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$2600 garage simulator build (and updates on using it for my game)


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#1 dornstar

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 03:01 PM

Lately, there seems like there's been a bunch of threads about people making home driving ranges and things of that nature, so I figured I would post my setup.

For anyone that has priced home simulators, it doesn't take long to figure out that they come with a heft price tag. Not having $5000+ to drop on one, I set out to build one for under $2600 which was really pushing my budget as is. Building a legit simulator for that cost was a lofty goal and I knew going into it that it wouldn't be "pretty", but that wasn't my goal. I wanted something that would allow me to get the bulk of my golf work done at the house.

One of the requirements that I had was that I wanted to get as close to Trackman/GC2 type accuracy as possible, so automatically, it ruled out systems like OptiShot and the P3ProSwing systems. Initially I bought an old Accusport Vector Pro, but that was a hot damn mess, so I opted for the SkyTrak which has been running a promotion for demo units for $1794. After tax, it came out to just under $2000. While this doesn't have Trackman/Flightscope club data, head to head with the big boy launch monitors, it's produces darn near the same ball flight data. Thus far, I have been EXTREMELY pleased with this purchase. Currently, SkyTrak only works with Apple products and fortunately I have an iPhone 6+, so it worked out. Android and PC support is in development.
Posted Image


With $2000 of my $2600 budget gone, it didn't leave a whole lot for the rest of the room and pretty much eliminated buying a short throw projector which would be in the $800+ range. After some research, I opted for a ViewSonic PJD5155 3200 lumen projector which I purchased off Amazon for $320.



With $2300 down, that left a mere $280 for a mat and a way to get the images from the phone to the projector. Initially I was going to buy an HDMI adapter for my phone, but opted to get an Apple TV. At a mere $70, this allows me to watch football in here on the big screen as well as send the launch monitor info to the projector via AirPlay.



Posted Image

Next up was the mat and with only $210 remaining, it ruled out some of the more expensive brands. I already had a CC Real Feel strip, but wanted a full mat. After a ton of research, I opted for the Monster Tee mat from All Turf Mats. They were running a promotion and I was able to pickup a 48x60 mat for a mere $105. This is a GREAT mat. Plenty of cushion so no impact fatigue, it can hold a teed up ball and I can tell when I hit a fat shot which was critical.

****UPDATE: I NO LONGER RECOMMEND THIS MAT. IT TRASHED MY ELBOW WHICH I NEEDED SURGERY TO FIX. THERE IS TOO MUCH DECELERATION OF THE CLUB THROUGH THE IMPACT ZONE. CURRENT MAT DISCUSSED ON PAGE 22 OF THE THREAD.***

Posted Image

After all the major purchases, it left $105 to build the screen and any other purchases. This ruled out an impact net for now and forced me to get a little creative which I'll detail. So, there it is... now it was time to put it together which I'll cover in the next post.

Edited by dornstar, 16 June 2017 - 09:20 AM.

D - Callaway XR Pro 9* (10*) - Kuro Kage Silver TiNi
3W - Callaway X Hot Pro 15* - Aldila NV 85
2H - Cleveland 2009 18* - Aldila NV 85
4-GW - TaylorMade RSi-2 - Project X 6.5
SW/LW - Vokey SM5 M-Grind
P - Ping Cadence TR Anser 2 counter-balanced

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#2 northgolf

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 03:35 PM

Well done - I didn't think you'd get the impact screen in given your budget, but you still did great.  I'm not investing in Skytrak until they have PC support.
If I do this 11,548 more times, I will be having fun.  - Zippy the Pinhead

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#3 dornstar

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 03:44 PM

 northgolf, on 17 September 2015 - 03:35 PM, said:

Well done - I didn't think you'd get the impact screen in given your budget, but you still did great.  I'm not investing in Skytrak until they have PC support.
I was on the fence initially as well as they only had iPad support at first. Once they added iPhone, it made the decision easier. PC support is suppose to be dropping soon as is various course simulation like WGT.

Edited by dornstar, 17 September 2015 - 03:44 PM.

D - Callaway XR Pro 9* (10*) - Kuro Kage Silver TiNi
3W - Callaway X Hot Pro 15* - Aldila NV 85
2H - Cleveland 2009 18* - Aldila NV 85
4-GW - TaylorMade RSi-2 - Project X 6.5
SW/LW - Vokey SM5 M-Grind
P - Ping Cadence TR Anser 2 counter-balanced

3

#4 woody089

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 03:57 PM

very cool!!

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#5 ozarkshooter

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 04:11 PM

Thanks for taking the time to write this up and giving the step by step details.


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#6 dornstar

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 04:18 PM

On to the build....  BUDGE REMAINING $105


So, after settling on a simple rectangular shape for the screen, we set off to Lowes to buy some PVC, a grommet kit and some bungee cord. I think the total cost of materials was right around $70.

Posted Image

Once we got home, we immediate began slapping together the frame. In hindsight, we probably should have settled on a screen material and sizing options, but it ended up working out just fine. Dimensions are like 105x90, so like a 11'2" diagonal screen.

Posted Image


After some trial and error with different fabrics like sheets and other things, I ended up going with an old king size quilt from Ikea that we never used. Although it was textured, the image projects on it pretty well and it was super durable. To date, I have hit thousands of balls into it and I haven't put a dent into it. In order to attach it to the frame, I put grommets in it around the edge...

Posted Image


And then we attached it to the frame with bungee cords. I had some old netting laying around, so we added that behind it  with some zip ties for a little extra reinforcement. The entire screen was then attached to the ceiling studs by a looped screw (not sure what they are called) and a carabiner which allows me to take it down if needed.

Posted Image


Although we never park our cars in the garage, this setup allows me to easily raise and lower the screen in the event there was a hurricane or something and we wanted to park them inside.

Posted Image

At this point, the SkyTrak and mat weren't in yet, but I let my daughter take the first shot since she was my right hand man on the project. Look at that backswing... it was literally her 2nd time ever hitting balls as she had no interest in it beforehand. Since building this, she has found a love for it that I never expected. She is going to be good.... and by good, I mean REALLY, REALLY GOOD. She has a raw ability that I've never seen before. Plus she's crazy stupid strong from gymnastics, so she's so much longer than other girls her age.

Posted Image

From there, the hardest part was the projector alignment. Working in the confines of the garage, I had to navigate the garage door assembly which and the projector had not horizontal adjustment, so it needed to be square to the screen. It was a PAIN IN THE BUTT, but we found the sweet spot.
Posted Image


Although there is a a texture on the quilt, you can see that the image is still very good.

Posted Image

FINALLY after a week of waiting, the SkyTrak came in as did the mat, so we were finally in business. I used industrial velcro to hold the mat in place and thus far, it hasn't budged at all...

Posted Image


Posted Image

Posted Image


And there it is. I think you would be hard pressed to put together a better setup for under $2600. It's still a little rough around the edges, but it's coming together since we've added some chairs things of that nature. I absolutely love it and I'm hitting hundreds of balls a day. I've literally learned more in the last month or so than I had in the previous 20 years of playing this game. It's freaking awesome.

Here's a video I made for my buddies in Ohio the day I got the SkyTrak. I've improved a few things from there.... like actually having the SkyTrak aligned to the center of the screen.



Edited by dornstar, 17 September 2015 - 11:48 PM.

D - Callaway XR Pro 9* (10*) - Kuro Kage Silver TiNi
3W - Callaway X Hot Pro 15* - Aldila NV 85
2H - Cleveland 2009 18* - Aldila NV 85
4-GW - TaylorMade RSi-2 - Project X 6.5
SW/LW - Vokey SM5 M-Grind
P - Ping Cadence TR Anser 2 counter-balanced

6

#7 sethdavidsdad

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 04:24 PM

very nice. I had looked at the skytrak in the past.
Epic 10.5* Diamana D+ 70X
TM Mini driver 14*
TM Jetspeed 5 wood, TM 4 Hybrid
Mizuno MP5 P-5 Nippon 120x
Ping Ketsch slight arch
Ping Glide Wedges 52,56,60
WITB Link
@golfingasu

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#8 dornstar

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 04:28 PM

 sethdavidsdad, on 17 September 2015 - 04:24 PM, said:

very nice. I had looked at the skytrak in the past.
I absolutely love it. Obviously, I would love to have Trackman or Flightscope, but that wasn't a realistic option. If given the choice over again, I would definitely do it again.
D - Callaway XR Pro 9* (10*) - Kuro Kage Silver TiNi
3W - Callaway X Hot Pro 15* - Aldila NV 85
2H - Cleveland 2009 18* - Aldila NV 85
4-GW - TaylorMade RSi-2 - Project X 6.5
SW/LW - Vokey SM5 M-Grind
P - Ping Cadence TR Anser 2 counter-balanced

8

#9 fore_life

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 04:28 PM

This is so rad!
Adams Fast 12 Ls Ust 90x elements
TEE cb 16.5 Kuro Kage 80x proto
Titleist 21* H2 evenflow blue 6.5
718 tmb 4 iron
718 cb 5-pw amt x100 tour
Vokeys
Odyssey 7ch

Various other putters currently in the closet,
thinking about what they’ve done wrong,
and how they’ve hurt me so.

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#10 ozarkshooter

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 04:42 PM

Can you elaborate on the "hot mess" Accusport Vector?  I was considering a Vector...but, have now seen your comment.  Just curious.


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#11 dornstar

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 04:45 PM

One thing that I forgot to mention. The ceilings aren't super high in this garage. Probably around 9', but there are cutouts for the AC handler which allow me to hit everything but my driver in here. You can actually see a driver mark on the ceiling.

Posted Image

Edited by dornstar, 17 September 2015 - 04:50 PM.

D - Callaway XR Pro 9* (10*) - Kuro Kage Silver TiNi
3W - Callaway X Hot Pro 15* - Aldila NV 85
2H - Cleveland 2009 18* - Aldila NV 85
4-GW - TaylorMade RSi-2 - Project X 6.5
SW/LW - Vokey SM5 M-Grind
P - Ping Cadence TR Anser 2 counter-balanced

11

#12 dornstar

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 04:47 PM

 ozarkshooter, on 17 September 2015 - 04:42 PM, said:

Can you elaborate on the "hot mess" Accusport Vector?  I was considering a Vector...but, have now seen your comment.  Just curious.
It might have just been the one I purchased off eBay, but it was only reading like 2 out of 10 shots and even then, the data seemed suspect. On top of that, there was times it would shut down and I would literally have to wait for the battery on it to die before I could get it up and running again. I was really, really hoping it worked as I didn't want to have to spend more money, but in hindsight, I think it worked out of the best. The SkyTrak is so much better. Seriously, I'm not joking when I said it was a hot mess. It was such a frustrating experience. The best thing about it was that I was able to sell it "for parts" on eBay for more than I bought it for.

Edited by dornstar, 17 September 2015 - 04:51 PM.

D - Callaway XR Pro 9* (10*) - Kuro Kage Silver TiNi
3W - Callaway X Hot Pro 15* - Aldila NV 85
2H - Cleveland 2009 18* - Aldila NV 85
4-GW - TaylorMade RSi-2 - Project X 6.5
SW/LW - Vokey SM5 M-Grind
P - Ping Cadence TR Anser 2 counter-balanced

12

#13 sethdavidsdad

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 04:50 PM

 ozarkshooter, on 17 September 2015 - 04:42 PM, said:

Can you elaborate on the "hot mess" Accusport Vector?  I was considering a Vector...but, have now seen your comment.  Just curious.
I haven't owned one but they were a pain to set up and get accurate readings. Our old pro was given one by a equipment manufactor and he only used it like a month or two then put it up. Not worth the hassle.
Epic 10.5* Diamana D+ 70X
TM Mini driver 14*
TM Jetspeed 5 wood, TM 4 Hybrid
Mizuno MP5 P-5 Nippon 120x
Ping Ketsch slight arch
Ping Glide Wedges 52,56,60
WITB Link
@golfingasu

13

#14 dornstar

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 05:03 PM

Next purchase will be the impact screen. I'll probably go with the PR-20 impact netting from West Coast Netting which will probably cost around $200.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Edited by dornstar, 17 September 2015 - 05:05 PM.

D - Callaway XR Pro 9* (10*) - Kuro Kage Silver TiNi
3W - Callaway X Hot Pro 15* - Aldila NV 85
2H - Cleveland 2009 18* - Aldila NV 85
4-GW - TaylorMade RSi-2 - Project X 6.5
SW/LW - Vokey SM5 M-Grind
P - Ping Cadence TR Anser 2 counter-balanced

14

#15 solarbear88

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 05:05 PM

Pity they can not make something cheaper that hooks up to a Playstation or Xbox.  If the program and device was $500 or so it would sell like hotcakes.


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#16 dornstar

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 05:07 PM

 solarbear88, on 17 September 2015 - 05:05 PM, said:

Pity they can not make something cheaper that hooks up to a Playstation or Xbox.  If the program and device was $500 or so it would sell like hotcakes.
I don't think we're too far away from a solid $1000 system. I think that's the holy grail for launch monitor makers as it'll open itself up to home use and the one that pulls it off will literally take a huge position in that industry.
D - Callaway XR Pro 9* (10*) - Kuro Kage Silver TiNi
3W - Callaway X Hot Pro 15* - Aldila NV 85
2H - Cleveland 2009 18* - Aldila NV 85
4-GW - TaylorMade RSi-2 - Project X 6.5
SW/LW - Vokey SM5 M-Grind
P - Ping Cadence TR Anser 2 counter-balanced

16

#17 kyle75

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 08:30 PM

That is a really good looking setup.  You did one hell of a job on it.

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#18 larrybud

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 08:31 PM

So what does this unit measure?  Just the clubhead? Does it know anything about impact?

How does putting work?

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#19 leekgolf

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 08:38 PM

This is an amazing setup. One question though, you're in Florida. Why do you want an indoor simulator? Can't you play/practice outdoors year round?


Most importantly - GO BUCKS!

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#20 dornstar

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 09:24 PM

 leekgolf, on 17 September 2015 - 08:38 PM, said:

This is an amazing setup. One question though, you're in Florida. Why do you want an indoor simulator? Can't you play/practice outdoors year round?


Most importantly - GO BUCKS!
Well, I've been thinking about doing it for a while. I have a strong desire to win a championship whether that be a major national or state tournament. It's hard to do that without putting in the work, but with a wife and 3 kids as well as work obligations, I found that I really didn't have enough time and when I did do it, I was neglecting my family. This really has allowed me to do both. I can pop in and out of "the lab" doing 30 minutes here and there or when the time allows, 2-3 hour stints. It's really allowed me to put in significant hours and the results are starting to show. Also, it's a net win. I was hitting 200-300 balls per day which even with a range pass at a local club costs upwards of $200 or more per month. After a year, this setup will have more than paid for itself. Pretty much the only time I go to the range now is once a week to get some dedicated driver work done.

On top of that, this was one of the wettest summers on record here in Tampa and we lost a lot of playing time. By the end of the summer, I figured it was time to pull the trigger.

And... O-H!!!

Edited by dornstar, 17 September 2015 - 09:32 PM.

D - Callaway XR Pro 9* (10*) - Kuro Kage Silver TiNi
3W - Callaway X Hot Pro 15* - Aldila NV 85
2H - Cleveland 2009 18* - Aldila NV 85
4-GW - TaylorMade RSi-2 - Project X 6.5
SW/LW - Vokey SM5 M-Grind
P - Ping Cadence TR Anser 2 counter-balanced

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#21 dornstar

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 09:29 PM

View Postlarrybud, on 17 September 2015 - 08:31 PM, said:

So what does this unit measure?  Just the clubhead? Does it know anything about impact?

How does putting work?
It measures the ball data.... ball speed, launch angle, spin, side angle (angle left or right the ball takes off on) and side spin. It also calculates the clubhead speed which is spot on. It's accurate to +/- 1 mph, +/- 1 degree and 250 spin which is pretty close to Trackman/Flightscope tolerances. Like other launch monitors (Trackman, Flightscope, GC2), it's not really intended for putting.

I've taken it to the range a couple of times and it has been crazy accurate even when I hit crazy shots to throw it off like intentional shanks or fat shots. I have 100% confidence in it.

Hope that helps.

Edited by dornstar, 17 September 2015 - 11:34 PM.

D - Callaway XR Pro 9* (10*) - Kuro Kage Silver TiNi
3W - Callaway X Hot Pro 15* - Aldila NV 85
2H - Cleveland 2009 18* - Aldila NV 85
4-GW - TaylorMade RSi-2 - Project X 6.5
SW/LW - Vokey SM5 M-Grind
P - Ping Cadence TR Anser 2 counter-balanced

21

#22 chiva

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 09:44 PM

What an awesome setup!!!
OB and water hazards you flunkies

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#23 buckeye88us

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 09:52 PM

I - O  !
Love the set up..great job.
Your right about all the rain.
I'm down in Sarasota and our range has been closed a few days every week for the past two months.
Good luck and Go Bucks!!

23

#24 leekgolf

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 05:48 AM

View Postdornstar, on 17 September 2015 - 09:24 PM, said:

View Postleekgolf, on 17 September 2015 - 08:38 PM, said:

This is an amazing setup. One question though, you're in Florida. Why do you want an indoor simulator? Can't you play/practice outdoors year round?


Most importantly - GO BUCKS!
Well, I've been thinking about doing it for a while. I have a strong desire to win a championship whether that be a major national or state tournament. It's hard to do that without putting in the work, but with a wife and 3 kids as well as work obligations, I found that I really didn't have enough time and when I did do it, I was neglecting my family. This really has allowed me to do both. I can pop in and out of "the lab" doing 30 minutes here and there or when the time allows, 2-3 hour stints. It's really allowed me to put in significant hours and the results are starting to show. Also, it's a net win. I was hitting 200-300 balls per day which even with a range pass at a local club costs upwards of $200 or more per month. After a year, this setup will have more than paid for itself. Pretty much the only time I go to the range now is once a week to get some dedicated driver work done.

On top of that, this was one of the wettest summers on record here in Tampa and we lost a lot of playing time. By the end of the summer, I figured it was time to pull the trigger.

And... O-H!!!

I-O!

That makes a lot of sense. It's a 13 month ROI and you can't put a price on time with your kids.  All of this technology is truly amazing.


24

#25 woody089

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 07:15 AM

... living in south Florida, I can attest to the "wettest" summer on record feeling.  If not out right raining, the humidity has made it nearly unbearable (clubs slipping even with cords).  If at all possible, - would suggest a "portable air conditioner" for your garage, so that you can actually enjoy being in there.  great job!!!! Jim

Edited by woody089, 18 September 2015 - 07:15 AM.


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#26 UNClawgolfer

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 07:24 AM

Great setup!  Well done

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#27 8602081

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 07:25 AM

Wow..
Very nice setup.  I wish I can get something like that for my house..

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#28 L3fty

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 07:44 AM

I always wanted to do this as well. Just bought a house and have some space to set something up like this...might follow your footsteps from the beginning to end.
I loved the fact that you had a budget and stuck with it, improvising, adapting and overcoming. But the absolute best part was reading how your daughter's love for the game grew. I have a girl who will turn 1 tomorrow and hope she likes golf so we can play together.
Thanks for posting this!

Only thing I didn't like about this is..... GO BLUE! HAIL!
Taylormade M1 16 AD-BB 6S
Callaway Big Bertha AD-DI 6S
Cobra Baffler T-Rail+ Hybrid 19
Cobra Fly-Z Pro 4-PW Project-X 6.5
Mack Daddy Tour 52* 56* 60*
Bobby Grace Lo Pro

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#29 MrSurly

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 08:22 AM

Holy crap that thing is incredible! Regarding the mat that you bought, how do tees work in it? When I move in a few years, hopefully I'll have a space (either garage or basement area) that can accommodate something like this, and by then maybe the prices of the monitors etc. will come down a little bit. Good job all around though!

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#30 cav5

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 08:32 AM

I might just do this!!

EPIC YS7+ R
AERO HL Rogue
910H UST
1957 BB Modus3 130R
51Y 55C 59C Steelfiber CW 125S
KM350
B330S

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