I'm an engineer, not a woodworker

A project log for Upgrade-Ready Virtual Reality Backpack

Stuck between the choice of mobile, low power VR and stationary, PC grade escapism, the best choice was clearly to mash the two together.

serverrorServError 10/11/2019 at 19:540 Comments

With a power supply for my backpack picked out, it was time to make it mount to the backpack. Horizontal space was limited after laying out the main components, so I cut out and glued in a riser that the PSU could screw in to.

Out of impatience, I started testing the polystain I had picked out. As it turns out, I should've mixed it before doing this for significantly better results. You can also see the ITX hole pattern drilled out from a previous test mounting.

Next it seemed reasonable to modify my design and scrap the piece of wood which sat at the bottom section of the backpack. It would need some unusual mounting to the main piece to work, and increased the thickness of the pack quite a bit. Instead I made another "riser" which the batteries could sit on.

There are two slits above and below the riser for tie down straps.

As I was going riser happy, this seemed like a great time to add yet another one for the power button.

Sneak preview mounting of the board and GPU.

Thinking about how my fabric backpack and straps would mount to the plywood, I opted to add adhesive-backed velcro in the areas of the backpack that could be easily reinforced with nylon. Not shown: painstakingly threading through adhesive-backed velcro around the perimeter of these strips.

In the same vein, I didn't want to trust the velcro adhesive on the plywood veneer either, and so reinforced it with staples.

In this front view you can see the linseed oil I tested on the front. I wasn't thrilled with the result and opted to try that polystain again (mixing it properly this time).

First coat of stain

Second coat of stain

Much better! Today was also the day I picked up the Rift S (about a week after release).

I needed to do some haphazard last-minute reinforcement of the shoulder straps on the backpack to ensure they wouldn't separate from the back and make a very expensive mess. I also sewed the top black strap into a loop for future utility.

Time to put everything together and put it on!

I loaded up some Dead and Buried and kicked the butts of some folks who didn't seem quite sure how to play (sorry). Performance was nice and solid, and the new guardian system setup is very convenient. I walked into my kitchen while still wearing the headset, set up a new playspace, and messed around some more before calling it a night. As a side note, this headset is way more convenient for long haired folks than the original Rift. The Rift often forced my hair onto my face as I put it on, whereas this one just clamps to my face without any sliding motion.

As I went to put the backpack down, my decision to skip the bottom plywood in favor of a riser proved problematic. The backpack could not sit upright, and instead needed careful handling to set it down flat.

In the next segment, I'll start adding a metal frame and going a bit upgrade crazy.