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My Dirt Rally tabletop car-cade game

For the longest time I've had the idea to put a Raspberry Pi into one of those kids car toys from the 80s.

In August 2017 I was beat to the punch by Matt Brailsford when he published his Tomy Turnin' Turbo Dashboard Outrun Arcade on Twitter: https://twitter.com/circuitbeard/status/902513198330499073

His project was so fantastic, I had to come up with something entirely new...

The beginning

I already had an Intel Atom powered dev board, the MinnowBoard. Surprisingly, SteamOS installed on it without any issues.

After playing around with SteamOS and Dirt Rally on the MinnowBoard without much luck (talking in frames per minute, not frames per second), I settled on the idea of building a full Intel powered system running SteamOS. I would then work on designing and 3D printing the entire enclosure from scratch.

The Dirt Rally Car-cade!


Initially I was going to design it with cues from the Audi Quattro, but I very quickly switched over to the 1995 Subaru Impreza, which is my preferred car in the game.

I ordered the smallest motherboard I could find that had the features I needed, along with the rest of the components that I didn't already have.

System Components

Other Components

The Design Process

The process of designing and printing was an iterative one. I initially designed and iterated the steering and throttle components until I was happy with how they worked. The USB controller interface is managed by a Pimoroni Picade PCB (it's basically an arduino with an onboard amplifier for speakers). The steering and throttle are analog inputs using potentiometers. The steering wheel and throttle both self center (kindof) using rubber bands integrated into my design.

I then went about planning the smallest footprint possible for the Car-cade... Ensuring that I was able to 3D print everything using my Anet A8.

As I worked through designing each part and printing it, I got a better picture of how everything would come together. It didn't take much effort once the ball was in motion.

Social Media Interest

I recorded a video of my friend Eric playing on the Car-cade and put it up on Twitter showing off the progress. A few large social media publishers contacted me and asked if they could share the video. It got quite a lot of views on their networks!

Designing Around the Parts

Everything was designed around being as small as possible. As you can see, minimal clearance was given around the motherboard. I had a balancing act between the maximum print area on my 3D printer and how much room I needed for cables plugging in to the motherboard.

Once I had all the components finished and the first prototype assembled I went on to experiment with finishing methods.


Initially I thought that I should sand, primer, paint, then clear coat. I managed to pick up a can of World Rally Blue paint. It looks amazing... But after attempting the process I realized it was too much effort to go to for a project of this size.

Project Recognition

It was at this time that I received a package from Codemasters!!! I got sent SWAG!!

Many thanks to the Dirt team at Codemasters. It's awesome to see them support the community the way they do!!

Post-Processing, Part 2

After a lot of debating about the pros and cons of extensive post processing to finish 3d prints, I decided to switch to printing the parts using different colored filament. This process took a LONG time. I experimented with 4 different rolls of blue filament alone. I also spent the time to break up the design so that I could print the rear panel in different pieces and glue them together. I ended up going with ColorFabb Ultra Marine Blue PLA for the bulk of the enclosure. The dashboard is printed in ProtoPasta Matte Fiber PLA, the base, rear panel insert, and all the internal mounts are printed in Hatchbox Black PLA, and the headlights are printed in Hatchbox Glow in the Dark PLA.

The steering wheel and throttle are printed using ProtoPasta Polishable Stainless Steel PLA, the steering wheel rim has been painted with PlastiDip Rubber Paint, and the small stripe is Testors orange.

Final Assembly

With all the parts finally printed, I went about assembling the final product!

Final Touches

After assembly, I used my Cricut to cut some vinyl decals, giving us the finished Dirt Rally Car-cade!

🍌Banana For Scale 🤣

Gameplay Videos

More About the Car-cade

I have a few more videos of the Car-cade prototype on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLGYb5mIm0WYwEnWkQ1j9M1dFWMHfyMOBq

Build Your OWN Car-cade!

I have published the 3d objects, and will SOON be writing build instructions over on github: https://github.com/dchote/carcade

0 Comments 14 November 2017
Daniel Chote

Daniel Chote

Daniel Chote, the Code Monkey, Cat Herder, Maker, H4x0r, uav pilot, sim racer, bullshit artist and dad. Made in Hastings, New Zealand... Now living in the USA!

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