this post got dropped, I'll try to re-create >

I didn't quite make it, but got all but the outerskin done.  I need to be able to access the TV in case it dies someday.  It won't come through the door, so it's got to come out the front.  The front frame will be removable, held in with rotary clamps.  I had to put in small blocks to pull the frame down and in.  The skin will be 1/8" pressboard screwed & glued to the ribs.  I also made small wedge blocks for the angled supports on the seat, and a cross beam at the top rear to support the Plexiglas.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on October 28, 2006, 02:18:51 am
This cabinet will require a video... make sure to post one of the cabinet in action.

The opening to the cab... it big enough for a portly fellow?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: danny_galaga on October 28, 2006, 03:27:03 am
Seat Effects
I really want to max out the sensory stimulus on this project.  The drivers seat will provide two physical effects.  Both involve vibrations.  This entry describes a low frequency sound effect driven by the audio of the game and an array of rumbler motors driven by the rumbler outputs of the controller.

ButtKicker
In my research for this project I came across a thing called a bass shaker.  It is basically a subwoofer minus the paper cone.  Instead of creating sound waves in the air, they produce sound vibrations in whatever they are physically mounted to.  The net result is the chest thumping vibrations (or rear-end in my case) you get while cranking up the volume without blowing out your family or neighbors.  The Guitammer Company has a bass shaker product called the ButtKicker.

(http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=51525.0;attach=56721)

http://www.thebuttkicker.com/ButtKicker%20Gamer_home.html

It comes with its own 100-watt amplifier!  They regularly sell for $100 plus shipping, but I picked on up on Amazon for $39 ($89 minus $50 rebate plus free shipping).  I mounted it inside the chair, on the lower frame.



i think the dudes in the unit next door have several of those bolted to the fricken floor! gets so i cant think straight! anyway, love what youre doing so far! very complicated, but it sure is going to be worth it...
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on October 28, 2006, 12:49:08 pm
The opening to the cab... it big enough for a portly fellow?
The widest spot is a little more than 2".  I'm 210 lb. & 6 ft. and have a bit of a gut, and have no problems getting in and out.  I know this because yesterday I went in and out about 100 times building the front panel - my knees and back are killing me.  A 300 lb. 5 ft.  5" guy might have a bit of a problem getting in.

i think the dudes in the unit next door have several of those bolted to the fricken floor! gets so i cant think straight!

I'm about to become one of those neighbors.  <cue evil laugh sound effect>

...very complicated
If you break it down, there is no real rocket science here, just a lot of little things.  I'm no genius, I just do a lot of research on how other people have done things, and am not afraid to try and fail.  For example, the relay circuit I did took 2 tries to get right.  Even then, I threw it out to make the one recommended by richms.  And the Buttkicker thing, I just did some research on home audio, found the reference to base shakers, looked a little more and found this item.  It just plugs in.  Nothing fancy. 

As long as it's not too expensive, I've got safety glasses on, and a fire extinguisher handy, I'll pretty much try anything.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 03, 2006, 10:05:53 pm
...never mind.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 03, 2006, 10:06:39 pm
No Saw at Home Depot
I picked up a sheet of pressboard at my local Home Depot the other day.  My car isnít big enough to handle a 4x8 sheet, and I really only needed a 2 ft. section.  Unfortunately their saw was broke.  I freaked out a couple of customers in they isle by placing the sheet on the floor, putting a 2x4 on it, standing on it, then pulling the sheet Ďtil it snapped.  I brought the mangled pieces of wood to the checker and paid for it.  It was great.

Wheels
This cab is going to be big and heavy.  Initially I thought of putting 4 or 6 wheels underneath.  My concern was that it might move around when getting in and out.  Iím also concerned that it will crush the carpet if all the weight on just 4 Ė 6 touch points.  Instead I decided to mount two wheels on the front.  I had to cut off part of the brackets so the wheels could be mounted closer to the ground.  This way, it is just above ground level when the cab is flat, but takes all the weight when I pick up the back end.  The majority of weight will be at the front.  Iím expecting to wheel it around like a wheel barrow as needed.  The wheels are not mounted yet, but I wanted to see how it will look.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: sphetr2 on November 04, 2006, 06:34:14 pm
I freaked out a couple of customers in they isle by placing the sheet on the floor, putting a 2x4 on it, standing on it, then pulling the sheet Ďtil it snapped.  I brought the mangled pieces of wood to the checker and paid for it.  It was great.

 :laugh2:  :laugh2:  :laugh2:

That's so awesome.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 06, 2006, 02:20:01 am
The removable round frame was having troubles being held in place with the 4 rotary clamps.  They were causing the frame to widen out as they were tightened.  I replaced the bottom two with strips of hardwood held in place with a wood screw.  This pulled the sides in a bit to the nominal 32 inches internal width.  I made sure I got a picture of this before skinning the frame to show how to remove the top frame if the TV dies.  Iíll include it in the documentation if/when I sell this cab.  < frame_screwplates.jpg >

I mounted the kick plate and bottom dashboard plate.  I used the pocket jig to mount the wood without support strips.  Iíll go back and strengthen up the joints between these two boards because they will be taking all the forces from the pedals.  <kick_plate.jpg>

The front round skin went on much easier on this project compared to the PartyBox project.  I think this is because the radius is larger and the skin is under less stress.  The top and bottom edges have screws about every 3 inches.  On the cross members they are about 6 inches apart.  Before screwing them down, I put on lots of wood glue.  I countersunk the screws before putting them in.  A few of the screws were countersunk too much and the screws pulled through so I had to quickly add a few more.    In the first shot, notice the piece of walnut wood leaning against the cab.  This is going to become the front surface of the control panel.  Its a beautiful piece of wood that my friend has had for years, just waiting for a project like this.  <pictures skinned_1.jpg & skinned_2.jgp>

The cavity in the front will house the Xbox, amplifier, switching circuit for the seat, base shaker amp, power supplies, ect.  It is a little less than 12 inches deep and about 24 inches high.  <back_compartment.jpg>

While the glue was drying, I had time to design the pedal mounts.  More to comeÖ
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: johnm160 on November 06, 2006, 10:58:07 am
Looking good!

I am following this one closely, I might have to relocate the air hockey table out of the game room to get one if these in......(luckely air hockey is the wifes game and is my best chance to get into a different room) :applaud:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: FunWithFire on November 06, 2006, 12:12:11 pm
Does anyone else see this and get incredibly frustrated knowing that they will probably never, ever have the opportunity to actually sit inside it?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: fiscap on November 06, 2006, 11:00:17 pm
Looks great Coder! I like the 12" subs right behind the driver's seat. It reminds of the days when I was doing car stereo and we used to shove the biggest subs we could fit behind the seat of a pickup truck.

What are the dimensions of the woofer enclosures? If you can get me the dimensions, I'll do some calculations to let you know what would be ideal for porting. What are you going to use to power the speakers?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 07, 2006, 01:04:44 am
Thanks guys.

Does anyone else see this and get incredibly frustrated knowing that they will probably never, ever have the opportunity to actually sit inside it?
Whoa, now that's a complement.  Thanks.  But you know, you can releave your frustration by making one yourself.  The alternative is to buy one, but I hear they are kinda spendy.

What are the dimensions of the woofer enclosures? If you can get me the dimensions, I'll do some calculations to let you know what would be ideal for porting. What are you going to use to power the speakers?
Thanks for the offer.  The inside cavities are prism shaped.  They are 45-45-90 degree triangles.  The hypotenuse is 15.25 inches.  The width of each prism is 15.5 inches.  If you could post the equation I (and the community) would greatly appreciate it.

I'm using a 230 watt Pioneer amplifier I picked up at a pawn shop.  The woofers are 8 inches from my lower back, the mid-ranges will be on the dash, just arms length away, and the tweeters will be arms length away just above the monitor.  This box is going to rock!
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 11, 2006, 01:36:07 am
Front Door
Today I finished the front door.  The bottom of the door has a strip of wood to keep it from coming out, and small blocks on the sidewalls keep it from going in.  There is a similar strip on the top of the frame to keep the door from going in too far.  With a couple of key locks, this should all sit flush.  I based the design what my first cab had for a back door (1980 vintage Atari).   Notice on the second photo the rounded corners I put on the strip.  I try to do this to all pieces that I may bump into later.  It just takes a few minutes to do, but adds a nice touch and avoids blood down the road.  < front_door.jpg & front_door_bottom.jpg >

In the third photo you can see the completed front frame, its mounting hardware, and the top portion of the front door.  It was a pain to make the front frame removable, but it will pay-off if/when the TV dies.  I will primer all of this when I get to paint. <front_frame_from_inside.jpg>

Wheels Mounted
The front wheels got mounted today as well.  I used large ľ inch lag bolts to hold them in.  When mounting, I put down a small scrap of wood about 1/8 inch thick to let the wheels ride slightly above ground.  My thinking here was that as Iím setting it down, it will stop rolling just before it is all the way down, allowing me to control it a little better and to help me get my fingers out of the way.  I did not have the nerve to try to lift it yet.

Dashboard
I have been avoiding starting on the dashboard, but ran out of things to do, so...  The top piece coming down from the TV is a critical piece.  The front edge needs to be flush with the foot-well piece.  I wanted the dash to have a slight slant upwards so I left the straight edge on the foot-well piece (it comes up at a slight angle).  The top dash piece has an angle cut on the face to be flush with the plane of the edge of the foot-well piece.  To accommodate the front glass, I had to make an angled cut on the backside of the top dash piece to be horizontal when in place.  This was a tricky piece to make.  <dash_frame.jpg>

I decided to go with a different piece of wood on the dash.  My friend offered up a nice piece of walnut.  Unfortunately it had a slight crack on one of the ends.  We have a specialty hardwood store a few miles from where I work.  Over lunch I picked up a nice piece of Bolivian Rosewood.  Its not like I know this stuff or anything, it just looked so cool.  It is chocolate brown with black grain.  I bought it a little oversized so I can center the steering wheel in the center portion of the grain pattern.  A little bit of oil should make this wood really stand out.  <dash_wood1.jpg & dash_wood2.jgp>
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Timoe on November 11, 2006, 07:11:49 pm
Not only does the Bolivian Rosewood look cool, it sounds cool ta boot.  "yes, we have here a custom dash featuring Aged Nigerian Zebra Wood."  mmm
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on November 12, 2006, 01:33:09 am
Coder....

I know you like planning things out and all... but this arcade is out of control! Did you plan on things becoming this involved?

Amazing work. I don't know if I could keep focus long enough to put together such a detail oriented project.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 12, 2006, 03:47:07 am
I know you like planning things out and all... but this arcade is out of control! Did you plan on things becoming this involved?

Amazing work. I don't know if I could keep focus long enough to put together such a detail oriented project.
Out of control is relative.  I work with some pretty anal planners.  The level of involvement grew as the details came in.  The removable front for example was a trade-off when I realized that TVs die occasionally.  I wanted the side doors to be small to minimize visual distractions.  The TV would not fit through a small side door.  This lead to the need for the front to be removable.  Good planning I guess, but it complicated the build a bit.   The original plan was to have 4 latches, but I hadnt planned on the sides stretching.  The lower screwed in straps were a on-the-spot adjustment to the plan.  I try to start at a high level (objectives), then work backwards from there.  Start simple, then add complexity only as needed.  I didnt plan to the screw size level of detail, but I think the big stuff has been thought through. 

To help me plan and juggle the various aspects of the project, I use a tool called Freemind.  It is great for brainstorming and arranging random pieces of info.  I've included a screen shot for this project.  I drop random thoughts in, then arrange and re-arrange as needed.  It is pretty free-formed in nature.  In reality I am pretty scattered, but this tool helps me focus just long enough to fake it. 

Freemind is available at:  http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: marknetwork on November 12, 2006, 09:01:49 pm
I want to see the finished product, this is taking forever!!   :hissy:  What does your wife think about this huge machine?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 13, 2006, 12:17:48 am
I want to see the finished product, this is taking forever!!   :hissy:  What does your wife think about this huge machine?
You and me both.  Unfortunately I can only get in about 2 sessions per week, ranging from 2 to 5 hours each.  Maybe I will start working like javeryh, early morning, perhaps even before work.  The kids are pretty demanding with homework and sports.  Actually, it is more the journey than the destination.  The cab is going to be fun to drive, but I am enjoying the build process. 

I finally showed my wife a picture of the cab last night.  She did not seem to excited.   She is very forgiving though because things at work are pretty stressful right now and this is a great creative outlet.  The basement is big and is pretty much devoted to gaming (pool table/air hockey combo, Foosball table, Xbox area, and PartyBox.  This project will just take up the corner where my first arcade box stood (donated to my kids school for charity auction / tax write-off).
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 13, 2006, 01:36:41 am
I managed to get in a few hours tonight, working on some loose ends;  dome light, seat mounting holes, top dash mounting strips, and the round back Plexiglas supports.

Dome Light
The dome light was not flat; it had a slight rounded surface to mate with the car roof top profile it came from.  I had to sand it flat.  The dome light will be mounted in the front top piece of wood, just above the monitor.  To simplify life, I took this piece off to work with it.  While I had it off, I rounded off the leading inside edge with a 1/4  inch bull-nose router bit.  I hate sharp edges on anything that people might come in contact with.  The light wires will be embedded in a slot routed into the wood.  I will tack the wire down, then cover it up with Bondo.

Plexiglas Back Supports
The back half and top will be covered in grey smoked Plexiglas.  I needed to make two half round supports to mount it.  I started by holding a piece of plywood up to the existing profile and marking with a pencil.  I then cut to the line with a band saw.  I then used a compass to get a consistent 3/4  inch width for the following cut.  The edges were sanded and I rounded over the inside edge with the bull-nose router bit (done after left & right pictures were taken).  As soon as I know the thickness of the Plexiglas I will glue & screw these down.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on November 13, 2006, 07:25:32 am
WOW!!! Not sure how I missed this but this is one of the coolest projects I've seen in a long time - awesome work as usual theCoder.  I will definitely be following this project.

EDIT: working in the early morning is great - I find I am most productive when no one else is awake but lately I've been walking around like a zombie due to lack of sleep.... it's worth it though because building these things sure is fun!
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 14, 2006, 09:21:27 pm
Financial blunder!!!!!
Last week I went to my local glass shop to order the Plexiglas for the top/back.  It is 1/8 inch grey Plexiglas, approximately 3 ft by 4 ft.  I was a bit surprised when the estimate came in at $47.  Ouch!  The next day I got a call from them saying that they did not have the stock, and it would be another 4 weeks before they could get any.  Today I went to another glass shop near work and asked if they had any in stock.  Sure enough they did, and they went to work right away to cut it to size.  Ten minutes later, with the cut piece in hand, the lady behind the counter said I owed her $80.  Double ouch.  After a half hearted complaint, I paid the money and left. 

Lesson Learned:  Get the quote before you commit.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: johnm160 on November 14, 2006, 11:01:25 pm
Financial blunder!!!!!
Last week I went to my local glass shop to order the Plexiglas for the top/back.  It is 1/8 inch grey Plexiglas, approximately 3 ft by 4 ft.  I was a bit surprised when the estimate came in at $47.  Ouch!  The next day I got a call from them saying that they did not have the stock, and it would be another 4 weeks before they could get any.  Today I went to another glass shop near work and asked if they had any in stock.  Sure enough they did, and they went to work right away to cut it to size.  Ten minutes later, with the cut piece in hand, the lady behind the counter said I owed her $80.  Double ouch.  After a half hearted complaint, I paid the money and left. 

Lesson Learned:  Get the quote before you commit.

Wow talk about price fluctuations! I might have considered walking out.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: FunWithFire on November 15, 2006, 01:17:19 am
"My wallet is in the car, would you mind waiting here while I run out and grab it?"
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: johnm160 on November 15, 2006, 08:33:44 am
"My wallet is in the car, would you mind waiting here while I run out and grab it?"

I would not have even done that, I would tell them exactly why I was walking out. They were charging almost double.

And as a business they should always quote and ok a price before they cut product.

I bet what it came down to is coder did not want to wait a month to get it.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on November 15, 2006, 10:00:39 am
Financial blunder!!!!!
Last week I went to my local glass shop to order the Plexiglas for the top/back.  It is 1/8 inch grey Plexiglas, approximately 3 ft by 4 ft.  I was a bit surprised when the estimate came in at $47.  Ouch!  The next day I got a call from them saying that they did not have the stock, and it would be another 4 weeks before they could get any.  Today I went to another glass shop near work and asked if they had any in stock.  Sure enough they did, and they went to work right away to cut it to size.  Ten minutes later, with the cut piece in hand, the lady behind the counter said I owed her $80.  Double ouch.  After a half hearted complaint, I paid the money and left. 

Lesson Learned:  Get the quote before you commit.

That $47 amount is a good price! I been paying about 10 bucks a square foot for the stuff.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: AlanS17 on November 15, 2006, 10:56:28 am
Will the seat be adjustable and I didn't notice if anyone else mentioned it but:

- Air freshener

-Turn key to start up the whole dealio!!!


At Fry's I actually saw a keyed lock with built-in switch. It's simple on/off, though. And it uses a barrel lock. Still, it's a good start.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: AlanS17 on November 15, 2006, 10:59:03 am

Now that I think about it, I'll probably go with the key.  I can just forget to put in the key when the kids forget to do the dishes.


I have a few "keyless" locks that you could use to build a simple circuit. It fits the form factor of a barrel lock, but instead of having a key hole, it has a flat knob that you turn in place. (Does that make any sense at all?) If you're interested, you're welcome to have one.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: fiscap on November 15, 2006, 03:56:53 pm
Quote
What are the dimensions of the woofer enclosures? If you can get me the dimensions, I'll do some calculations to let you know what would be ideal for porting. What are you going to use to power the speakers?
Thanks for the offer.  The inside cavities are prism shaped.  They are 45-45-90 degree triangles.  The hypotenuse is 15.25 inches.  The width of each prism is 15.5 inches.  If you could post the equation I (and the community) would greatly appreciate it.

Coder - apologies for the late reply as I've been away from the forums for about a week. I've run some quick numbers and if the dimensions you are giving me are the external dimensions of your enclosure, you don't have a whole lot of internal box volume for these 12" woofers (please see image below). With a 15.25 inch external hypotenuse, you have about an 8.25"x8.25"x15.125" internal box volume for both speakers, or cut that number in half for your volume per speaker - in this particular case about .3 cu. ft. per woofer. Typically 12" speakers should be placed in an enclosure roughly 1.0-1.5 cu. ft. depending on the Thiele-Small parameters of the woofer and a general rule of thumb is the more volume, the deeper the bass.

If you have some extra wood, I would see what you could do to increase the volume of the box a little bit by redoing the woofer board. If you can increase the hypotenuse dimension from 15.25" to 23.25", you'll be able to increase the internal volume for your woofers by a factor of 3, or roughly increase each chamber to 1.0 cu. ft. This increase in hypotenuse length will only add 5.5" to the distance from the back of the cabinet to the back edge of your seat. I don't know if you've mounted the seat or if it has the ability to slide back further from your images, but it does appear as though you have enough space to do this.

If this isn't an option or you don't wish to go down the path of redoing the enclosure, one thing you can do to 'virtually' create additional volume is to place damping material in the enclosures. Typically this is done with acoustic fiberglass, but typical home-grade fiberglass (without the paper) or polyester batting from a fabric store will suffice. You may even have some from the original enclosures. You want to put as much damping material in the enclosure as possible without packing it in too tight Ė itís ok to have the speaker rest in the stuff, but you donít want to compress it too much. Even if you do go down the path of redoing the enclosure, I suggest using the damping material in addition.

As far as porting goes, if you donít do anything and leave the enclosure as it is, I recommend picking up a couple of these ports from David Levy Corp. (http://dlcparts.com/deep-port-tube-p-2151.html) These particular ports will effectively tune your existing enclosures to somewhere around 70-80 Hz. Iíd recommend tuning the box lower, but with the current volume and lack of depth available for longer ports, I donít think itís feasible.

You can use the following site as an easy reference for tuning any size box Ė http://home.new.rr.com/trumpetb/audio/fboxjs.html (http://home.new.rr.com/trumpetb/audio/fboxjs.html)

One other thing Iíve noticed from the images is that the only place where I can tell the woofer board is secured is along the enclosure dividing wall. Iím not sure if this is the case, but these woofers are going to be moving quite a bit with 230 watts driving them Ė youíre going to want to have that enclosure as secure as possible or there will be an awful lot of unwanted buzzing going on.

Keep up the good work - it's looking great!
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 15, 2006, 08:41:03 pm
Thanks fiscap.

After your first post I did a little more digging.  I found a site with various speaker enclosure calculators.  I was a little disappointed when I determined that the internal volume of my enclosure was around .5 cubic foot (cf) per speaker, when the calculators said I need at least 1.5 cf for optimal sound.  They also recommended a port hole around 7 inches long.  I really dont have the room to lengthen the bottom, but I can increase the height.  More like a 30-60-90 triangle rather than the current 45-45-90 triangle.  This will not necessarily get me more room for the port hole length, but it will increase the volume.  I will run the math and see what the triangle would look like to get 1.5 cf.  At this stage the plywood is cheap.  If I didnt try this I would always wonder how much better it would have sounded.  The batting and secure mounting is good advice.  Thanks again.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: MrQuan on November 16, 2006, 02:33:11 am
I just found this thread :o  Congradualtions on an amzing project! ;D

Just a comment on the ports.  Ports don't neccessarily have to be straight.  You can construct a bent, or u-shaped port if need be, it's the length of the port that really matters.  An alternative would be to create an sealed box, and filling it with acoustastuff (as mentioned by fiscap) this allows you to slightly shrink the box's litre dimensions as the acoustastuff slows the air movement symulating a larger box.

Basically to compare, a ported box = higher DB - but not as "low", and a sealed box = lower DB but it can handle lower frequencies (also reduces booming at certain frequencies that ported boxes tend to suffer from).  The thing you need to be careful of with a ported box is that you don't send a lower frequency than it's been tuned for, as it will unload.  Sealed boxes don't have this limitation as the back pressure prevents this from happening.

I'm not sure how technical you plan to go with tuning and driver selection, but hopefully that helps. :)
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 16, 2006, 11:32:55 am
I just found this thread :o  Congradualtions on an amzing project! ;D
Just a comment on the ports.  Ports don't neccessarily have to be straight. 
Thanks.  From what I've learned, to get better low end base sound, I want the largest internal volume I can afford (within reason per some of the charts on the net.)  The enclosure will have a bad booming sound if I send it frequencies lower than it is tuned for.  The longer the port hole, the lower the tuned frequency (within reason per charts on the net.)  Internal batting improves the sound quality. 

For some reason, I thought the port hole needed to be perpendicular to the cabinet face.  Based on your comments, I think I have the room to make the port hole longer if I mount it at an angle.  There is room for the height of the triangle to increase quite a bit.  This will give me an internal volume of around 1.4 cf, and plenty of room for a 2 to 3 inch port, around 8 to 10 inches long.  This should tune it to somewhere around 25 to 35 Hz.  Much lower had I just gone with the original volume and the ports fiscap suggested as a compromise.  Thanks to both of you for the input.

I did not really intend to get that technical as far as tuning and driver selection, but I will go with thumbnail geometries based on the summary above.  The cool stuff you learn with this hobby...I love it.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: fiscap on November 16, 2006, 04:51:36 pm
I put together a little spreadsheet to help you determine your optimal enclosure size given the space you have to work with inside your cabinet. You can modify the external depth (the space between your back wall and seat base) and the desired frequency of your box at the top of the worksheet. The sheet will calculate your internal dimensions, box volume, theoretical volume with damping and port length based on your desired frequency. The sheet reads down in .25" increments for the desired height at the back of the box for your woofer board. I put in the ability to adjust the depth dimension at the base of the cabinet on the off-shoot that you have a little bit of room to move it forward - even an inch or two is going to give you quite a bit additional volume.

Keep in mind that your ported frequency is going to be the 'sweet spot' of your enclosure and where your woofers are most efficient. I'd shoot for a tuned frequency somewhere around 50-60 Hz, but you may even want to go as high as 80 Hz. Tuning the box down to 25-30 Hz is too low since the wavelength of frequencies in that range is 35-50 ft, which is well outside the confines of your driving cabinet and proximity to the speakers. People in the other room might benefit from this added frequency boost, but the effect inside the cabinet would be nil.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 17, 2006, 10:53:32 am
I have a few "keyless" locks that you could use to build a simple circuit. It fits the form factor of a barrel lock, but instead of having a key hole, it has a flat knob that you turn in place. (Does that make any sense at all?) If you're interested, you're welcome to have one.
Given that this is a car theme cab, I really want to go with an ignition switch with a key.  Thanks for the offer anyway.

I put together a little spreadsheet to help you determine your optimal enclosure size given the space you have to work with inside your cabinet. ...  Keep in mind that your ported frequency is going to be the 'sweet spot' of your enclosure and where your woofers are most efficient. I'd shoot for a tuned frequency somewhere around 50-60 Hz, but you may even want to go as high as 80 Hz. Tuning the box down to 25-30 Hz is too low ...
Thanks a lot for the spreadsheet.  I did not get the notion of a sweet spot from my other research.  I took some more measurements last night and determined I can go 13 inches on the base & 27 inches on the height of the speaker enclosure.  That will give me a tad more than 1.4 cf and a much shorter port hole.  I will re-do the enclosure on my next build day.

Last night I snuck away to get in a few hours of build time.  Instead of cutting wood, I spent the time with my friend discussing speaker mounting options, flooring, etc., etc.   

I am thinking of adding rosewood "center consoles" on the left and right of the seat.  A beverage holder and a few buttons on the left side, and a hard mounted flight stick on the right.  I had originally planned on cutting pockets in the dash to hold various buttons.  The wood is beautiful, so I hate to cut it away.  I subscribe to the less-is-more way of thinking.  Most of the buttons I was considering already exist on the steering wheel.  The few others needed (CPU reset and software reset) will go on the left console. 

We also discussed paint options.  I am still thinking of hunter green on the exterior.  But instead of the bright green t-molding I was originally planning, we discussed going with black t-molding.  I will be doing side art as well and will try to tie the colors together.

I was planning to cover the floor with aluminum diamond plate.  It would sure look cool.  Unfortunately it will be very cold in the winter, will really complicate mounting the seat and consoles, and add about $75 to the build.  I am now thinking of going with a very short ply industrial carpet.

I have abandoned the idea of putting in a fan.  Yes, cars have them in the dash, but I really dont need it and it will complicate things unnecessarily.

I was a little disappointed that I made no visible progress last night, but the brainstorming was good.  Any comments or recommendations?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: flyguy1821 on November 17, 2006, 02:29:48 pm
I have a recommendation for you that is purely aesthetic.  The picture says it all.  Very easy to make.  I bought a marine fire extinguisher, dispensed the contents, removed the top and fitted it with plumbing coupler.  I bought the sticker off eBay, I believe it is for a 10lb bottle.  This addition was one of my surprises on my two seater driving cab, but you are making progress at a faster pace than I.  Hope you can use it!
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 25, 2006, 12:19:53 am
Speaker Enclosure Rebuild
Based on feedback and additional research, I decided to re-make the speaker enclosure, basically tripling the volume.  Each speaker now has about 1.5 cubic feet of volume.  I also made port holes with tubes to tune the enclosure.  Based on the volume of the enclosure and length of tube, they are tuned for around 55 Hz.  The speakers will be bolted in place with t-bolt inserts.  The 1 inch thick batting on the back, sides, and bottom should deepen the base tones, and generally do good things as recommended by fiscap and numerous websites.

A couple of other odds-n-ends taken care of today include creating the wood strip for the bottom of the Plexiglas, mounting the half rounds for the Plexiglas, rounding off the front edge of the dash wood, and cutting it to size.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on November 25, 2006, 12:49:10 am
I am thinking of adding rosewood "center consoles" on the left and right of the seat.  A beverage holder and a few buttons on the left side, and a hard mounted flight stick on the right.  I had originally planned on cutting pockets in the dash to hold various buttons.  The wood is beautiful, so I hate to cut it away.  I subscribe to the less-is-more way of thinking.  Most of the buttons I was considering already exist on the steering wheel.  The few others needed (CPU reset and software reset) will go on the left console. 

Less is more. I agree totally in this case. The cab will be pretty intimidating to the uninitiated already. K.I.S.S.

We also discussed paint options.  I am still thinking of hunter green on the exterior.  But instead of the bright green t-molding I was originally planning, we discussed going with black t-molding.  I will be doing side art as well and will try to tie the colors together.
Love it. You may want to consider the colors of the xbox - the glowing matrix style green is pretty cool. I like the black t-molding - it seems like it'll be plain but it'll really outline all the color. I used it on my red cabinet and it's probably my favorite.

I was planning to cover the floor with aluminum diamond plate.  It would sure look cool.  Unfortunately it will be very cold in the winter, will really complicate mounting the seat and consoles, and add about $75 to the build.  I am now thinking of going with a very short ply industrial carpet.
Carpet is a good choice. Some dark color?

I have abandoned the idea of putting in a fan.  Yes, cars have them in the dash, but I really dont need it and it will complicate things unnecessarily.
It sounds like this project is being scaled back in a good way - dropping off the complicated low impact items. No harm there - don't worry about it.

I was a little disappointed that I made no visible progress last night, but the brainstorming was good.  Any comments or recommendations?
I think with a project this size, brainstorming is not only a good idea, but absolutely necessary. A cabinet of this complexity has a lot of things that could go wrong, it would only seem natural that it would take longer than a smaller cabinet.

Your making great progress theCoder - move at a pace thats comfortable for you(unless your trying to get it done by christmas and if thats the case you need to hurry your ass up). This is going to be one killer machine.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 26, 2006, 01:09:48 am
Thanks for the compliments/comments. 

There is no way I will be done with this project by Christmas.  It could be done, but getting finished is not my primary objective.  This project is just too fun to try to finish it up.  I do need to hurry up with the major wood working pieces however.  This thing is taking up a lot of room in my friends shop.  The shop is about 5 miles from my house, and getting in small blocks of time is very difficult.  I will be able to put in much more time on it once I get it out of the shop and in my basement.

It is about time to start thinking about paint and its associated prep.  Painting is going to be a pain.  I live in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon USA) and it is now the rainy season (for the next 6 months or so).  This is going to be interesting.

Regarding colors, I want to keep it relatively dark.  My wife does not like big flashy stuff.  For example, I love GameCreatures recent cab, but it would not go with our decor.  The primary color will be hunter green.  I picked up a yard of fabric for the speaker covers that matches the green of the steering wheel.  I will get paint to match.  The dark wood looks very regal next to the dark green.  The second color will be black;  black at the bottom, on interior cross members, t-molding, and other accent pieces.  I am also thinking of black for the carpet.  I plan on going with the bright Xbox green in selective artwork such as the cab name and button labels.  Any comments or recommendations?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: TeamTEOR on November 26, 2006, 01:59:59 am
Coder, I just got up to date on your project. Man, now I understand where your PM was coming from bro. First off, really great job on it all. I really love the looks of it. You might even think about some lightguns on the sides for this project.

There is some special wall prep I was told to use, but it was kinda late when I was told to use it, so I have some normal tintable primer on my cab (that I had tinted grey, becuase initially I was going to paint the sides black). Maybe someone can chime in on what that special stuff was again. The reason for the special stuff is becuase it does not let out a gas and could possibly bubble up artwork. Another idea for you, is once you have it in the game room and you are working on the final touches, you might want to set up a de-humidfier, that will help the paint dry and cure faster. Also, unless you have full artwork to be added to the sides already made up, you might consider using formica rather than going through all of the sanding and painting on the outside and then laying down some smaller artwork over that. It will save ya some big bucks I bet.

If this cab was mine I would have to add some El Wire or something like it to bring out the lines inside the seated area at least. To really trick it out I would put in the sound module so it will flash and dim with the music and game play.

Good luck on it buddy, I'll keep and eye out on your project, and PM any time.
Tom
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 28, 2006, 12:28:04 am
Mounting the Dash
Mounting the dash went much easier than I expected.  It will be held in place with six 10-24 button-head machine screws.  The screws go through the rosewood dash and into threaded brass inserts.  This piece of wood cost $18 and I really did not want to screw it up.  I put masking tape down to keep from scoring it with a deep pencil mark. All measurements were double and triple checked.  I center punched the marks, and adjusted the drill press to a high rpm.  Then came the white knuckle momentÖdrilling the first hole.  It went fine.  The chips look really cool, like fresh ground coffee.  I then held the dash in place, and drilled one hole through to the supporting plywood.  I then drilled it out to the diameter required for the insert.  With the first insert in place, I put the dash in place and put in one screw.  I then drill for and put in another insert on the opposite side.  Then with two inserts in place, I tightened the screws down and drilled and installed all remaining inserts.  Tomorrow I will pick up the screws to hold it in place.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 01, 2006, 11:00:51 pm
I put in a couple of hours today after work. 

I fabricated a couple of strips to support the top Plexiglas and temporarily mounted them.  This enabled me to drill the holes for and mount the Plexiglas.  I measured off marks at 3 inch intervals and pre-drilled the holes at 1/2 from the edge.  I made the holes about 10 thousands over size to accommodate the Plexiglas bending.  I assume the holes will get slightly smaller at the bottom and slightly bigger at the top.  The holes were drilled in mass on a drill press.  With my friend helping, I mounted the Plexiglas.  The primary objective was to see where the end of the Plexiglas met up with the top wood piece so I could cut a ledge in the wood so the Plexiglas would be flush.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of this process.  Off it came, and it is safely stored until after paint.

I made and temporarily mounted the remaining strips to mount the Plexiglas to.  I did not put them on permanently because I need to place them after the ledge is cut in the top piece to ensure a nice flush fit for the Plexiglas.

The dashboard screws went in without a hitch.  They are low profile socket head button screws. 

I priced glass today.  I can get a piece of 3/16 tempered glass for about $39.  I really dont want to use Plexiglas for the monitor because I am afraid it will scratch with cleaning.  Also, it is only an additional $9 to get the glass tempered, making it approximately 7 times stronger.  It should be worth the few extra bucks.

Not a whole lot of progress, but it is coming.  Fabricating the front glass retainer and mounting the pedals are the last bits of work remaining in the shop.  Then this puppy comes home.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: MaMeNnO on December 02, 2006, 01:16:13 am
With this kind of project I guess you don't wanna do everything in one day if you could... to much fun ;D That way you can stand back, watch and admire it and have some time to think things out.

Why did you leave those button-head machine screws in sight? Do you still wanna have access to the compartment or is it for the looks? People always seem to get rid of them.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on December 02, 2006, 07:35:13 am
Progress!!!  It's looking really really god so far.  What else are you going to put on the dashboard or is that just for looks?  Keep on going!!!
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 02, 2006, 11:51:11 am
Why did you leave those button-head machine screws in sight? Do you still wanna have access to the compartment or is it for the looks?
I really pondered this for a long time.  I need to get access to the backside of the dash for maintenance.  I thought about putting a hinge on the top of the foot well to swing down to get at the dash.  Working in this posture would really kill my back & shoulders.  So it needs to be removable.  I though about screwing it in from the back side, but the reach through the front of the cab would be too long.  I also thought of quick release stuff, magnets, etc.  My friend recommended making them a feature rather than trying to hide them.  The top Plexiglas will already have long lines of screw heads (unless I did something really fancy), so this will tie in.  Kinda like rivets on an airplane or Formula 1 car.  I saw this done on a cab somewhere in this forum and it looked pretty cool.  It was a compromise for sure, but in the end I think it will look good.  Regardless, I am committed at this point.

Progress!!!  It's looking really really good so far.  What else are you going to put on the dashboard or is that just for looks?  Keep on going!!!
Originally I was thinking about tons of stuff on the dash;  All buttons on the controller (A, B, X, Y, Start, Back, Left Trigger & Right Trigger), soft reset button, ignition switch (powering the power strip), air vent, and volume knob.  My thinking now is to ditch the air vent, and only have the ignition switch, volume knob and soft reset on the dash.  All of the controller buttons already exist on the steering wheel anyway.  This will keep the dash clean and show off the wood.  Any recommendations?

Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: GadgetGeek on December 04, 2006, 01:03:18 pm
This will keep the dash clean and show off the wood.  Any recommendations?
Show off the wood!  If not, what was the point is spending all that $$ on rosewood?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: tranq on December 05, 2006, 02:00:59 am
Thinking about all those extras brings to mind two things: when I was a kid, playing cars, I used to stop some times and imagine I was in the car, hanging out playing video games in the windshield; also, when I was in cub scouts, this one kid got first place for design in our pinewood derby, that year....by hand, and it looked a bit like a jag.   All of which brings me round to the the idea of why not actually make it look like a car?  (Of course, the windshield thing would be tough....)
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 06, 2006, 10:03:34 pm
... All of which brings me round to the the idea of why not actually make it look like a car?  (Of course, the windshield thing would be tough....)

Thanks for the recommendation, but maybe on the next one.  I'm trying to focus more on the gaming experience than on the external appearance.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 14, 2006, 12:18:55 am
Mounting the TV
To hold the TV in place I made a bunch of small blocks with counter sunk screw holes.  I carefully centered the TV.  The blocks are placed at the back corners and along the front edge of the TV.  This should keep it from moving around.  A 1x2Ē strip of pine mounted on the top holds the TV down and in the nest created by the blocks.  Notice the tension on the wood strip in picture 4.

Glass Edge
The bottom of the front glass will sit on a ledge.  Today I made the ledge piece and mounted it to the top of the dash.  The top of the glass will be loosely held in a deep slot at the top of the cab.  The glass will be lifted up into the slot, then moved inward to sit on the ledge.  The glass will drop down a bit on the ledge, but still be inside the slot at the top.  Iím planning on coating the surfaces with black felt to keep it from vibrating.  A small piece of dark rosewood will push the glass against the ledge, keeping it in place.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 14, 2006, 12:24:15 am
Mounting the Pedals
I finally started and made significant progress on mounting the pedal assembly.  The pedal mechanisms came (from Ebay purchase) in a metal box.  I needed to come up with a way to mount the box in place.  I figured out the angle I wanted (about 45 degrees un-pressed, straight up & down when pressed).  The pedal box will be mounted on the back and top surfaces of the foot well.  I really want to be able to slam these pedals, so Iím going to over-do it on the mounting hardware.  My friend had a large piece of alder wood.  This wood is 2 inches thick and very hard.  To mount on the top, I cut three large wedges.  They are held in place with large #12 wood screws and lots of glue.  To mount to the back surface, I made two side plates.  They will be held to the box with ľĒ bolts and mounted to the box with a bunch of large wood screws and glue.  This design should put up with a lot of abuse.

Given the size of the wood screws and harness of the wood, I needed to pre-drill the holes.  I remembered a trick my wood shop teacher taught me when drilling angled pieces of wood.  If you have two or more same angled pieces, you can stack them together to get the surface perpendicular to the drill.  Good stuff.

Overhead Light Wire
I hid the wire to the overhead light in a slot routered into the roof.  The wire was stapled down to keep it below the surface while the Bondo was applied.  I messed up and didnít put in enough hardener in the Bondo.  It did not dry in the typical 5 minutes.  After a few hours, it was firm, but a little tacky.  Hopefully it will be hard enough to sand tomorrow.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 20, 2006, 12:44:49 am
Done in the Woodshop
Iíve finally finished the major woodworking aspects of the project and am ready to prep for paint.  I mounted the pedal assembly with 2Ē long ľĒ lag bolts.  It took 7 on the top surface and 2 on the back.  That should hold it.  I also made the bottom glass retainer strip.  Once the cab is painted and the glass is purchased, I will drill the holes and put in the inserts for the screws.  It will have the same look as the dash.  One of the last pieces of woodworking was to finish up the supports for the Plexiglas.  Iíve got a lot of countersunk screws I need to Bondo over and sand.  The last two pictures are of the cab, in its current state, ready to prep for paint. 

My friend Jimís wood shop sees a lot of projects and people coming though it.  This cab has been a major conversation piece for all that have entered.  While Jim will be glad it is out of his way, I suspect he will miss it as well.  The remainder of this project will take place in my very cluttered and cold garage, then the game room.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: MaMeNnO on December 20, 2006, 06:33:39 am
Nice progress! I guess you have to lift it quite a bit to use those casters at front (last picture). Maybe it just looks like that from the photo.
Anyway, keep up the great work and documentation! :applaud:

Have you allready decided on the artwork?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 20, 2006, 05:36:53 pm
Nice progress! I guess you have to lift it quite a bit to use those casters at front (last picture). Maybe it just looks like that from the photo.
Anyway, keep up the great work and documentation! :applaud:

Have you allready decided on the artwork?
The wheels are mounted just 1/8" from the ground.  I just have to lift the back end up about 6" before all the weight is on them. 

Regarding the artwork, I want to do something with the project name on one panel, and something car related on another.  For the car, I found a site with high resolution Formula One pictures.  I took one of the better shots and photoshop'd out everything but the car.  I'll probably put it on a checkered flag or some other background.  Any recommendations?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 22, 2006, 03:05:17 am
This is the image I'm thinking of using.  I would give credit to the photographer, but it wasn't tagged.  This and many more high resolution Formula One pictures are available at:  http://www.imagesf1.com/
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: crashwg on December 22, 2006, 03:39:13 pm
I am very much impressed!

 8) <- YOU
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 22, 2006, 11:58:39 pm
Handles
This cab is going to be very heavy.  I put wheels on the front end, assuming the lighter back end could be lifted to drive it around like a wheel barrow.  Iíve been worrying about how to make and mount the handles.  The cabinet handles at my local hardware store are very wimpy and wouldnít hold the weight.  I thought about creating a rail, or maybe attaching a board with finger slots.  In the name of keeping things simple, I decided to just cut handle holes in the bottom of the frame 2x4.  It was very tricky getting a sander underneath to round the inner edge.  Before actually working on it, I supported it with three large blocks to keep it from crushing me if it fell.

Securing the Buttkicker
Nothing fancy here, butÖ  The Buttkicker in the seat has a long screw with a large knob on the end to tighten it down.  Unfortunately the screw was so long that it keeps the chair from reclining.  I was also concerned that it would loosen up and getting back there to tighten in up will be difficult.  So I drilled two holes through the brackets and put in a couple of bolts with lock nuts.  I also cranked down on the knob one last time, then cut it off.  Now it is on there for good and the seat can recline.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 25, 2006, 01:45:45 am
I had an interesting conversation with a couple in their 40ís in traffic today.  I was driving the cab across town from the shop to my house.  While stopped at a light, the conversation went something like:

ďWhatís that?Ē  He asked
    ďItís a driving arcade cabinet.Ē
ďWhereíd you get it?Ē She asked.
    ďI made it.Ē
ďWow!  Could you make us one?Ē  He asked.

Right then the light changed and I waved as I drove away.  I would probably go broke making these things for people, but it feels good knowing people would want one.  Iím curious what price they would agree to pay?

Its now on my back porch ready to prep for paint. 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: MaMeNnO on December 25, 2006, 02:25:25 am
Looking at the F1 picture I guess you're going for the 'real'-look. Was it something you thought about?

I had an interesting conversation with a couple in their 40&#146;s in traffic today.  I was driving the cab across town from the shop to my house.  While stopped at a light, the conversation went something like:

&#147;What&#146;s that?&#148;  He asked
    &#147;It&#146;s a driving arcade cabinet.&#148;
&#147;Where&#146;d you get it?&#148; She asked.
    &#147;I made it.&#148;
&#147;Wow!  Could you make us one?&#148;  He asked.
Well, you can ask any ridiculously high price you want! They pay if they really want it. On the other hand, you're most likely committed to a deadline...
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 26, 2006, 01:45:56 pm
Looking at the F1 picture I guess you're going for the 'real'-look. Was it something you thought about?
I originally didn't have a preference.  I was thinking about using something like the image below, but I can't find a cartoon image of high enough resolution to print.  The one above (on my computer at least) is 3000 x 2000 pixels.  It should work out fine, but I'm open to suggestions.

...On the other hand, you're most likely committed to a deadline...
That sound too much like work.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on December 26, 2006, 02:17:59 pm
Iím curious what price they would agree to pay?

You better sit down for this...

They would probably want to pay as much as 4 or 5 hundred!!! Almost everyone here can attest to attention their cabinets get. In my house, it always follows a series of steps:

Step 1: Bewilderment (Wow! I didn't know people could make something like this)
Step 4: Nostalgia (I remember all these games and the good times I had playing them)
Step 3: Desire (I want one of these)
Step 4: Curiousity (Can you make me one?)
Step 5: Balls

Now... I say step 5 is balls because people have the balls to want you to make them one for 3-5 times less than it actually costs. It seems the amount friends and family are willing to pay is in the $300 - $400 range.  You stand more luck selling it to a complete stranger - who might be more willing to pay the proper price. The proper price is subjective. Someone like Spacies knocks these cabinets out quickly and has really reduced the amount of labor needed to build. If you only plan on building a few cabinets you better have fun building it because your labor will most likely go cheap!

The main thing that would suck about building someone else a cabinet would be dealing with the support and building a cabinet that is completely idiot proof.

Auction is your best bet, but that can backfire too. I sold my driving arcade and it went for a fraction of what I think it's worth.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: JonnyBoy on December 26, 2006, 02:33:21 pm
I had an offer for 2000 dollars for my portable arcade machine. I didn't sell it yet, though. May in the future in order to fund other projects.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on December 26, 2006, 04:13:00 pm
I had an offer for 2000 dollars for my portable arcade machine. I didn't sell it yet, though. May in the future in order to fund other projects.

Until the check clears!
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 26, 2006, 04:41:55 pm
I know there's a few people on this forum that crank out cabs for full-time or part-time money.  You could really get the process down by the 5th or 6th one.  But again, I think it would be too much like work.  But hey, if this software gig doesn't work out...

I've mentioned this somewhere else, but I donated my first cab to my kids school for a fundraiser auction.  I claimed it is worth $1,800, which will equate to around $600 return on my taxes.  I think it sold for around $1,200.  This for a two player conversion cab. 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 28, 2006, 01:51:08 pm
Wrong time of year to paint
Today I woke up to start sanding the putty over my screw holes and hopefully get on my first coat of primer.  Unfortunately it was 34 degrees outside and very foggy.  I guess I'll be painting in the garage on this project.  I don't want dust throughout my garage, so I'll be sanding outside in the cold and painting in the space heater-heated garage.  I've got about a half days work ahead of me just clearing a spot in the garage to make a paint booth. 

I picked up the paint yesterday;  a high gloss hunter green.  To get my wife involved, I asked her recommendation on the shade and sheen.  Now if she gets sick of the way the thing looks in the basement, it's partly her fault. 

I'm now pondering the color of the trim.  Either black or brown.  I was thinking about going with black for the odd trim (along the bottom, wood around the pedals, etc.) but brown will go with the dark wood of the dash.  I may just go with brown for all the trim.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 30, 2006, 12:49:33 am
Paint Booth
Instead of a full blown cleaning of the garage I decided to just rearrange things to make room for the paint booth.  I swept the floor and laid down a layer of newspaper.  A long time ago I picked up an ďend rollĒ at my local newspaper printing place for around $5.00.  It has lasted me for years.  A roll of cheap 1 mil drop cloth covered almost 2/3 of the wall space.  The remainder was done with a leftover roll from a previous project.  I kept the light inside, but made sure it was far enough away from the plastic to keep from melting it.  The space inside is about 11 by 9 foot and should be plenty big.  I also lucked out on the heating.  There is an air conditioning duct that goes into the garage.  It was almost rusted shut, but with a little persuasion I got it open.  Hopefully not too much cold air will enter the house from this duct being open.  Iím expecting it to get to between 60 Ė 65 degrees in there. 

Bolt Plugs
There are 6 large bolts holding the wood blocks into the side of the pedal assembly cage.  My local hardware store only had two plugs the right size.  Instead of looking around town for others, I found these furniture slider feet things.  With just a little glue they look like they were made for the job.

I made a second pass patching scratches and screw holes today.  One last pass tomorrow, and I should be ready for the first primer coat.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: flyguy1821 on December 30, 2006, 02:07:12 pm
Just a heads up on a problem you might have.  I had also set up a paint booth about 1 year ago, very similar in style but in my basement.  The issue becomes very evident when you begin spraying, overspray and airborne paint.  If this is in your garage, I would definitely recommend some sort of ventilation system to move some air when spraying.  My system consisted of a box fan placed in a window, and a furnace filter taped into place on the opposite side of the booth.  It still didn't 100% eliminate the issue but made a huge difference.  Not only could I now see after 1 minute of spraying, I cut down on overspray drastically.  I posted a pic so you could see my highly sophisticated system  ;)   Hope this will help reduce or eliminate any headaches.  Now stop posting so I can catch up on my driver! :cry:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: MaMeNnO on December 30, 2006, 04:54:21 pm
With some paint everything looks so much better! ;D
Good luck with your paintjob. :applaud:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 30, 2006, 08:55:17 pm
Just a heads up on a problem you might have.  I had also set up a paint booth about 1 year ago...
I was too worried about keeping in the heat to consider letting out the mist and fumes.  I'll do something similar.  Thanks for the tip.

Tools
I had a little money left over from my Christmas bonus so I decided it was time to pick up a few tools.  Most of my wood projects are done at my friends wood shop.  At home I have barely any power tools.  I picked up a brand new in the box 2 hp. Craftsman router from my local pawn shop for $40 (including about 7 bits).  For $5 more he through in a used 16" adjustable t-square and a small hand planer.  I was planning on spending about $100 or so, so I went to Home Depot and picked up a nice set of Forstner bits.  I've bummed off my friend long enough.  Now I don't have to run to his house every time I need to drill a hole or router a slot.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on December 30, 2006, 10:14:58 pm
Air Intake
I used my new Forstner bits and router to make air intake holes.  Iím using 2 fans on the top and need somewhere for the air to come in.  The holes have large radius round-over treatment.  While the tools were handy, I put in holes for the power and LAN cords as well.

First Coat
I canít believe it but Iím finally painting.  I spent the day fine sanding, sweeping, and vacuuming out the cab.  The last step was to wipe it down with a damp rag to remove the fine dust.  I used a large bucket of hot water.  It was about 40 degrees outside today, so it felt good rinsing out the rag.  I used a brush to put on the first coat of primer (Kilz Latex).  Even with the household heater pumping hot air into the garage, it is still only around 55 degrees in there.  Iíll probably let this first coat dry for 3-4 days.  Too bad itís not summer right now.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Timoe on December 31, 2006, 12:28:42 am
those are good holes.

Lookin' goode coder!
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on December 31, 2006, 02:35:39 am
Yes indeed... looking great! I've been keeping my eye on your progress. With you being so thorough, there isn't much to comment about.

Also, those are some great finds on tools. I need to check out my pawn shop more. I go straight to ebay most of the time.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: tranq on December 31, 2006, 03:57:19 pm
A great habit in anything done is to organise as you go; even better to train the family that way, if not already inclined.   Nice work on the cab.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on January 01, 2007, 06:14:14 pm
Thanks for the complements guys.

...With you being so thorough, there isn't much to comment about.
Thanks.  I love documenting here because it is non-formal; just freeform info (unlike at work.)  Sometimes it is no-brainer dribble, but hopefully someone will find a nugget now and then.  Just a quick comment here and there keeps the motivation up and occasionally keeps me honest.  You know what its like to have 50 hits and no posts.  Thanks again.

...Also, those are some great finds on tools. I need to check out my pawn shop more. I go straight to ebay most of the time.
Why buy a hammer or pipe wrench new when you can get one for 25% the cost at a pawn shop.  Plus, no shipping cost.  Its great for simple tools that don't really wear out.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on January 01, 2007, 06:24:30 pm
Sanding & Trim Paint
Man, this beast has a lot of surface area.  Today I sanded down the primer coat.  It took the better part of 3 hours.  The sand paper kept getting clogged up.  I used an orbital sander for the larger areas, then hand sanded the nooks and crannies.  Wiping down the dust with hot water felt good on the hands again (its around 38 degrees outside). 

Before I start on the color coats, I figured I had better paint the trim.  I'm going with gloss black at the edges, side entry, and sides of the pedal assembly.  Once dry, I'll put on another coat then tape these sections off.  I propped the cab up on paint cans to get up underneath the side pieces for complete coverage.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Donkey_Kong on January 02, 2007, 02:22:51 pm
What I like most about the racers you guys are making is that you are using actual car seats. This will make it so much nicer (among many things) than what you get at the commercial arcade. Hours of racing and no sore ass. Plus you can definatley drink and drive if you want, which is usually frowned upon at Circus. Even though it is just a game, I would need the seat  belts attached for when stuff gets really intense man!  :cheers:

After seeing the results of "PartyBox Bartop" I'm really excited to see this one come together.

Nice work man! 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on January 02, 2007, 03:59:16 pm
Wow - 3 hours of sanding per coat!?!?!?!?!  You've got some patience.  Hopefully you aren't planning on 5 or 6 coats!  It is really coming along great - I can't imagine how cool it will feel when you get to race that first game.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on January 02, 2007, 08:08:21 pm
What I like most about the racers you guys are making is that you are using actual car seats. This will make it so much nicer (among many things) than what you get at the commercial arcade. Hours of racing and no sore ass....
I'm looking forward to it.  I picked up two seats from a dead Ford Probe.  The Probe is a high end model for Ford, so they didn't go cheap with the seats.  At $25 each, they also make great gaming chairs to sit in front of a console; much better than the cheap $75 gaming rocker chairs at Stuff-Mart.

Wow - 3 hours of sanding per coat!?!?!?!?!  You've got some patience.  Hopefully you aren't planning on 5 or 6 coats! 
That was for the first hand brushed primer coat.  It went on very uneven and stripped.  I will be using a Wagner sprayer for the color coats.  Hopefully it will go on even so I can go straight to the 600 grit paper.  I'm going with a high gloss paint.  It will probably take more coats to get it right, but it will sure shine when it is done.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on January 02, 2007, 10:22:45 pm
That was for the first hand brushed primer coat.  It went on very uneven and stripped.  I will be using a Wagner sprayer for the color coats.  Hopefully it will go on even so I can go straight to the 600 grit paper.  I'm going with a high gloss paint.  It will probably take more coats to get it right, but it will sure shine when it is done.

Coder.... I used a wagner gun and an air based gun I got from Harbor Freights. The Wagner isn't very durable. I went through 8 of their medium duty models painting while redoing my house. What I found was getting the consistency right was key to a good job. I really had to spend time getting the mixture right so it would flow through the system easier. I used water based paint so I could thin it down with water.

As for the air based gun - I used a 30 gallon tank with a 5hp motor and it could just barely keep up painting my projects. It was much better than the wagner and I'll never go with the wagner again.

The wagner cost me $75 and the air based gun cost me $15 (not including air tank, hose, etc).

Let me know your results - I'd like to see what you think once all is said and done.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: flyguy1821 on January 02, 2007, 10:52:14 pm
I was going to recommend the same thing.  I have used a wagner power painter, wagner hvlp spray gun, and a Menards hvlp gun.  leapinlew hit it on the head when he said he diluted the paint to spray.  With a hvlp you will need to dilute your paint quite a bit.  I have a Rigid 5 gallon 9 cfm compressor.  Since the capacity is small it ran continuously, but no issues.  I would recommend the hvlp or do a TON of test sprays with the wagner to get the spray volume just right. 


That was for the first hand brushed primer coat.  It went on very uneven and stripped.  I will be using a Wagner sprayer for the color coats.  Hopefully it will go on even so I can go straight to the 600 grit paper.  I'm going with a high gloss paint.  It will probably take more coats to get it right, but it will sure shine when it is done.

Coder.... I used a wagner gun and an air based gun I got from Harbor Freights. The Wagner isn't very durable. I went through 8 of their medium duty models painting while redoing my house. What I found was getting the consistency right was key to a good job. I really had to spend time getting the mixture right so it would flow through the system easier. I used water based paint so I could thin it down with water.

As for the air based gun - I used a 30 gallon tank with a 5hp motor and it could just barely keep up painting my projects. It was much better than the wagner and I'll never go with the wagner again.

The wagner cost me $75 and the air based gun cost me $15 (not including air tank, hose, etc).

Let me know your results - I'd like to see what you think once all is said and done.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: MaMeNnO on January 03, 2007, 04:41:41 am
Nice to see that you even pay attention and finishing up on things like underneath air intake holes that no sole is ever gonna notice! :applaud:
I was gonna say "stop posting, start painting!", but with drying times of a few days, you have plenty time to post. So, more pics... please. ;D
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on January 04, 2007, 02:42:05 am
Glass
Today my front glass came in.  It is approximately 32x18" by 3/16Ē thick.  For an extra $9.00 they tempered it, bringing the total cost to $24 bucks.  The tempering process added about a week, but I'm in no hurry.  Apparently tempered glass is about 7 times stronger than standard glass.  Well worth it for the "accidental" punch to the glass on a high speed crash or screw-up.

I don't have access to a decent cad system, so bare with me on the following diagram.  This is a block diagram of how the glass will be held in place.  The purple represents fixed wood mounted to the cab frame.  To keep it from vibrating, the glass will not touch the wood directly but will have a thin layer of felt (red in the picture, but actually black).  The slots are approximately 1/8Ē bigger than the glass to accommodate the felt.  The brown color piece is a 1/2" thick, 1.5" wide strip of the same dark wood used on the dashboard.  This piece is removable and held in place with the same screws used on the dashboard.  To install the glass, it is lifted up into the top slot, rests on the bottom ledge, then the removable strip is pushed against the glass and screwed in place.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: MaMeNnO on January 04, 2007, 03:00:38 am
Glass
...
I don't have access to a decent cad system, so bare with me on the following diagram.
...

You might wanna look at A9CAD http://www.a9tech.com/ (http://www.a9tech.com/). The free version is pretty good.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on March 20, 2007, 11:08:52 pm
After a few months away, playing (urÖuh, teaching) high school robotics and remodeling my master bathroom, Iím ready to take up this project again. 

Back in January, with 20 degree weather outside, I tried applying my first color coat of paint.  I created a booth in my garage with a few drop cloths and duct tape.  I borrowed a butane heater from my neighbor and dusted off my Wagner sprayer.  What a mistake.  I didnít thin the paint as recommended and I suspect the temperature in my garage never made it above 45 degrees F.  Things went fairly well, then at about ĺ of the way  the nozzle clogged up and started spattering blobs of paint.  I though about scrapping it off, but decided to let it dry and sand it off.  Well that was 2 months ago.  The weather is warmer now and Iím all caught up with my honey-doís.   I picked up a new Dewalt orbital sander, and Iím ready to give it a go again.  Iíve got a bit of sanding to do before attempting another coat.  If I canít get it right next time Iíll go with the tried & true roller.  Recommendations?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on March 20, 2007, 11:17:50 pm
Yay!  I'm glad this project will be getting back on track!  As for painting recommendations, I'd definitely use a foam roller if you aren;t going to spray - I've tried just about everything known to man (short of spraying) and I've found that they put on the nicest coat. 

You could go all crazy like I am going to and do THIS (http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=83141&highlight=) instead.  I've made one test panel so far and it came out freaking great - it's a super slick finish and it is unbelievably smooth to the touch.  I made a few mistakes during the sanding process so I'm making two more test panels right now to try and nail down the process.  It's going to look great when it's finished...

Let's see some progress!
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on March 22, 2007, 12:33:07 am
Yay!  I'm glad this project will be getting back on track!  As for painting recommendations, I'd definitely use a foam roller if you aren;t going to spray - I've tried just about everything known to man (short of spraying) and I've found that they put on the nicest coat. 

You could go all crazy like I am going to and do THIS (http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=83141&highlight=) instead.  I've made one test panel so far and it came out freaking great - it's a super slick finish and it is unbelievably smooth to the touch.  I made a few mistakes during the sanding process so I'm making two more test panels right now to try and nail down the process.  It's going to look great when it's finished...

You've got to wonder about a sanding tutorial that starts off with 2000 grit sandpaper.  It gives one a different appreciation for the word "smooth".  I don't know if I'll be buffing with 2 grades of polishing compound, but I'll probably try for a better finish than I was originally planning on.  Thanks for the link Javeryh.  You mentioned "a few mistakes".  Could you elaborate?

Today after work I drug the box out of the garage to the back porch.  I gave my new sander a workout.  Man, I thought it was smooth, but after reading that tutorial, no way.  I spent about 30 minutes going over the entire surface, inside and out.  I'm using 220 grit sandpaper on an orbital sander.  I'll never sand by hand again.  The paint did a good job of filling in the scratches from my initial pre-primer sanding.  The primer went on when it was about 20 degrees outside and was very streaky.  I sanded past the primer in some spots near the big runs from the sprayer disaster.

I think I'll ditch the sprayer and go straight to the roller.  The sprayer was very messy, was a pain to deal with, and made some pretty big splotches.  If it's warm and dry tomorrow I'll pick up a foam roller and give it another coat, low tech this time.

Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Kaytrim on March 22, 2007, 10:08:48 am
Glad to see this project getting off the ground again.  Welcome back Coder.

TTFN :cheers:
Kaytrim
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: psychotech on March 22, 2007, 10:13:01 am
 :(

.. but, yes, use a good quality foam roller, that'll do it!

Now, off to redo my CP ... :banghead:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on March 22, 2007, 04:17:55 pm
You've got to wonder about a sanding tutorial that starts off with 2000 grit sandpaper.  It gives one a different appreciation for the word "smooth".  I don't know if I'll be buffing with 2 grades of polishing compound, but I'll probably try for a better finish than I was originally planning on.  Thanks for the link Javeryh.  You mentioned "a few mistakes".  Could you elaborate?

Sure.  First off, I couldn't find 2000 grit sandpaper so I had to "settle" for 1500 which I found at NAPA along with the rubbing compound and polish (it's an auto parts store).  The 1500 worked great - I can't imagine anything smoother.  I wish I could capture it with my digital camera but I just can't seem to get a good shot of it.  The finish is mirror-like but it's definitely not like a mirror... if that makes any sense.  You can see your reflection but it's not totally obvious unless you are looking for it.  Plus, I used a pink enamel-based paint for my base which my not be as reflective as the black enamel-based paint that the example I linked to showed.  Also, I will not be using this process on the inside of my cab around the monitor where I will be painting black - I don't want the monitor to be reflected anywhere and be a distraction while playing.

One thing I definitely learned is that 220 grit and even 600 grit aren't really smooth (believe it or not).  They are good enough for staining furniture that you will cover with a poly but if you want to apply a slick finish with no brush strokes or "orange peel" from spraying then a super high grit is the way to go.  It is a perfectly flat, perfectly even finish - like straight out of a plastics factory or something.  Definitely use a sander though - doing the whole thing by hand would be too hard, I think.

Now, there were three major mistakes I made the first time around that I think I've remedied this time (I have to sand and polish on Saturday so I'll let you know).  All are related to sanding.

1.  In my first test panel I can see very very tiny white spots in certain areas on the surface.  This is a result of the primer showing through after the sanding process because the initial surface I used wasn't 100% flat/smooth.  I'm using MDF.  MDF is really smooth, right?  I thought so but I guess not.  The first mistake I made was not sanding the MDF surface completely smooth before applying any primer.  On my second attempt I used a sanding block and 600 grit sandpaper to sand the entire surface of the MDF smooth.  The difference is very noticable to the touch.  Hopefully this will remove any "sand-through" spots.

2.  The next mistake I think I made was not sanding at all in between coats of primer and paint.  I think this makes a difference - even though I was using a high quality roller that appeared to be laying on an even coat I should have sanded each surfac smooth before recoating.  This time I used 600 grit sandpaper to knock down the current layer of paint.  I think this played a part in the white spots showing through because imagine putting on some primer but one dot dries higher than the rest - when you sand down when finishing it could show through because every other layer on top of that dot is on a higher plane.

3.  The third mistake I think I made was not sanding the edges of the MDF prior to applying any paint.  I noticed that when using the roller paint tended to collect along the edges of the MDF panel causing that area to be raised.  When I sanded it down during the finishing process I ended up completely removing the pink paint in some areas near the edge.  This time, I used 600 grit sandpaper and completely knocked off the corner edge of the panel - probably the equivilant of using a 1/32" chamfer bit or something.  This edge will be built back up by layers of paint and then hidden by the t-molding or whatever else is normally used to hidge the ends of panels.  Also, regarding the edges, I think I'm going to hand sand near the edges this time to be extra careful. 

Going through the process once really gave me a feel for what I was doing and I think I've pin-pointed where I went wrong.  With all that said, the panel still looks and feels amazing and I was very pleased with the results - I just want to make sure I get it perfect before trying it on my cab.  I hope this helps.    :cheers:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on March 24, 2007, 11:29:10 pm
Thanks, helps a lot.  I think I'll give this a try.  It will probably add 2 weeks to the process, but I'm in no hurry.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on March 24, 2007, 11:42:38 pm
With my new appreciation for what ďsmoothĒ means, I sanded down my first color coat.  Itís amazing what you see when you are really paying attention.  I used to just knock down the high spots when sanding before.  Now, Iím shooting to get most all of the orange peel affect sanded smooth.  It takes a lot longer, but it should (?) help get a much better finish. 

Lesson learned:  In trying to save $$, Iím using the same piece of 220 grit sand paper from my previous coat.  Stupid idea!  A new piece works much better.  Even though it was not clogged up, it was truly ďdullĒ.  I accidentally buzzed a little deep at first, but got the job done much quicker.

The sound system in this thing is going to really rock.  When sanding on the back side of the speaker compartment, it amplifies the sound big time.  A neighbor 3 housed down the street heard the noise and came to see what Iím up to.  If he thinks itís loud nowÖ.. 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on March 25, 2007, 12:55:10 am
Lesson learned:  In trying to save $$, Iím using the same piece of 220 grit sand paper from my previous coat. 

Hey Coder...

Long time no see. Glad to see you back on this project. I'm totally guilty of trying to save some money with sandpaper too.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on March 26, 2007, 09:36:23 am
With my new appreciation for what ďsmoothĒ means, I sanded down my first color coat.  Itís amazing what you see when you are really paying attention.  I used to just knock down the high spots when sanding before.  Now, Iím shooting to get most all of the orange peel affect sanded smooth.  It takes a lot longer, but it should (?) help get a much better finish. 

Lesson learned:  In trying to save $$, Iím using the same piece of 220 grit sand paper from my previous coat.  Stupid idea!  A new piece works much better.  Even though it was not clogged up, it was truly ďdullĒ.  I accidentally buzzed a little deep at first, but got the job done much quicker.

The sound system in this thing is going to really rock.  When sanding on the back side of the speaker compartment, it amplifies the sound big time.  A neighbor 3 housed down the street heard the noise and came to see what Iím up to.  If he thinks itís loud nowÖ.. 


This made me laugh because I had the exact same thoughts the first time I decided that I needed to use 1500 sandpaper to get a really smooth finish.  I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed the orange peel and it trying to get rid of it.  I am curious about a couple of things -

1.  How are you painting the sections that a roller cannot reach (like inside corners)?  I decided to use a foam brush and it looks OK but it's not as nice as the rolled on sections.  I'm wondering if there is a trick or something that I'm missing.  I'm not planning on putting the high gloss super smooth finish on the interior part around the monitor because I don't want a glare while Bella is trying to play but I still want a nice uniform finish, if possible.

2.  What is your process for sanding in between coats?  I've been using 600 grit sandpaper and a sanding block but it seems to gum up really fast and I'm going through sandpaper like gangbusters.  If I use 220 grit will I just completely strip off the layer of paint I just put on or will that do the trick?  Also, how do you know when to stop sanding?  I just go until my arms get tired of doing it but that's not so scientific...

Keep up the great work - that green looks really cool!  You have a lot of area to cover...

 :cheers:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on March 26, 2007, 11:57:51 am

Just read through this whole thread - great work.  I'm considering throwing a simpler Xbox driving cockpit into my future plans and it's great to see projects like this leading the design effort.

I'm also seriously guilty of scrimping on sandpaper. 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on March 27, 2007, 02:29:21 am
1.  How are you painting the sections that a roller cannot reach (like inside corners)?  I decided to use a foam brush and it looks OK but it's not as nice as the rolled on sections.  I'm wondering if there is a trick or something that I'm missing.  I'm not planning on putting the high gloss super smooth finish on the interior part around the monitor because I don't want a glare while Bella is trying to play but I still want a nice uniform finish, if possible.
I'm also using a foam brush.  It doesn't match the rolled surface, but comes close when it is dry.  Anyone else have any ideas?

You got me thinking about the glare around the monitor.  I think I'll go with a flat black around the screen.  This will pose a bit of a challenge, transitioning the black to the green.  It will work out fine on the top and bottom.  On the sides however, I will need to merge the two.  I really don't want the entire inside to be black.  I'll probably make the transition happen along the front top portion of the entrance.  I'll wait 'til I'm done with the green.  This will save me a bit of polishing as well.  Hopefully this part will be done in the next few days/weeks.  Pictures to follow.  Thanks for the idea.

2.  What is your process for sanding in between coats?  I've been using 600 grit sandpaper and a sanding block but it seems to gum up really fast and I'm going through sandpaper like gangbusters.  If I use 220 grit will I just completely strip off the layer of paint I just put on or will that do the trick?  Also, how do you know when to stop sanding?  I just go until my arms get tired of doing it but that's not so scientific...
I haven't quite figured this out yet.  My primer coat was a disaster.  I sanded most all of it off.  The second coat went on very streaky, and I sanded a lot of it down as well.  The first color coat I tried to spray, and it too was a disaster.  Too cold & blotchy.  I sanded almost all of it off.  Now, I'm going about it a little more carefully. 

I followed your advice, and am using a micro fiber foam roller.  I'm kind of getting the hang of it.  The first coat was put on fairly thick.  I go over it horizontally, then vertically, then horizontally... each time pressing lighter and lighter.  This makes the roller lines less noticeable.  After 5 minutes or so, I go over it one last time, VERY lightly.  I think this cuts down on the orange peel a bit.  In one spot, I went over it after about 20 minutes, and really messed it up.  After this coat, I sanded about half of it off with a orbital sander with 220 grit.  I basically quit sanding when most all of the orange peel was gone.  I had just read the link you referenced and really noticed the flaws.   There were some deep flaws that I sanded completely flat, through the primer into wood.  In a few others, rather than sanding a deep gouge, I put on some wood putty.  I let the first coat dry for 3-4 days before sanding.  That may be the cause of your paper clogging problem, sanding too soon.  I put the next coat on a little thinner, and sanded it with the orbital sander and 220 grit paper as well.  Again, I probably took off about half of the paint.  But when done, there were very few non-green spots.  On the current coat (3rd), I'm giving it a couple of days to dry (it is still in the 30's at night, warming up to the mid 50's in the day).  I've got some 1000 grit sand paper that I will use for the next pass.  I've got a small vibrating sander (Sears, $29.00) that I'll use for this.  I'll be putting on thinner coats and sanding lighter.  Hopefully it will only need a few more coats before I pick up the polishing rag.  Thanks again for pushing me towards a better finish.  I'll probably curse you next week, as my arm falls off polishing this thing, but in the long run it will be worth it.

Keep up the great work - that green looks really cool!
Thanks.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on March 27, 2007, 02:38:36 am

Just read through this whole thread - great work.  I'm considering throwing a simpler Xbox driving cockpit into my future plans and it's great to see projects like this leading the design effort.

I'm also seriously guilty of scrimping on sandpaper. 
Thanks.  Lots of spare time on your hands? 

You mentioned simpler?  What would you leave out?  Anything I could help out with, just ask.

I think I've got a couple of cool new features on this project, but I'm just adding to the already huge knowledge base represented by this forum.  I'm not leading, just "leveraging".  Steal from the best, invent the rest.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on March 27, 2007, 09:25:45 am
Thanks.  Lots of spare time on your hands? 

Sadly, no, but we aren't going anywhere either.  :)



Quote
You mentioned simpler?  What would you leave out?  Anything I could help out with, just ask.

One of the things that concerns me with what you've done here is the amount of individual connections, custom electronic work, etc.  That's not a criticism so please don't take it as such.  I'm a little worried about the potential failure rates on all of those custom hacked parts, components, connections, etc.  That's one thing I would want to simplify, especially on the wheel.  For the wheel I'd probably try to find a way to make the cabinet design accommodate the wheel with as little modification as possible, rather than totally hack up the wheel in order to embed it in a standard type CP and take advantage of the fact that it's a totally custom build.  The wheel is so important to this project that if any aspect of it doesn't stand up to use it's really going to hurt performance.

Also, for my cab, I'll just use less of the cool custom work you have here, like the controller motors and the keystart, etc.  Keep the bass shaker, probably go with 5.1 and a single small woofer, let the shaker do most of the bass feedback.  I'm thinking of keeping the sides a lot more open and using curtains to close off external visual distraction.

The pedal box is great.  Love that.  It's a subtle concept but being able to stomp a stiff metal pad really adds to a driving game.



Quote
I think I've got a couple of cool new features on this project, but I'm just adding to the already huge knowledge base represented by this forum.  I'm not leading, just "leveraging".  Steal from the best, invent the rest.

I think you're understating how much you've added here.  The dual level controller based feedback is really cool.  I think the next step would be to componentize it a little bit, make it a little more serviceable, for the next project that uses your concept.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on March 27, 2007, 01:44:14 pm
[I'm a little worried about the potential failure rates on all of those custom hacked parts, components, connections, etc. 

I agree Chad, but I think TheCoder is the kind of guy who is secretly happy when he hears something isn't working.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: melarky on March 27, 2007, 02:06:38 pm
I'm also getting some great ideas from this thread.  I have an extra modded xbox, and just ordered a Fanatec Speedster wheel off of ebay, and plan to make a similar project in the future.

I just picked up a San Francisco Rush the Rock Alcatraz driving cabinet a bit ago, and I think I will borrow heavily from that design.  I obviously won't have the molded plastic parts, but I think the design does a great job of removing outside distractions while remaining open and smaller so the wife will like it (she loves the san francisco rush game).

I'm definately going to use arcade pedals (if I can ever find a decent price on them from ebay), but I will probably leave the wheel fairly unmodified, just mount it to the cabinet (I guess it depends what I think of it, after using the monster stepper motor driven force feedback from San Francisco Rush, would be hard to use a wimpy system, but I hear this wheel has good "fake" force feedback, so I guess we'll see when it arrives).

I like all the little extras you're doing, and am really excited to see this project completed.  Thanks for sharing your progress with the rest, sounds like it's inspiring many of us to make a similar project...
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on March 27, 2007, 02:26:13 pm
1.  How are you painting the sections that a roller cannot reach (like inside corners)?  I decided to use a foam brush and it looks OK but it's not as nice as the rolled on sections.  I'm wondering if there is a trick or something that I'm missing.  I'm not planning on putting the high gloss super smooth finish on the interior part around the monitor because I don't want a glare while Bella is trying to play but I still want a nice uniform finish, if possible.
I'm also using a foam brush.  It doesn't match the rolled surface, but comes close when it is dry.  Anyone else have any ideas?

You got me thinking about the glare around the monitor.  I think I'll go with a flat black around the screen.  This will pose a bit of a challenge, transitioning the black to the green.  It will work out fine on the top and bottom.  On the sides however, I will need to merge the two.  I really don't want the entire inside to be black.  I'll probably make the transition happen along the front top portion of the entrance.  I'll wait 'til I'm done with the green.  This will save me a bit of polishing as well.  Hopefully this part will be done in the next few days/weeks.  Pictures to follow.  Thanks for the idea.

Glad I could help!  I'm actually only giving the "full treatment" to three of the panels on my cabinet - the two side panels and the coin door panel.  I am also painting the top panel and back panel pink but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to apply the mirror finish in those spots (unless people think otherwise).  The top might be somethign I want to do but the back seems a bit unnecessary.  The rest of the cabinet (the interior around the monitor) will be painted using a flat black paint.

2.  What is your process for sanding in between coats?  I've been using 600 grit sandpaper and a sanding block but it seems to gum up really fast and I'm going through sandpaper like gangbusters.  If I use 220 grit will I just completely strip off the layer of paint I just put on or will that do the trick?  Also, how do you know when to stop sanding?  I just go until my arms get tired of doing it but that's not so scientific...
I haven't quite figured this out yet.  My primer coat was a disaster.  I sanded most all of it off.  The second coat went on very streaky, and I sanded a lot of it down as well.  The first color coat I tried to spray, and it too was a disaster.  Too cold & blotchy.  I sanded almost all of it off.  Now, I'm going about it a little more carefully. 

I followed your advice, and am using a micro fiber foam roller.  I'm kind of getting the hang of it.  The first coat was put on fairly thick.  I go over it horizontally, then vertically, then horizontally... each time pressing lighter and lighter.  This makes the roller lines less noticeable.  After 5 minutes or so, I go over it one last time, VERY lightly.  I think this cuts down on the orange peel a bit.  In one spot, I went over it after about 20 minutes, and really messed it up.  After this coat, I sanded about half of it off with a orbital sander with 220 grit.  I basically quit sanding when most all of the orange peel was gone.  I had just read the link you referenced and really noticed the flaws.   There were some deep flaws that I sanded completely flat, through the primer into wood.  In a few others, rather than sanding a deep gouge, I put on some wood putty.  I let the first coat dry for 3-4 days before sanding.  That may be the cause of your paper clogging problem, sanding too soon.  I put the next coat on a little thinner, and sanded it with the orbital sander and 220 grit paper as well.  Again, I probably took off about half of the paint.  But when done, there were very few non-green spots.  On the current coat (3rd), I'm giving it a couple of days to dry (it is still in the 30's at night, warming up to the mid 50's in the day).  I've got some 1000 grit sand paper that I will use for the next pass.  I've got a small vibrating sander (Sears, $29.00) that I'll use for this.  I'll be putting on thinner coats and sanding lighter.  Hopefully it will only need a few more coats before I pick up the polishing rag.  Thanks again for pushing me towards a better finish.  I'll probably curse you next week, as my arm falls off polishing this thing, but in the long run it will be worth it.

Wow - it's the simplest of things I can never seem to think of... it makes perfect sense that I wasn't giving the paint enough time to dry before sanding!  I read the can and it said recoat in 4 hours so that's all I was waiting - of course the can also said it would fully dry in 12-24 hours but that's not what I wanted to hear.  I was trying to apply multiple coats in a single day when the best course of action would probably be to limit myself to a single coat in any given day.  I checked on the cab last night and it definitely felt dry - definitely moreso than after only 4 hours of waiting.  The difference was very noticable. 

It gives me comfort to hear that you are also getting a "feel" for the process because I was afraid I was hopeless.  You do actually get better at it the more you do, I think.  You will definitely be cursing up a storm - it doesn't take much to tire my arms and you've got a lot of surface area to cover!  Good luck!

Tonight I'm going to try and apply the final coat of primer after sanding everything fully so I might be ready to apply a coat of pink paint on Saturday!

 :cheers:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on March 28, 2007, 12:45:06 am
One of the things that concerns me with what you've done here is the amount of individual connections, custom electronic work, etc.  That's not a criticism so please don't take it as such.  I'm a little worried about the potential failure rates on all of those custom hacked parts, components, connections, etc. 
I'm usually into simple elegance, fewer points of failure, etc.  There are a lot of other things I have chosen not to include.  I've had good luck so far with the custom hacks.  If done right, the result is as reliable as the original.  Besides, 80% of the fun is challenging yourself to do/learn something new.

I'm definitely going to use arcade pedals (if I can ever find a decent price on them from ebay),
I searched ebay on and off for about 4 weeks until I found a good set at a decent price.

Wow - it's the simplest of things I can never seem to think of... it makes perfect sense that I wasn't giving the paint enough time to dry before sanding!  I read the can and it said recoat in 4 hours so that's all I was waiting - of course the can also said it would fully dry in 12-24 hours but that's not what I wanted to hear.  I was trying to apply multiple coats in a single day when the best course of action would probably be to limit myself to a single coat in any given day. 
I was making a large batch of painted Popsicle sticks for my wife a bunch of years ago.  They needed a thick, shinny finish.  I put on about 8 coats of paint in 2 days.  The paint was not truly cured for weeks.  Ever since then, I have allowed at least 24 hours, and sometimes more between coats of paint.

Glad I could help!  I'm actually only giving the "full treatment" to three of the panels on my cabinet - the two side panels and the coin door panel.  I am also painting the top panel and back panel pink but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to apply the mirror finish in those spots (unless people think otherwise).  The top might be something I want to do but the back seems a bit unnecessary.  The rest of the cabinet (the interior around the monitor) will be painted using a flat black paint.
With all the surface area I have work with, I'm probably only going to polish the outsides. 

It was rainy and cold today.  No progress.  I did however pick up some supplies.  Two grades of polish, and a bag of rags.  I should have bought these rags years ago.  I've long since burned through all the stained onesy's, baby t-shirts, and other kids cloths for rags.  This bag of 50 12" square cotton rags cost me less than $10.  That's less than 20 cents a piece.  Now I don't have to agonize over which of my favorite old t-shirts to sacrifice when I need a rag for something.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: richms on March 30, 2007, 08:00:11 pm
The thing is you need to recoat before the underneith coat has gone hard, otherwise they will not stick together well. Most paint says recoat in 4 hours, and if you leave it more then 24 you have to give it a sand to give it something to grip to, and after seeing some of my left for a week then repainted coats just peel off, I would agree somewhat with that.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on March 31, 2007, 12:50:34 am
The thing is you need to recoat before the underneith coat has gone hard, otherwise they will not stick together well. Most paint says recoat in 4 hours, and if you leave it more then 24 you have to give it a sand to give it something to grip to, and after seeing some of my left for a week then repainted coats just peel off, I would agree somewhat with that.
I've been waiting a day between coats, with a heavy sanding in between.  It it getting thicker & smoother.  I'm on coat 6, moving from 220 grit to 1000 grit paper.  Today I tried polishing the front door piece, just to check it out.  Man, you really have to have ALL of the orange peel sanded out or it really shows.  It is going to take a few more coats to get it thick enough so I can sand it truly flat.  This is going to be a long process. 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: MaMeNnO on March 31, 2007, 02:43:42 pm
I guess what @richms means is, that you can easily put more then one coat on, before sanding. I you paint one and sand it off, this project is going to take forever! ;) You have a lots of patience and that's what you're gonna need with this.

btw, don't put on to big artwork that would be a damn shame for all your effort with the painting.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on March 31, 2007, 11:42:41 pm
I found a new tool for dealing with paint runs.  For the veteran painters out there you probably think Iím dense, but this was quite an eye-opener for me.  A ďPainters ScraperĒ works great for dealing with hardened runs in paint.  The edge is sharp and just shaves off the run, flush with the previous coat of paint.  Good stuff.  It also works well for knocking off the embedded bugs and pocks.

Today I put on coats 7 & 8, hopefully the last.  In the second picture you can see the front door that I tried to polish.  In getting all the orange peel out, the paint got a little thin in three spots.

And as for trimming the bushes Ö maybe next week-end honey.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on March 31, 2007, 11:52:32 pm
Wow - nice job on that polished panel.  Is it as shiny as it looks in person?  I'll try and post a pic of mine tomorrow but I'm not sure how to get a good picture with my digital camera.  They always come out with a reflection from the flash and everything looks washed out...
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 01, 2007, 01:08:21 am
Wow - nice job on that polished panel.  Is it as shiny as it looks in person?  I'll try and post a pic of mine tomorrow but I'm not sure how to get a good picture with my digital camera.  They always come out with a reflection from the flash and everything looks washed out...
The picture is misleading.  The paint is still wet.  Notice in the flat panel how dull the paint looks in the center.  That area is sanded flat.  The shinny parts are fresh, wet paint.  It would be really awesome if I could get the entire thing looking as shinny as the rounded piece in the background.  I'm going to wait a few days to let the paint get good & dry before I try sanding it all flat.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: MaMeNnO on April 02, 2007, 03:49:18 pm
Wow - nice job on that polished panel.  Is it as shiny as it looks in person?  I'll try and post a pic of mine tomorrow but I'm not sure how to get a good picture with my digital camera.  They always come out with a reflection from the flash and everything looks washed out...
Well, don't flash. ;D Use a tripod or let the camera rest on something steady. Oh, and use the timer.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: richms on April 06, 2007, 12:51:20 am
Also dont autofocus or it will focus on the reflection, not your panel. Mind you if your trying to impress with the gloss, that may not be a bad thing.

in that case close up the aperture and let it expose for a long time, so the tripod will be essential, that will at least give some detail to the panel itself. I guess you may just want to find the happy median that shows it all.

Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 08, 2007, 12:08:58 am
Lacquer Coats
Well after 6 coats of lacquer, it is time to move on to the polish stage.  It took 7 cans of spray lacquer to get the 6 coats.  On the first coat I tried to get complete coverage, but generated a lot of runs. Most of that first coat got sanded off.  From there I just tried to get consistent close stroke lines.  With each coat I alternated the angles approximately 30 degrees.  There are lines of missed coverage and overspray, but they were covered by subsequent coats at different angles.  I suspect it would have gone on much more evenly if I had rolled it on, or gone with a compressor/sprayer.  The lines came out with a light wet sanding with 1000 grit paper.  Between coats I rubbed it down with the shop rags I picked up last week.  This took care of most of the bugs, pocks, and overspray.  In the first set of pictures you can see the surfaces with 6 layers of lacquer before wet sanding.

When I woke up this morning, it was raining.  The front door piece was exposed, but I was very pleased to see the entire surface covered in beads of water. 

Today I buffed the front panel and door with the first ďrougherĒ buffing compound.  Man, this stuff really works.  Notice the reflection in the surface on the last picture.  Unfortunately it also brings out any minor flaw in the surface.  There are a few small ones, but Iím the only one who will ever know where they are.  My arms are killing me !   Buffing these two pieces twice with the buffing compound took about an hour.  Iíll be doing two passes with the finer compound, then one of wax.  The cabinet itself is probably about 8 times more surface area than the two pieces Iíve done so far.  This is going to be quite a work-out for me.  But, hey, I guess the exercise will be good for me.

Perhaps I will postpone the wax until after Iíve applied the side art.  At least that will give my arms a break for a while.  Comments?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on April 08, 2007, 12:49:36 am
Excellent job!  That last picture really shows off the reflective finish.  So did you end up sanding the last coat of paint or did you leave it rolled on with a little orange peel?  Also, where did you get the rubbing compound?  I bought some compound at an auto parts store but I'm not sure it is the right stuff.  It never turns into paste or anything and there's really no noticable difference to the surface after applying it.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: psychotech on April 08, 2007, 11:31:47 am
Looks great  :applaud:

If you're going to polish the entire machine by hand remember to take before and after pictures of your arms/biceps too  ;D

Anyway, ain't that Turtle Wax rubbing compound? Shouldn't be too hard to find ... (see http://www.turtlewax.com/)
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 08, 2007, 11:55:10 am
Excellent job!  That last picture really shows off the reflective finish.  So did you end up sanding the last coat of paint or did you leave it rolled on with a little orange peel?  Also, where did you get the rubbing compound?  I bought some compound at an auto parts store but I'm not sure it is the right stuff.  It never turns into paste or anything and there's really no noticable difference to the surface after applying it.

Looks great  :applaud:
If you're going to polish the entire machine by hand remember to take before and after pictures of your arms/biceps too  ;D
Anyway, ain't that Turtle Wax rubbing compound? Shouldn't be too hard to find ... (see http://www.turtlewax.com/)
Thanks guys.

I sanded almost all of the orange peel off before starting with the lacquer.  The places where I didn't get it all was the few spots where I knew the color layer was thin.  There are about 5 of these, mostly around the edges.  The good news is they are all towards the bottom, and one in the middle front (the side that will be against a wall).

You're right Psychotech, I'm using TurtleWax.  Back in post #173, you can see a picture of the stuff.  They have a "rubbing compound" which is the coarser stuff, and a "polishing compound" which is the finer stuff.  I picked it up at a small Oregon auto parts chain place Knecht's.  You might also check your local Stuff-Mart.  It shouldn't be hard to find.  It is very cheap at $2.00 per can.  I figured it would work as well as the $9.00 stuff, and so far I'm pleased with the results.  It pretty much behaves as the write-up describes.  It starts out as a gritty paste (grains much smaller than a grain of salt), and ends up as a milky film. 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: johnm160 on April 08, 2007, 01:02:49 pm
That is looking really nice.

For a project that size you might want to go out and get a cheap electric buffer. That will save you a lot of time and sore arms. You can always reuse it to polish your cars.  :P
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on April 08, 2007, 11:03:34 pm
Excellent job!  That last picture really shows off the reflective finish.  So did you end up sanding the last coat of paint or did you leave it rolled on with a little orange peel?  Also, where did you get the rubbing compound?  I bought some compound at an auto parts store but I'm not sure it is the right stuff.  It never turns into paste or anything and there's really no noticable difference to the surface after applying it.

Looks great  :applaud:
If you're going to polish the entire machine by hand remember to take before and after pictures of your arms/biceps too  ;D
Anyway, ain't that Turtle Wax rubbing compound? Shouldn't be too hard to find ... (see http://www.turtlewax.com/)
Thanks guys.

I sanded almost all of the orange peel off before starting with the lacquer.  The places where I didn't get it all was the few spots where I knew the color layer was thin.  There are about 5 of these, mostly around the edges.  The good news is they are all towards the bottom, and one in the middle front (the side that will be against a wall).

You're right Psychotech, I'm using TurtleWax.  Back in post #173, you can see a picture of the stuff.  They have a "rubbing compound" which is the coarser stuff, and a "polishing compound" which is the finer stuff.  I picked it up at a small Oregon auto parts chain place Knecht's.  You might also check your local Stuff-Mart.  It shouldn't be hard to find.  It is very cheap at $2.00 per can.  I figured it would work as well as the $9.00 stuff, and so far I'm pleased with the results.  It pretty much behaves as the write-up describes.  It starts out as a gritty paste (grains much smaller than a grain of salt), and ends up as a milky film. 

Thanks for the description.  I'm definitely using the wrong stuff.  Time to pick up some Turtlewax I guess!
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on April 09, 2007, 09:30:27 am

Seriously, bro, get a $25 random orbit sander and a buffer pad.  It will save you so much work and you get a useful hand tool out of it.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 11, 2007, 01:31:32 am

Seriously, bro, get a $25 random orbit sander and a buffer pad.  It will save you so much work and you get a useful hand tool out of it.

Thank you!  Thank you!  johnm160  & ChadTower

Polished Finish
I picked up one of these today at lunch.  It is amazing what happens when you use the right tool for the job.  My previous hack involved wrapping my dinky 4" palm sander with a shop rag.  While it did work, the 10" buffer works MUCH better.  All yours for $29.  In about 1.5 hours, I rough buffed the whole cab twice and polished about half of it once.  It sure is shinny!!!!!!!

Next up, painting the top of the dash and area surrounding the monitor a dull, flat black.  It was a long haul, but it looks like I'm almost done with the paint phase of this project. 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: MaMeNnO on April 11, 2007, 07:29:12 am
You are so disciplined and dedicated... I'm jealous.

Don't put any artwork on that cab! ;)
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on April 11, 2007, 09:06:05 am

Awesome, glad that worked out for you.  You can use that to wax your car, too, and it will do an awesome job.  I also have buffer attachments I use on a low end cordless drill to clean and wax pinball playfields as well as details on the car.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on April 11, 2007, 12:23:58 pm
Wow!!!!  It looks great!  Just so I'm clear, you are using the Ryobi to put on the Turtlewax rubbing compound and finishing polish, right (not to sand or anything)?  I think I might pick one of those up before I go through the same process...

You got a fantastic finish on there - I hope I am as fortunate...
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: johnm160 on April 11, 2007, 01:44:49 pm
that look OUTSTANDING 

 :notworthy:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 11, 2007, 04:28:44 pm
Just so I'm clear, you are using the Ryobi to put on the Turtlewax rubbing compound and finishing polish, right (not to sand or anything)? 
The process went something like this:
Primer coat, Heavy sand, Color Coat  - dead of winter, with sprayer, really messed up!!!, Sand most all off, rolled color coat, light sand with 200 grit, rolled color coat, rolled color coat, etc (x8), sand out most all orange peel starting with 200 grit, ending with wet sand 1000 grit, 6 coats of spray can lacquer, wet sand with 1000 grit, ruff polish, re-sand missed spots or orange peel, repaint screw-up from re-sand (insert lots of swearing and re-work of previous steps), rough buff with hand sander hack with Turtle Wax Rubbing Compound, purchase Ryobi orbital buffer including extra buffing pads kit (1 extra paste applicator & 1 extra finishing pad), rough buffed with buffer 1 time, 1000 grit sanded remaining orange peel rough spots, rough buffed again, Finish buff 1 time with Turtle Wax Polishing Compound.  I will hit it once again with the polishing compound.  After I create/get my side art, I'll buff it one last time with a finishing wax.

Don't put any artwork on that cab! ;)
Why not?  I'm already into this thing this far, why not go all the way.  There will still be plenty of shinny surface to look at.  Besided, I'm looking for an excuse to learn more Photoshop.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Kaytrim on April 11, 2007, 11:33:49 pm
That is a lot of work for a paint job.  But if you want an automotive paint job then I guess the work is worth it.  You need to post at least one high quality image so we can see the full results of your hard work.

OMG I can see myself. :dizzy:

TTFN :cheers:
Kaytrim
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 13, 2007, 03:27:13 am
If you're going to polish the entire machine by hand remember to take before and after pictures of your arms/biceps too  ;D
Well, I didn't polish the whole cab by hand, but I did get quite a workout even with the buffer.  Here are the before and after pictures you asked for.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: brack on April 13, 2007, 06:43:43 pm
Well, I didn't polish the whole cab by hand, but I did get quite a workout even with the buffer.  Here are the before and after pictures you asked for.

I am trying to decide which is more disturbing.  The fact that these pics have been viewed several times, or the fact that the before pic has been viewed more times.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: psychotech on April 13, 2007, 10:34:36 pm
 ;D
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 25, 2007, 12:40:22 am
Finished Painting
I've finally finished painting!!!!!!!!   I put on a couple of coats of flat black paint on the inside.  I was concerned that the glare on the sides from the TV would be too distracting.  To dull things up even more, I lightly scuffed the surface with some steel wool.

I made the cab 33" wide to make sure it would fit through larger 36" doorways.  Unfortunately, the sliding glass door in my day basement is 32" wide.  Oops, minor oversight.  Removing the sliding door portion brought the width to 34".  A very tight fit, but I made it.  I put a blanket over it to keep from scratching the surface.  Right at the end, the blanket slipped off and I got a deep 1/2" gouge in the side.     :censored:   :banghead:  I'll have to cover it up with my side art. 

From here on the final assembly will take place inside.  It took me a while to clear a path to get the cab into place.  I had to move my pool table (cheap light one) and lay the Foosball table on end.  This thing is big and awkward.  With the back end up in the air, front end on the wheels, It took many back-n-forth movements to get it into place.

And by the way, in the before and after pictures above, the before picture looks NOTHING like me.  I don't own any blue shorts.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on April 25, 2007, 10:20:47 am
Woo hoo!!!!  Awesome!!!  This thing is really coming out nice - I think the hardest part is over and now the real fun begins when you install everything.   It looks great int he game room!

 :cheers:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 25, 2007, 07:52:32 pm
Pedal Covers
I picked up a pair of pedal covers today at my local auto parts store.  I'll probably have to replace the cheap clip system holding them on, but, hey, for $15.00, they look a lot better than the smooth slabs of steel that are on there now.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on April 26, 2007, 07:56:02 am

Strong velcro is your friend here.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: shardian on April 26, 2007, 03:52:39 pm
I've had those cheap pedal covers on my Tracker for about six years - trust me, they ain't going anywhere. ;D
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 27, 2007, 12:38:00 pm
Pretty boring stuff, but progress just the same.  This morning I securely fastened the pedal covers on.  The pedal clips assumed you were putting them on car pedals, not arcade pedals.  The clips did not line up quite right.  Instead I put them on with 3 flat head cap screws.  Drilling into the pedals was a major pain.  The metal was very hard.  A trick I learned in school was to drill first with a very small diameter bit.  This makes the second, ďto sizeĒ bit cut more effectively.  It has to do with the amount of rubbing (instead of cutting) that goes on at the very tip of the bit.  Thereís less rubbing going on with the smaller diameter bits.  Even with that, it took about 2 minutes to drill each hole.  For good measure I put on a small dab of epoxy.  Iím planning on slamming these pedals and donít want them rattling loose. 

Öand a quick shot of the fans and grids.  Nothing fancy here.  When possible I prefer to use socket head screws instead of Philips head and definitely avoid straight blade screws.  I had a heck of a time finding very small long socket head cap screws for the fans, but tracked them down at the third (and last in town) hardware store.

Last night I put in the top retainer for the glass.  The cab is slightly skewed to the left.  The glass goes in fine, but it is a tight fit at the top right and lower left.  Hopefully it wonít break when the cab is lifted or jostled around.  If so, Iíll have to get the next piece about 1/16Ē narrower.  The glass will be held in with strips of dark Rosewood that match the dashboard.  Iíll keep you posted.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 27, 2007, 09:13:15 pm
Woofer Installation
The woofers are now installed.  It was a chore leaning the cab on its side to route the wires, but I managed to do it without breaking anything or adding any more scratches to the paint.  I really donít want to have any problems with the wires coming loose, so they are soldered directly to the speaker posts.  I put lock-tite on the threads because there is no way to get lock nuts on the backside of the screws.  Iím looking forward to these puppies generating some serious vibrations, and donít want them shaking loose.

OPINIONS WANTED Ė Which speaker covers look better?  The large grills or the original cover that came with the speakers?  The grills look big and intimidating, but the original cover is stylish.  What do you think?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Timoe on April 27, 2007, 09:21:34 pm
I think the grilles look tough  >:D



...but the solid mesh looks clean and modern.  I need a reference shot to see where this is located.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: blueznl on April 28, 2007, 06:23:36 am
Over the edge = grills.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: psychotech on April 28, 2007, 08:34:42 pm
WTF?

Aren't those subs at the back, behind the seat? Essentially hidden, and more so in a closed (& dark) cab? Save the grilles for your next (big) project and use the originals! (If it isn't an optical illusion, the grilles are quite a bit off-center anyway.. and as they're not really seen..)

Just an opinion..
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 29, 2007, 12:49:23 am
DC Power
The other day I picked up a 5vdc transformer from Goodwill for a three bucks.  This plus a spare 12vdc laptop power supply will give me all the DC power I need on this project.  The 12 volt side will drive the fans, dome light and LEDís.  The 5 volt side will drive the rumble motors and their associated driver circuit.  I made a board with the one brick transformer along with a terminal block.  This will tidy things up a bit in the back.  I suspect it is going to get a bit busy back there.

Dome Light
Probably more of a novelty than actually useful, I put in a dome light.  It came from a junkyard for $5.00.  My thinking is that it will be dark in there, and if I ever need to read a manual, or some other thing while inside, it will come in handy.  For the electrically challenged, Iím no expert with wiring car dome lights.  No Google search or anything.  The thing came from a car, which (in the U.S. anyway) runs off of 12vdc.  By looking at the light, I saw three plug leads that looked promising.  With a 12 volt + and Ė lead in hand I started poking around.  Within 30 seconds I found the winning combination.  I had to hack out a lot of the plastic inside to better defuse the light and give me access to the leads to solder the wires.

The wire for the dome is buried in a slot, covered over with bondo.  I had taped over the wire for the painting/sanding process.  When I went to pull the tape off, the wire broke, flush with the surface.  What a pain.  I had to dig out some of the bondo to expose enough wire to solder an extension on.  What a stupid mistake.  I should have just unwrapped the tape instead of pulling on it.  Oh, well.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on April 29, 2007, 01:26:51 am
Dome light is a nice touch...

As for the speaker grills - I agree with nearly everyone else. Use the grated grills. They look nice.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 29, 2007, 12:16:38 pm
WTF?

Aren't those subs at the back, behind the seat? Essentially hidden, and more so in a closed (& dark) cab? Save the grilles for your next (big) project and use the originals! (If it isn't an optical illusion, the grilles are quite a bit off-center anyway.. and as they're not really seen..)

Just an opinion..
It isn't an illusion, the grilles are off-center.  They are too big for the box, and I couldn't find smaller ones that would work.  If I use them, I will put in a thin black liner to hide the fact that they are off.  I think the original cover would be easier to install and look cleaner.  There is something to be said for the bad---I'm attempting to get by the auto-censor and should be beaten after I re-read the rules-- look of the grilles.  But as you mentioned, they will be in the back, in the dark, behind a seat.  Either way, it will work out fine. 

"Next big project" ??   How much bigger do you want me to go?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: psychotech on April 29, 2007, 07:05:02 pm
!!!

Quote
"Next big project" ??   How much bigger do you want me to go?

Well.. Partybox -> Xcelerator -> Something like this: http://www.electronichouse.com/article/studio_apartment_transformed_into_star_trek_shrine/C154

 :dizzy:

Anyway, the dome light really is a nice detail, and functional even! And if you decide to use the grilles, you could (just) saw off the grille's sides to fit? What are they made of, metal/plastic..?

Spying..
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 29, 2007, 08:19:50 pm
Quote
"Next big project" ??   How much bigger do you want me to go?
Well.. Partybox -> Xcelerator -> Something like this: http://www.electronichouse.com/article/studio_apartment_transformed_into_star_trek_shrine/C154
 :dizzy:
Anyway, the dome light really is a nice detail, and functional even! And if you decide to use the grilles, you could (just) saw off the grille's sides to fit? What are they made of, metal/plastic..?

Spying..
I think my next big project will be a shop.  No plastic looking, blue drop shadow, futuristic stuff.  Just 2x4's, plywood, concrete, and tools.  I'll call it my, uh, detached garage.  Yea, honey, I can clean out all the junk in our attached garage and put it in there.  Just think, you can have a place to park your car.  That's it.

Regarding the grilles...  They are coated (painted??) steel, with a rubber grommet around the edge.  They come in 8, 12, and 15" diameters.  Unfortunately the 12" is too small for the speakers I've got.  Cutting these to size is not an option.  I got mine off EBay if you're in the market.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: psychotech on April 29, 2007, 08:48:56 pm
Oh well..

So, a game room it'll be :)  :cheers:

On the speaker covers again, I'd go with the originals. Quite sure you'll find the grilles more than necessary sooner than you'd think anyway ;)

Ebay: Not really the diameter(s) I'd need anytime soon ..
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on April 29, 2007, 10:50:04 pm
Carpet Installation
My local carpet/tile shop had some scrap carpet I could have for free, but nothing in black or dark green.  I found this 4x6 ft. throw rug at my local hardware store for $16.  Unfortunately it was a little crushed, which gave it a bunch of ripples.  To get them out, I hung it up on my grape arbor, and hosed it down with water.  After doing this three times in three days, the ripples are mostly gone.  Notice the length of my grass.  Not much yard work going on these days.  I cleaned the surface up well with soap & water.  Before that I scraped off all the big chunks of paint, bondo, solder, etc.  The carpet was cut to size using a large drywall t-square.  I laid down some glue bead right at the front to get things started.  Once in place, I tacked it down with 4 or 5 staples.  They will be coming out once the glue dries, so I didnít push down too hard when pulling the trigger.  I needed it tacked down firmly so I could really pull hard on it to smooth out the last remaining ripples.  Tomorrow Iíll pick up a strip of 90 degree angled aluminum to wrap around the entry.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Timoe on April 29, 2007, 11:14:43 pm
I was gonna recommend carpet.  Sweet.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: psychotech on April 30, 2007, 05:19:37 pm
Nice!

..still, why not hack real footboards ?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on April 30, 2007, 06:46:47 pm
Carpet.  Sweet.   :cheers:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 02, 2007, 01:58:46 am
Wiring Fun
I got in a full 4 hours or so tonight working on the component installation and layout.  Things fit in there nicely, with plenty of room to bundle excess wire, and to get around in.  There is a small shelf (top of the foot well) below the monitor platform.  This is where the Xbox controller, speaker cross-over circuits, and ButtKicker amp go.  The stereo, power strip, and DC power board are in the bottom section.  I still need to mount the back seat rumble control circuit.  Itís a bit of a mess, but it should clean up nicely. 

The light did not work when I initially wired it up.  I tracked the problem down to a cut wire at one end of the bondo slot.  What probably happened is that the wire was exposed a little, and got nicked with the sander.  I suspect the same happened at the other end, where I broke the wire pulling off the tape.  Lesson learnedÖwhen burying wires in a bondo slot, protect it heavily from sanders and tools.  It is a pain to dig it out to repair after the fact.

The speakers came with little cross-over circuits to direct low/mid/high frequencies to the woofers/mids/tweeters.  I mounted these circuits into a piece of wood, and mounted it to the back of the monitor shelf.  So far so good.  Iíve got it wired, and boy does it crank!

One thing I noticed while booting the system time and again.  The stereo will power up by itself when the power strip goes live.  The Xbox, on the other hand, does not.  I suspected it might behave like a TV, where if you keep the on/off switch pressed all the time, it will boot when it sees power.  It turns out that is the case.  Many months back (page 2 of this thread somewhere), I hacked a wired plug into the on/off switch of the Xbox, thinking it would be needed on the dashboard.  I just plugged the other end in, with the wires twisted together, and wholaÖ..boots on power.  Boy did I luck out.

So as of tonight, the dome light works, the major electrical components are mounted, the 5 and 12 vdc power system works, the Xbox sound flows through the amp, and the woofers are wired through the cross-over circuits and vibrating the foundation.  Good progress, but lots more to goÖ
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: leapinlew on May 02, 2007, 07:00:11 am
Notice the length of my grass.  Not much yard work going on these days. 

Looks good coder. Perhaps you could graft a lawn mower blade onto the bottom, build a game called virtual mower and trick your kids into mowing the lawn.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on May 02, 2007, 09:47:42 am


IIRC, the Xbox uses an ATX style power supply, which requires a momentary on/off switch signal to boot when power is applied under normal circumstances.  Google around a bit, you can probably short those two power supply pins so that it will boot immediately when power appears.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 05, 2007, 04:14:00 am
Speaker Cover
My wife chimed in with her preference, and it turns out she liked what I was leaning towards; the original cover.  It looks more stylish.  Plus, as psychotech points out, that leaves those monster round covers for another day (GettoBlaster-Cade??).  The outer width of the two speakers was about ľĒ wider than the inner width of the cover frame.  Thank goodness for Dremel tools.  With a number of passes with a side-cutting bit, problem resolved.  I picked up some sticky back Velcro, thinking that would hold the cover in place.  Unfortunately the mating surfaces are too small and I had to go another route.  I went with approximately 16 large dollops of silicon around the perimeter, and a thin layer where the cover touches the edge of the speakers.  The silicone is just inside the frame, and does not ooze out where you can see it.  That should hold it, be easy to remove, and not vibrate loose.  Before I put it on, I put down a guide piece of masking tape to make sure I put it on straight.  To keep it tight while drying, I leaned a couple of weights against it. 

Seat Mounting
It seams like an eternity ago when I set the seat down on a plain wooden surface, measured for square & depth, and drilled some pilot holes.  Now with the project substantially down the road, itís time to use those holes.  I had to poke a nail from the underside to find the holes through the carpet.  I marked the holes with tape, then cut a small X at each hole to allow the bolts to go through.  Before I could mount the seat, the rumbler circuitry had to be dealt with.  The prototype relay based circuit had to be cut out.  It is being replace with a high current transistor equivalent (page 2 of this thread; thanks again richms.)  Also, instead of housing the circuit in back of the chair, it will go in the front of the cab, for easier access if/when it fries.  A three-conductor wire (ground, rumble low & rumble high) goes from the chair to the circuit in front.  The ButtKicker wire and rumble control wires are now securely tie-wrapped to the chair, and held together in a bundle with a piece of spiral cable wrap.  Both wires, and the sub-woofer speaker wires are threaded through holes in the 2x4 base structure underneath.  The speaker wires are in their own set of holes, keeping them away from the others to avoid generating noise/feedback.  The chair is held down with ľĒ bolts.  The front two feet of the chair are at an angle, so I had to create a couple of wedges to more evenly distribute the load.  Theyíre made of wood, spray painted black. 

Once installed, I sat in it quietly, for about 15 minutes, adjusting the seat back & forth, checking my foot position with the pedals, adjusting the lumbar, reclining, etc. basically taking a break to enjoy this milestone in the project.  But wait, there's more.....
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 06, 2007, 12:22:07 am
Plexiglas Roof
I want others to be able to comfortably watch others drive in this cab.  Iím envisioning two or three people during a party standing around, watching and talking while waiting for their turn.  A key element of that is a see-through roof.  Peeling the paper off was a real workout.  You have to be stronger than the paper & glue I guess.  The roof is held on with dozens of small #4 wood screws.  To minimize the potential for cracking, each screw has a small nylon washer.  In two places however, I did get small cracks.  For as much as this piece of plastic cost me, Iíll have to live with them, at least if they stay small.  I went with a smoked glass to make the inside more dark and subdued.  That definitely is the case especially with the front rounded piece is in place.  This plastic is a dust and fingerprint magnet.  This is one surface Iíll have to clean before parties; along with oiling the foosball table rods.  Oh, the price we pay to entertainÖ.

T-Molding
I went with the black leather looking stuff.  Many people on this forum have good things to say about it, so I thought Iíd give it a try.  This cab takes over 60 feet of t-molding (64 feet 3 inches to be exact).  Too bad t-molding is sold in 20 ft. rolls.  If someone needs a few 5 ft. pieces of black t-molding, just drop me a PM.  The seams are on the bottom, both at the front and back sides (from the profile view).  One piece covers the outer profile, and another covers the doorway.  It worked out pretty well, and really finishes off the profile.

Volume Control
I wired a 100k pot into an audio cable.  I screwed up and did not wire it the first time as I had tested earlier.  Putting the resistor in series with the signal works, but not particularly well.  You need to use the pot to vary the amount that you ground the signal.  I thought that shorting the signal to ground might mess something up, but apparently that is how itís done.  Now if I only had a dashboard to mount it into.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: bfauska on May 06, 2007, 01:39:22 am
 :applaud:

That's starting to look good.  The paint has looked nice since you did it, but the project is starting to take on a darn-near-completion kind of look. 

About the fingerprints and dust on your Plexiglas, you might want to try to hunt down some acrylic cleaner, it cuts the static and leaves a really nice clean finish, some glass cleaners are also harmful to Plexiglas.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 07, 2007, 03:23:10 am
Now Playing...
I got in a few hours tonight.  The speaker wires are all soldered and routed to approximately where the mids and tweeds will be mounted.  I wired in a couple of 80 mm fans, one into the stereo, and the other sucking from the xbox across to the Buttkicker amp.  In each I cut the sound (and RPMs) by about 50% by putting a 40 ohm resistor in series.  The fans are probably overkill, but I wanted something given how much gear is packed into this small confined space.

I also mounted the TV.  With this step, the cab is now playable.  This will probably cut productivity to nothing.  I played a few games, with half the speakers plugged in and driving with a hand controller.  Oh, man....  Now I REALLY can't wait to get the wheel/dashboard on. 

It is really hard to photograph the TV image through the smoked Plexiglas.  It is much brighter in person. 

I'm now at the mercy of my friends schedule and his CNC mill to make the wheel bracket and speaker mounts in the dash and top header.  In the mean time I've still got to install/debug the rumble circuit, design/do the car key switch controlling the 110 AC power strip (cross your fingers on that one, smoke & fire is bad), track down and install an exhaust fan I accidentally crushed by tightening the screws to tight, tidy up the wiring, and design/print the side art. 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on May 07, 2007, 02:47:30 pm

Nice work.  Very nice.  Now unplug the TV and don't turn it back on unless you're debugging something.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on May 07, 2007, 02:56:06 pm
Wow - awesome job!  I have a feeling that this thing will be near impossible to walk by without at least making one lap in some game.  Speaking of which, do you have a definitive game list yet?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: bfauska on May 07, 2007, 11:13:44 pm
I probably missed it somewhere in the previous 5 pages of the thread, but are you going to do a bezel?  It would be a shame to put so much work into a great specialized cabinet and then let people see that it is just a TV that they are playing on.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 08, 2007, 12:29:12 am
Wow - awesome job!  I have a feeling that this thing will be near impossible to walk by without at least making one lap in some game.  Speaking of which, do you have a definitive game list yet?
Thanks.  I missed half of a meeting this morning at work.  Uh, I couldn't find my car keys.  I'm going to have to mount a clock somewhere on the dash.

A while back I picked up about 20 XBox games from a coworker for $80.  Along the way, Iíve also been buying Xbox games off EBay for 5-10 bucks each.  I put a 200 gig HD in the console and loaded up almost every game I (and my son) own.  Iím into the driving/flying games, he is into the first person shooters.  I also loaded my entire mp3 library (about 6 gig).  To answer your question, Iíve got the following games loaded and available from the menu:

Driving Games
ATV Ė Quad
Burnout Revenge
Burnout 3
Crash Nitro Kart
Crazy Taxi
Flatout 3
Forza Motor Sport
Midnight Club 3
Midtown Madness 3
Need For Speed (#2, Most Wanted, & Carbon)
Rallisport Challenge 2
Street Racing Syndicate
Simpsons Hit & Run

Flying / Arcade
Blazing Angles
Crimson Skies
Fuzion Frenzy
Pure Pinball
Ö and of courseÖMame

Shooters
Area 51
Doom 3
A few Tom Clancy titles
Gun
Red Dead Revolver
Halo 2
Panzer Dragoon

Others
3 Poker games
10 adventure style titles
Media Center
DVD Movie Player

Iíll be spending most of my time in Forza, NFS Carbon, RalliSport, and Blazing Angles; with the occasional Mame game of Donkey Kong, Star Castle, Qix, and Rip-off.

Any recommendations for other games that would play well in this cab?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 08, 2007, 12:49:20 am
I probably missed it somewhere in the previous 5 pages of the thread, but are you going to do a bezel?  It would be a shame to put so much work into a great specialized cabinet and then let people see that it is just a TV that they are playing on.
I misspoke on the earlier thread where I listed the remaining work.  After I hit the post button, my mind started racing on all the other work remaining; the bezel being one of them.  I'm considering 3 options: 
1)  Happ plastic bezel
2)  Mask off and paint the back side of the glass with a black paint
3)  Cut a bezel out of black heavy card stock.

I'm leaning more towards #3.  I was planning on cutting it out about 1" bigger than the screen and paint the existing plastic TV bezel a flat black.  I've only got about 1.5" gap between the glass and TV.  I'd appreciate any recommendations on this topic as well.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: psychotech on May 08, 2007, 09:01:48 pm
Heh..

Looks too damn good. Actually  :notworthy:

Still, on your bezel options..

--------------------------------------------------------------------
2)  Mask off and paint the back side of the glass with a black paint
3)  Cut a bezel out of black heavy card stock.
--------------------------------------------------------------------

What I did with my bartop (Bombjack..):

(I have about half an inch gap between the screen and the glass..)

1. Paint the CRT/TV front (matte/flat) black... Done that already? ...
2. Print the bezel graphics to screen size! Even with my two player solution there was no need to make the bezel bigger than the screen.. Works!
-> And, as the Xcelerator is a 1 player solution, and viewed from straight ahead, the bezel should actually be an exact fit?
3. I printed my bezel graphics on white construction paper / heavy card stock / etc. - Works quite nicely ;) I did not paint the glass inside black but instead used a sheet of black construction paper under/behind the bezel graphics.

As the Xcelerator's screen will be in a dim/dark/whatever environment, I'm sure that'd do the job :) ? You'll get the "floating" effect..

Still, it's just

psychotech :)
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 09, 2007, 01:47:30 am
Houston, We Have Ignition
The power strip and Xbox power button is now controlled with an ignition switch.  The switch will be mounted in the dash when ready.  With the switch in the off (left) position, nothing is on.  In the center position, the power strip is on.  And in the right position, the power strip is still on, and the Xbox power button switch is shorted, turning it on or off depending on its current state.    Or so that was the plan.  Read on.  This was an interesting little job with a few mess-ups along the way.

I was a little nervous about bringing 110vac into a metal key switch.  To avoid any possibility of electrocution, the contacts of the switch drive the coil of a 30 amp relay.  I picked up the relay at an automotive supplies store.  It needed to be 12 vdc on the coil side, and be able to handle a lot of amps on the contact side.  As long as I had an ignition switch, I decided to use it to cycle power on the Xbox as well.   I had previously just wired the Xbox on/off button so the switch was always on.  This worked, the Xbox would power on when the strip came alive, but the DVD drive button does not work while the power button is ďpressedĒ.  I'm also not crazy about turning off a computer (even if it is an Xbox) by just yanking the power cord.

So the switch drives a low current relay that is connected to the Xbox power switch, and also drives a high current relay that is switching the hot lead of my power strip.  On the power cord, I stripped back the insulation, exposing about 3 inches of wire.  I only cut the hot lead, and wired it into the normally open contacts of the high current relay. 

The first mess-up involved powering the 12 vdc power supply that drives the relays, that supplies power to everything.  See the problem?  The power supply was plugged into the power strip.  I couldnít get power to the power supply until the power supply / ignition switch / relay did their thing.  I had to hard wire the power supply straight into the incoming 110 vac line.  This sort of worked.  The system will now turn on, but all my fans and other 12 vdc stuff is/was on all the time.  Not good.  Tomorrow Iíll track down another 12 vdc supply and drive it from the strip, and have it drive all the accessories.

The other problem involves the ignition switch itself.  For some idiotic reason, it does not behave like a car ignition.  The left and center positions are basically swapped.  In the center position, nothing is on.  In the left position, the power is on.  In the right position, both the power is on and the Xbox power button is on.  There is no graceful way to power down the Xbox with this configuration.  Iíll have to find a more traditional switch (i.e. 0, 1, 1+2).

The good news is I can now power my cab from an ignition switch and after about 30 minutes of test-driving (joystick, no wheel yet), the relay did not explode, melt, or catch fire.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on May 09, 2007, 09:17:19 am

Niiice.  Maybe you could head back to the junkyard and pull an actual ignition mech?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on May 09, 2007, 09:25:49 am
Wow - Serious skills on display with this project.  :notworthy: 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Timoe on May 09, 2007, 09:31:41 am
Burnout Revenge would be so much fun in this thing.  I really like the plexi back/top.  That is a really slick touch.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on May 09, 2007, 10:29:26 am

Thought about this a bit last night... and about how guys are always going to a little extra effort to try and get the women to play too.  You already have all those rumble motors in the chair... add 3-4 of them to the seat. 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: mountain on May 09, 2007, 12:44:21 pm

The first mess-up involved powering the 12 vdc power supply that drives the relays, that supplies power to everything.  See the problem?  The power supply was plugged into the power strip.  I couldnít get power to the power supply until the power supply / ignition switch / relay did their thing.  I had to hard wire the power supply straight into the incoming 110 vac line.  This sort of worked.  The system will now turn on, but all my fans and other 12 vdc stuff is/was on all the time.  Not good.  Tomorrow Iíll track down another 12 vdc supply and drive it from the strip, and have it drive all the accessories.


Hey coder,
Maybe I missed it earlier in the thread, but  why do you need a two position switch? Was the original idea to first turn on the power supply and then the xbox? If you find a wall wart 12v power supply to drive the coil of your relay you should be able to avoid the problem above. Nothing large is needed because the coil on that type of relay you are using only pull 150 -250 mili-amp.

Looking great by the way  :applaud:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 10, 2007, 02:05:07 am
Niiice.  Maybe you could head back to the junkyard and pull an actual ignition mech?
Ignition switches from cars have weird nonstandard mounting.  I need one that can mount in a flat panel.  I picked up one today that is a better fit.

Wow - Serious skills on display with this project.  :notworthy: 
You know what they say, the girls like guys with skills;  bowstaff skills, numchuck skills, computer hacking skills, you know...skills.  Actually I have a little skill, and a wreckless disregard of fear of the unknown.  This, plus Google, forums like this, a soldering iron, a fire extinguisher, and a desire to learn more.  Thanks for the complement.


Thought about this a bit last night... and about how guys are always going to a little extra effort to try and get the women to play too.  You already have all those rumble motors in the chair... add 3-4 of them to the seat. 
;D

Hey coder,
Maybe I missed it earlier in the thread, but  why do you need a two position switch? Was the original idea to first turn on the power supply and then the xbox? If you find a wall wart 12v power supply to drive the coil of your relay you should be able to avoid the problem above. Nothing large is needed because the coil on that type of relay you are using only pull 150 -250 mili-amp.

Looking great by the way  :applaud:
Thanks.  The problem is not the start up, but more the shut down.  I really hate turning off any computer device by just shutting off the power.  I could put in a push button on the dash to do this, but why add another button to the dashboard?  I've already committed to using a car ignition switch.  It comes with a spring loaded "start" feature.  It is a metaphor that anyone that drives understands.  I want a way to gracefully shut off the CPU or hard reset it if it locks up.  I'll be driving the relay from a spare 12 vdc power supply.  Long answer to your question, but that was my reasoning.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 10, 2007, 02:20:54 am
Burnout Revenge would be so much fun in this thing.  I really like the plexi back/top.  That is a really slick touch.
Thanks.  I played Burnout this morning.  The rumblers are not yet wired up, but the buttkicker really vibrates the chair when you crash.  Being 6" away from two 12" woofers helps out too.  I like driving with the cockpit view, not the third person view.  It is a lot harder to control when you can't see the car from above, but the visual effect makes the game more realistic and encompassing.  Just the effect I was going for on this project.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: isamu on May 10, 2007, 05:19:51 am
Coder check your PM  :cheers:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 11, 2007, 07:52:17 pm
Today I got in some quality time on the smaller speakers.  There are two midrangeís and two tweeters.  The mids go in the dashboard, and the tweeters in a strip of wood that holds the top of the glass in place. 

When I bought the speakers I did not notice that one of the mids had a 2Ē tare along the edge and a small hole poked in the paper cone.  I tried to find a replacement, but no luck, so I decided to repair it.  I dug around the web, and many people recommend using white glue with paper from a brown paper bag.  Another site recommended just covering the hole with silicon.  I combined the two approaches, and coated both sides of a piece of brown paper bag in silicone.  It stuck right where I put it, and it is holding well.  It sounds good also.

The tweeters will be mounted in piece of wood that will be screwed into the roof, and top/front glass back-plate.  It will be pointing down at a 45-degree angle.  The tweeters were just a bit too wide to fit so I had to sink them into the wood a little.  There was also a metal lip that had to be removed so the wood would fit flush when mounted. 

Iíll be making covers for these speakers soon, but just had to plug them in to for a quick listen.  I'm not one to brag, but...OH, MAN!!!!!  Better than I had expected.  I had to adjust the base & treble a bit, turn down the base shaker as well.  After that, I listened to a couple Led Zeppelin songs cranked way up.  Very crisp and clean (and loud).  I went upstairs, and you could barely make out the base line.  And I wish I could describe the stereo effect you experience when scraping your car on a wall on your left, while being passed on your right.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Timoe on May 11, 2007, 11:26:36 pm
I gotta see the front of that dashboard.  Thats one nice piece of lumber.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 11, 2007, 11:58:06 pm
I gotta see the front of that dashboard.  That's one nice piece of lumber.
Thanks.  It is Bolivian Rosewood.  In this picture, the top piece is down low just testing out the sound.  It will eventually be mounted towards the top.  I've got a cool idea for the control cluster.  Stay tuned...
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 13, 2007, 12:02:40 am
Quieting the Fans
I picked up a couple of new fans for the cab exhaust last week.  They are big, efficient, and make a lot of noise.  The fan on the Buttkicker amp also makes a lot of noise.  To quiet them, you need to make them spin less.  Fans can be slowed down by lowering the voltage.  Someone on the web recommended putting a 20-50 ohm resistor in series.  I picked up a pack of 20ís and gave it a try on one of the exhaust fans.  The fan slowed down a little with one resistor, but it got extremely hot!  Oh, yea, these things are rated for the watts they can handle.  The ones I picked up were ľ watt.  Iíve long since forgot the equations, but I looked it up, and watts = volts * amps.  The back of the fan package mentioned they draw .17 amps.  Itís hooked up to 12 volts.  That puts the watts at around 2.  2 watt resistors are hard to find (and more expensive).  But if you use same value resistors in parallel, the current (amps) is divided into each, and the total resistance equals the base value / # resistors.  I played around with a large variable resistor and determined that 20 ohms was way too little.  The fans would barely work with about 100 ohms, and were still too loud at around 40 ohms.  Your mileage may vary.  Anyway, I wired 4, Ĺ watt, 330 ohm resistors together in parallel, providing around 80 ohms (330/4) and putting about Ĺ  watt through each resistor (2 watts / 4 resistors).  The fans work at a fairly slow speed, you can barely hear them, and the resistors do not get hot.

The fans came with a cool little quick disconnect, that I wired in.  This allows me to take the top cover ďcompletelyĒ off and set it way to the side if needed.

With the noise of the exhaust fans practically gone, the sound from the Buttkicker fan was very noticeable.  I did the same and you could barely hear it.  Unfortunately it was too slow, and the heat sink the fan was blowing over got hot.  I soldered two more resistors in parallel (bringing the resistance to around 55 ohms).  It got a little louder, but the heat sink is nice and cool now.  With the covers on you can barely hear the fans, and with a game playing, you canít hear it at all.  It was a well spent couple of hours.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 13, 2007, 12:08:47 am
Some Progress & Headaches
In addition to quieting down the fans today, I got a few other things taken care of.

Installed front door latches (made from scrap wood from the dash). 
Replaced bad ignition switch with new one.
Re-routed a speaker wires and others and tidied up the wire bundles.
Epoxied a quarter over the TV on switch, making it power on/off with the strip.

In addition, I ATTEMPTED to install the top glass retainer.  Iím using the same brass screw inserts that I used on the front of the dash.  This install is a bit trickier because the holes are at a 45 degree angle, and the ones on the top, are in the painted and polished top piece.  I had to be really careful not to drill too deep.  I had drilled the holes for the screws in the retainer months ago.  Between being cautious & not drilling too deep, and the angles on the holes, some of the inserts do not line up with the holes in the retainer.  I got one to go by drilling the screw hole a bit bigger, but messed up another trying the same.  Another stripped out and tore up the wood around the insert.  It is in a very awkward position and was killing my back.  It had been a long day, and I didnít want to mess up this piece any more.  Iíll take it up again tomorrow.

In the last picture is a shot of my son (not quite a small boy any more) taking it for a spin.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: stephenp1983 on May 13, 2007, 07:49:26 pm
You may have already said this, but do you have any clue on the approximate weight on it.  I was thinking of building one based of the pole position plans that are around and wanted some idea.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on May 14, 2007, 04:04:06 pm

Dude tape off those solder joints!  You don't want them to short and do something funky.   ;D
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 14, 2007, 07:04:29 pm

Dude tape off those solder joints!  You don't want them to short and do something funky.   ;D
Done.  These pictures were taken in-progress.  The joints are taped off and the wires are tacked down along the seams of the frame.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 14, 2007, 10:31:20 pm
You may have already said this, but do you have any clue on the approximate weight on it.  I was thinking of building one based of the pole position plans that are around and wanted some idea.
I put one bathroom scale under the front end and one under the back end.  The back end (the one I lift from to move it) weighed in at 175.  The front end (with the TV and other electronics) weighs 234 pounds.  Talk about a swing in projects;  The Partybox weighted 29 pounds.  This puppy weighs 409 pounds (185 Kilograms). 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 14, 2007, 11:56:50 pm
Dashboard Speaker Covers
Today I made and installed the covers for the midrange and tweeter speakers.  My wife had some heavy plastic embroidery stuff that worked out well.  At first I covered one in the cloth that came with original speakers.  It made them look like dull, flat-black circles.  Instead, I just painted them black, exposing the mesh.  A couple of dabs of silicone around the edges and theyíre in.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on May 15, 2007, 09:21:17 am

Needlepoint grid!  I remember that stuff.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: isamu on May 15, 2007, 10:50:36 am
Looking good Coder!  :cheers: :notworthy:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: whatzcrackn on May 15, 2007, 04:45:35 pm
So when are you going to ship the Xcelerator to me  :o

Looking super man!!  I love it  :cheers:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 15, 2007, 05:53:15 pm
Looking good Coder!  :cheers: :notworthy:

So when are you going to ship the Xcelerator to me  :o

Looking super man!!  I love it  :cheers:

Thanks guys.  I'd hate to imagine what it would cost to ship a 400 pound arcade machine.  I'll pass on shipping it to you, but you're welcome to come drive it anytime.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 15, 2007, 08:27:20 pm
Glass & Bezel Installed
Today the glass and bezel went on.  I was dreading this part because of the nightmare I had a few days ago setting the inserts for the top retainer.

I wonít be winning any awards here for the bezel, but it looks pretty good.  It is made from a flat piece of picture frame mat material on the face, and formed black foam rubber for the transition to the TV.  I was hoping to use a piece of $1.00 card stock available at most stores.  Unfortunately the standard size is 30Ē wide, and the cab needs 32Ē.  So instead of a $1.00 piece of cardstock, Iím using a $10.00 framing mat.  But hey, whatís another $10 (this stuff is adding up !!!!).  I wanted to make one of the custom 4 piece, 3D type bezels someone did a nice tutorial for, but at $10.00 per try, I figured I better go with a different approach.  The foam is cut to size and wedged between the TV and back of the bezel mat material.  Once positioned, I hit it with some hot glue to keep it aligned and to keep the joints nice and tight.  Initially I tried cutting the foam with a large pair of scissors but this approach left jagged edges.  To get a better surface I tried using an old fashion single sided razor blade.  Works great. 

The bezel was held on to the glass with a little electrical tape.  This kept it in place until the retainer wood could be screwed in.

The top retainer continued to give me problems, but itís in.  Three of the eight screws did not and will never line up.  As much as I hate doing thisÖ they are now just ľĒ long, and held in place with a little dab of silicone.  Yep, fake screw heads.  At least it is in and I didnít mess up the wood.  The good news is the retainer is in tight and doesnít rattle. 

Before installing the glass I cleaned it, then cleaned it some more.  I used the razor blade to scrape a few bits of stubborn crud.  And the very final step was wiping it down with a lint free piece of cloth.  With the foam making a seal with the bezel, the inside shouldnít need to be dusted for quite some time.  Man, Iím so relieved that this part of the project is complete.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on May 16, 2007, 08:56:29 am
Thanks guys.  I'd hate to imagine what it would cost to ship a 400 pound arcade machine.  I'll pass on shipping it to you, but you're welcome to come drive it anytime.

Pretty much the same as it would cost to ship one regular game.  People use NAVL to ship cabs and they do a freight rate of something like "up to 500lb" on games.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 16, 2007, 10:41:22 am
Thanks guys.  I'd hate to imagine what it would cost to ship a 400 pound arcade machine.  I'll pass on shipping it to you, but you're welcome to come drive it anytime.

Pretty much the same as it would cost to ship one regular game.  People use NAVL to ship cabs and they do a freight rate of something like "up to 500lb" on games.
Ouch!  According to their website, if less than 300 pounds and within 1200 miles, $675.  More than 1200 miles, $875.  They don't list how much $$ if more than 300 pounds. 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on May 16, 2007, 10:48:54 am

Wow, rates have changed... or else they have a sort of side deal going for cab shippers.  Probably a little of both.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: horseboy on May 16, 2007, 10:57:16 am
Thanks guys.  I'd hate to imagine what it would cost to ship a 400 pound arcade machine.  I'll pass on shipping it to you, but you're welcome to come drive it anytime.

Pretty much the same as it would cost to ship one regular game.  People use NAVL to ship cabs and they do a freight rate of something like "up to 500lb" on games.
Ouch!  According to their website, if less than 300 pounds and within 1200 miles, $675.  More than 1200 miles, $875.  They don't list how much $$ if more than 300 pounds. 

There is one specific lady that works at NAVL that deals with the shipping of arcades. If you speak directly to her the rates are supposedly much cheaper. I found her name and phone number somewhere, but I can't remember. It shouldn't be too hard to find.

Also, I read a few weeks back about someone that had a Red Baron cockpit shipped to him for between $300 and $400.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on May 16, 2007, 11:03:42 am

Michelle.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on May 17, 2007, 10:26:44 am

Just had a thought... are you going to set up an Xbox anywhere else in the house and link it up for multiplayer racing?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 17, 2007, 03:57:09 pm
Just had a thought... are you going to set up an Xbox anywhere else in the house and link it up for multiplayer racing?
Done.  We've got two mod'd XBoxes on the wire.  My son beats me at the first person shooters, and I beat him on the driving sims and Texas Hold'm Poker.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on May 17, 2007, 03:58:54 pm

Dude, don't play poker on the Xbox with someone actually in the house.   :laugh2:  Play with actual cards.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 30, 2007, 01:12:15 am
Wheel Mounting Plate
A long time ago, in a previous life, I studied CNC programming and briefly worked as a CNC machinist.  You can make some pretty cool parts with a CNC machine.  I was extremely pleased when my friend Jim recently decided to buy a CNC machine for his shop.  He picked up a very nice CAM software program also, making it very easy to get fancy.  Monday night together we made the trickiest piece in the whole project, the mounting plate for the steering wheel. 

Rather than doing elaborate work on the dash wood, I decided to make a plate, then bolt it onto the dash.  This way, if something went wrong, I just lose a $3 piece of aluminum, instead of a $30 piece of hardwood.  The plate could just as easily been made square, with rounded corners.  But hey, we have a CNC machine to play with.  I decided to add some bevel features and an oval profile.

The plate is made from ľĒ aluminum stock.  The center hole is a slip fit for the original plastic piece that went onto the housing.  The wheel gear assembly has 4 screws and some other features that needed to be 1/8Ē from the front surface.  After the main hole, we machined a pocket in the back for the wheel gear assembly.  The mounting holes for the gear assembly and the dash mounting holes were drilled next.  No CNC program necessary for these holes.  The machine has a pretty good coordinate system that allowed me to dial in the hole locations manually within less than a thousands of an inch.  The four gear assembly holes would be used to help fixture the part for the next step, the oval profile and blank cut-out.

We needed to make a fixture to hold the part.  In one of these pictures, you can see a screen shot of the tool profile as generated by the CAM software.  This program was used to cut away the surface of fixture wood, leaving a mirror image feature of the pocket in the back of the aluminum.  This feature was a tight press fit into the part.  The press fit, 4 long wood screws, and some C clamps held it in place for the profiling cuts.

There are 4 steps, 1/32Ē deep, and 1/8Ē wide around the perimeter.  It took about 25 minutes to run this program.  The white knuckle part of the process was the very last pass, where you cut through the last of the material, the stuff held down by the C clamps, putting all the force on the smaller screws in the center.  This is typically where things can rip loose and really mess up your part.  About 5 seconds from the end, the shop air compressor kicked on, making a loud sound.  That was really bad timing, for my nerves anyway, the part turned out fine.

Next comes cutting a hole in the wood for the wheel gear assembly to pass through, mounting the plate to the dash, then wiring it up, then the artwork, then, then, then. 

Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on May 30, 2007, 01:13:58 am
Iím guilty of not following my own advice regarding getting a cab functional then playing it.  Aside from recent business trips, family outings, and spring yard work, most of my time on the project has been spent inside the projectÖdriving.  I hate to admit it, but I was never late to work in the morning playing Defender or Donkey Kong.  Iíll probably get fired soon after I get the wheel assembly mounted, wired, and operational. 

>> more Wheel Mounting Plate pics <<
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on May 30, 2007, 11:35:42 am
Sick.  Awesome work as usual Coder!  I've never even seen a CNC machine but from what I understand you can make some really cool stuff.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on June 04, 2007, 01:46:02 am
Thanks javeryh, just having fun...

Unsuccessful Hack
I wanted to provide a way to quit the current game and return to the dashboard without rebooting the Xbox.  My BIOS supports an in-game-reset and is activated by pressing the left & right triggers, while holding down the start & back buttons.  That is not the most convenient arrangement, especially inside a dark cab.  I decided to provide this functionality with one button on the dash using a hacked controller. 

I picked up a cheap Xbox wheel controller at a garage sale last summer.  I tried to short the wires going to the left and right pots, but got an error message, something like the controller was not connected correctly.  I decided then to just leave the pots in-line, setting them in the ďonĒ position and tape them up.  I soldered the Start and Back inputs together, then soldered one wire to these inputs and one to ground.  Being optimistic, I wired on a push button.  To my surprise, it worked first try.  I fired up a game, got past the intro screen, then pressed the button.  The console did a soft boot and returned to the menu screen within about 5 seconds.  This worked for the first 5 or 10 tries, but then stopped working all together.  On the last few tries, it really slowed down responding the 8-way pad while navigating the menu using my primary controller (currently a hand held Ė soon to be wheel). 

It is behaving as though I fried something in the controller.  I've tried different ports, unplugged everything, etc.  The solder joints appear to still be good.  It wonít even respond to the up & down buttons on the 8-way pad of the hacked controller.  At least I didnít fry the input ports on my console (yea!!)  I guess I'll pick up another controller and try again.  Does anyone have any ideas as to what I might have screwed up?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Kaytrim on June 04, 2007, 09:26:28 am
Nice job on the mounting plate coder.  I like the little detail around the edge.

TTFN :cheers:
Kaytrim
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: Generic Eric on June 07, 2007, 12:57:37 am
... I also have something like this that I wanted to use...
snipped

I NEED YOUR INPUT
We're a creative bunch of people.  What other systems might I put into this thing to increase the driving experience?  Lets think crazy, laughable, grossly impractical.  Or maybe even cool and functional.

How about a tape deck?  I didn't see it posted here.  http://www.coolest-gadgets.com/20061217/pc-cassette-deck/
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: brack on June 07, 2007, 05:46:02 am

It is behaving as though I fried something in the controller.  I've tried different ports, unplugged everything, etc.  The solder joints appear to still be good.  It wonít even respond to the up & down buttons on the 8-way pad of the hacked controller.  At least I didnít fry the input ports on my console (yea!!)  I guess I'll pick up another controller and try again.  Does anyone have any ideas as to what I might have screwed up?


I have fried a couple of xbox controller hacks myself and it seems to always be related to the triggers.  I'm not quite sure why.  As a matter of fact, one of the ones I am using right now has a trigger that I thought was fried but in fact was just reversed into a normally open status vs a normally closed.  I just used the normally open on the microswitch and it works just fine.  It's probably not a bad idea to skip right to the tape option for the triggers in your next hack.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on June 07, 2007, 01:02:56 pm

Make the bucket seat cloth 500 degrees every now and then.  Make everyone wear shorts.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on June 07, 2007, 04:24:52 pm

It is behaving as though I fried something in the controller.  I've tried different ports, unplugged everything, etc.  The solder joints appear to still be good.  It wonít even respond to the up & down buttons on the 8-way pad of the hacked controller.  At least I didnít fry the input ports on my console (yea!!)  I guess I'll pick up another controller and try again.  Does anyone have any ideas as to what I might have screwed up?


I have fried a couple of xbox controller hacks myself and it seems to always be related to the triggers.  I'm not quite sure why.  As a matter of fact, one of the ones I am using right now has a trigger that I thought was fried but in fact was just reversed into a normally open status vs a normally closed.  I just used the normally open on the microswitch and it works just fine.  It's probably not a bad idea to skip right to the tape option for the triggers in your next hack.

Thanks.  On one try I did tape the triggers in place.  I think I'll try one relay per button/switch next time.  I'll share the results...


Make the bucket seat cloth 500 degrees every now and then.  Make everyone wear shorts.

Born and raised Phoenix Arizona, I really know what that's like.  I'll stick with cool cloth, thanks.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: meequalgreat on June 08, 2007, 12:24:25 pm
Do This:
http://www.everythingusb.com/usb_gauges_12689.html
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on June 17, 2007, 12:44:09 am
Successful Hack
Well, three controllers later, I finally got it.  To save a few seconds for each game reset, I hacked a controller to do an in game reset (IGR).  On a modified Xbox it does a soft reset when you press the start + back + left trigger + right trigger buttons at the same time.  Other attempts involving bringing the different leads to ground through a switch failed.  I finally just gave each button their own set of contacts using 4 relays.  The dashboard button runs 5vdc to the four relays wired in parallel.  I picked up the relays at an online components place for $0.78 each.  Much cheaper than the $2.99 Radio Shack was asking.  The relays for the two buttons just short out wires soldered to the pad under each button.  For the relays, I experimented and found which two (of three) leads on the pot needed to be shorted together to invoke ďfull onĒ.  I soldered these terminals to the relay contacts.  Works like a champ.  8 hours of hacking time and $45 later, Iíve now saved 6 seconds on each game reset.  Woo-hoo.  It was probably not worth it, but I learned a bit and had some fun.

The picture ďcontroller_hackĒ is attempt #2 that involved using diodes.  This approach did not work either, but the thought was that the diodes would isolate each signal.  At work we have 40 conductor ribbon cable.  The stuff is great.  I think it is around 28 gauge.  Each colored wire has a corresponding tan wire.  It is good for when you need, say, 3 or maybe 6 sets of wires in a bundle.  I could have used an old ribbon cable, but this stuff is much easier to work with.  I also use twisted pair phone wire on occasion.  Iíve got a spool that an electrician friend gave me years ago. 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on June 17, 2007, 12:46:29 am
Dashboard Complete - Almost
The other night I mounted the steering wheel to the dash.  This involved some tricky pocketing in both the dash and the mating surface on the cab.  Before mounting everything, I gave the wood a couple of treatments of Tung oil.  Oh, man.  Talk about bringing out the richness of a piece of wood.  The pictures do not do it justice.  It looks like the polished wood grain finish in a very expensive car (not that I own one mind you).  I put the ignition switch on the right.  In the ďonĒ position, it powers a relay, that powers the power strip.  In the ďstartĒ position, it does a hard reset on the Xbox (shorts out the little power button on front).  The soft reset button is on the left.  Iím using an Electric Ice button and will be putting in a red led.  Beside that is the volume control knob.  No cool scrolling artwork or backlit inlays, just simple controls on a good looking piece of wood.

I mentioned ďAlmost CompleteĒ because the wheel is not yet functional.  When I went to reassemble all the boards and cables, I was missing a few pieces.  Iím not sure if it is another small board, or what, but Iím missing 3 small wire bundles.  Thatís what you get I guess when 7 months pass between initial hack and reconstruction.  Before I took it all apart, I took a few pictures.  This helped a lot.  They showed which colored bundles went where.  It did not however, show which of the 3 red-black-green bundles went to which of the 3 sockets, and where the missing cables went to.  It also had a number of spots where you could not see everything.  If you go about hacking something like this (wheel with lots of cables/boards) I strongly recommend taking LOTS of pictures, from lots of different angles.  Move the wires around and take a few more.  Move the camera back a foot or so and take a few more.  Iíve searched high and low and canít find the missing cables.  So off to Ebay I went.  $50 deliveredÖOuch.  But hey, Iím so close, and Iím way over budget at this point.  Whatís another $50.

Remaining workÖ.
1)  Install ďnewĒ steering wheel
2)  Design and install side art
3)  Design and configure matching menu front-end skin artwork
4)  Other loose ends ?
5)  Stop playing this darn thing and get it done !  I put in another 2 hours today playing Rally Sport Challenge 2.  Volume cranked, rumblers rumbling, seat vibrating.  Very exhilarating.  It was so intense, I needed a break.

Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: javeryh on June 17, 2007, 07:18:29 am
Oh. My. God.  I think I speak for everyone when I say "Hall of Fame" - this thing continues to impress!!   :cheers:
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on June 30, 2007, 11:44:41 pm
My new Fanatec Speedster 3 wheel showed up last week.  Unfortunately it arrived the day before we were off for a 4 day vacation to Disneyland.  I figured it would be a bad call to start on mounting the new wheel while my wife was preparing for the trip.  Better to not start a vacation like this on a bad note.  We had a great time and I got in about midnight last night.  In the mean timeÖ

I set out to document the snot out of this wheel so I would not have the same problem as last time (lost cable(s), where do they go again?).  If anyone runs into a problem with this make of wheel, PM me. I took lots of pictures.  I needed to hack into the controller to route wires to my custom IGR reset circuit/button and get the rumbler signals to the extra rumblers mounted in the back of the seat.  The great news is that all the button contacts are connected to the PCB with good-ol wire.  This made it very easy to do what I needed, just soldering wires inline, instead of onto the PCB.  For the record, coming out of the wheel, there are two large ribbon cables for button signals, one for the programmable flapper buttons, and two small ones for the rumblers. 

White thru Purple (9) Cable:
white = common
blue = B
purple = A
green = X
yellow = Y
black = right trigger
brown = left trigger
red = White
orange = Black

Black thru Gray (9) Cable:
black = up
brown = down
red = left
orange = right
yellow = start
green = back
blue = setup
purple = tuning
gray = common

Red / Black (2) Cable:
Large rumbler power & ground

Green / Blue (2) Cable:
Small rumbler power & ground

Green thru Red (4) Cable:
green/yellow = right flapper
red/orange = left flapper

I had a few problems getting everything in.  First, I broke one of the wires off the wheel pot and had to re-solder it back on.  To get the main wheel retainer screw to thread in, I had to use a Dremel tool to hog out a little bit of plastic.  The plastic plate under the wheel stuck out just a bit, keeping the holes from lining up.  All in all, it took a couple of hours to get the new wheel installed and up-and-running.  But all is not good.

At first, when the system powers up, it automatically launches the last game run, bypassing the menu.  I figured out that if I press the gas pedal just a little on start-up, it boots to the menu.   Whatís up with that?  Some games play great with the wheel/pedals, but many do not.  On at least three games, it would act as if it would not go into gear.  I could drive in reverse (pressing the break), but nothing happens when I press the gas.  It would not drive backwards by itself, but for the games that donít work, they do start out in reverse, as if the break is pressed ever so slightly.  I also noticed that I can do a reset if I press the start+back+gas (right trigger), indicating that the break pedal (left trigger) is ďpressedĒ.  Oh, shoot, the break pot needs adjusting!!!!! To get the pedals and mounting hardware off, Iíve got a lot of disassembly to do.  Man, I was so close.  :banghead:

Does anyone know if there is an Xbox trigger tuning utility out there?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on July 05, 2007, 09:43:19 pm
Finally Driving With The Wheel & Pedals
Yesterday, after doing a lot of chores around the house, I got around to fixing the break pedal.  Apparently it was sending a slight ďonĒ signal to the CPU, causing all kinds of havoc.  I could not get to the mechanisms as mounted, so the pedal assembly had to be removed.  What a pain!  Half of the components in the front part of the cab had to be removed, exposing the large lag bolts that hold the pedals in place.  Unfortunately, I used a lot of wood glue in addition to the bolts.  It was painful to do, but I had to take a chisel, block of wood & hammer, and whack it a bunch of times to get it off.  Ouch, a bunch of dings and scratches!  Once it was out the adjustment was very easy to make.  All I had to do was remove the square rack gear, rotate the pinion a couple of teeth, then put the square gear back on.  The pedal assembly is back on and the problems is solved.  I'll patch it up with a little bondo to cover the dings and then hit it with a quick coat of black paint.

I used the opportunity to clean up some of my wiring, gave it one last vacuuming, and now itís fully functional.  I took a couple of short video of my son getting into a game of Burnout.  One from the side looking into the door, and the other looking from behind, through the smoked glass.  It plays MUCH better with a wheel & pedals vs. a hand held controller. 

All that remains is the artwork for the side and front-end skin.  But with it running now, I canít seem to find the timeÖ
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: vrf on July 05, 2007, 10:27:33 pm
This is such an awesome project. Wish I had more to say...
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on July 05, 2007, 10:40:34 pm
This is such an awesome project. Wish I had more to say...
Thanks.  It has been quite a ride (no pun intended).  What is the state of your bartop?  Did you ever finish that thing?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: _) (V) (-) on November 07, 2007, 06:33:38 pm
 :notworthy:
Awesome job!

I'll be stealing many ideas from you.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: brandon on November 14, 2007, 02:57:07 am
Excellent work!!!! here's your next project.... :D

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mzbrOhtx4A[/youtube]
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 14, 2007, 10:00:21 am
Very cool.  I've driven a couple of similar PC based prototype simulators.  One was based on the steering wheel and pedal inputs.  Not that great.  The other used a game designed for the hardware.  The experience is awesome.  The real trick is getting the software vendors to include feedback signals out of their games.  The motor / hydraulic systems need to come down in price as well.  This should happen over the next few years.  I looked into building one with hydraulics but could not justify the $8-15k in parts.  Perhaps the Xcelerator project will be ready for an upgrade in a few years?
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: brandon on November 14, 2007, 11:46:19 am
the guy in the youtube vid said he built his for less than 1000 euros and with windshield wiper motors :)
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on November 14, 2007, 01:09:14 pm

I have seen a couple of prototype feedback data transformers that feed off the audio... it has to be done for each game but you can specify an audio frequency range for certain types of physical feedback, like engine revs or tire screeches.  Very early stuff and not anything like a market ready product, though.
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: theCoder on November 14, 2007, 11:42:59 pm
Perhaps the Nintendo or MS will come out with a breakthrough platform.  Our best bet for flexibility will probably always be a PC. 

Less than 1000 Euros huh?  Hummmm.  It will have to wait.  I've already got a driving cab.  I'm already mulling over ideas for my next "cab" for after I finish the TimeSink project. 
Title: Re: Xcelerator - Xbox driving cab
Post by: ChadTower on November 15, 2007, 09:06:22 am

A shed that doubles as a space flight simulator.  Think planetariums.