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DIY Sim Racing Rig

Do you want your current sim racing Setup or sim rig upgrade? Or are you looking for a new racing simulator but find buying a new one too expensive? Then building your own DIY sim racing rig is a good alternative. How does it work? You can find out here. A new sim rig setup can easily cost around ?400 for a mid-range sim rig, such as the Sim Lab GT-1 Evo. Please note this does not include the seat ? For a good sim racing seat you pay between ?400 and ?600 euros. So the cost of a complete sim setup can add up quite quickly and high with all the accessories and add-ons.

A good - and widely used - alternative is to build your own sim rig from 80/20 aluminium. And it's easier than you think! And maybe even more fun, too. Want to know how? Then read this article!

diy sim racing rig

What is an 80/20 sim rig?

Want to build a high-quality sim racing rig yourself? Then a 80/20 sim rig really something for you! But what is an 80/20 sim rig? An 80/20 sim rig refers to a particular size of aluminium profile. This type of aluminium is also called a aluminium extrusion (construction) profile called.

aluminium extrusion or 8020 profile
Aluminium extrusion profile or 80/20

This type of profile is used in many - homemade - sim rigs because of its rock-solid construction and flexibility. In fact, expanding or upgrading is super easy! So this aluminium construction profile is ideal for building your own sim rig that will last a lifetime.

What are the pros and cons of an 80/20 diy sim racing rig?

Benefit 1 - It is extremely strong

The single most important advantage of an aluminium extrusion profile is that it is rock-solid material and built to never break. It is strong, but also very light. Aluminium extrusion profiles (or aluminium extrusion rig or 80/20 aluminium) are often used in vehicle construction. Hence, it is rock solid, light, rigid and of extremely high quality material.

And be honest... how cool does one of these 8020 sim rigs look? Do you like robust and industrial? Then this is really something for you. Do you like silver/grey or matt black? That is also possible! So regardless of your decor, it will always fit somewhere in your home or mancave?

Benefit 2 - Rigidity

If even car manufacturers make cars out of it, you can be sure 8020 aluminium profiles are stiff stuff. Remember, if you're racing a powerful force-feedback direct-drive wheel, such as the Fanatec DD1 / DD2 or Simucube), then you need a solid quality sim rig.

The last thing you want is to be racing around the track in a fat GT3 car in Assetto Corsa Competitione, iRacing or any other simulation game is that your lap times deviate because you cannot drive perfect lines due to 'flex' or 'slack' in your sim rig. So having a powerful racing wheel makes no sense if your sim racing setup does not also have this characteristic. So quality and stiffness are very important. And with a (homebuilt) 8020 rig, you don't have to worry about that!

Besides building or buying a sim racing cockpit, you also need a good racing seat. Therefore take a look at our racing chair top 5!

Advantage 3 - Future-proof and easy to expand with accessories

Another great advantage of an 8020 profile is its flexibility. Because you can easily connect the aluminium profiles, only your own imagination can hold you back. You can go crazy adding sim accessories, like shifters, button boxes, a hand brake, a single or triple monitor setup. In other words, it's Technic Lego for grown-ups! And fair is fair: how cool is Lego? ? Building your own sim racing cockpit is just as satisfying!

Benefit 4 - Flexibility and adaptability

The more cheap(er) and standard sim rigs usually have a fixed steering, pedal and seat position. Ideal for entering the world of sim racing on a low-budget, but anything but a future-proof and durable solution. If you want to upgrade to another wheel, you are pretty much forced to buy a new sim rig as well. And that's an expensive investment.

So with an aluminium 8020 sim rig, you are flexible(er) in upgrading and customising your setup. You'll probably never want, buy or build another sim rig again. It is therefore a hugely future-proof investment!

Whether you are a novice sim racer with a 'standard' gear-driven wheel (such as a Logitech or Thrustmaster), a more serious sim racer with a belt-driven racing wheel (think Fanatec) or just a hardcore sim racer with a direct drive (Simucube, Leo Bodnar etc.): your DIY sim rig will be future-proof and grow with you, regardless of your experience and the budget you want to spend on it.

And now for the disadvantages of an aluminium 8020 sim rig

Disadvantage 1 - The cost and weight

Let's get right to the point. Aluminium is (quite) expensive. It is very laborious and expensive to produce in terms of different dimensions. In addition, all materials combined, it is very heavy. Not something you can easily get delivered home with a standard delivery from PostNL ? So the total cost can be quite high. Certainly also because of the flexibility of the setup, the costs can run high over the years. However, building your own sim rig is often cheaper and more satisfying than buying an existing high-end setup.

Disadvantage 2 - You do not want to build it yourself but a ready-made solution

This point speaks for itself seems to me ? Keep in mind that building a sim rig yourself takes a lot of time. Think from drawing, picking and ordering materials to assembling it. Are you someone with two left hands or don't want to put too much effort into this yourself? Then a ready-made solution from Sim Lab, Trak Racer or Treq might be a better alternative.

Disadvantage 3 - You don't like an industrial and robust look

Don't like an industrial and rugged look? Then unfortunately you are out of luck and an aluminium 80/20 sim rig is not for you. Of course, there are alternatives with other materials, such as PVC or wood. Although you just have to love those? Also, these alternatives are less durable and long-term.

pvc sim rig
pvc sim rig as alternative. Not pretty, but cheap ?

DIY 8020 sim rig

Design your own sim rig with Frame designer

If you want to build your own aluminium 80/20 sim racing cockpit, it's nice to have some help with this. You can, of course, get started yourself with pen and paper. With the free software Frame Designer you can easily design your own race simulator yourself and have an instant overview of all the right materials and sizes. Super handy! Also check out the tutorial below.

Aluminium profile sim rig plans

Don't feel like - or have time - to design your own sim rig? Even then, there is plenty of choice. On the website Open Sim Racing you have several ready-made construction drawings that, with various materials, you can get started right away!

Sim racing DIY

Want more DIY projects? Then check out the articles below:

Finally, share your own DIY sim rig!

Of course we are curious about your sim racing setup! Have you already built a (aluminium 80/20) DIY sim racing rig yourself or are you just proud to show off your setup? Share your photos and videos on us Instagram account! We are very curious. Do you have any tips for this article? If so, please also let us know.

Wilco Verhaegh

Over 18 years ago, my passion for sim racing began with Grand Prix 4. My passion for racing, motorsport photography and gaming knows no bounds. With, I capture racing cars on film. Moreover, I am proud of my book 'Mastering The Art Of Sim Racing', in which I share my knowledge and insights with aspiring sim racers worldwide!

en_GBEnglish (UK)

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