AH-1F/W and UH-1N controls. Not exact as in real life, cause I only modelled the UH-1N collective and added some "extras" like the NVG box for use with the Cobras. POV's and some buttons still missing. They will be modelled and added after the all my grip shells are ready.
And the the collective head for the Viper and the Venom.
Those heads (OH-58D, UH-1N and AH-1Z/UH-1Y) are changeable at my twist-throttle collective grip and will be mounted with one 6mm screwbolt, which will be fixed in the heads and a knurled nut at the bottom.
Yes, putting sheet of plastic or parts of other joysticks together was he old way I did it
It was really hard work to get anything useable this way, so yes things changed a lot since 3D printing is possible. But also yes, even with the 0.1mm layer high I use at the moment (what really takes ages to finish just one part ) the prints aren't very smooth, especially on curved faces.
This is a test print I made with the 0.1mm layer high. It's a part of my first version of the F/A-18 throttle. As long as there are no curved faces, the result is relatively clean and smooth, but curved faces don't look very nice. A lot of of filling and sanding will be necessary again.
And we need much faster and still more precise printers in the future. The time it takes to print complex parts is one of the most annoying things on 3d printing.
The next one is the F-14D grip. After this there is still a lot to do and nowhere near the end. But I'm getting better and faster now. I learned a lot from my first mistakes I made. But there are some challenging things that still have to be made like the C-130 yoke. I will safe this until the end
Helo and Jet extensions. The bottom part until the four knurled nuts is always the same. The white part is my connector for the four diagonal attached springs I use for the centering mechanism (similar principle like the Evenstrain mod in the old Cougar, but on top).
The modded Cougar base will function as the center base and is mounted at the center console 15cm above the ground and angled 15° towards the seat. That's why my sticks here are 15° angled forward. They are also twisted 15° ccw.
The hole in the socket is for the cable that will be connected to the base. That's also the reason for the notch left besides the paddle switch in the jet-extension.
The original Viper, Hornet and Virpil VFX grips will get the paddle switches and their mounts mostly removed and will get and extra socket with the same connetion system. There will also be no more electronics in those grips. All will be in the bases including the grip pcb's.
Back on the F-16C (Cougar standalone) throttle AB/idle mechanics.
and also finished my templates for the HOTAS Cougar. The throttle was already done, but not smoothed and now I also made the Cougars stick base. I need those parts as dimension-templates for my own addons. They aren't 150% exact, but good enough for my needs.
Sadly there aren't good 3D models anywhere for free or you have to pay a lot only to have some constrution-templates. So I took what I can get for free on Thingiverse, adjust those parts and make the rest, like eg. the throttle arm and the housings, by myself.
A Warthog base has also to be done, but thats relatively easy. The Warthog throttle could also be needful for adjusting my addon-switch-hats arround the F-14 and F/A-18 grips or things like the F-14 wing sweep, but doing this throttle is a lot of work. Maybe I will look for a reasonable purchasable 3D-model here.
and the first extensions (yoke extension will follow) mounted on the Cougar base. The four diagonal springs are still missing here (original cougar springs are removed - Warthog boards and sensors will be integrated in the base).
They will be connected at the white ring (just a simple zip tie fixed in that notch here - always repairable - no printed lugs) and also at the four corners of the base. I'm thinking about an adjustable srew-mount where the springs are fixed at the corners, to be able to adjust the tension of the springs. But at the moment I have no clue how to do this in a relatively smart way?
For the spring connections to the base I will now use simple eye bolts. I considered some adjustable solutions, but at the end all of this is much to complex. I ordered a bunch of springs now and will take a look which of them will do the best job. Frankly speaking, I'm slowly a bit tired of 3D constructions and want to come to an end 😅.
Not all will be perfect and many things will also need some post processing or even a complete overhaul, but I'm quiet happy that I was able to find many useful solutions for my universal cockpit concept. I hope most of them will work.
The last three big parts now, besides the nozzle lever for the Harrier and the manual wing sweep for the F-14 throttle, are the Osprey throttle, the Harrier throttle and the Yoke. The Osprey and Harrier throttles will simply be mounted on top of TWCS bases and their electronics will be interfaced with the grips. At the Harrier the nozzle lever will be a seperate part, mounted to the base. This shouldn't be such a big problem, but the yoke on top of my center Cougar base with the locked roll axis is much more a problem as I thought before.
I didn't respected some details, which makes the locking more complex as I have thought first. I hope I can find a solution for this, cause I don't want to use a seperate base for it. Only the extensions and the grips should be easy changeable and nothing more. This was the idea behind this whole system.
Just creating the frame arround my center base and also found a solution for the yoke problem. Nothing is ready yet, there is still a lot missing. The frame will be mainly out of sheets of MDF. Only the connection parts will be printed.
On top of this box (on top of the top with the rounded corners) there should be positioing devices mountable. One or the normal grips and one for the yoke which blocks the roll axis.
The white block is the beginning of the yoke extension. I always use already done parts and adapt them for the new needs 😄.
Made some positioing devices for the extension box. I made two different scopes for every sort of the patterns. One with a smaller and one with a little wider area of movement. The slotted ones are for the yoke, which will get an additional roll axis with a ball bearing. They all will hold in place in the frame on top of the box with 4 neodym magnets.
The yoke will also be using different sensors which will be connected to another board, not the Warthog board that I use in the Cougar base for the other systems.
One of the remaining original pots of the Cougar will be used for pitch and one in the ball bearing connection on top of the extension where the yoke itself is be connected, will be used for roll. The axis will go to an MMJoy2 Board (Pro Micro). The quadrant uses also a MMJoy Board for the axis. The Cougar base has two different types of sensors at all, one Cougar pot and the Warthog sensor. Maybe I will add hall sensors for the yoke in future but at the moment I will use the pots.
The buttons and hats etc. of the yoke will go through the Warthog electronics. I made it like this, cause the Warthog is using a special kind of sensor, not compatible with standard hall sensors, so you could not simply add an additional input like a standard hall sensor or pot for the roll axis sensor on top and switch between the different roll axis sensors.
The electronics of the Warthog fit in the Cougar base and do work perfectly also with the Cougar gimbal. I already tested this, but I have to print special mounts. For testing I simply glued the magnet and the sensor in position.
There are other unofficial options if you want to use TARGET with anything else like a TM device of course, but none of them really worked for me. I heard it should be possible, but my results weren't really satisfying. But I'm also no electronic technician or a programmer, so maybe there is a solution, but I have to do it the hard way 😅.
The place where all this HOTAS should work somewhere in future 😅.
The desk in the foreground is my "command unit" where I will play tank/naval/infantry and tactical simulations or even my still beloved old retro sims like the Jane's series etc.
It has four different PC systems with different OS, which all can be switched between the inputs, the sound system and the monitors. The retro rigs are one AMD K6 400 with a Geforce 256 DDR and a Voodoo I. The second retro machine is a Dual Core AMD Athlon 3Ghz with a Geforce 5950 Ultra and two Voodoo II in SLI, which can run Windows ME or Windows XP in dual boot.
The third machine is a Phenom II X6 with a Geforce 1650 (W7) and the last is a Ryzen 7 2700X with a Geforce RTX 2060 (W7/W10 Dual Boot). The Panel can be folded down and pushed beyond the desk. For flying retro sims I have modded a Hori HOTAS (cause I wanted to have something neutral looking at the command unit) which now uses Pokeys cards as electronics and also attached TM TFRP rudders. The Pokeys cards are fully programable and also useable with W98/XP/W7/W10. The panel of the command unit also gets some small consoles and a "universal" UFC (already printed).
The pit will get all kind of interchangeable HOTAS systems and also some functional consoles and an overhead panel. The main panels will also be interchangeable and placed in front of the old TFT (which will display MFD's and instruments) on top of my center console, where the modified Cougar base will be placed. They are still in early production 😅. At the moment three versions are planned. One for helos, one for fighters and one for the big birds.
No doubled controls will remain in the pit while flying, only the bases will stay in place. It should always be the right control layout for the kind of aircraft you just flying. There is also an option to remove the panel-TFT, which then can be placed at the wall with a wall mount and the mount for the FFB-wheel can be folded out and up after removing the center console, to place the wheel on top of it. The TPR rudders will then be changed against racing pedals.
The little wood boxes will be my console boxes. They fit perfectly, have enough room to place switches, dials etc. on top of them and you can put the Pokeys boards inside of them. So you always can reach all the electronics very easily.
The pit has one W10 machine with an Ryzen 9 3900XT and a RTX 3090 and the second W7 system for older sims like Strike Fighters 2 or anything else like this is a Phenom II X6 with two Geforce GTX 660 in SLI.
Just experementing with the construction for the yoke. I must use two dampers, one at the left and one at the right side, connected to my center base. Only one in the middle isn't possible. Nothing is near finish yet and maybe a lot will also change again during the brainstorming 🤔
The dampers should be connected to the yoke extension, an mounted at the console over to bolts, saved only with a split pin. The whole yoke-extension should easily be exchangeable.
The room for the legs is a bit tight if the yoke is mounted but for me it is ok. I'm not the tallest guy. 😅
Some constructions don't look very nice (in fact they are ugly as hell 😂), but I have to make a lot of compromises to be able to adapt the universal aim of my pit. It's really difficult to get all under the hood and also in an ergonomic position, so that you are able to operate all the different layouts without any contorted movements.
Reworked a lot! I've also integrated the panel's TFT (the one behind the main panel, which will be used for instrument and MFD display) in the construction to have a better overview of all the dimensions. The yoke itself is scaled down to 90% now, cause in my pit there isn't enough room for full scale. But it's still 4cm more in width and 2cm more in height as my old CH Flightsim Yoke USB. It's still not ready yet, cause some minor details are still missing.
After some experiments with the old equipment from my preceding pit, I found out that the weight of it is much too heavy that maybe even with the dampers (which aren't really strong to prevent too much force to operate it) it tends to run slowly out of center towards the seat if you realease the controls. Maybe I must add a fifth adjustable spring facing in the direction of the panel, to compensate this.
The roll axis mechanism is also not an easy task. I don't want to use torsion springs here, cause they also have a relatively hard center and aren't very precise in centering. But there is not much space for any other system here. I hope I can place a tension spring mechanism, equal ore close to the one in the old CH yoke, for the roll axis.
I angeled the base, cause I don't want to cut out a piece of the bucket seat of this new bought race-rig. So this angeled construction was the only way to get the sticks closer to you, the way they are positioned in the real aircraft, without making a large L-shaped extension.
Some progress with the roll axis at the yoke. I still have to match many details and also the whole extension support has to be adjusted for the new mechanics. I use two 55mm ball bearings for the mounting of the yoke.
Only one relatively strong tension spring is used now and connected to a steel pin inside the shape of the spring-mount in the gimbal. I will connect the other side to the support and maybe make some different screwings, or something similar, to be able to adjust it's tension. The "gravity" problem, caused by the angled base, that maybe will move the yoke out of center towards the seat, still remains. I also have to find a solution for this problem.
Probably I will really use a fifth tension spring mounted to the center console, exactly strong enough to balance the force of gravity with the additional help of the dampers and the springs inside the base. I want to stay the yoke in exact position if you leave it. Two adjustable friction plates, mounted on the yokes pattern on top of the base, could also be a solution for this problem.
Maybe I will use all solutions together and also adapt the additional spring to the sticks, but in this case anytime removeable. This could be useful for aerobatic flying. The Blue Angles also use an additional spring system which pushes the stick forward, so you have a constant force to pull. This is better for very precise formation maneuvers.
Splitting in printable and screwable parts will be the last thing that is also needed.
The yoke extension is ready now. I added also some adjustable friction plates to the base plate. I hope this will do the job for holding the yoke in position. I will use a grease, similar to nyogel 767A, for all my inputs. This will add very smooth motion even with the use of many printed parts.
I don't want to make the things to complex, although I could do more things with aluminum using my little mill or the lathe. At the beginning I thought about doing it this way, but it's a lot easier to print the parts.
I don't want to have top notch equipment like many others, I'm ok with plastics and also simple buttons, switches and POV-electronics you can get in nearly every electronic shop, but I want to have the right control for mostly every aircraft I planed to fly in the pit.
All this stuff should be affordable. It was still a lot of money (at least for me - never spent so much in this hobby the last decades), but even with all the TM equipment I use for my modding, it's nowhere near the costs that some top notch HOTAS reach. If something breaks, ok, I simply will print a spare part and maybe add some improvements to it.
The yoke itself is slowly growing. It's not an exact replica, more a universal one. But it's mostly based on the C-130J yoke.
A little further now. The orange markings are for 4way POV's and the red are for normal buttons. There will also be two momentary toggle switches (based on normal momentary I-O-I switches with a cap) at the left grip. The black round plate is already a part of the extension and will be mounted at the ball bearing axis. The yoke fits with a square fiiting in this part and will be fixed with two screws to the left and the right, so it is possible to make further yokes in future for this system.
and also the quadrant I already made a while ago. It has a changeable thrust reverse system, which could be changed between Airbus and Boeing style reversers. For Boeing the big white parts are snapped in and the throttles do not go further as to this parts. For reverse you have to use the reverser levers with the extra potis connected to them.
For the Airbus system the orange parts will be snapped in and the throttles will could be only pushed back as far as with the Boeing system, but will aim at a notch in the top cover intead of the stops used for the Boeing system. To pass this notch you have also to pull the reversers, but this time the negative range of the throttle levers is the reverser area.
There is also a possibility to lock all four throttle levers together, to be able to move them more comfortable, especially if someone has such small hands like me 😅. At the left side there is a trimwheel and the quadrant has also 6 additional linear and two rotary pots, which could be used for the prop pitch, the mixture, trimming or anything else. There are two I-O-I momentary switches for the speed brake and the flaps.