Coming from the engineer, Calvin Dent, this gadget adds an extra level of realism to your simracing rig.
Calvin Dent is the name of the engineer who during the current pandemic decided to combine his simracing hobby with his ability to design and construct. Voila: Sim-3D was born. With the help of a 3D printer, he builds from his home a number of simracing products that in a short time have become very popular and above all it is Calvin's rumble motors for pedals of various kinds that grabbed our attention some months ago.
We ordered a set on Gamereactor that we have now used for just over a month, and I feel ready to hand out a grade. Given how incredibly important it is to have more detailed, realistic, fast and powerful force feedback in the steering wheel (hence the fact that direct drive-wheels have become hugely popular the past year), it is a bit strange that there are hardly any pedals with any kind of force feedback in, or on them. Fanatec's V3 Pedal Kit houses a rumble engine on the brake pedal, but it gives off such subtle vibrations that they are barely noticeable, if you ask me, and apart from those pedals, the whole idea shines with its absolute absence. Now the pedals in a real racing car move far less of course than what the steering wheel does, but still. Being able to feel vibrations in the brake pedal when, for example, you lock the brakes in a racing car without ABS or feel vibrations in the accelerator pedal when shifting or especially spinning with all four wheels, is something I really missed. Up until now.
Sim-3D Pedal Rumble Motor Kit consists of very powerful rumble motors, which are mounted into small 3D-printed housings, which are then screwed on on the back of your pedals. Via Calvin's site, you order a kit whose 3D-printed plastic housing fits the pedals you use (whether it's Simtag, Fanatec, Heusinkveld, Logitech or Thrustmaster) and then it's mostly about mounting them on the pedal arms (on the back of pedal plates, more or less) and plug them into the supplied control box. Here at Gamereactor, we also took the opportunity to mount our Heusinkveld Ultimate Plus pedals (which we are very happy with) on a slide cassette from Simpro that makes it possible to move the entire pedal table about 30 centimetres forward and backward and considering that we would now get two extra cables from both pedals in addition to Heusinkveld's cabling, hardware writer Fredrik Lindman took the opportunity to mount a small homemade cast iron plate to which we attached the Sim-3D box, as well. All to avoid the risk of damaging cables when we pull the pedal cassette back and forth.
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The assembly of the Sim-3D Pedal Rumble Motor Kit for Heusinkveld's Ultimate pedals is basically super simple, but considering that we wanted a continuous screw through the pedal arm's CNC-cut side frames and through the Sim-3D plastic housing, we had to visit our local hardware shop to buy other bolts and nuts than those that sat on the pedals from the factory, which we first assumed we could use. This is information that Sim-3D should include in this kit from the start, in the future, as they eliminate headaches and time wasted for those who intend to mount them "out of the box", so to speak.
Sim-3D Pedal Rumble Motor Kit is controlled by the absolutely fantastic program Simhub which in our case also controls our butt kicker, our high speed fan-system (also from Sim-3D) and our Simcore Z1 dash. Simhub is a brilliant piece of software that only costs $10 to open up (a limited free version is also available) and in my opinion it is one of the most important software aspects of a serious full motion-rig. In Simhub, there are plenty of options for those who want to activate them for everything that happens in the car. We decided early on to activate Sim-3D's rumble motors only for when the brakes lock-up, when all four wheels spin and when manual shifts take place via our sequential Simagic Q1 shifter.
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The motors via the included control box are incredibly fast and there is really absolutely no delay between what happens in game and behind your pedals. There is also a lot of power in these rumble motors, which means that we have reduced the power to about 22%, something that feels perfect for our purposes. It's a very nice feeling to see how the accelerator pedal vibrates every time you tear into another gear in, for example, Automobilista 2 or to feel how the brake pedal shakes a little when you stomp on the brake and slide forward with four locked wheels over the gravel in Dirt Rally 2.0. It builds loads of immersion, realism and above all it makes you as a driver know the car better, feel the ground in a more realistic way and thus can allow yourself to accelerate more and become faster.
It is noticeable in several ways that the Sim-3D Pedal Rumble Motor Kit is not a "store product" with a fancy packaging design or mass-produced components. The whole kit has a bit of a "home feeling" about it, but that is also the charm here, when you know that Calvin is sitting at home and are building these by hand. A kit costs around £95 plus shipping and I would say that there are relatively few upgrades to your simracing rig that are more affordable right now. This is seriously good stuff that works wonders for the immersion-aspect of your virtual racing needs.
9 / 10
Brilliant performance, powerful motors, no delay, great control via Simhub, clever design, good price, great immersion.
No instruction manual, the housings could use some sort of cover.