Open Wheel / F1 Platform

3 posts in this topic

Hello all,

First a little about myself.  I'm a senior aerodynamicist for a leading F1 team and whilst I haven't been actively involved in sim racing per say I am occasionally involved in development work on the simulator at work from time to time!  Having spent some time on this recently it got me wondering about mainstream simulation and how high fidelity this was compared to what I am used to on the professional scene.  I stumbled across this site and was very surprised to see that whilst there are a huge number of home-brew platforms out there (some of which are excellent), there is little or no support for an F1 style rig.

Given that there does appear to be some interest in this style of racing I thought I would spend a few hours and see if I could come up with a set of plans for making an F1 / Open Wheel cockpit.  

First I drew a generic monocoque based on the current FiA regulations.  These regs are freely available on the FiA website so anyone with any CAD surfacing ability could generate this surface if they wished.  I'll also make it clear at this point that whilst this will be close in surface to most cars on the current grid it is in no way a like for like copy of my current teams geometry.  That would get me in a world of trouble!  This generic chassis is the first image below.

My intention is to make a slot together frame work that mimics this shape which could either be left as a frame or then be covered in some form of flexible sheeting such a ply or acrylic/perspex etc.  I chose some nominal sizes for the frame based on what looked sensible and what is commonly available and decided that this frame would be constructed from 12mm sheet material with the spa's and ribs approximately 40mm deep.  The CAD model I've created is parametric so these dimensions can be changed very easily and everything updates.  With this decided I then shelled the generic chassis to this 40mm dimension.  This is the second picture.  

A 40mm wall thickness is considerably deeper than what is possible using composite structures so whilst the outer surface is good, the inner surface is now quite a bit smaller than a current car so it might make getting pedals and so on in here tricky.  Still the model is very easy to adjust so we can come back to that later.

Using the shelled model we can then throw in a series of ribs at sensible locations such as bulkheads, changes in section etc.  This is picture three.  And then the same for spas.  This is picture four.  Note that at this point I've switched to a half car model.  I figure by building the framework in 2 halves, seats and pedals etc. can be fitted to one half and then the second half bolted to the first to sandwich them in place.  This will make it much easier than threading these components in to a one-piece assembly through the cockpit entry.

To make the monocoque easy to assemble, the spas and ribs are then half slotted on each side so they slide into each other.  The idea would then be these could be screwed / glued together.  Pictures five and six show this slotting detail.  Picture 7 shows the ribs and spas fully assembled and also mirrored so the final framework can be seen along with a floor piece.

The ribs and spas are all simple prismatic shapes with no clever contouring etc, this means they could be made by anyone with hand tools by sticking the plans onto the sheet material and cutting around the outline.  Equally they could be CNC'd or laser cut as required if you had the proper .dxf files.

The frame at this point could be used as is.  Or it could be skinned.  The final image shows what a simple skinning would look like.  Note:  These skins are 3mm thick and the ribs and spas are drawn to accept this thickness of material.  You will see that this simple skinning only covers the main surfaces and not the corner detail which would be very difficult to bend sheet material round.  To fully cover the frame becomes increasing difficult from a simple plan perspective and outside the remit of what I set myself to do but obviously anyone with the inclination could use foam block etc. to fill in the areas left behind.  The level of finishing you could go to could be anything you wished for depending on how important it was to you or what you DIY ability is!

This is just a very simple rough-up that tooke no more than a few hours to put together but I would be keen to hear peoples thoughts on this style of construction or whether there is any interest in this style of platform.

Kind regards,





Shelled Chassis.JPG

Slotted Spas.JPG

Slotted Rib.JPG



Edited by Symulate

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Hi Sy, thanks for sharing this with us. Impressive design. For what it's worth and my observations, interest in F1 rigs cater for a very small number of sim racers out there. The GT style is the common go to platform for the vast majority. This bias is also mirrored by the turnkey sim cockpit solutions on sale.

Edited by Jeremy.Ford

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