Zach Zupancic

Zach Zupancic

Senior Designer, SolidWorks addict, AutoCAD zealot, Cyclist, Shade Tree Mechanic, & moderately tall. 


When I started the weight loss plan, there was really nothing attached to it other than to just lose weight. After some time passed and we started to get back into the racing bits of life I figured that if I was able to break 200 within the time frame then I would reward myself with a steering wheel and build a structure around it to make it awesome. The initial plan was to use one of Jeg’s seats that he replaced in his car, but unfortunately that fell through at the last moment. Once I found this out I made a trip over to the junkyard and started to look for a comfortable seat. I located what seemed to be the perfect seat in a first gen Miata; unfortunately all of the seat bolts were rusted into the frame and after many attempts I had to give up after I stripped the heads off. Lucky for me there was a 2nd gen Rx7 in the junk yard as well. The driver's seat was torn and stained; fortunately though, the passenger seat was in good condition.

So I got home and started to make the initial measurements and find out how much wood I actually needed. After the design was finalized and the dimensions were in place I figured that I would need about 20' of wood. The next morning I got up and asked for three 8' sections of 2x4 just in case. I also purchased a box of 3” screws and a couple of wheels so that the cockpit would be portable. I got back to the house and set up the seat and the pedals.


I made the rear support a bit shorter than planned, but in the end it turned out perfectly; then test fitted the side brace to see how much of the wood I would actually need. After some contemplation and a few words from the pops I figured out how I was going to correct the seat frame and make sure that the base of the cockpit would be level with the ground; these corrections had to be made due to the seat frame having to form around the transmission tunnel.


I put it all together and then made some more measurements as to where the steering wheel would actually be relative to where I was sitting. Cut a few more pieces of wood and plopped them all together to make the cockpit a near reality.


Brought it inside so that I could make sure that it fit well and run some initial tests.


I knew that I would have to make another brace to hold the laptop in place, but I wasn’t really sure I was going to go about doing it; eventually I ended up with this design


Made a stencil out of the last PaperCar sticker in existence and sprayed the back of the seat to make sure that this was being built for a reason, training.


I added a power strip so that there wouldn't be a need for more than one outlet, and cleaned up all the wires. With the laptop support in place all I need to run everything is 1 outlet, if I want to connect it to the big screen I fold down the laptop and you can see the big screen perfectly.

Within the next couple of days I am planning on adding a vertical brace and a cross brace on the other side, so that the laptop doesn’t wobble too much when the force feed back comes in, but for right now things a pretty dandy.

While I could have brought a structure that is much thinner, and possibly a bit more portable there is no way that I would have been able to do it for under $30. The seat, wood, screws, and wheels cost me $30, the steering wheel was another $70, giving us a grand total of $100. All in all it is a pretty damn good price for a great little system. There are some thoughts as to if I should paint it or not, and right now I am thinking that I am just going to keep it raw, but who knows what will happen when I get back to the hardware store and find myself in front of the spray paint...