I'm just making the AH-64D controls for use with my universal pit project. I've also made the throttle-grips of the F-14D, the F/A-18C and a convertion kit for the WH-throttle to add missing things and replace the outer switches of the right grip to be compatible with the F-15E throttle.
All throttle grips will be placed on top of WH-throttles removing the original grips. Only one will remain in its original state for use with the A-10. The F-14D version will also get a functional manual wing sweep, the F-15 and the F/A-18 throttles mechanical Idle/AB detents with fingerlifts.
Here are some pics of my full printable collection (state at the moment) for use with my "universal" pit (with the selfmade AH-64D cyclic/collective during the construction process in early stage - and the final cyclic without any holes for buttons and POV's still not splitted and no screwings). Just now I'm working on the Apache collective double grip and after this a real AB/Idle- mechanics for my Cougar standalone F-16 throttle and an AV-8B throttle with a nozzle lever. The last of the HOTAS will be a F-14D stick and a V22A throttle. A yoke and a throttle quadrant will follow next year
The goal is to be able to fly any kind of military aircraft with the right HOTAS/HOCAS used in this type of aircraft. The pit itself has a triple view system and also a VR headset.. There will be a changeable generic frontpanels with functional MFD's, one for use with fighters and one for attack helos, maybe a third one for the big birds like the C-130 or the C-17.
The side consoles and the overhead have also an generic layout and will be useable with all kind of aircraft. All special systems will be operated in VR or with the use of TrackIR in the virtual pits and two identical trackballs, one left- and one right handed, placed slightly over and beyond the controls.
At the end I would like to be able to fly and control the following types of military aircraft (most of them with the right controls):
A-10A/C Thunderbolt II, AV-8B Harrier II, F-14B/D Tomcat, F-15C/E Eagle/Strike Eagle, F-16C Falcon, F/A-18C/E Hornet/Super Hornet, AH-64D Apache Longbow, OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, AH-1F TOW Cobra, UH-1H Huey, C-130H/J Hercules, C-17A Clobemaster, V-22A/B Osprey, CH-53E Super Stallion, CH-47D Chinook.
It's a long time project and not all will be ready if the pit itself is finished, but I will add the controls one after the other. Its's not easy and I had a lot of brainstorming to do to find a layout which really fits for every type of aircraft and also be able to make all controls relatively easy interchangeable. There are three places for controls at which you can change the inputs to every kind you wish, like eg. change the sidestick of an F-16C to a four engine throttle quadrant for use with a C-130 as captain. Use the place of the jet throttles with a side stick controller of the type Airbus has. Change the center stick of an F/A-18 with the cyclic of an Apache or the control bar of a C-130 and so on.
The collective lever is fixed between the seat and the left console, but the heads could be disconnected to stay of the way if you use a throttle. In case of the Apache the throttle place will be used for it's turbine RPM controller. The other helos use a twist grip for the RPM control or levers in the overhead depentend on which type of helo you fly.
All stick/cyclic-grips and also the heads of the collectives and the twist grips could be seperatly connected to the bases and are interchangeable. The extensions for the centerbase (cyclic, centerstick, controlbar with yoke) are also interchangeable.
For the control grips I use a mix of bought grips, like the Viper and Hornet grips from TM or the Virpil VFX grip, some bought and adjusted STL's, some completely self constructed controls like the one of the Apache or some made after 3D scans and stuff I was able to get on the web from places like thingiverse etc. and adjusted them to my needs. I also have a lot of old gameport joysticks from Thrustmaster and Suncom which I use for the replicas of the B8 standard grips or the F-15C/E Eagle flight stick.
All of the inputs should be compatible with TM's TARGET at the end (I use cannibialized electronics of older FLCS TM sticks for the grip pcb's) and I also make all of them compatible with their grip mounting system. Only the grips of the hrottles I make, are'nt changeable. I use four WH-throttles at all, three will be used for the F-14, F-15 and F/A-18 convertion and one will stay original. The AV-8B throttle, the V-22A throttle will be made with the use of two TWCS throttles, cause they are also linear throttles in reality. The Cougar stand alone F-16 throttle is also getting TWCS electronics to be a seperate throttle unit without stick.
The left Cougar electronics, I will use for my collective systems with the changeable grips and heads. The centerstick base is the old Cougar base modified with the a kind of external "evenstrain mod" to be more powerful and without a center notch, but with WH-base electronics to be more precise. The side stick base is a slightly modified WH-base to run a bit smoother. The collective lever is made out of a Fanatec handbrake, fixed mounted and with a washing mashine damper for the friction. For the rudder and torque pedals I will use modified TPR pedals also with dampers.
Still a lot of work to do, but as you know such a project is a never ending story and a lifetime-project
At the moment I'm doing a throttle quadrant for the big birds, which has the reverser systems of Boeing and Airbus between which can be switched. Not an exact replica, it's only generic. I want to use it with aircraft like the C-130 Hercules, the C-5 Galaxy, the C-17 Globemaster or some miltary Airbus Versions.
For Boeing you use the white locks, so that the levers will stop at this point and the reversers are free to adjust the reverse thrust. There is an additional poti in the reverser axis.
For Airbus you choose the grey blocks and also have to pull the reversers, but only a few to be able to get across the lock in the top covers and the reverse thrust is controled with the negative range f the throttle pot itself (you have to calibrate this before).
The blocks will get the engine-numbers printed at the face.
And the yoke for the big birds. It's also only a generic one made out of an 737 yoke from thingiverse I used as a template for the beginning. I did a lot of rework on the shape itself at first, and then finally added this button/POV-donut which the C-130J yoke has, cause I like this idea very much.
Most of the HOTAS parts aren't finished yet, cause I do all the shapes at first and after all the HOTAS are made as pure shapes, I will do the splitting in printable, screwable parts and fit all the holes for buttons and POV's in.
The building shell of the pit is mostly done and I will return to this, after most of the HOTAS are done, cause you must have the different controllers to adapt the place and the connection for all this differnt inputs in detail, that's also the reason Idecided to do the quadrant and the yoke also right now and not next year.
For the Airbus like sidestick I will simply use a TM 320 stick and not built an extra device. After the yoke only a dual-twist-grip for the collective will follow, which you can then use with the different heads I made (not the Apache, the Blackhawk and other helos that do not use this system of course). For now its enough
Back at the AH-64D collective again. Just made the connection part to my Fanatec handbrake, which I use as the collective lever.
An old Suncom throttle will be modified to USB and is getting the right handles to have the turbine RPM levers also (will be placed at the same aerea where the Warthog is on the photo). There will also be other grips connectable, like the OH-58D collective, the UH-60M/L collective and the UH-1N collective (also useable with the normal Huey).
Ok, really ready 😄 Added the missing button and trigger guards.
It's not 100% scale, cause I had to do some compromise to make it printable and fit it in my universal pit.
Some of the POV's missing here. I have only the ones in the pictures I needed for adjusting the chassis. The POV's I use have the same size as the one of TM, but they are a little less in their depth. I also print them all by myself. I use the same POV-base for every POV regardless how many functions he has. There are locks on the hats to avoid the functions that aren't used and of course the microswitches are also not installed.
The grey round frame at the middle of the top grip is a mount frame for a standard thumbstick to imitate the transducer here. It fits also in the standard TM-POV holes.
The whole shape of the collective and also the cyclic of my Apache Longbow controls was done from scratch after photos I was able to find at the web.
The universal twin twist throttle grip for the helos and the different Layouts of collectives I wanted to use in my pit. The twist throttle grip will be used for all single and twin engine helos with a twist throttle. Only the heads will be changed. Nothing is really finished yet.
The metall piece under the twist grips is a seat post of a mountain bike I had lying arround and which is a perfect base for building the exchangeable twist grip with a connection for the different heads 😅.
Ok, 24 hours for one half piece of one of the collective double-grips of the Apache 🤔.
I used a layer high of 0.125mm instead of 0.1mm and set the speed to 70mm/s. At first I wanted to use the same parameters I used for my F-14 and F/A-18 throttles (0.1mm layer height & 30mm/s print speed) to get really good results but one half grip cost nearly 48 hours printing time 😬.
And I'm already using a 0.5 nozzle instead of a 0.4er. Makes not much difference in detail but speeds up printing time a lot. I did this also with the throttles.
Yes, the Apache double grip looks really strange and it also was very hard to do. In comparison the rest will be much more easy to do. I'm really glad that this monster is finished At the moment only the 3D part is done. If I have printed it, I will show the results.
Did a rework of my Kiowa collective head and adjusted it for my universal twist grip (only the frontparts here). The idle release is still missing and I have to find a solution for it. Maybe I will only make an electronical solution and not mechanical one. This is much easier to do for my changeable collective heads. The Twin-Huey head and the AH-1Z/UH-1Y (Viper/Venom) head will follow.