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#2434948 - 01/29/08 06:02 PM COCKPIT BUILDING 101  
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 11,236
531 Ghost Offline
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531 Ghost  Offline
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Elizabeth City NC


INFORMATION FOUND HERE

Quote:
Simulation cockpits or simpits are environments designed to replicate a vehicle cockpit. Although many pits commonly designed around an aircraft cockpit, the term is equally valid for train or car projects.

'Simpit' is generally used to refer to amateur, home built, setups which are the focus of this article. For more information on commercial flight simulators please see Flight Simulator.



Quote:


Simpits.org

GETTING STARTED
Before getting started on your own simulator cockpit there are quite a few questions you have to ask yourself. Like: do I mind the fact that my partner will hate me for the next couple of years, and friends and family will seriously question my sanity? But there's also a less serious (?) list of questions you need to check before you get started on your "neverending project" ;-)
- What kind of cockpit will I build (fighter jet, airliner, Formula1 car, Mechwarrior)?
- Do I have enough room to build my cockpit?
- What kind of money am I willing to spend?
- Will I use "real" parts or will I build everything myself?
- What kind of materials will I use?
- What kind of tools will I need (to buy..)?



And these are just some basic questions.


Digging deeper into the matter you may start to ask yourself:

- Do I want a "virtual" cockpit with everything in HOTAS style, or do I want a full suite of working buttons/switches in my cockpit?
- How will I make the buttons work, or how will I interface the buttons/switches with my PC? Will I use an EPIC card or other keyboard encoder? Will I be able to program it myself? Am I willing to spend the time and money this will cost me?
- Will there be other problems interfacing the cockpit with the PC. Do I want working gauges and warning lights? Will I settle for a "glass cockpit"?
- Will it be a one- or two-person cockpit ? If two, will it be built so that it CAN be operated by ONE person so that you can enjoy it without having a friend (or wife?? haha) over all the time?
- Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.....

WHAT TYPE TO BUILD?

On deciding which type to build, a good thing to consider is the availability of information and parts, both real and replica. F-16 info and a lot of Boeing stuff is readily available right now. There are also companies making F-16 components and lots of Boeing stuff can be found. If you switch to making something like a Canadian Regional Jet, it would be much harder to find parts and dimensions and such.
Another important thing to keep in mind is what software is available to run the sim. A Boeing 737 sim is a great thing to build because so many of its components are available right now through Microsoft, the PFD Team and others. But good software for a MechWarrior sim, that allows data in and out of the sim, may be hard to find. The type you want to build may also be decided by your favorite (software-) sim at the time. Keep in mind that your favorite sim may change a lot through the years, so you might also choose to go for a more 'generic' sim cockpit.

THE VISUALS

One of the most important (according to some THE most important) aspects of your simulated experience, are the visuals. Which route do you want to go? Stick with the single monitor? Go for a multiple-monitors setup? Ask yourself: does my software support multiple monitors? Do I have enough knowledge to realise/implement this in MY pit? How much processor-power/networks/graphics-cards etc. will I need? If you go for a multiple-monitors setup, you will need to take that into account in the design of your cockpit. Maybe you want to go for the head-mounted display. Ask yourself again: Can I pay for this? Does my software support this? A head-mounted display does mean that you don't have to enclose your cockpit and still get the total immersion.Have you won the lottery? You could go for a LCD projector. Project stuff life-size and get totally immersed. You don't have to pull many tricks to make it work and you don't have to enclose the entire cockpit, without being distracted by things around you in the room. You do need a big wallet though! ;-)

PLAN BEFORE YOU BUILD

After you answered all these questions, and all other questions you can think of yourself, you're already starting to form a "battle plan" for your upcoming project. And that's the most important thing: "plan before you build!" Precise planning and probing will save you tons of time and money on your project. If you're going to build a replica of "the real thing", try to gather as much info on it as you can. Measurements, angles, colors, versions, anything you can get your hands on, because in the end it will never be enough! If you go for the 'fantasy' approach, be sure you will be able to fit yourself in the pit comfortably and that you'll be able to reach all the buttons and controls. Think ergonomy! Any which way, think your project through, and then... think it through again!

3D DESIGN

It wouldn't hurt to get acqainted with a good 3D CAD program either. This will help you filter out design flaws in an early stage. Nothing is more frustrating then to build a whole part of your pit, to find out that it doesn't quite fit or meet up to your expectations. By designing your pit in 3D first, you will also know the quantity of materials you will need before you start building the actual pit. In the direction of construction, another piece of advise: measure twice before you cut once!

PROTOTYPING

Another good idea is prototyping. Before you build a part of your pit, build it from cheap material first. This way you can see if it fits and works as planned, before you spend all your money on expensive materials. Wanna make a 'glare-shield' for your F16 cockpit? Make it out of cardboard first, see if it fits. If needed make some adjustments, and then use the cardboard as a mask for the 'real thing'.

PLAN BEFORE YOU BUILD

Unplanned building has cost me alot of time and money on my first pit. It cost me a lot of blood sweat and tears, to build and rebuild all parts, and in the end I still wasn't satisfied. Something can seem as a great soluition in your head, but fall terribly short in reality. If you make a new part, think of the consequences it will have on your design.
The conclusion should now be clear: the success of your "pit project" stands or falls with the amount of time you spend building it in your head and on paper, BEFORE you build it for real !!!




Inline advert (2nd and 3rd post)

#2447609 - 02/13/08 03:17 PM Re: STICKY: COCKPIT BUILDING 101 [Re: 531 Ghost]  
Joined: Sep 2002
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531 Ghost Offline
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For those of you interrested in a simple design and build to start with, there's the Akers-Barnes Mk 1


Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.


#2448042 - 02/14/08 03:04 AM Re: STICKY: COCKPIT BUILDING 101 [Re: 531 Ghost]  
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Stadius Offline
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I am considering designing a parabolic projector display with dual projectors covering 240 degrees. I am currently scouring the internet looking for reference photos and sources of information.

Any direction or links you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

#2458473 - 02/28/08 05:03 PM Re: STICKY: COCKPIT BUILDING 101 [Re: Stadius]  
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DanTheSasquatch Offline
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Illinois
Thanks for the link to Akres-Barnes pit, Ive got some spare plywood from when we redid the the kitchen and Ive helped my dad with a million different projects, so I think he will help me with this one (itll take maybe one weekend) Ill post pics when we make it.


Xbox Live Gamertag: DanTheSasquatch please add me!
#2585950 - 09/12/08 12:37 PM Re: STICKY: COCKPIT BUILDING 101 [Re: DanTheSasquatch]  
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531 Ghost Offline
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531 Ghost  Offline
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Elizabeth City NC
And yet another great find at: DIY Flightsims


Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.


#2856362 - 09/07/09 04:05 PM Re: STICKY: COCKPIT BUILDING 101 [Re: 531 Ghost]  
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490MEGA2 Offline
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If you are just planning a simpit, and gathering equipment to begin.. The first thing you should consider is monitor size, and placement... From a prior build, I can say that the key to a great simpit is "Visual 1:1 scale".. In short, you need the canopy frame/gunsight (default view), to be in 1:1 scale without zooming... (zooming reduces field of view, big nono!) This means a LARGE monitor... (About 52inch works perfect for WWII era) 1920x1080, 120hz, 4ms, cost about $1100..
Once you have the 1:1 scale view.. Forward monitor placement should be where the Inst panel would actually be, approx over your knees... This gives the triangle of visual perspective for your eyes.. When you operate bigscreen with TrackIR5, panning your view, everything you see is at 1:1 scale/perspective... That equals SERIOUS IMMERSION!!! It will pull you in!!!
I currently use a 52inch 1080p, and have also had a Matrox TH 22inch setup.. Thats how I know the difference from any small screen setup vs big.. Its MAJOR!!! The Matrox triple head, combined with 3 x 52's, would be just perfect!! It would fill your peripheral vision with a 1:1 scale panoramic view.. Airsickness anyone, LOL??? The cost is daunting tho!!! But Ohhhh Man, VERY cool!!!
Waiting on my G940 from Amazon to get here (UPS).. Then I can start building again.. This time I plan to "meld" my Macci C205 simpit into the screen.. 940 Stick between the knees, as it should be for WWII.. The game video instrument panel will be an integral part of the pit.. 1:1 scale!!!

Get a BigScreen!!! And that 1:1 scale.... You'll be glad you did!!!
It opens ALL kinds of simpit possibilities!!!
Its the next generation of simpits...

<salute> MEGA

Last edited by 490MEGA2; 09/07/09 04:20 PM.
#3084486 - 09/01/10 04:24 AM Re: COCKPIT BUILDING 101 [Re: 531 Ghost]  
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Chappy Offline
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Does anyone know how many pieces of 4'x8' plywood it takes to build and acesII seat? Want to build one of these soon but don't want to repeat trips to home depot until the main seat is built.


I want you to see this coming
#3084646 - 09/01/10 02:32 PM Re: COCKPIT BUILDING 101 [Re: 531 Ghost]  
Joined: Jun 2007
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Ltfransky Offline
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Peterborough, ON, Canada
viperpits is the place for ACES2 info


Please Heatware Me!

Ours is not to reason why. Ours is to do or die.
Tennyson

I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings..
Gillespie Magee, RCAF
#3224961 - 03/05/11 06:56 AM Re: COCKPIT BUILDING 101 [Re: 531 Ghost]  
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RyGuy Offline
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RyGuy  Offline
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what is a head mounted display?

#3225211 - 03/05/11 01:32 PM Re: COCKPIT BUILDING 101 [Re: 531 Ghost]  
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Talon Offline
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Talon  Offline
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RyGuy,

A helmet mounted display (HMD) is a type of display mounted on the pilot's helmet that has critical information similar to that of a HUD. An aircraft that employs HMDs is the Apache. The pilots HMD is a monicle that the pilot engages. In many cases HMDs offer look/shoot capabilities. A pilot can look at a target, lock it, then employ weapons. It's a really cool system.

The technology is still evolving and future HMDs are expected to look something like this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:F-35_Helmet_Mounted_Display_System.jpg

Regards,

--T


Support simulation in the classroom.
#3225961 - 03/06/11 05:57 AM Re: COCKPIT BUILDING 101 [Re: Talon]  
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RyGuy Offline
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RyGuy  Offline
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T,

Yes, but in an earlier post a simmer wrote about using a HMD in a home built cockpit. How can a simmer afford an item like this and if so where can one purchase a simmers HMD?

#3669419 - 10/25/12 07:31 PM Re: COCKPIT BUILDING 101 [Re: 531 Ghost]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 293
Brandano Offline
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Brandano  Offline
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Posts: 293
Caput Mundi (well, it used to ...
RyGuy, I am not sure if you are referring to my comment to TurboConvair's awesome MechWarrior pit, but I was being a bit facetious. Unfortunately SimHQ does not show when a post was submitted. However, the technology is not that far off: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Glass

Last edited by Brandano; 10/25/12 07:32 PM. Reason: wrong link

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