At the Easter weekend, with my ear back to something resembling normal and my will to live renewed, I set about building the new base for the sim. This was before my weight concerns reared their ugly head and hence I was building with MDF as originally planned.
Today I have made a very important, and significant, decision on the project. I am, basically, going to throw out everything I’ve built so far and start again from scratch.
Lest you think I am mad, there is method to my madness. It all stems from the change in focus of the project to add an enclosure. Having planned it out, it became obvious that the existing console I have built is not ideally constructed to fit into the enclosure I am planning. So I got to thinking about replacing it or at least heavily modifying it. This started me off on a course of thinking, but what really got me was when I worked out how much the enclosure (plus equipment plus people) would weigh. Which is to say, a lot.
So, while I’m laid low with my ear infection, I’ve been planning. The two more important considerations at the moment are the overall dimensions / positioning of the shell, and the visual display system. You can’t separate these two unless you have so much room that you can afford to place a projector anywhere you like and still get a big enough image.
First up, I measured the dimensions of my build room and was disappointed to learn that they were a mere 3.6m x 2.6m. A full-scale B737 cockpit enclosure, for example, would almost entirely fill the room. I was planning on still being able to use it as an office as well as a sim-room. I would have to work with what I had, I decided.
Oi! Get your minds out of the gutter. You sick people!
I have taken delivery of a bucket-load of new wood for my enclosure build project. MDF panels in 18mm, 12mm and 6mm, and a large number of 44mm pine batons in different cross-sections to build the frame.
Here’s my Hallway-O-Wood:
Now all I have to do is finish clearing the build room and set up for Phase 2, and then it’s back to fun with MDF for the next few weeks. I can’t wait. No, honestly, that’s not sarcasm. Sometimes I actually am enthusiastic about stuff.
Regular blogging will resume shortly, therefore. See you next week.
It’s been all quiet on The Project for several weeks now, hence the lack of updates. Basically, what happened was that when I started the project, I moved a lot of stuff out of the build room into my lounge – with the promise that I’d sort it out, throw away a bunch of junk, and then put the rest back once the shell build part of Phase 1 was done. I then was faced with a situation where I had to clear the lounge out at short notice (for re-painting) and so pretty much of all it went back in to the build room, putting a stop to the build. Read More
(This post is from my older, pre-2009 unfinished sim project. For an article about the yoke build for my new project, which supercedes this one in all respects, go here.)
Depending on exactly what kind of sim you’re going for, you’re going to need one or another sort of main control stick or yoke. If you’re doing a fighter aircraft or a dedicated airbus sim, you’ll be using a centre- or side-stick. The latter of these can be replicated easily enough with any number of after-market joysticks designed for sim nuts, and depending on how far you’re willing to go it’s not that hard to convert one of these to look like the real thing. If you’re going for a light aircraft or non-Airbus airliners, you’ll be using a control yoke. Again, depending on exactly your requirements, these can be easier or harder to do – replicating a bolted-to-the-floor Boeing-style yoke system is a large ask compared to the simpler systems you’ll find on light aircraft.
One of the yokes most frequently used by sim buffs is from CH Products. The classic version gives you a yoke with a nice feel, good motion in two axes, and three levers on the top to use for throttle / prop / feather operations. The yoke is designed to clip to a desktop firmly and is used by many sim fans who will never go to the lengths of building a cockpit environment, but who nonetheless want a bit more realism than a keyboard-and-joystick combo will supply. Read More
I didn’t get anywhere near as much done this weekend as I’d planned (thus proving once again that my estimation skills are poor), but I did get some useful work done on the power cabling for the console interior.
There are several devices within the console that require mains power: the two PSUs for PC1 and PC2, two monitors, the power brick for the tablet PC3, the power brick for the UMPC PC4 (via an extension into the pedestal), a USB hub and a network switch. And that’s just what I’ve come up with so far. All of these need cabling, and I can’t just let the cables float about within the console interior however they like. That would be an invitation to foul the controls or circuit boards yet to come. So clips and ties were the order of the day.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the project. I had a few vacation days left to take at work, so I nabbed a week off and put it to good use making some progress. With the basic shell assembled and painted, I wanted to get onto the basic computing power for the sim, and in particular to creating the various mountings needed to place the various bits in the shell.
OK, so in point of fact this build began back in May of 2009, but it’s taken me a fair while to get around to setting up the blog and doing much about it, and I’ve had large gaps, so I’m still firmly in the build phase 4 months later. Bear with me, there will be a fairly long series of posts while I catch up…
So, having assembled my raw materials as described in previous installments, I now had a room full of MDF, electronic bits and pieces, and computers. Which I needed to turn into a working sim. Where to start? Read More