buying a Microsoft steering wheel and pedal set to get the
best out of various driving games on the Xbox 360 I quickly
found out that the steering wheel didn't securely fit any
tables in the house. Therefore I decided to create my own
'table'. Here's a quick how-to guide for anyone else thinking
of making their own. It's not a plan but should give you some
ideas and you're welcome to copy it.
The brief I set myself required that the gaming chair emulate
the driving position found in many sports and super cars,
allow for different driver sizes, be relatively easy to get
into and out of, be sturdy, be able to be stored away with
ease, and look at home on the floor of the living room. Not
look like a collection of welded tubes and car parts bolted
together on a whim.
Construction of the gaming chair started with a trip to the
local DIY store where I picked a variety of hardware and several
different pieces of wood, using the plan which only existed
in my head as a blueprint. But in the end it required:
34" high x 15 3/4" wide (87cm x 40cm)
15 1/2 " x 15 3/4" (39cm x 40 cm)
17 1/2" x 15 3/4" (44cm x 40 cm)
3" x 3/4" (7cm x 2cm) planks for base, backboard
and seat supports.
15" high x 10" deep (38cm x 25 cm)
10" deep x 15 3/4" wide (25cm x 40cm)
2x hinges, 10x L-brackets, 8x joining bars (flat L brackets),
multiple screws 70 - 100 approx.
All these measurements are approximate and only intended as
a guide to what you might need during your construction.
The plan slowly developed in a productive afternoon spent
in the shed. It began with a rectangular base formed from
the 3"x3/4" (7cm x 2cm) planks. Resulting in an
overall base size of 58"x15 3/4" (147 cm x 40 cm).
The next part of the build was creating the back rest. Strength
was critical to its success so I used support braces attached
to the base and running roughly 1/3rd the height of the back
rest. The position of the back rest also allows for the gaming
chair to be positioned on its back for storage - a nice feature
if you're considering building one yourself. Then came the
seat section. Because the seat itself (and the backrest) are
fixed, it's best to align these to fit your body shape. On
my gaming chair the front of the seat section is about 6.5
inches high, while the rear rests on the base. Then came the
table section which holds the steering wheel. For this I made
two identical sidepanels which are attached to the base using
L-brackets. Then I built the gaming chair's table top, this
is attached to one of the side panels using two strong hinges
(a small piano hinge would also work), this lets you get in
and out of the chair. Then in order that the table top fit
snugly I added an additional piece of wood on the side panel
without the hinges which sat up at the same level as the table
top when closed (see picture 4), this helps keep the table
top locked in place when closed. Finally came the board on
which the pedals rest, this quite simply is a wooden panel
screwed to the rectangular base on which the pedals sit. I
opted not to attach the pedals to the base because the rubber
feet on the bottom of the pedals hold them in place firmly
anyway and it also makes it very easy for drivers of differing
heights to fit the chair.
Once the framework was complete It required padding for the
seat section and a covering for the entire structure. At the
upholstery shop there was a wide selection of different density
and size foam padding and a variety of coverings. I opted
for thick 2" foam for the seat and 1" foam for the
backing, black faux leather was chosen for the covering. It
required 1.5 meters x 3 meters in total. To attach the leather
I used a staple gun and about 200-300 8mm staples.
I've been using the gaming chair now for a couple weeks and
find it makes driving games far more involving than using
a conventional controller. Several others who tried it found
it to be great fun also. As a further bonus I found that it
makes a great chair in which to watch TV, work on a laptop,
or even eat off!