I began looking up some popular race steering wheels for supersonic cars and also those which are used on race cars today. Functionality was key here and being a high speed car I looked towards drag racing vehicles as I imagined the kind of steering and ease of use of the steering wheel was key here.
Here are some early sketches that I did just to capture the form I was looking to achieve through the steering wheel concept. I wanted to capture some of the sleek form of the SSC car , capturing its speed but also being comfortable to use. I decided that I would get out some automotive clay that I had left over and sculpt it out 1:1 size as this would help in ergonomics aswell.
After cleaning up some room in my basement workshop, I started to get the stand together for the model and base for it to sit on. I popped by Mitre 10 and picked up a metal right angle bracket and bolted an MDF plate to start putting clay on.
Clay sculpting tools are quite expensive, I had some lying around that a friend lent me but some areas I had to make do, hence the potato peeler to get rid of clay. I had some sheet steel too which was good for scraping back the clay and a heat gun to heat up the clay when needed. I used a sandwich oven as my clay oven and I was good to go.
For the steering wheel arm section ( where you hold onto the wheel) I ran some wire into the clay and then bent it using a vice to get it into shape. The wire was about 8mm thick, easy enough to bend but with enough strength to hold its shape. Since the wire wasn’t bolted in I had to support the arm section while building it up as the clay got a bit heavy. After letting the clay cool down however the wire was strong enough to hold it self up in the position I chose. The next thing I have to get is a mirror to place in the center so that I can see the whole shape.