The ProSimu T1000 3DOF motion simulator is a French designed and constructed compact motion rig. Depending on your budget, it is available in several versions. You can opt for 2, 3, 4 or 5 DOF when ordering. Patrick Kubieniec, the owner of ProSimu, kindly organised a T1000 3DOF motion simulator for me to review here on ISRTV. Let’s see how much immersion this motion rig adds to my VR racing!
Lots Of Boxes, A Seat And A Rug!
The ProSimu T1000 3DOF motion rig arrived at my door in several boxes, ranging in size from small to quite large, light to weighty. Having previously tried the generic folding seat Patrick had on hand during our visit with him in France, I requested the OMP racing seat you see pictured here, this being an option for most European customers.
Upon unboxing the components, I was happy to see that everything was thoroughly packaged in bubble wrap to minimise the possibility of damage during shipping. The inclusion of a custom made, monogrammed rug is a thoughtful (as well as practical) touch, which I will expand upon a little later in the review. One of the items you do not see pictured here is the OMP four-point race harness. Patrick shipped the harness to me a month or so after I built up the rig.
The finish on all the powder coated parts is fair to good. Some welds are quite visible in places and there were not many scratches to be found on the slightly textured matte black and red frame components. Black shows up every little thing when it comes to imperfections.
Build-Up Of The ProSimu T1000
l unboxed all of the components in an adjacent room, making sure that everything had indeed made the journey from France. I decided to leave all the components where they were and commence the build in the room the rig will be used in, less clutter that way. Patrick does supply a builder’s guide in PDF form for the T1000 2DOF motion rig, as well as the add-on third actuator, making up the ‘3’ in the 3DOF rig. However, the instructions are quite rudimentary, mainly consisting of a series of photos of the build process.
After studying the photos for a while, things became a little more clear and it was time to start construction. In preparation of the build, I had already unpacked and unrolled the monogrammed rug in order to measure its size for a side project I had planned. More to follow on this in a moment.
The first step in the construction is to set out the black MDF pieces on the rug with the help of a supplied MDF spacer. This was to be my first deviation from the builder’s guide. The guide calls for the supplied double-sided tape to be applied to the underside of the two main pieces of MDF. These will have the ‘’Red’’ pivoting, traction-loss frame placed directly on top of them. I decided to go with the male side of some extra self-adhesive velcro strips I had left over from another build. Coincidently, the rug has a very similar texture to the female part of the velcro set. Using this method will allow me to remove or re-position the MDF pieces easily, should I need to. Additionally, this velcro locks the MDF to the rug with more strength than the supplied double-sided tape would.
Next up, there are two 5mm thick pieces of black powder coated flat steel, one of which has the threaded portion of a bolt welded to it. This is the actual pivot point that coincides with the front of the the ‘’Red’’ frame. These two pieces of steel need to be screwed to their respective MDF pieces and form the base on which the ‘’Red’’ frame will pivot on.
Lower Frame (Traction-Loss Unit)
Following on from that, the ‘’Red’’ frame is then bolted together and forms an ‘’H’’ pattern. On the under side of the frame, there are six large holes (two at the front and four at the rear) which accommodate ballbearing rollers. These rollers facilitate the traction-loss function of the motion rig. The holes in the frame are slightly over-sized. The supplied electrical tape is wound around the rollers’ housing several times until they fit snuggly into the frame’s holes.
Once the Red frame is positioned over the front pivot point, a large nut is snugged down to hold the frame to the metal plate. A note of caution, the nut must not be over-tightened. It should be just slightly tighter than hand-tight. Three smaller red ‘’L’’ shaped brackets are bolted to the frame, one to allow the mounting of the third actuator, with the further two brackets acting as position stoppers for the rear roll-bar of the upper frame.
Again, I added my own touch to the stopper brackets and hot-glued thin nylon blocks on the faces, which I cut from a kitchen cutting-board. These stoppers would normally come in contact with the upper frame. All in the interests of avoiding metal on metal sounds to appease my neighbours! With the third actuator mounted to its brackets, the traction-loss base was now complete.
Upper Frame or T1000 2DOF
The upper frame is essentially the T1000 2DOF rig, this is basically what you would receive if you ordered that model. As such, the builder’s guide is a little more detailed in terms of photos and requires more studying and some problem solving skills. To say it is as simple as bolting bits of steel together would be over generalising the construction of the upper frame. This process can be tricky, frustrating and laborious. Or not. People wishing to embark on this build will require a modicum of patience. Some of the steps in bolting the rig together could be seen as difficult.
Depicted in photos, Patrick has illustrated what is necessary to bolt some of the components together and they do make sense! However, the execution is where your patience may be tested. The nature of the construction requires small metal plates with threaded holes, which act as nuts, to be placed inside the hollow square tubing. Once you get the hang of jamming some of the bubble-wrap packaging into the slots to hold the nuts in place, it gets a little easier. I am not sure if there is a better or easier way of doing this, but considering the constraints of working with narrow openings and having to position the nuts exactly where they should be, it is quite time consuming.
Piece by piece, the frame came together and progress was constant. Some of the last things to mount to the upper frame are the steering arm, unique wheel mounting deck, pedal deck and finally, the seat. At the end of the build, which took around a day, we are left with a motion simulator of two halves. The lower half is there solely for the purpose of traction-loss! The upper half, or the T1000 2DOF rig, sits atop the lower half and is not fastened to the lower half in any way.
The two actuators at the front of the upper half of the rig sit in cylindrical tubes welded to the top of the traction-loss frame. These cylinders have a type of playground rubber safety-floor material patted down into their bases. The rubber feet of the actuators actually rest on this material. At the rear, I used some of the double sided tape and positioned the supplied ”U’’ channel steel profile on the traction-loss frame to avoid the red powder coating from being damaged by the roll-bar during use. All that was now left to do for the construction was to wire it all up and add the peripherals of choice!
Side Project, Custom Built Rolling Platform
As mentioned earlier, I had a side project planned for this rig. I do not have the largest space to house all the sim racing equipment I have to use and test, so I decided to construct a rolling platform. Expanding on the great idea Stefano Cocco had posted over on XSimulator’s site, I decided to go out and get the materials to construct a rolling platform of my own for the ProSimu.
Whereas Stefano constructed a straightforward platform to move his T1000 around and because I like to see as little wiring as possible, I designed my platform with a front section that hinges upwards to allow access to the control boxes and wiring mounted underneath it when needed. This design concealed about 95% of the wiring underneath the platform! The swivel-wheels are positioned under the the heaviest parts of the the motion simulator and can each handle a weight of 35kg, enough to carry the rig’s weight and my own!
The rug ProSimu provides is also non-slip, which makes it ideal for carpeted or hard / wooden surfaces. You can rest assured that the simulator will not be bouncing or sliding around the room when you go spearing off into the scenery!
For the technically minded, I used 18 and 30mm thick MDF for the platform, cut to the exact size of the supplied rug a piano hinge to hinge the front section, seven lockable swivel-wheels, two double swivel-wheels to support the heaviest part of the platform and four computer cable desktop pass throughs for routing the main actuator cables to the underside of the platform. Total cost of the platform as you see it here, is around €100 and took approximately six hours to complete.
Wiring Up The ProSimu
The wiring for the SCN actuators is fairly straightforward, consisting of a series of plugs that can only be connected in one way. There are three USB cables that exit from the small white control box pictured here above on the left side of the hinged platform section. The small black box on the right side accepts two power supplies for the three separate actuators.
The three silver boxes are control boxes for each actuator. The final positioning of these wires and boxes differs a little from what you see here. I decided to have the three light grey USB cables exiting on the left side, viewed from the front of the platform. This position is the closest to my current PC set-up and gave me the best possible placement of the simulator in relation to where my Oculus camera and other peripherals are positioned. To sum up, connecting the ProSimu to your PC and powering it up will require three free USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports, and a power board with a surge switch (to be on the safe side but not mandatory) with two or more power outlets.
Software? It’s Your Choice!
At the time of writing the review, Patrick did not offer a software package with his simulators. There are, however, several software options available to purchasers that buy his motion rigs, thus leaving the choice up to the individual as to which route they take. There is a choice of software programs that can run these SCN6 actuators, such as X-Sim, Lince v1 and the Beta v2 to name a few.
I am a registered and frequent visitor to the XSimulator forums and had built up enough points to redeem them for SimTools v1.3 software and downloaded several plug-ins for Project Cars, Assetto Corsa, iRacing and rFactor2. Live For Speed comes as a free plug-in when you download SimTools v1.3. There will, however, be a commercial license available soon for SimTools 2.0 and Lince v2 which is now in beta testing. The ProSimu will be compatible with these two new software versions.
Like all software, there is a learning curve. Reading the FAQs on the forums, it becomes quite clear just how the software functions and I quickly get the gist of what is going on with the motion rig and how it can be tuned for each supported title, even down to individual cars!
The tuning centre in SimTools allows me to record the minimum and maximum data on the fly. Once satisfied, the new values can be saved as a new profile for that particular title, or even vehicle. It also has the option of entering values by hand to tailor the motion experience to your own tastes!
VR + Motion = Maximum Immersion!
Using my DK2 with the ProSimu T1000 3DOF motion rig is something I was very much looking forward to! I believe the two technologies are perfect partners and make for a huge leap in immersion when sim racing. Having such a motion rig, in combination with VR helps complete the feeling of almost total immersion for me when seated in the cockpit.
This increased level of immersion is one of the set-up’s biggest plus points. As an example, driving on any given circuit, striking a curb or a rough patch of road in VR, the environment is completely 3D. You see the object you are about to strike, physically hitting a curb with your front wheel, and the FFB from your steering wheel lets you know you have hit something! Motion then completes the picture nudging, lifting the front or rear of the car as it would in real life. Experiencing all of these sensations at once really does immerse me more deeply into the game. The void between sim racing and real world racing shrinks significantly. The ProSimu’s 3DOF set-up, using only two vertical actuators at the front and one horizontal actuator for traction loss at the rear of the rig, does a good job of conveying the sensations of the car moving around on its suspension.
Because the movements or stroke of the actuators are relatively short, the latency and response times when driving are quite linear, again, bringing me closer to the real thing. Motion is of course a very subjective experience for most people. Definitely not everyone will be convinced by my feeling that motion is a viable option when sim racing.
The paring of VR and motion is certainly something that needs to be acclimatised to, especially if you want to approach your best times in a static rig. With everything moving and more of your senses being influenced, it is, in my mind, more of a challenge to drive quickly. Having sim-raced this way for a couple of months now, I am totally used to how the ProSimu rig reacts to my inputs and the heightened sense of being in a real cockpit has benefitted from the addition of motion!
If you do not have VR, naturally, the motion rig can be used with a single, triple screen or projection set-up. Any after-market monitor stand can be placed in front of the rig. Given an appropriate stand, it would be possible to have the screen(s) positioned very close to the rear of the wheel, therefore, allowing for the best possible FOV.
Driving With The ProSimu T1000 3DOF Motion Rig
So far, my titles of choice have been iRacing, Assetto Corsa and Project Cars, in that order. The depth of adjustment that can be achieved with SimTools v1.3 software is quite varied and provides a good linear experience.
Having been driven around the Nordschleife a couple of months ago in a BMW M235i racing car by VLN driver Robert van Husen, I can use this awesome experience as my reference point on how I perceive the motion emanating from the ProSimu. I can confidently say, with the software dialled in, the sensation of driving in something approaching reality is really very closely matched.
The reproduction of any given title’s telemetry in-game is handled well by the three SCN6 actuators. Using the standard values to begin with, I found that the plug-ins for each title gave me differing levels of motion. Assetto Corsa being the more aggressive set-up, with iRacing falling into the middle and Project Cars having the mildest standard values. Spending equal amounts of time in these three titles and tweaking the software gave me a better insight into how each plug-in is structured.
After a reasonable amount of time spent behind the wheel, I settled on iRacing as having the best overall telemetry / motion of the three for me. The mix of subtlety and aggressiveness whilst sim racing truly imparts the sensation of clouting those curbs or touching the wall when the back end breaks loose. Crashing in this rig takes on a whole new dimension, going off circuit or coming to a dead stop really does feel like it’s going to hurt. The 4 point OMP harness is not a luxury extra on this rig, I would say it is almost mandatory!
If you are like me and you are into ultimate immersion, the combination of the ProSimu motion rig, either of the consumer VR HMDs, a decent FFB wheel and pedals…it is pretty much sim racing nirvana! Maybe one big step above that would be driving in Wil Tosado’s awesome Porsche cockpit! The totality of the driving experience, being immersed in the game to such a level, is probably as close as we can come to driving a real racing car!
Peripherals used in this review were as follows:
Thrustmaster T300RS base with 599EVO wheel rim, Thrustmaster TH8A shifter and Fanatec Clubsport v3 pedals with eladur mod and brake damper
Main titles driven: iRacing, Assetto Corsa and Project Cars
Depending on choice of software, supported titles for the ProSimu T1000 3DOF Motion Rig as of October 2016 are as follows:
- Driving Simulations
- Assetto Corsa
- Burnout Paradise
- Colin McRae Dirt 2
- Codemasters Dirt2,3, Dirt Showdown, Dirt Rally
- Codemasters F1 2010, F1 2011, F1 2012, F1 2013 , F1 2014, F1 2015, F1 2016
- Copa Petrobras de Marcas
- DTM Racing Experience Demo
- FlatOut 2
- Game Stock Car
- Codemasters GRID, GRID 2
- GRID Autosport
- GT Legends
- GTR2 – GT Racing Game
- Life For Speed
- Nitro Stunt Racing
- Project CARS
- Race ’07 (Crowne Plaza, The Formula RaceRoom Addon, GT Power, GTR Evolution, RACE Injection, RACE On, Retro Pack, STCC – The Game, STCC – The Game2, WTCC 2010 Pack )
- Richard Burns Rally – RSRBR
- Raceroom Racing Experience
- RaceRoom The Game 2
- rFactor 2
- The Crew
- TrackMania Nation Forever
- Volvo – The Game
- World Racing Series
- WRC 4: FIA World Rally Championship
- X Motor Racing
- Truck Racing Simulations
- Formula Truck 2013
- Motor Bike Racing Simulations
- GP Bikes
- Kart Racing Simulations
- KartRacing Pro
- Euro Truck Simulator 2
- OMSI – The Bus Simulator
- OMSI2 – The Bus Simulator
- City Car Driving
- Flight Simulations
- Condor The Competition Soaring Simulator
- Digital Combat Simulator
- Falcon 4.0 BMS
- IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover
- IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles
- Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 (FS9)
- Microsoft Flight Simulator X
- Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D®
- Silent Wings
- Wings of Prey
- Space Simulations
- Roller Coaster Simulations
- No Limits Rollercoaster Simulation
- 2x SCN6-40-100 actuators – front – 2DOF motion
- 1x SCN6-20-100 actuator – rear – 1DOF traction loss
- All electronics required to drive three actuators
- 2x power supply
- All steel construction
- Lower traction loss 1DOF frame and ballbearing rollers
- Upper T1000 2DOF motion simulator
- Adjustable pedal-deck – rake and longitudinally
- Adjustable wheel-deck – rake, height and longitudinally
- Adjustable seat mount – rake and height
- All mounting hardware supplied
- ProSimU monogrammed rug
Optional Extra Cost Features
- Shifter mounting bracket
- OMP racing seat as opposed to the generic folding seat
- OMP 4 point race harness
Three USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports, not for use with a USB hub
Power-board with surge protector (advised but not mandatory)
The ProSimu T1000 3DOF motion simulator is competitively priced. I will list the price as it was delivered to me with the chosen extra cost options.
The stated prices were correct at the time of publication, October 2016. All prices were taken from the official ProSimu website page. For sales tax, duties and worldwide shipping costs, please consult ProSimu’s website.
ProSimu T1000 3DOF motion simulator as tested:
Price: €3178,00 including tax and shipping in Europe
Options included on review simulator:
- Shifter mounting bracket = € 49,00
- OMP racing seat, as opposed to the generic folding seat = Due to its physical size, shipping costs are higher outside of Europe. Please check the site for shipping costs to your country.
- OMP 4 point race harness = € 90,00
Price: €2990,00 including tax
DIY Rolling Platform:
Price: €100,00 this is for the parts only, construction time not calculated
- Massively increases immersion in combination with a VR headset
- Good quality powder-coated finish and materials
- Powerful SCN6 actuators
- Makes for a challenging and physical driving experience
- Price point
- T1000 is available in 2, 3, 4, and 5 DOF versions
- Relatively small footprint (1.8m or 6ft x 1.0m or 3ft 6in)
- Good latency with smaller actuator movements
- Rear traction loss
- Adjustable pedal-deck – rake and longitudinally – fits most mass market pedals
- Adjustable wheel-deck – rake, height and longitudinally – fits most mass market wheels
- Adjustable seat mount – rake and height
- ProSimu monogrammed rug (floor protection)
- Compatible with most popular titles via a USB only PC connection
- Cool colour scheme (bright red and black)
- Comfortable OMP racing seat (optional)
- OMP 4 point racing harness (optional)
- Actuators and traction loss unit can be a little noisy in their operation
- No written instructions or users manual
- Build-up can be time consuming and tricky
- No software provided with the simulator
- Pedal-deck can flex a little when using higher end or stiffer pedals
- Wheel mount tube protrudes a little too far, in some instances it could come in contact with people’s legs
- Vertical seat height, lowest setting limited by frame width
- Optional shifter mount a little flimsy and can only be used on the right hand side of the rig
Today, there are many types of motion rigs out there, from some very expensive commercial / professional grade rigs, to budget DIY projects that offer varying levels of motion experiences. The ProSimu’s price point places it at the lower end of the commercial market place. Starting at €1990 for the 2DOF unit, the T1000 3DOF motion rig can hold its own against simulators costing many times as much! That is not to take anything away from DIY projects or the more expensive commercial motion systems that are available. The level of engineering and quality of those simulators is not in question.
The simulator as a whole is very well thought out. Its design allows for the use of many differing peripheral configurations. It provides the user with a convincing motion experience and conveys every little imperfection in any given circuit’s surface. I can imagine that a 4 or 5DOF version of this rig could offer an even more detailed motion experience. That makes this 3DOF rig stand out even more for the amount of realism and immersion it achieves with only three actuators. As mentioned in the cons, there is room for improvement in some areas, these are relatively small points and do not really detract from the overall performance of the rig. It would be good if there was a left and right hand drive version of the T1000. I would like to see a comprehensive user’s / instruction manual and a simpler fastening method.
With that said, what Patrick has achieved with a simple and minimalistic design philosophy makes the ProSimu T1000 a very compact little motion rig (1.8m or 6ft x 1.0m x 3ft 6in) with a comparatively small footprint. It will fit in the smallest of sim rooms and is a very good solution for those wanting to venture into the world of motion simulators without needing a lot of extra space or the outlay of huge amounts of money to do so. Not to mention the fact the same basic 2DOF package can be expanded to 3, 4 and 5DOF with minimal effort.
Add VR to the mix and you have something that will keep you smiling every time you strap yourself into the rig to head out on your favourite circuit! With most of the big commercial motion simulator makers adopting VR technology, the ProSimu T1000 3DOF rig can be seen as a VR ready motion simulator with a competitive price point!
Stay tuned for more hardware reviews coming soon, mate.