Going Racing with a Controller Mini Wheel

fully assembled mini wheel on an xbox one controller

I have been a gamer for many years now with my journey starting on the PC playing the original Wolfenstein with my dad. Ever since then I have continued to expand my library which now encompasses a wide range of games. Racing games are some of my favourite having grown up with Need for Speed Underground and Pro Street on the Playstation 2. I moved over to Xbox when I bought my brothers old Xbox 360 and then later an Xbox One which is still my current console.

I have always enjoyed a good arcade racing game, but simulator games have always been out of my reach due to a lack of a racing wheel. This means I have had to use a controller for racing simulator games such as Formula 1, Project Cars 2, and Dirt Rally 2.0. While a controller works well for some of the games it is very difficult to use with Project Cars 2. Now you know a bit of the story we can dive into the project.

I had seen the Xbox mini wheel on Youtube before I started working at DIYElectronics so it was only once I started working that I had the opportunity to give it a try. As with many other prints it ended up on the backlog due to more important task and after a while, I completely forgot about it. Recently the left bumper on my controller broke and before I got a chance to look into fixing it, I got a new Xbox Series controller. This allows me to setup the old controller to be a semi-permanent racing controller, so I decided it was the perfect time to give the Mini Wheel a try.

Mini Wheel Requirements

To get started you will need to download the files from Thingiverse. There are separate designs for the Xbox One controllers (including One S/X) and Xbox Series controllers. Various other controller setups are also available from Pixel2’s Thingiverse page.

To complete the project I used the following:
Ender 2 Pro
– SAFilament Grey PLA – Test filament
608 Bearing

The controller I am using is a second-generation Xbox One controller which has the 3.5mm headphone jack. I printed the following STLs from the model.
– Frame
– Rack
– Pivot
– Wheel
– Wheel Minimal

The parts did not require special settings and the frame did require supports which you need to be careful about removing. When inserting the wheel into the bearing you must be aware that due to the tight fit it might not be possible to remove the wheel without destroying it. Therefore I recommend printing multiple wheels.

digital render of custom wheel and 3D printed version of custom wheel

I also modified the minimal wheel slightly in Tinkercad to increase the rigidity as the standard minimal wheel felt a bit too flexible. I also added a centre line on the wheel. If you find the original frame allows the bearing to move too much, then I recommend printing the Stable Frame remix by pentiumsk. There are also a variety of remixes which allow you to attach rubber bands to the wheel and frame to get a basic type of force feedback by adding some resistance while turning and helping to centre the wheel. This is a remix I would like to try in the future. Having completed my mini wheel setup it was time to start testing. So I loaded up Project Cars 2 and started adjusting the settings. Due to this still being a controller setup you have to adjust the controller settings without as you don’t have access to the wheel settings.

My Thoughts

As you may expect it does take a bit of time to get use to the wheel after using analogue sticks for so long but surprisingly after a few laps of a circuit I was already comfortable using it. I found the biggest challenge to be not letting go of the wheel and maintaining a constant wheel position. I thoroughly enjoy the mini wheel and the difference it makes to a game that I really struggled to play with a controller is very surprising. It certainly doesn’t compare to a proper racing wheel and pedals setup, but it makes it far more enjoyable experience once you get the hang of it. I would recommend any Maker who enjoys racing games, has a 3D Printer, but might not be able to afford a full setup give this a try.

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