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Historic style gearshift project


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#1 Siddley

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 15:34

I have just finished the gear lever for my historic style h pattern gearshift project. It's made from brass, which isn't probably the most authentic material - but it lends itself well to fabrication and I'm not Colin Chapman, adding lightness...
Plus it's durable. The consequences of a broken gear lever at the ( virtual ) 24 hours of ( virtual ) Le Mans don't bear thinking about, the driver might spill his beer on the keyboard or something equally tragic :lol:

 

Only the top third  of the lever is going to be visible, so I could have made the bottom two thirds out of empty Kit-E-Kat tins and baling wire. But I'd know it was a bodge and I want to make this as if it's going into a real car - given the fact that it will be operating microswitches rather than stirring the cogs of a racing box.

It needs a polish, I might think about nickel plating it, if I can find anyone who can do that here in rural Spain.

More to follow...

 

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#2 The Kanisteri

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 18:41

Welcome aboard Siddley!

 

Though this rooms name is "Racing Simulations", we don't actually simulate car parts here. Hence it's fun though.

I guess you find more readers from " The Technical Forum" subforum.



#3 Siddley

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 19:02

Thanks for the welcome :)

 

When finished this will be a USB gear shifter for  PC racing sims  ;) I use rFactor with the Historx and F1 1965 mods



#4 Siddley

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 20:00

Encouraged by the huge amount of interest in this project :lol: I'm going to show more work in progress.

The second axis of the gearshift has been machined, and next it'll be time to make a spring bias arrangement to keep the lever in the 3-4 plane ( or 2-3 if you are driving a Ferrari )

 

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Edited by Siddley, 13 March 2014 - 20:01.


#5 mahelgel

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 07:59

Cool project!

 

I love such projects! Not doing any myself (all thumbs, and no engineering skills :p ), but the fact that some people do is great. I remember people making their own shifter solutions for GPL, before relatively cheap solutions like the Logitech G25 wheel/pedals/shifter where available. Also, some of the home made "simulator cockpits" that people make really shows how simracing can be more than just "doing some laps for fun"...



#6 Siddley

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 12:04

Thanks - it was GPL which got me into sim racing, I bought it when it first came out. Amazing that it's still alive and kicking today.
 


 



#7 mahelgel

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 17:34

I was allready into "simracing" before GPL, with Microprose / Geoff Crammonds Grand Prix 2 and Papyrus Indycar Racing 1 and 2 (somehow i liked the handling of the first indycar game more), but it wasn't until GPL i really was hooked. I bought GPL the day it was available here in Norway, but my computer at the time was just not up the task of running it smoothly....  so it took a few months before i really got on with it :)

 

I only drove GPL with a joystick though, and many many years later when i got a wheel/pedals setup i never got the hang of GPL with that setup since my driving style was made up around the fast correction of the joystick driving. Now i am trying to get the hang of the lotus 49 in Iracing with my Logitech g27 setup.

 

My engineering skills (with some help from a few friends) stopped at putting an old BMW drivers seat on a set of 2x4" to put the sliding mechanism on and rising it a bit off the floor, then a sort of table that the monitor and wheel/gearshifter is mounted on in front of me with place for the pedals under it. Beats driving from a desk with a kitchen chair though :)

 

(sorry for the off topic)


Edited by mahelgel, 14 March 2014 - 17:35.


#8 Siddley

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Posted 14 March 2014 - 19:19

It's sim racing, so it's on topic  ;)

 

I had Grand Prix 2 as well, I think that was on the Atari ST. I thought that for the time it was pretty good, but post 80's F1 isn't my thing so it didn't hold my interest for long. GPL wouldn't run well on my PC either and I put it away for a long time until I had upgraded. Now I only use rFactor. It's not perfect but has the best historic cars.

I think a cockpit is essential, no matter how simple. You have to get the wheel and pedals in the right place and that is almost impossible with a desk setup. I'm going to build a new cockpit around the race seat I kept from my real life track day car.



#9 Siddley

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 14:21

Nothing really worth showing yet, I've been figuring out how to supply the right 'feel' to the lever. Springs alone aren't very good.

 

Here however is a photo of preparing to machine the bearing blocks, without that any of that modern CNC rubbish ( I'm just jealous of CNC owners really :lol: )
It's the old school method of ensuring a workpiece is at a right angle to the table, with a dial gauge or a 'clock'. Ignore the date on the photo, stupid camera.

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#10 Jejking

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 10:06

Awesome :) Following*



#11 RogerGraham

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 10:31

Siddley, are you hoping to somehow engineer the feel of the gears slotting into place with each gear change?  If so, any ideas on how you might do that, e.g. cams/notches somewhere in the gubbins*?

 

* I'm not a mechanical engineer  :drunk: 



#12 Siddley

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:10

Gubbins is a great word :lol:

Yes, the plan is to have the feel of gears engaging and a cam surface combined with a positive detent seems to be the best option.
I have made a fair bit of progress on the shifter recently but haven't had chance to take pictures. The gizmo for biasing the lever into the central plane is roughed out and working - that's a cam and roller arrangement.

I've got to make a couple of pieces of tooling before I go to the next step. I might get chance to post some pictures later.

I have decided that I'll most likely make a short run of shifters for sale. That means refining the design into something more production friendly, that I could make a profit on.
 



#13 RogerGraham

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:13

Detent!  Another great word.  That's the word I was looking for  :)  Sounds great, look forward to these updates!

 

What electronics will you use, or haven't you got that far yet?


Edited by RogerGraham, 09 April 2014 - 12:14.


#14 Siddley

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 16:44

As I see it I've got these options for the electronics  :-

 

Encoders of some sort mounted on the axes of the lever - left\right and forward\back. They could be potentiometers or optical. This will require a microcontroller running a simple program to interpret the various axis positions and translate them into a gear position which is then seen by Windoze as a joystick button press. I've got an Arduino Uno which can do that, but it seems a bit of a waste of it's capabilities.

Six roller microswitches activated by the lever itself. Simple enough in concept but might be tricky to package. The interface can then be the circuit board from a USB gamepad, which costs about 6 Euros here.





 



#15 Siddley

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 18:23

Finally got around to taking some pictures of the shifter progress. The aluminium base is temporary, it's just superglued in place.
Making the knob was a bit out of sequence, but I wanted to make the thing look a bit more complete.

The fore\aft detent plate is the next job.

 

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#16 mahelgel

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 10:16

I was just about to dig out this thread to ask if there where any progress :) It looks like a very solid construction, great stuff :)



#17 Siddley

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 22:18

Thanks !

Now I have found the lead and the charger for the digicam, here's a workshop tour :)

 

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#18 MarkWRX

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 18:56

This is a very cool thread.  I have spent a LOT of time flight simming  in WarBirds from 1997 - 2008 or so and recall all of the cockpits that people put together, mapping switches to keys and investing a lot of money on hyper realistic joysticks, rudders and throttles (which had all sorts of functions that WWII sticks and throttles didn't).  But the attention to detail you are putting into this project is inspiring.

 

May I suggest a high speed motor with an out of round wheel attached to the base to simulate grinding gears or a missed shift?   ;)



#19 Siddley

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 22:12

Thanks Mark ! really nice of you to say that.

I have decided I'm going to make a few H-shifters for sale so I'm currently researching ways to cast parts in aluminium - I can't mill them from solid or hand fabricate them and make it worthwhile.

I'd love to incorporate feedback and have thought a lot about it, but it's a difficult task if it's going to be 100% realistic. The 'grinding tranny' plugin for rFactor does output a missed shift signal that can be read by controller hardware but I'm not much of a programmer