I think the only major difference between the Simucube 2 Pro I’ve been testing and my Fanatec DD2 is the quality and rigidity of the hub you get in the Simucube SQR hub. If it wasn’t for Fanatec’s hub design, for me the DD2 would win over the Simucube on several counts.
Updated: 11/11/2020 with the V15 Z-Ring
What’s the problem with a Fanatec hub?
There should be absolutely no flex or movement on a sim racing wheel hub. However on Fanatec hubs, there is a bit of play and flex in the mount in the QR connection where the wheel and the wheelbase mate:
When you realise it’s there, you can’t ignore it. One way to help resolve the problem is to use the locking screw provided with the wheel:
Although the locking nut only partially solves the problem and it really takes the “quick” out of quick release.
Fortunately there’s a fix in the form of a clever 3D printed design called the Z-RING.
What’s a Z-Ring?
The Z-Ring is a 3D printed part that eliminates the flex in the original QR hub of a Fanatec Podium DD1 or DD2.
As you don’t have to use the lock screw, you can still quickly and easily remove and attach other sim racing wheels.
The design itself is freely available from the creator, Zappadoc under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, so if you’re lucky enough to own a 3D printer, you can download the latest design and make it yourself.
Sadly, I don’t own a 3D printer, but you can buy the latest “Z-RING V15 1MM DEEPER” production of the item from Sim Makerz for €15.00. The version I have taken photos of below is an earlier version but I’ve since ordered the newer V15 and will update the photos in due course.
The main difference between the two versions is documented on this page under “What is the difference between the two versions?”
How to install the V14 Z-Ring
Installation is relatively easy, you’ll just need a 5mm Allen key to remove the locking ring at the base of the QR mount:
Loosen the bolts enough so that the ring can slide around. Make a note of the approx. position of the ring so you know where to tighten it back up.
Carefully slide out the center spline until it starts to meet some resistance. There are two wires that need to be disconnected:
Once you’ve disconnected the two connectors, remove the locking nut, spacer ring and rubber bush:
To assemble, locate the z-ring with the locking nut aperture and screw on the locking nut. Keep the spare rubber and spacer somewhere safe!
Reattach the connections and carefully re-insert the spline. Use a slight twisting action which will coil up the cables inside the drive tube:
Then tighten up the locking ring and you’re good to go:
With the wheel fitted to the Z-Ring QR hub I had to use extreme force to observe any movement at all. I actually had to hold on to the DD wheelbase for the demo as I was using significantly more strength to try to get the thing to flex! It’s a great little mod – recommended!
Update: v15 Installation
Today I’ve received the newer V15 revision of the Z-Ring, which can be bought here.
The unit comes with a locking ring nut and a section that has been cut in to accommodate the collar on the Fanatec locking ring. This means that you turn the Fanatec lock ring round so the collar sits inside the Z-Ring, and the Z-Ring locking nut holds it very tightly in place:
The only difference in installation is the Fanatec locking ring is reversed compared to the V14 installation.
As a reminder, here is the V14 installation:
Here is the V15 installation:
If you’re lucky enough to own a 3d printer, you can download the correct files and instructions from the author, Zappadoc, here: http://zappadoc.com/podium-dd1-and-dd2-qr-issue-the-z-ring-solution/