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Toolmonger Game Chair / Hobart 125EZ

In yesterday’s comparison post we gave you the information you need to select an entry-level flux-core/MIG welder for your shop.   In today’s follow-up, we’ll walk you through using one of the welders from the comparison to build an inexpensive game chair to make playing GT4 or Forza a lot more fun. 

This project was completed entirely using Hobart’s Handler 125 EZ, which sells for around $380 on the street and is targeted at novice welders (and people who just want to get the job done).  With a project materials cost of around $80 (and considering the $40 rebate Hobart’s currently offering on the unit) you could buy the welder and build the chair for around $400 — about what you pay for much lesser chairs out of the back of magazines. 

Or, if you just want a game chair, you can win ours.  Click for details.  (Much, much more after the jump.)

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Hands-On: Hobart’s Handler 125 EZ

Hobart’s Handler 125 EZ is targeted squarely at the home/farm market, and is specifically designed to provide a welding experience that’s as simple as possible.  It’s a single-phase 110V unit, which requires only a readily-available dedicated 20A three-prong outlet.  (You’ll often find such outlets called “freezer plugs” in newly-built homes.  The idea is that you want a freezer on its own circuit so some other product doesn’t blow the fuse and spoil your food.)

 

hobartbeautyshot.jpg

 

Also, by limiting the unit to flux-core use only with a single type and size of wire, Hobart eliminated most of the situations requiring separate voltage and wire-feed adjustments.  This enabled them to replace the two separate adjustment knobs on the standard Handler 125 with a single knob labeled with material thickness.

Best of all, its street price starts around $380, and Hobart’s currently offering a $40 mail-in rebate for Father’s Day.  (Since we were comparing welders from so many different sources, the prices in yesterday’s comparison were list.)

Unboxing/What’s in the Package

Unboxing the Hobart 125ez

Though the box isn’t that big, it is heavy.  The unit itself weighs around 50 lbs., which is light for a welder, but heavy enough that you should remember to lift with your legs and not your back.  The welder ships via standard carrier (as opposed to dedicated truck shipping), which is a good thing in our book.

Note: Click on the pictures throughout this post to see larger versions.

The box contains the welder, a torch, a roll of .030 flux-core wire, some extra tips, and manuals.

Setup

Setup of the WireThere’s very little setup required.  To install the included wire, you simply open the door on the side of the welder, remove the assembly that holds the spool in, place the spool on the spindle, and reapply the spring and bolt.  After feeding the wire through the rollers, you power up the unit and use the power feed to push the wire through the cable and out the end of the torch.  All that’s left is to install the tip and adjust feed tension.

Following the manual’s procedures it took us about 15 minutes to go from opened box to ready-to-weld. 

Use 

use.jpgTo use the EZ, you simply set the unit’s single knob to one of its four settings based on the gauge of metal you’re welding.  In our case, we were using 14-gauge stock, so we selected the 16-12 GA setting.  Minutes later, we had performed our first weld.  After just a little bit of practice, we were able to effectively connect metal to metal.

Project: Building a Game Chair

In order to put Hobart’s ”easy use” claims to a real-world test, we invited a couple of friends over who’ve never welded before and gave them each a shot at the EZ during the game chair build below.  We’ve also provided step-by-step instructions and information to help you build your own with the EZ or other similar-quality, inexpensive wire welder.

(In fact, if you’re the lucky winner of the game chair, you’ll get to see first-hand the work of welders ranging from complete novices to seasoned experts.  It looks surprisingly good!) 

Project Background

While we sometimes enjoy driving games, we’ve always wanted that full-on arcade experience with a force-feedback wheel, pedals and (most importantly) a real chair to sit in.  Though a variety of seats of this type are available commercially, they tend to fall into two categories: cheap and flimsy (though not necessary inexpensive), and quality (but way out of our price range).  The better ones sell for $300 and up, which is a tough spend for a toy.

So why not build one?  We discovered that you can obtain a real leather car seat from the junkyard for less than $50, and with another $25 or so of steel and a little time, you’ve got yourself a first-class game chair.

Materials Tally

  • Leather Car Seat: $37
  • 8′ Sticks of 14 Gauge 1″ Mild-Steel Square Tubing (x4): $20.80
  • 2′ of 14 Gauge 1-1/4″ Mild-Steel Square Tubing: $1.60
  • 2′ of 1/4″ Mild-Steel Angle: $1.25
  • 2′ of 3/4″ Mild-Steel Angle: $0.90
  • 13″ of 6″ x 1/8″ Mild-Steel Bar Stock: $5
  • Paint: $12.50
  • Total Cost: $79.05

Tools

Obviously, we used the Handler 125 EZ, which (as we said above) is available for around $380.  You’ll also need your basic safety gear, including a shield (hood) and gloves.  Additionally, we used the following tools:

  • 4-1/4″ angle grinder: $75 (Cheaper units are available starting around $40, or you can just be careful and clean up your welds with a brush and a file: $5)
  • Horizontal/vertical band saw: $125 (again, you can find units starting around $80 that’ll do the job fine, or if you’re building on the cheap you could use a hacksaw: $5)
  • Optional: small framer’s square: $5
  • Optional: silver craft marking pencil: $1

Design

As we’re giving this chair away, we knew we’d need to ship it eventually, so that affected our design criteria a bit.  Specifically, we bolted the chair to the base as opposed to welding it on, and we designed the wheel mount to unbolt from the chassis to collapse when crated.  While these features may appeal to you — it’s nice to be able to disassemble the chair to store in a closet, for example — if you don’t need this them, you can save yourself some effort by simply welding it all together.  Hey, if you want to take it apart, just cut it and weld it back together later, right?

We’ve built a couple of these chairs for home and friends, and the area where people disagree most is the design of the wheel mount.  The easiest way to mount the wheel is via a single post sticking up from the middle of the base (Fig. 1).  However, some “drivers” object to straddling the post.  You can avoid the post by using either a pair of angled supports from the front of the base (Fig. 2) or by creating a “hoop” through which your legs fit (Fig 3).  We chose the latter as it was simpler to build in a way that can be disassembled.  Of course, you’re welcome to approach it however you like.

Toolmonger Design - Fig. 1Toolmonger Design - Fig. 2Toolmonger Design - Fig. 3

Obtaining a Seat

One of the advantages of fabricating your own chair is that you can use whatever kind of seat you desire.  So, if you’re loaded and want that full-on race feel, you can order a racing seat from any of a number of online retailers or from a speed shop in your hometown.  Seats start at around $150, though sometimes you can score lesser-expensive knockoffs for much less on eBay.  If you go this route, you’ll want to be sure and order the seat rails and and “adjuster” as they usually come separately (often for another $40 or so).

Personally, we prefer the cheaper and more realistic method of snagging a seat from the you-pull-it junkyard.  Most of the yards we checked offer seats starting at around $25, ranging up to $100 or so.  Generally they’ll ask more for seats from newer and/or more popular vehicles (as they’re more likely to sell) and less for older, dirtier seats.

Believe it or not, it’s often possible to get a leather seat without spending a fortune.  The trick is to locate a particularly dirty seat, hopefully in an older, unpopular car.  Dirt alone isn’t a real problem as leather can take heavy washing and scrubbing.  In the past we’ve actually scored leather seats for as little as $25.  Your mileage may vary.

If you want (or end up with) a cloth seat, you’ll want the cleanest one you can find.  Certainly you can work the seat over with a good carpet cleaner, but the bad spots aren’t going to come out, so avoid seats with big stains. 

Either way, you’ll definitely want to look for a seat where all four mounting points are in the same “plane.”  Some seats mount vertically in the front and horizontally in the back, and those seats are harder to mount to your fabricated base.  They’ll work in a pinch, but you’ll save yourself time looking for flat ones.

Junkyard 101 

Junkyard 101If you’ve never been to a you-pull-it junk yard, consider the following advice:

  • Wear work clothes.  You’re going to spend your day climbing around piles of rusty metal, so pass on the Nikes and shorts in favor of thick jeans and durable boots.
  • As with any time you work with metal, be sure your tetanus boosters are up to date.  No one expects to get hurt.
  • You’ll need to take tools with you, of course, but don’t bring them in when you first go in to look; you’re likely to end up carrying them around with you through five different yards before you find the part you want.  Once you’ve found what you want, go back in, negotiate price, then bring in the tools to pull the part.  They’ll probably want to check your tool bag on the way out to make sure you’re not stealing anything.
  • Don’t bring lots of expensive tools.  If you turn your back, they might get stolen.  For that matter, leave your expensive electronic gear at home as well; you won’t need it here.
  • EVERYTHING, and we mean EVERYTHING is negotiable.  This isn’t Wal-Mart, so expect to negotiate a bit.  Don’t just head for the counter when you find the first acceptable seat.  Keep looking, and make a mental note of a couple of them that’ll work for you.  It helps to have options while negotiating.
  • Remember that you may need to check a few ‘yards to find what you want.  Don’t be afraid to walk away.
  • Important: If it’s as hot where you are as it is here in Texas right now, bring some water or Gatorade or such with you.

Seat from 929We ended up finding a nice burgandy leather seat out of an old Mazda 929 for $37.  We initially found a really clean seat in a 2003 PT Cruiser, but the yard wanted $100 for that one. We negotiated that to $60 by offering to take one “from an older car,” then finally offered the $37 in cash we had in our pockets.  It worked.

Next, read on to page 2 to begin planning your build.

pages: 1 2 3 4

 

174 Responses to How-To: Build a Game Chair with a $380 Wire Welder

  1. mike kim says:

    ever since i’ve gotten into the grand turismo series and burnout, i always wish i had a setup like this. driving in these games with an analog stick just never had the right feel. with enough time and money i will definitely be putting this tutorial to immediate use. A+!

  2. John Parsell says:

    Great looking chair. Looks like a good project to make for my grandson.

  3. Mark says:

    What a cool project. I was interested in Bob Earl’s VRC (http://bobearlracing.com), which looks a bit more professional and is adjustable, but hey, this way I also get a welder :)

  4. stickboy says:

    Looks like a nice setup. It would be easy to add a few things to allow for adjustments of angles to suit different drivers too.

  5. John O says:

    Great project something like this would be so cool for console racing games. Seeing that arcades are dying off this would be a great way to bring some of the arcade experience home.

  6. Stolee says:

    I see you painted the chair black. It looks good, but I like to do the 24-hour endurance races sometimes, so I could really warm up a seat. What’s the chance of that paint peeling or wearing out?

  7. Nathan M says:

    Cool, I want one of these.

  8. CptnSbaitso says:

    I have to say that this is a fantastic idea. Being a racing fanatic myself, I can’t believe I didn’t think about this. While $380 is a little steep for me right now, it is certainly a project that I would like to take up in the future. Maybe I can split the costs with some other racing geeks? :-) Thanks for the great read!

  9. futaris says:

    This is a good write-up of whats involved…. There are a lot of these types of projects on race sim central

  10. Brink says:

    Looks cool, not a huge racing fan, but could always start if I win :)

  11. h3dude says:

    I’m going to build one of these when my son turns 15 so he can practice driving.

  12. timelf says:

    Haha crazy! I was just paging through Sharper Image and some online stores the other day looking for a good gaming chair, but they were all expensive. Nice job with the idea and design :)

  13. Brett says:

    NICE CHAIR! Too bad I don’t have the time/money to build one. Props on the hard work and DIY mentality.

  14. Nuno Sousa says:

    WOW! I wish I could do something like that…

  15. Brian Pinard says:

    Awesome. I’m going to see if i can get my hands on a welder, though I doubt I’ll be able to.

  16. Darryl says:

    Very nice! A simple concept, and great design. That would be much more fun that sitting on the lounge or floor to play.
    All thats needed now is to add a nice big subwoofer at the back of the chair for those vibration effects.

  17. mrdelayer says:

    Great idea — keep up the good work.

  18. Derek Vanee says:

    Wow. Great. Clean welds, I’ve been looking for a nice setup to buy for a begeniner and I might check into that.

    Thanks.

  19. Travis Long says:

    Wow, that looks so awesome. If I had the time and money I’d build 2 of those. Another thing you could do is add an arm with joystick support. It would be like some kind of cockpit. Would go great with my gaming rig.

  20. Austin says:

    That is very original. I’ll have to look in to making one

  21. Jason says:

    Awesome project!
    indeed a sub under the seat or in back of it would add another level of enjoyment. An easy addition once the initial chair is built.
    Also a great project if your mainly interested in learning to weld since the welder is most of the cost.

  22. Brad Dostie says:

    I would add a drink holder and a seat belt for realaism, even building a platform under to add so shocks and some hydrolics that would move when i turn the wheel , and souroun sound speakers with the woffer under mu butt for the tachtile feedback! oh ya baby! 0-60 in .3 sec! maybe even mount a plasma on the front with mu limetless budget for GAMES!

  23. Chris says:

    Looks really clean. I was thinking of building one myself but never got to it. My guitar has kept me occupied for a while now ^__^

  24. Drew says:

    Cool, I want one!!

  25. Dan says:

    Nice job! This certainly beats shelling out the cash for those Playseats (see link below to see what I mean)!

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?product_id=3308494

  26. Tyler says:

    For everyone that’s balking at the price of a welder:

    Check pawn shops! I picked up a very similar model to this (a bit older, however) at a local pawn shop near Ft. Campbell for peanuts. Like, under $50. Just go in and talk to the people, ask what they want. It was listed for eighty, I said I’d drop a fifty right there. They plugged it in and tested it and I picked it up for next to nothing.

    If you’re on a super tight budget or just don’t have the cash to buy your own, that is one route to take.

    If you’re still in high school, talk to the metal shop teacher. Back in the day our teachers would let us use the equipment after-hours as long as we’d qualified on the safety tests and he had to stay later to grade tests. If you have a cool teacher (we did) you can probably even get free scrap, or if you’re taking a class you might even be able to incorporate this project into a final or a test.

    Just a couple ideas: don’t let your lack of knowledge (The best way to learn is to do) or money be the thing that holds you back from doing some cool DIY.

  27. Eric Taylor says:

    This is a great idea I have been toying with the idea of making one with wood. But this metal one looks really good!

    Thanks for the plans I will probably be building my own in the near future!

  28. Matt says:

    Hey guys I think the chair idea is great and I’d really love to do it, but is there anyway to cut down costs for your poor I’m still in college readers?

  29. Thom Wetzel says:

    I love the chair — nice job! I’ve been dreaming about doing something like that for ages. I keep threatening my wife that as soon as the basement’s done I’m building one. =)

  30. Ricky says:

    First off… I would love to have this seat! Secondly… Did you think about using a cloth seat then maybe cleaning it up or freshening it up then putting a car seat cover over it? That way you could add that extra flair to it.

  31. Ricky says:

    I just thought of something else. That bar for the steering wheel makes a perfect spot for a cup holder!

  32. Fong Fan says:

    thats a pretty sweet chair
    i want it!
    my neck hurts

  33. Andrew says:

    Looks like a great project! Has to make GT4 so much more fun

  34. Drew Kropf says:

    That’s a beauty of a gaming chair, would work very nicely in NFS: MW ^_^

  35. Robert says:

    This is great. The only thing that could make it better is some motion like in the theme park rides. I am afraid that would be a bit much for most DIY’ers though. I find today’s crop of driving games very realistic, but without the g-forces, it just isn’t the same as real.

  36. Ike says:

    Good job. I think my grandson would like something like that. I don’t care much for driving games, I’m a FPS guy myself.

  37. Kiwimonk says:

    Badass! I was just thinking of doing a project like this on my way to work. Scored on that seat too. Looks Comfy ;) Should head to the junkyard next time I need a computer chair. instead of paying top dollar for the garbage at Office Maxx

  38. Russell Luce says:

    I’ve only been into racing games a little bit, but my lack of enthusiasm has been due to the lack of “realness” by sitting on my couch. This makes me want to go out and start welding! It’d be cool if there were instructions to build other items for games as well; DDR for example. Or maybe a tank for Call of Duty 2.

  39. Ken Matlock says:

    Way cool!

    It’s amazing what a little bit of ingenuity can provide!

    You can even use this same technique to make a ‘cockpit’ for flight sims as well.

  40. Thats definitly a cool build. I was asking for one of these types of chairs for Christmas this past year but my parents couldn’t find one in a decent price range, and without the steering wheel. Seeing as I already paid over a hundred bucks for my top of the line wheel, I didn’t want some crappy one included. I’ll definitly have to take these instructions to a freind of mine who does some welding and see if he will make it for me.

    Or I can hope to win too :D

  41. Craig says:

    Freakin sweet chair, thanks for the design ideas!

  42. Random Picking - (Pick Me) Leet says:

    What words or code can i type here so randomness falls on me!

  43. Justin G says:

    You should try adding one of these:

    Link

    Good work by the way.

    ps: Wheres the cup holder?

  44. Scott Szymczak says:

    The way I thrash around when I game, I’d have to put a roll bar on that thing!

    Nice work!

  45. Daddio says:

    Now here are some guys after my own heart. One thing I’ve always wanted to do is learn to weld and what more worthy reason could there be than to make such a cool game chair. I’ve used a cheap driving setup that took so much energy to balance and keep in place that it totally robbed from the gaming experience altogether. This really looks like fun.

  46. Sean says:

    I would definitely like to test this bad boy out with a Nascar game. Just needs a side shifter + clutch and we’re good to go!

  47. Mark says:

    I Like it much better than the other project linked ealier: http://inventgeek.com/Projects/ForceFeedback/Overview.aspx

    It is much cleaner looking.

  48. mtbjunkie says:

    Ok I cannot weld, my wife would beat me senseless in my sleep if I bought a welder right now, and lastly I love to play racing games, particulary project gotham and grand turismo. I can hardly wait for the new 360 logi tech whell and pedals, but I have to use two chairs put a 2×6 across them, then take some of my weights and put those on both sides to hold it all down, I then fasten the whell to the 2×6 and place the peddals on the ground, and play from my couch in the most uncomfortable, un-car like position ever. It is almost easier at this point to just use a contoller and forgo the whole assembly… I would love to have one of these, and yes I do have room with or with out the wifes approval. The kids would love it cause then they could drive like daddy.

    Thanks for the consideration…

  49. kaos13 says:

    I’m moving in January. That would be cool to have in my apartment. I may make one before than.

  50. Ray says:

    Great job guys!

    Now this is what I’m talking about, a professinol looking car racing chair with a real comfortable leather chair (not some cheap plastic one) that bothers the back and is a pain in the butt.

    You guys did a wonderful job, I wish I had the time and talent to make one of these, it sure would make my kids and their driving games a whole lot better to play, just like an arcade at home.

    Solid construction and cool seat, that game chair was built to last a lifetime.

    That chair blows my mind, awesome!

  51. George says:

    Awesome! got my finals exams this coming 2 weeks :( but it looks like I got my future project for my month or so vacation after that.

  52. Mitch Graves says:

    This is VERY cool.
    The selection of really entertaining video games out that are really OK for small kids and entertaining to all ages is limited.
    All 4n of ours love racing games.
    My oldest (http://tinyurl.com/hdla4)
    thinks she wants to race formula 1 (yeah right)
    We have the wheels and pedals but they don’t work on our Comp desk.
    This is a great idea.
    Ask around I’ll bet a lot of you have friends with access to a welder.
    This might be a good family project this fall.

  53. Fuzzy Orange says:

    Brilliant idea!

    Sit that in front of a 42″ plasma tv and I think you’ve got hours of gaming fun right there

    May I suggest doing a version with a built in mini fridge to keep cans of coke/lager cool! :)

  54. Daniel says:

    Awesome idea. I would try to add some LCD holder, matter of adding one frame for it.

  55. Ace_NoOne says:

    I wish I had any handicraft skills… :/

    Anyways, great article!

  56. Jeff says:

    That’s pretty cool! I saw something similar to this at Fry’s Electronics the other day, but that was about $300. I’d love to get my hands on one of those ^_^

  57. [...] This incredibly detailed tutorial walks you through the whole process with 30+ photos and technical drawings of the build. Or, if you don’t want to build one yourself you can win the one in the article.read more | digg story [...]

  58. Chris says:

    Excellent and simple how-to! Well done.

    Hoping you will have more how-to’s like this…

  59. Mowgli says:

    Great article, v nice looking seat… only thing I would have to add is something to raise it up a bit to prevent a sore neck as my TV’s up on the wall!

  60. Colin Wilson says:

    Pretty sweet if only I had a welder . . .

  61. dan says:

    man, if i could weld….i’d be building one of these stat.

  62. [...] How to build a game chair with a $380 welder. – We actually had this SAME EXACT design mocked up on paper (except we were going to make it out of wood) about 6 months ago when I got a Logitech wheel to use with Gran Turismo 4. I was going to use a seat that I had from a 93 Integra GSR. We got lazy and never ended up building it. [...]

  63. Scott Hess says:

    I’m planning on doing the exact same thing but I don’t trust my abilities with welding, so I’ll probably just use wood. I’m already off to a good start though, I got a chair out of an old Civic for only $25. The guy lowered the price when I told him what it was going to be used for :) .

  64. Jake says:

    I just finished my new office chair; a Jeep Grand Cherokee leather bucket attached to a wood base, then bolted onto an office chair frame. It blows any standard office chair out of the water. Good show fellas.

  65. Noah says:

    That would be awesome to use with Project Gotham or Burnout 3. I want one!

  66. Seth says:

    Very nice project. This is going onto my “things I want to make but have no room to in my NY apartment” list. Other things on the list include Mame Cabinet, LCD picture frame(actually waiting for a laptop on this), and a guillotine(ok just kidding).

  67. Rob says:

    Good work! I’ve wanted to get into welding for a while now, and if it’s as easy as you make it look, I’m out of excuses.

  68. [Neoxxis] says:

    Really cool project! I might even consider building something similar but with small aluminium tubing… And rubber pads under the metal not to scrape the floor… ;) Maybe even add wheels with locks to be able to push it away while not playing (hum… when am I not playing…? May need a recliner seat to sleep in there… ) Hah! One of those Cadillac massaging seat!!! ;) Anyway, great project!

  69. Chuck Cage says:

    A couple of thoughts: Aluminum would be light, but is a bit tougher to weld. It is possible to weld Al with a MIG unit, but you’ll need the right gas and wire combination. If you wanted some rubber feet, it’d be pretty easy to paint on some PlastiDip.

    As far as reclining seats go, you’re not far off the mark with the Cadillac seat idea. Though the seat we used on this one does move forward and backward (with the standard adjuster) and reclines, we’ve considered grabbing powered seats for fun. You’d need to add a 12V power supply, and you’d probably want to find a seat with the controls onboard (as opposed to in the door or center console) to keep things simple.

    Good ideas, though.

  70. Jose says:

    Look at these gamers, all bad-ace and tool savvy. We can be proud to sit on our butts all day long in the fine piece of furniture we made ourselves from scratch.

    Now, all we need is for some ingenious reader to go further upon this idea to complete chairs for the Ace Combat flight stick as well as the Steel Battalion mech console.

  71. Michael says:

    All I can say is: snazzy! This must be very immersive when used with a nice big HDTV I’d hook a Mad Catz wheel into it and drift my brains out in Project Gotham 3. Too bad there’s no force feedback there….

  72. Antonio says:

    i am a big Gran Turismo fan (currently 40% in GT4), and i have the driving force pro wheel. i built a small setup with my uncle that is basically two pieces of ply wood and 4 wood support beams. it is very simple, just so i can sit on my couch and have the wheel secured to something. i would love to try out this metal frame chair, but i dont have the money or the time. i guess ill have to stick with my bare bones setup, but i love it anyway. it still works fine.

  73. Antonio says:

    ^oh yeah, i also CANT WELD!!!!! lol, that is a big reason.

  74. John Davidson says:

    very well done this is a great idea and thx for putting together this article so i might even try this out for myself and i say again this is really awsome and i love wat u done

  75. [...] How-To: Build a Game Chair with a $380 Wire Welder (June 15, 2006) Our first major how-to, which is currently making its way around the ‘net. [...]

  76. james kaspar says:

    Awesome chair!!! Same wifely problem of my brains getting beat out if I buy a welder (almost died when I brought a propane torch home to fix some water heater piping!). I would love to have the chair for gaming and my daughter would get a kick out of it too! Thanks and keep up the good work!

  77. js says:

    “A couple of thoughts: Aluminum would be light, but is a bit tougher to weld. It is possible to weld Al with a MIG unit, but you’ll need the right gas and wire combination.”

    Straight argon, very fast wire feed (8-10 on a max of 10), high current, and you have to make a circular pattern with the gun. Not to mention having to “push” the gun instead of drag, which reduces visibility, and the nylon gun liner (a must with the soft al wire). So you’re probably better off using 8020 or bolting it together, but don’t let me stop you. It’s possible to weld aluminum with a mig.

  78. Edwin Kwok says:

    Whoa! too bad i don’t ahve the welding equipment… :(

  79. Bryan says:

    Wow. I am impressed. This is such an open ended design and the possibilities are spinning in my head. You could weld on another mount on the front of the frame that could hold a LCD or TV in front of the driver. Maybe I will venture to a home depot . . . hmm. I don’t NEED my passender seat in my Saturn. HA HA. Thanks for the great idea.

  80. terry says:

    I love this project but I’m wondering if there is a way to do it minus the welding. There should be some sort of metal fasteners to connect those pieces that would cut down on the cost of the project if you’re buying a welding tool just for this. any suggestions?

  81. Matthew says:

    For those who don’t have a welder or don’t want to buy one, you can rent a welder for under $50 a day at several shops and online sites. How often would you have used it anyway? And there’s no need to worry about your spouse’s wrath.

    Although I like the concept of the angled wheel mount best, I like the detachable model because you can take it apart (obviously). I can imagine sliding the frame under a bed and putting the chair in a closet. Actually, I just might leave the chair somewhere on the floor in front of the tv.

    When I first saw the setup it reminded me of a go-kart. I can see myself making some cheap, flimsy cabinet for it out of cardboard. (I told you it’d be cheap and flimsy!) Something reminiscent of the ‘Jurassic Park’ or ‘Deep Space Nine’ arcade cabinets.

  82. Artisimo says:

    This could maybe potentially be made out of wood, but it would require larger hardwood stock and precise joints in a lot of places. Doable, but certainly not for beginners, and far more expensive materials. Drywall screws in 2x4s will not hold up. Dados, mortis and tenon joints, and some other advanced techniques could work, but I wouldn’t build it out of plain old pine.

    Welding isn’t really all that hard. I was raised on a farm, so I picked up a bit of stick welding out of necessity. Farm equipment is expensive, and you have to be creative sometimes to get the job done. Watch American Chopper or Monster Garage for pointers. They usually have pretty good shots of the welds going down, and you can go from there.

    Don’t forget your local trade schools. Many times, if you supply the plans and the materials, students can practice on your project, with oversight from the instructors of course. You could probably print this article out and use that for the plans.

    There aren’t many corners to cut (no pun intended) on this setup. It’s pretty basic. If you need to make it portable, you could make a 2 piece base that bolts together to shrink the storage footprint a bit. Other than that, it’s fairly customizable. You could put all of the drink holders you want on it, maybe a monitor/TV mount, or any number of things.

  83. Artisimo says:

    Let me rephrase just a bit. Basic, beginning, getting two peices of metal to stick together welding isn’t all that hard. It can get super advanced, and that statement was no knock on professional welders. I can maybe handle something at this level, but I know when real, true precision is needed, like auto bodywork, aviation, or pipefitting (among others), I’m way out of my league. Those guys could do this job in their sleep. When you are talking about someone welding a live natural gas pipeline, the mind just boggles.

  84. [...] You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your ownsite. [...]

  85. Bill Taylor says:

    This is cool! I built a sitdown type arcade for driving games out of wood, but it is big, bulky and a pain when the monitor went out and I had to replace it. I have an extra seat from the project, though, so this can get me going on learning to weld.

  86. Ash...Housewares says:

    Man, now I NEED one (maybe two) of these chairs… better get started…

  87. Ben Gaspard says:

    This is great! i’ve had the forcefeed back gran turismo wheel for a while now. If i had the money and time i would build one of my own. Keep up the great ideas.

  88. jim werner says:

    loved it. want one. probably gonna have to build one myself…

  89. Kurt says:

    Cool, thanks for the step by step. I have wanted to learn to weld and now I have the perfect starter project. I have the seat, 2 actually from a Ford Probe. I plan on using one for driving games and the other for a Star Wars X-wing/Tie Fighter/Mech Warrior setup. The computer is in a Millenium Falcon Toy my son had. I am now going to haunt the pawn and used equipment stores for a welder I can afford (budget is killing me). If all else fails I will buy new when year end bonus comes but I hate to wait that long. This will go right next to my MAME Machine. You guys rock!

  90. Michael Carpenter says:

    Wow, really great guide you guys! This is definitely something that a lot of people, myself included, are interested in. The article has been getting a lot of publicity as well; it’s been on both Digg and ArcadeControls.com. Good work.

  91. Jeff Baker says:

    Outstanding project! Once suggestion based upon my desire to buid something similar; buid the entire thing about 18″ off the ground or the equivalent based up the average height above the ground that an actual car seat sits. This makes it much easier to sit in and get up from.

  92. Nice project – found it via Make, have been looking for a good article on a basic welder. Only thing missing from this project is the wooden seat beads!

  93. Pilu says:

    Indeed, amazing project :| if only I could win that chair… what about adding some sort of vibration to the chair in relation to a force-feedback wheel? it would just be great…

  94. Victor Paquet says:

    cool !

    I have build one chair like this a couple of year ago, with a Hunday Excel seat. For a great experience, I suggest you to add a subwoofer fixed on the frame and two satellite (5.1) on the header of the chair. Also you have to find where you put your monitor, mine was an old CRT 19″ and shit it have to be very close to the steering to the game be a minimum immersive..

    I played Nascar Racing 2003 with a configuration like this… couple of year ago. I gave it to one friend one day, don’t remember why..

    Anyway I plan to build one with a bigger subwoofer, a LCD 23″, and I wait too for the Logitech G25.

    For the seat I suggest to take one from a 80′s Camaro with electric group. The seat is confortable and have a discrete command panel on the left. Can be usefull…

    Hope we’ll see such chair on walmart soon :p

  95. Victor Paquet says:

    oh, and scuse my poor english, i’m a canadian from Quebec

    !!

  96. Florian says:

    Hello!
    Great project !!

    What luck to have this in front of his computer !!!

    Bye ;)

  97. Jay says:

    Nice looking project. Thanks for sharing.

  98. David C says:

    What an awesome setup! I need to build one to play with Need for Speed !

    Oh man ! Woohoo !

  99. fusionx2 says:

    nice project, gave some good welding info too.

  100. rothgar says:

    Looks great guys, can I have your welder?

  101. John says:

    Wonderful build, and thanks for posting it on the PSU boards! Would love to win this one, but I may try building my own, now. Good job!

  102. rualeb says:

    thank you for the useful project information. i am looking to buy a racing wheel and pedals but was at a loss for how to use them well. i didnt have any furniture that i could use well and i have novice building abilities and have never welded befroe. after reading the arcticle i tried out welding on a pals welder and am looking to build my set up.

  103. Cristian says:

    Wow, this has to be the neatest project since the building of my MAME cab. SOmehow, here’s always something better out there, waiting for me to build! Great job, and very detailed. Thanks!

  104. Robert H. says:

    Thanks for the inspiration. I was going to pay to have a project welded up. Now I am going to save up and buy a welder and try doing it myself. Keep up the great work.

  105. ksmith says:

    This sounds a heck of a lot cheaper than keeping up a race car. I might have to make something like this to feed my need for racing until my wallet can recover.

  106. Bart says:

    Found this article while searching for design ideas for my own chair setup. Thanks for the ideas and tips.

  107. Goona says:

    Great Job boys, nothing like the satisfaction of building something like this yourself, cheaper and more self fulfilling. Nice result too and well presented!

  108. Brian says:

    Very cool. I have some welding friends that may be able to make this for me, but given my budget (I have a baby), I may have to wait! Either way, very neat. What would of been even more interesting is if you took this and formed a wood box around it so it looks like the racing arcade machines that you see at the malls and what not. The steel would be the frame and you could box it all in.

  109. John Buhler says:

    This is hands-down one of the most innovative ideas ever. I’ve wanted to make a sit-down arcade unit for driving adventures and couldn’t think of the best way to make it happen (within budget) and this nails it square on. Thanks guys!

  110. Jerry says:

    Nice work! Could this be done without welding using bolts, etc?

  111. roy says:

    Love the chair been wanting to build a racing game cabinet for racing games. With that chair i would want to build a car shaped (cockpit)arcade racing game style cabinet,with monitor and sweet sound sytem.

  112. [...] One quick note: We saw a lot of comments on our game chair build along the lines of “that’s great, but I don’t know how to weld.”  We can’t stress enough how simple it is weld with today’s wire welders.  It’s nothing like the bad old days of stick welding.  By just reading the manual and spending 30 minutes practicing on some scrap, you can easily complete projects like the game chair — and certainly handle projects like this.  Why not give is a shot? [...]

  113. Collin Ebert says:

    This would be awesome for the racing game I am starting to work on. I am only 13 so I really couldn’t make one myself.

  114. John says:

    Thats really neat, but I’m not gonna spring for a $380 welder to make this, although it would be neat, I would wonder if it’s possible to make one out of PVC or wood.

  115. David Andrew Nye says:

    This Chair Is A Great Design. A Friend Of Mine And Me Created One And It Suits Us Perfectly!!! I’d Like To Thank Those From TOOLMANAGER For Releasing The Design :)

  116. Alex says:

    Since some chairs are not adjustable (forward or backward), do you have any suggestions for an adjustable steering column? Some sort of quick release would be great.

  117. Matt Durell says:

    This looks like a very worthwhile project. I could see being able to sell a few of these things of one was so inclined.

    Thanks for publisihing these plans!

  118. Jason says:

    Awesome. Very good idea.

  119. Mike says:

    The chair design is pretty good. It could use some additions, like removable arm platforms for joysticks and smaller demensioned keyboards for other types of games. Also, if had sockets to make speaker stands around the chair perimeter it would be perfect for all gamers.

  120. Mike K says:

    About time! So frustrating having the pedals sliding around the floor trying to grip the wheel between your legs. My friend tried to make one out of wood but the whole thing kept falling apart and his girlfriend wasn’t too happy with a wooden frame sitting in the living room – dont forget about some rubber feet to save your hardwood floors. Maybe in Version two you could take the seat runners out with the seat at the junk yard that way you vertically challenged friends can have a go and be comfortable.

  121. Rami El-Farrah says:

    Very clean design, I like it!

  122. Tony Tam says:

    Dude they are stupid if you wanted to keep cost down why in the world would you buy a $380 welder. Just rent one cheap from and you can make your game chair for less than $100

  123. Leonel Gonzalez says:

    I think this idea rocks! Even more the fact that you can take it anywhere. Now I believe than in an extra couple of hours you can get a nice speaker system built into this thing and it would not only look awesome, but also soound like the real thing. I hope I win so I don’t have to build it because I can’t do crafts.

  124. Brian M says:

    Great idea. I’d like to add 5.1 speakers to the front and seat’s sholders, a cup holder, and a simple shelf for a monitor at eye level.

  125. John Breen says:

    Thanks for the info. Been looking for plans like this. Plus the contest doesn’t hurt either!

  126. Lyle Lowery says:

    I’ve been wanting to get a setup like this for GT4. Luckily, Cnet’s RSS feed provided a link to your guide. Looks like DIY is the way to go!

  127. Rob Willsey says:

    Awesome. My sons have always wanted one of these and they are just too expensive to buy 2 of them. Now I can make two of them for less than the price of one. Add a cup holder as somebody suggested and maybe even a moveable tray for snacks and they will have a blast. Thanks for sharing this DIY project.

  128. Rob Willsey says:

    Very nice. Just mistyped my e-mail. Will be doing this in the future for my sons. Thanks for sharing this how-to.

  129. Hsrada Shah says:

    Man I wish I had an arcade somewhere remotely close to where I live…this game chair would be the best thing since pong!

  130. K. Kaizuka says:

    Dang that thing is burly! Nice work. I think it would’ve been even better if you would’ve gotten one of those $100 racing seats off eBay for a more authentic race car look. But the one you built looks like it’d be comfortable for hours…

    I play Need for Speed Most Wanted and Gran Tourismo 4 on a Playstation 2 with a Logitech GFP wheel/pedal setup. That is the only way to play driving games!

  131. Surgeville says:

    Is this chair movable? It looks very heavy, and I was wondering if it is portable. I have two locations that I would want to have it for two different systems in two separate rooms.
    Is there a way to make it out of lighter materials and still have it as durable as it is, or should I just save up so I can build two of them?

  132. J. Hoskins says:

    Nice clean design. I’d like to build one that has a mount for my LCD and a adjustable keyboard mouse tray.

    Good article.

  133. P. Hollingsworth says:

    Cup holder.
    Where’s the cup holder?
    I guess I could duct tape a bottle of Bawls to the side….

  134. Robert Martin says:

    Looks like an awesome idea, but how great is that considering everyone’s a different size? Obviously if you weld the chair to the frame (well, looks like screw it in it the picture), you will not be able to adjust it, unless you also took the adjusts that was attached to the seat. Even so, that still could be quite difficult because of the fact that people have different leg and arm lengths.

    How much more work, or how much harder would it be, to add in support for adusting the items?

    Is the seat comfortable sitting that low to the ground, or do you think that if the frame had a little height it would be better?

    Lastly, do you think it’s possible to design something more interactive for FPS (maybe have the movement keys as a DDR dance pad? You laugh, but now you are thinking about it, hahaha)?

    Thank you much for the guide to the assembly of this chair! I might be a soon to come project being that my wife and I love playing NFSU AGAINST each other…

  135. Bob says:

    Just need to add a monitor stand and I’m all set!. Now to see if I can talk my wife into letting me get a welder….

  136. Robert says:

    Nicely done. I’ve been contemplating making one from PVC pipe myself and doing EXACTLY what you did to get a seat. Great work ;)

  137. Sean O'Hara says:

    Wow, great comments today! Let me try and answer a few of the questions posed recently. Some of you observed that the chair looked quite heavy. I will say that it’s not feather light being made out of steel and all, but neither is it super heavy. One person can pick it up and move it with little trouble.

    The chair is able to slide; we took the seat rails – which consisted of 4 bolts at the bottom, with the seat upon removal from the vehicle. It has about 10 inches of adjustment travel from front to back and of course the back of the seat tilts as well.

    As for making the wheel adjustable, our current design actually can be modified for vertical travel by the addition of a few holes in the frame mounts holding the steering wheel if desired.

    It is quite comfortable to sit in, in fact we were commenting just recently that it is the most comfortable design we have come up with yet, we would have no problems racing in it for quite some time.

    In the end, it all comes down to whatever your imagination can crank out. Whether it’s cup holders, snack trays, laser light shows or full hydraulic motion systems, the cool part about building your own rig is that there is not another like it. Ok that, and seeing your friend’s jaws drop when you tell them you built it yourself. We love that part.

    If you do happen to get out there and make your masterpiece, drop us a line or send us a pic, we’d love to see it!

  138. Robert Gallagher says:

    This is the THRONE on which true gamers must sit!

  139. Mark says:

    Looks really great! Thanks for the tips regarding locating a seat from a junkyard.

  140. John says:

    Wow – my son would love one of these – or I could use it in my classroom!

  141. Russell Lynn says:

    This is totally wicked. I had looked into getting something like this for a friend of mine. A total NASCAR Fan who is totally into NASCAR ’06. I may have to build him one for his birthday. One question is how do you run the cables from the wheel? Did I just miss it? I was thinking you could cut a hole at the top of the tubing and the bottom so that you could run the cable down through it, and when you were done you could still unmount it without much extra hassle.

    This is awesome. Thanks for the info People, keep up the good work.

    Russ

  142. Damian says:

    Looks great. I might ahave to upgrade to a seat with lower lumbar suport becasue when I play I end up playing for long periods off time. once again, Looks great guys!

  143. Scott says:

    I have been thinking about a similar project for a long time, but not limited to a gaming chair, setting it up as an entire workstation. The welded metal frame is a little different that what I had envisioned, but it is actually much more practical. I am certainly going to look at moving ahead with this project, as I also imagined it costing a lot more, and I am bouyed somewhat by how inexpensive it was.

    Some comments about the comments..

    I doubt PVC would be sturdy enough to get the job done unless you went with schedule 80 and that is not easily available, at least around here. HOWEVER, black iron pipe would work. It would also look a lot cooler than PVC.

    In our area, there is always “adult ed” classes at local schools during the evenings. Welding is almost always offered here, and taking the class will not only teach you to weld (which is pretty easy and a very handy skill to have) it will also give you access to the equipment, and all the adult ed teachers I know would be happy to let you do this sort of thing as a class project. The cost of most of these classes in my area are substantially cheaper than the welder, let alone the other equipment.

  144. ggkthx says:

    Wow, really nice driving chair design.
    One of these days (after I finally finish the MAME cabinet) I’m hoping to start on 2 sit down driving cabinets. I don’t have a welder yet but it’s on my wishlist.

  145. Kevin Lowe says:

    I wonder… maybe throwing in a pair of steel circles on each side of the steering wheel mount, with wingnuts to hold them together, would provide you with an approximation of tilt steering. Page 1, Figure 2 is an even better design for this – put the rotation in at the base, and you’ve got it made. (You’d have to get it to hold tight to hold up the arms, however, with the weight at the far end of the lever.)

  146. Eric says:

    great chair!

  147. [...] How-To Build a Game Chair with a $380 Wire Welder or Win One! [...]

  148. [...] This incredibly detailed tutorial walks you through the whole process with 30+ photos and technical drawings of the build. Or, if you don’t want to build one yourself you can win the one in the article.read more | digg story [...]

  149. [...] If you picked up one of Hobart’s portable “Handler” series welders a while back to try some projects of your own, you might want to consider protecting it with a custom-fitted cover.  Sawdust, bugs, and shop grunge don’t make for a well-functioning welder. [...]

  150. [...] Just as an FYI: we reviewed a pretty nice starter welder quite a while back – Hobart’s Handler 125 EZ.  We even built a small project with it to demonstrate its capabilities. [...]

  151. [...] Build a Racing Sim chair And another project right up my alley ‘excuse the pun’ , a racing seat for that favourite sim racer. Racing Sim seat Purveyor of fine posts, replys and other useless drivel since Jan 2004 Last edited by Unknown Soldier : 9 Hours Ago at 03:34 PM. [...]

  152. [...] the whole process with 30+ photos and technical drawings of the build. Posted by racketboy @ 12/31/2006 6:42 PM Categories: GameRooms [...]

  153. mark says:

    wow cool now i must build one

  154. David says:

    Well i took his idea and decided to make one of my own and i f i knew how to post pics fopr you guys to see i think tyou would like it so if you could tell me how to post somer pics then i could show you guys mine zas wel;l and yes it is a very clean seat you have made gave me my idea

  155. kustoz says:

    Wow!

    That’s awesome!

  156. Danielle says:

    Cool Idea !!!

  157. Dave says:

    Nice sim! I built one out of 1″ PVC shedule 40, it is strong and light weight but has no adjustments and it cannot be disassembled for storage. While reviewing this racing sim, I decided to build one out of square metal tubing. I like this design but will be making a few mods to fit my purpose i.e. adjustability, costs and making it easy to break down and store when not using it. I will share when I am done. Thank you for inspiring me!

  158. Oca says:

    That’s very nice, i’ve been looking for something like this…But honestly if i had 380$ to spend i would just get an EVO racing sim seat alredy made^^

  159. seiryu says:

    This is an awesome project and just in time for the coming release of GT5 as well. Nice job on the chair.

  160. Rp says:

    I built something very similar to this, very good starting point. I got a chair from a destroyed BMW for 20 bux, my friend wants me to build him one….. NO. It’s quite a bit of work, but if he helps maybe…

    Took me close to a year to finish this project, as I don’t own a welder and coudn’t justify a new purchase for this….

    Great Plans to get you about 80% there, great stuff… :)

  161. chad morrell says:

    This is an excellent project for the die-hard gamer! I just picked up a welder from a tool rental place, got some metal stock from the local scrap yard, and I’m about to be on my way. Thanks for the designs and walkthrough. This will be perfect for next LAN party.

  162. chad morrell says:

    Also, I want to add that I’m using the trek 180 portable welder by hobart and it works fine:) ttp://www.hobartwelders.com/products/battery-powered/trek180/

  163. Cody says:

    I’m making a chair using a sprint car frame and my seat out of my race car…I’ll post pics when its done

  164. PS2 FAN says:

    im gonna make this in the summer holiday i just need a SPARCO seat:D

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