by Joe Keefe
As soon as HOTAS controllers for PC became available, simmers began to seek out ways to mount these controllers realistically and ergonomically. Placing a stick and throttle on a typical desk locates these devices too high relative to the user, introducing awkward movements and wrist strain. From products like the SimSit (which, although previewed by SimHQ long ago, never materialized on the market) to homemade shelves and dedicated cockpit mounting systems like the Obutto oZone Gaming Cockpit, the solutions have been numerous.
Recently another contender was added to the market, the ClampMaster bracket from JoyLoc. The ClampMaster bracket is a reinforced aluminum bracket with a rough black power coat finish. The ClampMaster is designed to attach to end of a desk and provides a platform that hangs about 8″ below the desk. The horizontal supporting surface for a stick or throttle is 200mm x 250mm (about 7.9″ x 9.8″). A drawing with detailed dimensions is available here from JoyLoc.
JoyLoc states that the ClampMaster will fit a maximum desk thickness of 49mm (1.93″). The desk used with a ClampMaster must not be a glass desk; JoyLoc cautions that use of this product with a glass desk will break the desk. There are two large metal pads that serve as the clamping surfaces. One is fixed to the underside of the upper clamp structure. The other, visible separately in the above images, is a separate piece that is inserted above the clamping screws when one mounts the ClampMaster to a desk. Adhesive-backed pads are provided to minimize the risk of marring the desk surface. In my month’s use of the ClampMaster brackets these adhesive pads have fallen off two or three times, but each time I can reattach them like new. Obviously if one leaves the clamps attached to a desk the adhesive pads cannot fall off. The pads fall off because they do not adhere well to the rough surface of the brackets.
Using the ClampMaster brackets is a rewarding and comfortable experience. Although the brackets can wiggle after they have been clamped to a desk, this motion to me is not distracting or problematic. The ClampMaster even handles the hefty Thrustmaster Warthog throttle…
…and the Saitek X-65F throttle with attachments (shown with the Saitek Backlit Information Panel) without trouble.
A number of holes in the product presumably serve to minimize weight while maintaining structural rigidity. The hole in the vertical surface behind the joystick or throttle also serves as a convenient point for cable routing.
Each ClampMaster bracket comes with 4 short pieces of peel-and-stick velcro. I dislike velcro mounting solutions, but in this case it seems to be the best option, especially if one plans to use a single clamp with more than one device. Since the metal plate of the ClampMaster is relatively thin, I suspect that careful drilling would allow for bolt-through mounting of devices that are designed with this in mind (Saitek X-65F stick & throttle, G940 stick & throttle, and Warthog throttle). The G940 seems particularly perfect for this, although I haven’t actually tried any drilling myself. Due to all of the pre-made holes in the horizontal plate, I suspect that mounting a Warthog stick might be a trickier proposition.
The ClampMaster may also be a convenient place to mount other devices, such as a shifter or a panel. The shifter requires something on top or under the ClampMaster plate in order to provide adequate thickness for the shifter screws to grab.
The JoyLoc ClampMaster bracket has a few pricing options, and currently is only available in the UK, Mainland Europe, and North America. Prices in USD below are converted as of 1 August 2011. All payment are via PayPal.
|1 ClampMaster Bracket||2 ClampMaster Brackets|
|North America||138.39 USD||195.41 USD|
|UK||54.99 GBP||87.99 GBP|
|UK Overseas||72.99 GBP||104.99 GBP|
|Mainland Europe||83.56 Euro||120.21 Euro|
The JoyLoc ClampMaster Product FAQ is available here.
The JoyLoc ClampMaster is a sturdy and valuable addition to any simming on a desk that is looking for a better HOTAS mounting solution.
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