Sim Rig – Part 3 – 3D Printed Paddle Shifters

Paddle Shifters

For a good month or two I survived with some ghetto looking push buttons on the wheel mounted with double sided tape and acrylic. Quick, cheap and well not the best – the downshifting button kept missing shifts, likewise the upshift was touchy AF.

Scouring the internets for options I came across and subsequently ordered 3D prints of these. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1678086

In the spirit of false economies, the actual 3D printing part was cheap (around $100 from memory) all the bits and pieces to build the shifters wasn’t. I ordered my first ever part from AliExpress being the (tiny!) little sub miniature microswitches. Along with sourcing some stainless rod, screws of the right length, magnets, m3 hardware and epoxy. It all adds up. The actually assembly process It was all pretty smooth except the bolts. The printing process meant all the nut holes were a tad undersized. Each one I very gingerly tightened, I got most of them snugged up tight, but not without some stretch marks on the plastic. Nothing’s broken yet…

The other problem. So let me tell you about the 28mm M3 screws.. do you think I could find these? No-sirree-bob! A hacksaw, a file and some patience I got through 8 of these little suckers.

The coolest thing about these shifters is the clicking was mechanically they’re super simple. There’s a blade for the paddle, it pivots on a 3mm rod, then two magnets keep the paddle in place – to shift you just overcome the magnet’s force which in turn clicks the microswitch when the pivot has moved far enough. The magnets I just epoxied in with some Araldite which has stood the test of a month or so now.

You then just need to wire the switches in and mount to the steering wheel. Here’s pre mounting to the steering wheel:

Pros: Positive clicking action, looks good, can build it yourself
Cons: Probably better off getting some commercial units. Paddles really need to be laser cut in stronger material.

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