Archive for June, 2007

flight gear sizing guide

seat arm and throttle panel

My new panel process works much better. I cut the panel graphic with a hobby scalpel, drill the aluminium and masonite separately, glue the panel graphic on with spray adhesive and then, when it’s dry, sand away any excess masonite with a dremel. Much neater. I also fix the masonite to the aluminium with 6mm panel screws, which only need a 2mm pilot hole (as opposed to the 3/16″ machine bolts and nyloc nuts I was using before, which needed a lot more space under the panel).

None of the new switches are connected yet, I’m going to do some Plasma wiring next weekend. At some point I’m going to have to get that GammaRay and maybe an ElectronFlux-Lite.

seat arm
0806_seatarm1 (39k image)

not sure about the positioning yet, especially when the collective goes in. We’ll see, it can easily be moved
0806_seatarm2 (33k image)

detail of the throttle panel – a little wide on the left side but otherwise good
0806_throttle2 (36k image)

looking good – all the new stuff
0806_throttle1 (34k image)

amazing pit site

Can’t believe I only just found it. Inspirational. Hans Krohn’s Cockpit

seat and other bits

Finally got the pit back together tonight after a few days in pieces for maintenance. One of the biggest jobs was re-wiring the ACESII for internal cabling, to avoid the mess of wires running to and from it. Now all the cables (8 speaker cables, one molex and one ethernet for the eject handle) are routed internally to the seat.

much neater
0606_aces1 (26k image)

rear speaker cables, eject handle and strobe/cockpit light power all internal now
0606_aces2 (48k image)

I also did a bit of work around the tub. First of all is the aluminium treadplate (I had some lying around) between the seat and the pedals. Not sure how it will go once the cyclic is in, but it works for now. It has an integral footswitch (not yet connected) which will eventually be used as an alternate push to talk.

treadplate – note PTT footswitch top left
0606_trayaway (31k image)

You may have also noted the piece of unpainted ply above the footwell. This is the retractable keyboard tray. Unfortunately the ergonomics don’t work too well – with the tray extended, I can’t get full rudder movement without bashing it with my knees :( More thought required.

looks great, works well, hurts my knees
0606_trayout (23k image)

throttle panel

Here’s the concept art for the throttle panel. I’ve used up the spare space under the panel with the stores jettison and four PC ATX momentary switches. The PC switches are basically the normal PC power switch extended to the panel, but have a built in LED which I’ll connect to either the power good LED or the HDD active LED for each PC. The idea is that I can turn on each PC (or hard reset it) from the panel without getting out, and if I use the HDD LED I can see how hard each box is working :)

I’ve also added a small panel on the side of the seat for the seat arm switch. This is a red “missile switch” toggle on an aluminium brace attached to the left side of the ACESII. OK, the green is a bit gay, but what the hell :)

the panel
throttlePanel (23k image)

the switches


DIY projectors!

throttle switch question

I realised today I have a bit of spare space on my throttle panel to mount some switches. Now they would be forward of the throttle, so fairly inaccessible at high power settings, so I was thinking of things like JFS etc. What do you think?

The small area is approx 2cm square while the larger is about 6cm x 2cm. Probably 4 small DPDT on-on switches max or other small components such as LEDs or lamps. Any ideas?

this space for rent
throttleswitches (24k image)

progress on the rig enclosure

Last night was assembly of the rig enclosure and discussion of the plans for the overhead panel with my brother-in-law, an engineer who’s quite into the contruction aspects of the pit. Tonight was painting, fitting and pimping of the enclosure and fan.

the fan fitted to the panel at the front of the rig box
rb_fandetail (37k image)

The power cable feeds through a standard PVC elbow and coupler, slotted to fit and fastened with stainless steel hose clamps. This makes it nice and neat. The fan speed buttons are underneath, more to keep them from my son’s FOV than anything else so he doesn’t fiddle :) I’ll probably just leave it selected at an appropriate speed so when master power is applied, it will come on automatically. Eventually I could connect it to the APU/JFS start switch, but I really want it on anytime the PCs are on.

The fan will eventually be spraypainted once I’ve settled on colours. Current favourite is gunmetal with a silver blade with red/yellow tips.

detail of the fan fitting
rb_fanfrontdetail (31k image)

I’ve pulled everything out of the pit at the moment to tidy up the cabling. With the side console panels imminent for wiring, I need to think more about access holes and cable routing so I’ve started drilling big holes in strategic places. A word to the wise: an 80mm hole saw in 12mm ply at 2030 is guaranteed to raise your wife’s (and neighbours’) eyebrows – it is ungodly loud even with earmuffs on.

You’ll also notice the distinct lack of CRTs on top. Yes, I have entered the 21st century. Although strictly speaking the LCD on top is only borrowed, it’s nice to have it for awhile until I can get some sponsorship for my own LCDs.

the “naked” pit as it is today
rb_pitdetail (44k image)

I’ve also added some patches on the left side MFD maintenance panel. I’ve acquired these over time (though my original unit patches were lost many years ago) and attached six of my favourite and most relevant for the pit (I didn’t think the NASA one needed to be on there). While I’m on the access panels, the right side MFD maintenance panel is also in finally.

The patches are (clockwise from top left):
- 171 Operational Support Squadron (Iroquois), the squadron I was slotted for before I was grounded
- The Australian Army Aviation patch
- My pilot course patch (59 Army Pilots)
- The Top Gun patch :)
- The F16 Fighting Falcon, the miljet that my pit models (amongst other types)
- In memory of the grand old lady of the sea, the Tomcat “Any Time, Baby” patch

detail on the patches
badges (39k image)


The new approach to panels went both averagely and spectacularly. Spectacularly because it was soooooo much easier doing it with prints and Masonite than with Letraset and Perspex, but averagely because of the printing issues and the somewhat ragged holes.

The printing was a right ballache. The first attempt I merged two copies of the layout onto one A4 size image and took it into Harvey Normans. The girl behind the counter was the worst sort of unhelpful, un-knowledgeable tool and totally messed up the scaling, after I carefully and politely explained that it was a scale diagram and absolutely had to be at the same scale as the Photoshop file I gave her or it would be as useless as she turned out to be. She scaled it up so much that it wouldn’t even fit on 8″x12″ paper without cropping the image :o

The second time I took it to a different Harveys which I’ve used before. The guy was quite good and printed it straight from my Photoshop file. Even then it came out slightly off-scale and after some trial and error (he let me in behind the corner to tweak it directly in Photoshop at the lab as we chatted about the pit – he seemed quite interested) I settled on 98% vertical and 99% horizontal scaling to get a perfect match. He didn’t even charge me for the duds, what a gent. Not sure what happened there, but he suggested making it 300DPI next time instead of the 150DPI I had used.

So then it was home for spray glue and Masonite. the Masonite swelled a little around the edges of the holes, possibly as I used a step bit instead of a normal bit (I don’t have a great selection of bits over 10mm without resorting to the step bit). The edges were also a little ragged where the photo paper had torn during drilling. I’ve had a bit of a go at tidying it up with a hobby scalpel and it’s much better, but still not great. I wonder if next time I should cut the print with a scalpel and drill the holes in the Masonite separately before gluing…

Anyway it’s in and looks pretty good for a first effort. The printing is sensational, the slightly ragged holes are all that detracts from it. Better next time…

headset panel on the right console
headsetPanel-02 (33k image)

The right console, by the way, is almost done. I just need a couple more bits of aluminium plate to fill it out.

right console
rightConsol-01 (44k image)

Another thing I’m working on is a fan mount for the rig box on the front of the pit. 80mm? 120mm? Nah… try 440mm!

I scoff at your weak cooling
cooling01 (30k image)

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