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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? Read more here.

A new sim rig setup will easily cost around ?400 for a mid-range sim rig, such as the Sim Lab GT-1 Evo. Please note that this does not include the seat ? For a good sim racing seat you pay between ?400 and ?600 euros. So the cost for a complete sim setup can add up pretty fast 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 aluminum. And it's easier than you think! And maybe even more fun, too. Want to know how? Just read this article!

diy sim racing rig

What is an 80/20 sim rig?

Want to build your own sim racing rig of high quality? 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 aluminum profile. This type of aluminum is also called a aluminum extrusion (construction) profile called.

aluminum extrusion or 8020 profile
Aluminum 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, building out or upgrading is super easy! So this aluminum 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 aluminum extrusion profile is that it is rock-solid material and built to never break down. It is strong, but also very light. Aluminum extrusion profiles (or aluminum extrusion rig or 80/20 aluminum) are often used in vehicle construction. Hence, it is rock solid, light, rigid and of extremely high quality material.

And honestly ... 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 / gray or just matte black? That is also possible! It fits, regardless of your decor, always somewhere in your home or mancave?

Benefit 2 - Rigidity

If even car manufacturers make cars out of them, you can be sure that 8020 aluminum profiles is 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 when racing a fat GT3 car around the track in Assetto Corsa Competitione, iRacing or any other simulation game is for your lap times to deviate because you can't 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 you don't have to worry about that with a (homebuilt) 8020 rig!

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

Benefit 3 - Future-proof and easily expandable with accessories

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

Benefit 4 - Flexibility and adaptability.

The more inexpensive(er) and standard sim rigs usually have fixed steering, pedal and seat positions. Ideal for a low-budget entry into the world of sim racing, but far from 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 aluminum 8020 sim rig, you are flexible(er) in upgrading and customizing your setup. Most likely you will never want, buy or build another sim rig. 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 wheel (Simucube, Leo Bodnar etc.): your DIY sim rig is future proof and will grow with you, no matter your experience and the budget you want to spend on it.

And now for the disadvantages of an aluminum 8020 sim rig

Disadvantage 1 - The cost and weight.

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

Disadvantage 2 - You don't want to build it yourself but a ready-made solution

This point speaks for itself it seems to me ? Keep in mind that building a sim rig yourself takes a lot of time. From drawing, searching and ordering materials to putting it together. 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 perhaps a better alternative.

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

Don't like an industrial and rugged look? Then unfortunately you are out of luck and an aluminum 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 for the long term.

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

DIY 8020 sim rig

Design your own sim rig with Frame designer

If you want to build your own aluminum 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 create your own race simulator designer and immediately have an overview of all the right materials and sizes. Super handy! Also check out the tutorial below.

Aluminum profile sim rig plans

Don't feel like - or have time - to design your own sim rig? Even then, there are plenty of choices. 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 (aluminum 80/20) DIY sim racing rig yourself or are you just proud to show off your setup? Share your photos and videos with us. Instagram account! We are very curious. Do you have any tips for this article? If so, please also let us know.

Wilco Verhaegh

For over 15 years I have been a passionate sim racer. My love for racing, motorsport photography and gaming are boundless. I am also proud of my book "Mastering The Art Of Sim Racing," in which I share my knowledge and insights with aspiring sim racers worldwide!