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Hand Controller Shifter Mount - Western

Discussion in 'Equipment, Tools & Vehicle Pictures' started by Willybak, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. Willybak

    Willybak Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    Hello,

    I am new to the plowing business, just got my Western Wide-Out installed, and was very excited when I saw the totally cool looking Western Plow Hand Controller. It is indeed well thought out with respect to button placement and function... and if you are comfortable with having it lay on the seat or in your lap, the deal is complete... for you. But for me... the whole thing seems unworkable if you are steering with your left hand and shifting with the right hand while at the same time fumbling around with the controller... trying to perform some kind of syncopated juggling act.

    I think Meyers has a good start on it with their somewhat automated system that can be synced to the shifter so it performs some things without user input. Yet.. even that has limitations.

    I have seen a couple of patents online that show the controller buttons built into the shifter handle or other areas of the steering column. Pretty cool, but not in the cards unless a Plow Mfgr and the automakers get into bed together, and I don't think that is going to happen. But... stranger things have happened, like the Ford 5th wheel package.

    As I thought more about the Western Hand Controller I became convinced that the right hand steering/controller/shifter routine needed to be further refined.

    Since Western's "lay it in your lap" solution appears to be the current limit of their their thinking on the Hand Conroller, I am taking things into my own hands.... or rather... OUT of my right hand.
    Since I cannot grow another right arm, I somehow need to bring the shifter and controller into a closer relationship.
    Fortunately the construction of the Western controller lends itself to an easy, cheap, and practical solution.
    A well placed hose clamp and a shifter arm handle that is sufficiently long enough on the end that I can hang/clamp the controller onto... is the ticket.

    I know that this solution is not perfect, but it should suffice for now.
    The Hose Clamp does not interfere with or contact any of the components in the handle, and the Shifter Arm moves unobstructed throughout the range of of motion.

    Western could offer a modified controller; one that does not have the handle on it, but just the head part with the buttons. It should have a place at the edge of the head unit that has a molded curve with slots that has a hose clamp on it which can be fitted over the shifter handle. Yea... I know... not all shifter arms are created equal.

    I am not trying to beat up on Western or any plow companies... so please don't jack me for offering my rightful opinion. I know I probably don't have all the facts from the plow makers point of view. So I leave it at that.

    If you can use this idea and it helps make your work safer/easier... great.

    Sorry for the somewhat low quality photos. Hand held from phone.... leaves something to be desired. If you need more photos I can do it.
    The thing that I think is good to consider is the angle of the cut in the controller for the slots that the hose clamp fits into. The cut angle should follow the circular angle of the clamp. So instead of cutting the slot at a 90 degree angle to the controller handle, they shoud be cut slightly off of 90 degrees, more like 45 or something like that. I did not put an angle finder on it... I just eyeballed it while the clamp was layed over the handle.
    The hose clamp I am using extends out to 1 1/2 inches. I took the diameter of the shifter arm and the area needed for the controller slot/arm into consideration. That too was an in store (Lowe's) comparision, holding the hose clamp over the controller handle and allowing for the diameter of the shifter arm (a guestimate). I used a hack saw to cut the slot.
    The handle is made of somewhat soft plastic and was easy to cut, so I had to be careful to not over cut the slot. I cut 1/2 of the slot into each side of the handle so that the hose clamp fit somewhat in the middle of the handle.

    I would be interested in knowing what you have done if it will help me improve my solution.
    Please share.

    Regards

    Willy

    Controller Shifter Adapter4.jpg

    Controller Shifter Adapter5.jpg

    Controller Shifter Adapter 1.jpg

    Controller Shifter Adapter 3.jpg

    Controller Shifter Adapter 2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  2. randomb0b123

    randomb0b123 PlowSite.com Addict
    from america
    Messages: 1,278

    ...................be careful you weakened your controler by doing that. id have that busted in less than a week
     
  3. Willman940

    Willman940 Senior Member
    Messages: 325

    I normally have a similar outcome by holding it all the time, and then using my pointer and middle finger to shift.

    But to each their own.
     
  4. THEGOLDPRO

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    I hated using the handheld controller my Boss came with so i rewired the joystick controller i used to have with my curtis plow to work on my Boss
    [​IMG]
     
  5. THEGOLDPRO

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    Also the Boss handheld controller has the option to separate the handle from the control pad so you can mount just the pad on a stand or on its own holder somewhere on the dash. Which is what i did in my chevy, I took the handle off and mounted the pad right behind the shifter so i only have to tap it with my fingers.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  6. durafish

    durafish PlowSite.com Addict
    from 02919
    Messages: 1,092

    how hard was that to do?
     
  7. THEGOLDPRO

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    Not too bad, I Found the plug that Boss uses on their controller at radio shack, So i bought a few, Then i went on Curtis's & Boss's website's and printed out a wiring diagram for the controllers, then just matched up the wires for both. It took maybe a half hour to rewire it.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. durafish

    durafish PlowSite.com Addict
    from 02919
    Messages: 1,092

    I might have to do that with my fisher seems easy enough.
     
  9. Stik208

    Stik208 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,316

    I'm telling Grandview.....no really great idea. :mechanic:
     
  10. Willybak

    Willybak Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    Here's a few more photos of the controller mounted.

    It works almost "glove like". No undue strain on the controller since my grip includes it.

    Ho ho ho... let it snow!

    Willy

    Controller Shifter Adapter11.jpg

    Controller Shifter Adapter12.jpg

    Controller Shifter Adapter10.jpg

    Controller Shifter Adapter8.jpg

    Controller Shifter Adapter7.jpg
     
  11. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    To each his own I guess. I hope it works out well.
     
  12. THEGOLDPRO

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    That looks like its just in the way now.
     
  13. Andrew010

    Andrew010 Senior Member
    Messages: 205

    I'd have that broke within hours....
     
  14. Willybak

    Willybak Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    I guess then... that whether it breaks or not in depends entirely on how I handle it.
    I'll have to resist pulling and jerking on it as if I was wrestling a steer.
    Going opt for a firm but measured approach.

    As far as it being in the way... it actually feels okay... not like I was having to compete for the shifter or the controller. The combination of the Shifter and the Controller produces an unexpected but welcomed Synergistic feel/result.

    I guess that like anything else, it takes some adjustment when you have not done it before.

    Also... when not actively plowing, the controller can be easily removed... so I can Shift Away to my hearts content... having the whole shifter arm to work with.
    Oh fun :)

    I am now ready for the next step... developing a better option to the limited form factor of the Western Hand Controller. I will be looking into 3D Printing... where I can design and then Print a "Housing" for the controller pad. One that can be more readily and firmly attached to the shifter arm. My first step will be to determine whether there is a local company that offers a 3D printing service. That is probably a long shot in Anchorage, Alaska. We have lots of services, but this is probably pushing the envelope. At any rate... I am ready to "push forward" (no pun intended.. really). If no commercial service exists locally, I can check with the University of Alaska Anchorage School of Engineering for some leads.
    Last resort... if it is financially reasonable I could purchase a 3D printer. I could also reach out to the "Lower 48" states for more resources. Seattle would be my first bet since it is loaded with tech from computers to aircraft.

    If 3D printing proves too unrealistic, I can always look at using some of the small metal casesboxes that you find at contractor electronic/electrical specialty places.
    You know... the ones that are used to house switches and so forth. Getting deeper already :)

    3D Printers available now:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o6pcbhylmQ
    http://store.makerbot.com/replicator2.html

    This one is ONLY $2199.00
    And... yet another learning curve... ha ha.

    Any of you techs and fabricators out there can chime in anytime with ideas or leads.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  15. randomb0b123

    randomb0b123 PlowSite.com Addict
    from america
    Messages: 1,278

    amazing how thousands of people managed to survive with the controllers and mount set ups theyre plows came with
     
  16. mossman381

    mossman381 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,410

    I run the plow controller with my left hand and steer and shift with my right. I set my controller on my dash when I am not using it. Once you get used to it you don't need to modify anything.
     
  17. Willybak

    Willybak Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    ***
    Update on Western Plow Hand Controller Modification

    I just met with a mechanical engineer here in Anchorage who is in the business of CAD/CAM with 3D Printing capability.
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/sks/3346369526.html

    He is going to put put together a quote for me on a case that he can design and manufacture by 3D printing which will house the KeyPad from my Western Plow Hand Controller and fit on the Shifter Arm in my truck.

    I will keep you posted.
     
  18. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,285

    Update on Western Plow Hand Controller Modification

    I just met with a mechanical engineer here in Anchorage who is in the business of CAD/CAM with 3D Printing capability.
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/sks/3346369526.html

    He is going to put put together a quote for me on a case that he can design and manufacture by 3D printing which will house the KeyPad from my Western Plow Hand Controller and fit on the Shifter Arm in my truck.

    I will keep you posted.


    I'd be cautious about the 3-d printer solution, the process doesn't yield the psychical property's a injection mold part does. This means the part from a 3-d printer will be prone to cracking/failure, I'll have little to no chemical resistance and it probably won't have any UV inhibitors so the sun will degrade it.
    Not trying to take a dig at you in anyway, I'm always looking to make improves where ever I can. You said you're new to plowing so I assume this is your first plow on a pickup. Why don't you try using the controller as is, try it with you left and right hands and see if really is that awkward before you try to fix an unknown. I plow with a 5spd stick and a touch pad controller, a set up like mine is where a 3rd arm would be a handy thing but not an option so I adapted and have no issues.
     
  19. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    No need to re-invent the wheel. Controller in left hand, steering wheel and shifter in the right. That way you can sit back normally.

    One thing about my Fisher joy stick controllers was that you had to reach and sit forward a little to use them and it was uncomfortable. Honestly, I'd use that controller as is. I think you'll find it to be just fine.
     
  20. Willybak

    Willybak Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    Thanks for the feedback. I think I will push forward and perhaps "Improve" the wheel a little.

    I am already getting PMs with excellent suggestions and I am learning as I go about what I would like to accomplish.
    It may well be that 3D Printing is not the avenue to a solution. As mentioned, it may be too prone to failure with the current types of materials used in the process. But... there are new materials being used in this area that could be used, like Polycarbonate. We'll see.

    On that note.. does anyone have knowledge about CNC Routing?

    I am jazzed!!