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  • Building a home cockpit

    I've taken the plunge and have started building a home cockpit. I've been looking around online and found this page with someone's first cockpit. I thought it looked fantastic. Simple, yet provided all the functionality I was looking for. So tonight I began building. Mine will be different in that I hope to mount 3 saitek panels vertically, leaving me plenty of room for future expansion. It is also wider, almost 4' wide to allow for more instruments. If I had kept it narrow I would have had to made it taller to fit all I want to. I will be mounting my yoke to the center bottom.

    Cutting MDF for the structure


    Getting the shape for the sides




    Side view


    Current progress


    I'm not too happy with the wood that is on the top. I may rip it off and just use that stuff for the sides of the base. Hopefully tomorrow I can get the base boxes all done, Friday get the front of the dash done and get my equipment in an initial mounting for the group flight scheduled for Saturday. I'll then basically be pulling it apart again to sand it all down and paint it nice.
    - Michael
    Check out my cockpit build!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Waterman981 View Post
    Hopefully tomorrow I can get the base boxes all done, Friday get the front of the dash done and get my equipment in an initial mounting for the group flight scheduled for Saturday. I'll then basically be pulling it apart again to sand it all down and paint it nice.
    Looks great, Waterman! Lookin forward to seeing it completed.
    Take the time, a second to soar; for soon after, beckons a second more.

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    • #3
      Awesome! Will that be holding the Saitek Panels?
      If it ain't Boeing — I ain't going.

      [img]http://www.msflights.net/pilots/phpvms/lib/signatures/MSF0024.png[/img]

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      • #4
        Looks great so far. I am really interested, but alas, I have $ tied up in sound equipment. My wife would not go for that. LOL
        Greetings from Dale
        Sound 4-U! - A Tulsa based sound company that provides sound reinforcement and mobile recording services.

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        • #5
          So I ended up sick the last couple days and wasn't able to work on the cockpit like I wanted to. So today we made a quick trip to Home Depot, and after getting home I got started.

          First I ripped off the top that I put on there the other day. I replaced it with 1/4" MDF. I'm much happier with it.

          After the glue dried I used my router to chop of the side excess and round the corners. Next I used the rest of the board to put the front of the cockpit on.

          I then followed the same thing and routed the excess off making the shape beautiful! I then sanded down the whole thing making sure all the corners were nice and rounded.


          The last thing I did was cut out the holes for my yoke to go out, and for my panels to mount.

          As I sat here looking at it I realized I screwed up. I needed to mount the left panels further towards the center. That would have allowed me to install additional switches on the left edge. The big one being an engine 2 ignition switch. Oh well. I guess I'll correct that when I go with V2.

          For reference here is a JPG of the Visio diagram I used when designing it (The only note I've come across with this is one of the 3 throttles will actually be the Saitek Trim Wheel... Just didn't have a good picture of it). The measurements you see are ball park numbers. I may one day add additional switches for various functions if I find I need them. I may also add a GPS above the Saitek Backlit Information Panel.

          Next steps... First I'm going to paint. I'll have to pull it all apart once I get my first FIP to cut out those holes. I also need to come up with a cover for the panels I haven't purchased yet.
          Last edited by Waterman981; March 17, 2013, 06:27 PM.
          - Michael
          Check out my cockpit build!

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          • #6
            nice work Waterman! The craftsmanship looks excellent judging from the pictures.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kalo View Post
              nice work Waterman! The craftsmanship looks excellent judging from the pictures.
              Thanks! I'm excited to finish it, but don't want to rush it too much. I've already made one mistake and want to avoid more.
              - Michael
              Check out my cockpit build!

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              • #8
                VERY nice . When should I expect mine , lol
                [img]http://www.msflights.net/pilots/phpvms/lib/signatures/MSF0103.png[/img]

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by va6pc View Post
                  VERY nice . When should I expect mine , lol
                  When I build version 2 you can drive down and pick this one up (Sans instruments of course)...


                  I'm almost there! I got the entire thing primed and most of it painted. In retrospect I should have used a different paint, definitely not a rattle can. The MDF sucks up the paint, and ends up looking splotchy. It's not too bad after two coats, but the edges soak it up the worst.


                  I also got my yoke taken apart so I can mount it through the hole after the paint is done.


                  And finally I did a test fit. I love that Saitek included some M4 screw holes in the bottom of the yoke. It makes mounting this thing a dream!


                  So tomorrow I will apply the last two coats of black paint on the front of the cockpit. I thought about cutting out holes for the FIP's, but without having one in hand I decided I better wait on it. When I do cut out those holes I may take the time to roll another coat of paint on it. I'm too impatient now though, I want to get it done and fly!
                  - Michael
                  Check out my cockpit build!

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                  • #10
                    Way to take the initiative and build this. I would be so nervous with every step of the process, but it looks like you are working through it well. You may even be inspiring others to do the same. Now if only you could tell us the best way to win over our spouses/significant others, so the rest of us could get one of these. And here I thought the BUILD would have been the hard part. LOL. Great work! Keep us posted.
                    _______________________________
                    “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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                    • #11
                      They have this great paintkit at Home Depot called "deck restore". I got it in black. It's got a sand like texture to it and the roller is very porous. Seems like it would be a great finish for a cockpit. I highly recommend painting outside. It will make your wife mad due to the smell.
                      I use mine for refinishing speakers.
                      Greetings from Dale
                      Sound 4-U! - A Tulsa based sound company that provides sound reinforcement and mobile recording services.

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                      • #12
                        Yes that would be my problem, winning over the wife.
                        Justin Johnson
                        XJJohnsonX
                        [email]XJJohnsonX@MSFlights.net[/email]

                        Any questions about the VA send me a message.

                        [img]http://www.msflights.net/pilots/phpvms/lib/signatures/MSF0045.png[/img]


                        [SIZE=1][COLOR="#696969"]Operating System: Windows 8.1 64-bit ✈ CPU: AMD FX-8120 ✈ RAM: 8.00GB Single-Channel DDR3 @ 716MHz ✈ Motherboard: MSI 970A-G46 ✈ Graphics: 2048MB Gigabyte AMD Radeon R9 200 Series ✈ Storage: 465GB SAMSUNG; 74GB Western Digital; 232GB Western Digital ✈ Audio: AMD High Definition Audio ✈ Antivirus: Avast! Internet Security[/COLOR][/SIZE]

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by c0p0ut View Post
                          Way to take the initiative and build this. I would be so nervous with every step of the process, but it looks like you are working through it well. You may even be inspiring others to do the same. Now if only you could tell us the best way to win over our spouses/significant others, so the rest of us could get one of these. And here I thought the BUILD would have been the hard part. LOL. Great work! Keep us posted.
                          I think for me the way I won over my wife was showing her the simple and modular design. Emphasizing that it could be moved around fairly easily, and not take up too much space. I think it also helped that I wore her down!

                          Originally posted by Sound View Post
                          They have this great paintkit at Home Depot called "deck restore". I got it in black. It's got a sand like texture to it and the roller is very porous. Seems like it would be a great finish for a cockpit. I highly recommend painting outside. It will make your wife mad due to the smell.
                          I use mine for refinishing speakers.
                          I'm guessing it's not very smooth when dry. I'm thinking once I build the bases and have arm rests there that wouldn't be comfortable. But I do need to look into some rollers and paint, especially when I do build the bases. What do you think, foam roller or the more traditional (although I would want one that leaves as little texture as possible) type of roller?
                          - Michael
                          Check out my cockpit build!

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                          • #14
                            Waterman....if you have an air compressor, this is what I would do. Go to your nearest Harbor Freight Tools and buy a cheap gravity fed paint gun. Go to an Auto Paint dealer and buy some clear coat, re-sand the entire thing again and then using the paint gun spray clear coat over the entire thing. Once dry, sand with fine sandpaper and wipe it down with a tack cloth. Now it will be ready for what ever color you want. Get some black automotive paint when you get the clear coat . when you are done, give it another clear coat and it will look just as good as a black shinny car. The first clear coat on the wood will seal the wood and fill in the micro indentations.

                            The cheap spray guns are around 15.00 bucks.
                            [img]http://www.msflights.net/pilots/phpvms/lib/signatures/MSF0027.png[/img]

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                            • #15
                              I do have a Wagner sprayer... not the best but it works. I've always had to back roll over it though. $15 bucks for a HF sprayer though may be worth trying. It would be a much better spray pattern.
                              - Michael
                              Check out my cockpit build!

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