This photo shows the landing gear assembly. It is a sandwich of two pieces of aluminum stock, riveted to some aluminium L profile so it can be bolted tp the back of the panel. The sandwich is held together with brass standoffs and screws. Two microswitches for the electronics, and the RC car shock absorber acts as a fulcrum to keep it in either position and give it a nice firm clunk.
The other side of the landing gear assembly bolted together, minus the handle. The lever is Aluminium U channel, with the opening on the bottom where it can not be seen.
Landing Gear assembly painted up before final assembly. The handle is layers of laser cut acrylic. To smooth out and round the edges I put a bolt through the centre, clamped it in the chuck of a power drill like a lathe and smoothed it with some sandpaper. The wire is connected to two 5mm red LEDs that illuminate on gear movement.
Assembled. As seen it is a simple design. The RC shock absorber works great and gives it a real tactile feel and a nice solid home position. The brass standoffs that hold the parts together also act as a way to limit the movement of the lever.
A look down into the Landing gear sandwich. The Aluminum L profile riveted to the front can be seen. It has holes drilled in to the front where it bolts to the rear of the panel.
The finished assembly. The wire for the LED's is connected to an Arduino Uno behind the panel that illumunates the LEDs in the handle.
The fire Handles were designed and built before I had access to a 3D printed. I laser cut the assembly out of 3mm acrylic, then glued it all together using a solvent cement.
Fire Handle assembled.
The three fires handles assembled. The clear front part is acrylic, and the text is reverse engraved into the back of it. I then painted the text black by hand with a paint brush. A translucent white peice is then behind it.
The mechaninsm is very simple. 10mm diameter aluminum dowel in a laser cut acrylic bracket. It is retained by a single bolt thatslides in a slot in the plastic. A micro switch (not pictured) is pressed by the bolt when it is pulled outwards.
Fire handles illumuninated. There is a small section of yellow LED strip lighting behind inside. Because it is 12V LED strip I couldnt run it direct from an Arduino, so there is three relays behind the Main Instrumet Panel.
The Indexers are not realistic A-10C ones, which are mounted on the canopy frame. I decided on using F-16C replica indexers, as i knew they would be mounted on the top if the glareshield like an F-16C. The dimensions I found on Viperpits, and i made the body out of 3mm Laser cut acrylic, and the top and glare covers from sheet tin.
I shortened the glare covers on mine, they are longer in an F-16C. The metal i used was actually cut from the side panel of my old gaming PC! I also removed the brigtness dimmer levers that are on the F-16 design, as i wouldnt need them because the A-10C has a dimmer on the lighting control panel.
The final thing all painted up and ready to mount.
I already had some decals that came with the ACES-II Decal Set (meant for an F-16C) that completed the look.
Both indexers were later added to the side of the Hud Frame on brackets, F/A-18C Style. The front is clear Acrylic, painted black then the Arrows and text was reverse engraved. Read more about the HUD here.
The coloured LED's are based on an F-16C, as I was sick of NVIS Green LED's on everything!
They are run by the Arduino Mega behind the MIP, running DCS-BIOS.
Flood Lighting thorughout the cockpit is done using these cheap eBay 'number plate' lights. They are dual SMD Green LEDS, in a metal housing. I mounted them using some aluminium profile to make bracket, then littered them around the cockpit.
They are all on the same 12 Volt circuit, connnected to a dimmer. The Emergency Bypass switch is wired to bypass the dimmer, so flicking it will give full brightness, like the real jet.
I also added two lights in the footwell to illuminate the pedals. The real jet doesnt have this, hoever i frequently drop things on the floor and it makes life much easier being able to see down there!
The floodlighting setup is temporary. I intend to 3D print more realistic replica lights in the future.
I originally tested painting the emergency markings around the cockpit, however found that I was having to sand an repaint many failures, and that the best results I could get still had issues and were just not pretty.
I decided to get Vinyl Decals cut for the Emergency Markings around the cockpit me after failed painting attempts. I designed them on the panels in CorelDraw, then sent them to an online cutting service. Costs were around $30 AUD for the entire coclpits markings
Version one and the more realistic version two of the Downlock Override Decals and button. I'd never be able to get such a perfect marking like this with masking and paint.
These printed decals I had made up for around $20 online. They were made to for the front corners of the fire handles, and I later used them for the Canopy Jettison handle surround as well.
Printed decals applied to the fire handles.
The printed decal in place on the Canopy Jettison Handle. Note the prototype Jettison Handle which was way to thicc.
Vibration in the seat is handled by a Buttkicker Gamer 2. This is a bass inducer/shaker. I originally had is hooked up to the subwoofer out, but the result was just constant shaking.
I later bought a very cheap USB soundcard and using Simshaker software it now runs completely independant of game sounds. The software gets data from DCS, and when an event happens it runs a seperate sound file for that event for the second soundcard only. 1000% better. For example- gear down, three seperate clunks felt in the seat when they lock down. Epic. Read more about that here.
The stick gimbal was originally mounted to the seat itself, however I later realised this made getting in and out difficult.
Here is the stick removed and all the holes on the seat filled. I designed the floor so the sick could centre mount, with cutouts in the rear to allow the cables to move when the seat moved back and forth. Most is covered when the seat is in its forward flying position.
The floor in place. This also acts as a piece to keep the front console and seat floor bolted together. I had originally wanted them to be seperate, but found that pressing hard on the toe brakes sometimes made the seat slide back on the carpet. The front four bolts now secure the two parts together, and are easily removable for maintenence or transport.
Stick extension made from plumbing parts found in a hardware store.
Here is a bracket I made up to get the trustmaster warthog gimbal to mount to the metal plumbing flange. All done by hand, i juts traced the bottom of the gimbal, cut with a jigsaw then rounded it on the sander, before measuring out, drilling and counter sinking some holes.
Adapter mounted to the Warthog Gimbal, then the bolts go into the flange which threads onto the post. The USB from the gimbal is hidden in the pipe work.
The Rudder pedals I bought many moons ago were 'Simped' F-16's. Unfortuanly this company doesnt exist anymore. Back in the day these were hardcore flight sim pedals, but by todays standards they are sub par. They are built well and are very tough, however the aging lectronics let them down. I bought them second hand on eBay for around $200 AUD in 2008.
Here they are opened up. Weighted on the inside with plaster! I removed all the factory elecronics, mounted a new hall sensor and they are now run on the Analog Axis from a Leo Bodnar BU0836X.
I mounted them to the pit by drilling some holes in the plastic casing, bolting it to a draw system with some drawer sliders. This means they are adjustable. They lock inplace with a bolt that just drops in place, however i have fount that they are stiff enough to stay in place anyway. Here they are in the fully forward position, for a short pilot.
And here they are fully extended for a taller pilot.
They also came from the factory with toe brakes based on a pressure sensor. I found this basically unusable, as they required almost full weight on the pedals to even get a little braking. I replaced them with simple micr switches on each pedal. this is temporary- I will eventually install potentiometers so the brakes are on an analog axis.
The audio in my cockpit is still done by an old school Logitech Z5500! I've had it for over 15 years, and it is still working fine so I've just never needed to replace it. I wear a headset in the cockpit for DCS-SRS comms, and a bass shaker in the seat as well, so all it is really doing is ambient engine noise (and constant RWR beeping).
I originally had the speakers resting on top of the projection screen, but to make it a bit cleaner I decided to wall mount them. I hated the dated look of the units mounted on the wall, so I considered buying new ones altogether. After googling a bit, I found someone who had re-boxed the speakers, so I decided that rather then spend money on new speakers I would try that out first instead.
The boxes are made from 18mm thick MDF, ported at the rear, and are the exact same internal volume as the original plastic housings. Pretty simple to make, and I actually heard an improvement in the sound. But again, im no audiofile, and its likley just biased because im justifying hacking them up to myself...
My wife was not home on this day...
Cheap eBay speaker grills. Looks like a bought one (if you dont look too close).
Only four were modified and roof mounted, one in each corner of the room. The centre channel speaker stayed stock, and is mounted to the rear of the MIP, firing upwards.
The fuel lever was designed, printed and very kindly given to me for free by ED forum user Blue73, an absolute legend. It is designed to be mounted on a potentiometer, so it can be used as an analog axis. I used the pot as an axis only, its not connected to anything. The two microswicthes open and close it.
3D printed handle in place on the panel. Looks heaps better than the simple aluminium rod i had originally hanging out of it.
Obligatory Box Shots #PCMR
Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master
EKWB Velocity Waterblock
Obligatory Box Shot #PCMR
Gigabyte Auros GTX 1080TI Waterforce Extreme Edition.
The most i Have ever spent on a GPU- I got this for around $1K AUD soon after the RTX2080 series was released. At the time it was an awesome card, but its struggling today. Will be replaced with a RTX3080 if/when they are actually available for purchase for real.
CPU and Waterblock fitted.
The motherboard comes with the M2 SSD cover.
Testing the loop.
The EKRES tube was replaced for the larger size later on. I only ever use distilled water in my loops- I've tried colours in the past and they ALWAYS end in blocks gunking up. Plus i like the clear look.
Two XSPC 360mm radiators, hard tubing and clear liquid all round.
RGB off, only because it's distracting in the sim room.
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