Street Racing Steering Wheel Final Report: Part 2

For my main project I decided to build an xbox controller steering wheel adapter. I got the idea last semester when I was playing a modded version of GTA that allowed you to adjust settings and drift cars. The game was fun, but I thought I could make it feel more like a drifting simulator if I made a steering wheel and pedals. The aesthetic I chose for this project is the street racing aesthetic. This aesthetic has a sleek almost futuristic look. Since underground street racing usually takes place at night, this aesthetic often has a dark background. At the same time it also contains bold eye-catching lights and colors that contrast against this dark background. While the street racing aesthetic was my first choice, there are other aesthetics I considered for my design.

Other Aesthetics:

One aesthetic I thought of in the beginning was the minimalist aesthetic. I talked about this aesthetic in an earlier post. To fit the minimalist aesthetic I would keep the base of my design very similar, but I would make it very boxy and paint it beige. For the steering wheel, I would make a flat white circular disk that doesn’t overhang the surface it is mounted to. I created this design in CAD which is shown below. 

As is common with this aesthetic I feel like this design is more boring than it is appealing. Another aesthetic I could base my design around is the Diner aesthetic. The diner aesthetic was popular in the 1950s and is very similar to the retro aesthetic. Some key features of this aesthetic are described below.

  • Checkered patterns
  • Neon lights
  • Stainless steel 
  • Jukeboxes
  • Plastic food baskets
  • Vibrant colors

Image by Deluxe Diner [1]

A design that fits this aesthetic would have a base with more rounded corners made of stainless steel. I would paint the base with a checkered pattern which would fit both the diner aesthetic and the racing aesthetic. The top surfaces of the base would be made of cushiony material similar to the booths at a diner. For the steering wheel, I think it would be fun to use one of the red baskets you commonly find at diners. I could also add some neon lighting around the bottom of the base. While this aesthetic would be a lot of fun and a goofy aesthetic for a steering wheel, I decided to stick with the street racing aesthetic because it really suits the aesthetic of the games I will be using this for. 


In my last post, I talked about the inspiration for the look of my project as well as the final design I settled on. I also took the time to create a timeline so I could track my progress and complete this project on time.

I built in a lot of wiggle room which really came in handy when the semester started to pick up. I will now step through my fabrication process and the changes I made along the way.


The first thing I fabricated was the steering wheel adapter. To expedite printing the adapter, I had my buddy John Bileschi print my design on his personal 3d printer. I got lucky and the first print of my design turned out great and worked perfectly with my Xbox controller. I also needed a stand to hold the Xbox controller in place so I found a stand online and printed it at the ITLP.

After this, I moved on to fabricating the steering wheel. I ordered the aluminum I needed for the core and arms from McMaster Carr and ordered a black leather steering wheel cover on Amazon.

Once the materials shown above came in,  I put in a fabrication request at the ITLP to manufacture the core. I also talked to Patrick Maguire at the Idea Forge about printing the outer part of my steering wheel and we were able to print it as one whole piece. At this point, I realized I had ordered the wrong width of aluminum for the arms of the steering wheel. I had to pivot my design by 3D printing the arms instead. I made sure to choose a vibrant green to stay within the street racing aesthetics. The image below shows how the steering wheel had turned out at this point.

Next, I began sewing the leather covering to the outer ring of the wheel, which was very tedious and took me a really long time. In the end, I think the wheel turned out really well.

I took the CAD I created for my enclosure and printed out all the drawings I needed to manufacture the box in the woodshop. I spent hours carefully cutting each side and then began gluing it all together.

I kept the back and top pieces unglued so I could insert and remove the Xbox controller, but they press fit into the box so it still looks good when fully assembled. Next, I spray-painted the box black, inserted the steering wheel, and added rubber feet to the bottom. The final product is shown below.


I am really happy with how this project turned out! I think the triangular aluminum core looks amazing and the black leather steering wheel cover really makes the design come together. When I realized I had the wrong width of aluminum for the arms, I was worried the 3d printed replacements were gonna look goofy. Instead, I think the substitution helped me add some more vibrant colors to my design, which I think helped the final product better match the street racing aesthetic. Being able to print the whole outer ring as one part made this project easy to assemble and reduced the amount of hardware I used. After assembling the enclosure I decided to round some of the edges to give it a polished look. As of now, I do not have the LEDs permanently installed. Before the expo, I would like to raise the enclosure a bit higher and add the LEDs permanently so I can get the underglow to look like the image above. Overall, this project was a lot of fun and I can not wait to share the final product with everyone.


[1] Pin by Deluxe Diner titled “1950s Diner”



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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Josh Sweeney
    May 7, 2024 11:00 pm

    This looks great, Ethan! I’m really glad you didn’t go with a minimalist aesthetic. Sometimes it can just be synonymous with “boring”. Your design is really neat and I’m a huge fan of all of the different manufacturing techniques you’ve got going on—3d printing, woodworking, sewing, etc. Reminds me of the arcade style racing games. How well does it work in GTA?


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