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Everything posted by lightbulbjim

  1. Interesting, thanks. It’s going to be quite a while before I’m ready to set up software but I’ll keep it in mind.
  2. A tiny bit of progress today - I lengthened the frame slightly to make the pedals more comfortable and added a crosspiece which will support a central control pedestal. I'm still tinkering with the throttle quadrant. I've managed to get the lever feel about where I want it, so next steps are: Figure out sensor mounting. Make some wooden knobs for the mixture and prop levers. Do the wiring (hopefully just mapping the existing TQS wiring). Break it all down and paint the steel parts. While all that is going on I'm going to figure out how/where the quadrant will be mounted. Probably something like this, although note that the positions and dimensions are in no way final:
  3. For my throttle quadrant I want to have throttle, prop and mixture controls. The throttle lever will have an F16 TQS with a bunch of other controls on it. Some experimentation is required, so as a proof of concept I built a traditional quadrant. It works pretty well. The main throttle arm is very smooth. The problem, which I expected, is that when I set the tension so that the throttle arm feels nice the smaller levers are too tight. I'll have to experiment with spacers and/or lubrication to see if I can get the feel satisfactory. Other than that I'm pretty happy with it and will probably keep it. The ribbon cable from the TQS will run inside the arm and be invisible. I also need to figure out how and where to mount the analog sensors. I have some of these, they're hall effect sensors which behave like pots: They should be easy to mount and will plug straight into my control board. The only sad part is that I'll be cannibalising two of the sensors from my U2 NXT Cougar gimbal. It's a great gimbal (still works perfectly) but I won't have a need for a desktop stick once this is finished.
  4. How is the tension control going to work? Does the one knob adjust the friction of all the levers? How do you balance the need for the main throttle lever to have more resistance than the smaller levers (due to the difference in leverage)?
  5. I'm still alive 😁 It's been a while since I've been able to work on this but I'm keen to finish it one of these days. To get the ball rolling again I mounted the bass shakers under the seat. Unfortunately I didn't originally plan to use bass shakers so the install is a bit complicated. Plus only the small ones will fit. Oh well. They'll get RCA plugs on them and connect to a box under the seat which will contain the amp. Next I'm starting on the throttle quadrant.
  6. I had to pause for a while for some house projects but things are (slowly) ticking along again. I started work on the throttle arm today. The original plan was to have a steel bracket mate to an aluminium arm, but it's easier to just make the whole thing out of steel. Not sure if I'm going to have interference problems with sensors.
  7. Thanks. The gimbal is the T-50CM2 (the newest one). I'm currently running the no-centre AviaSim cams (the progressive ones) on both axes, with a medium spring on ailerons and a firm spring on elevator. The extension is 200mm.
  8. Did some (rough and ready) sewing and got the cushion sorted out. I've temporarily rigged everything up to test the layout properly and start to figure out other control locations. I might extend the frame to move the pedals forward a little. Not sure yet. This is my first time using the Virpil gimbal and I have to say I'm a little underwhelmed it. I'm using the progressive AviaSim cams and they feel quite rough. The Crosswind pedal cams by comparison feel very smooth. I'm guessing the reason the stick cams feel rough is long throw, small cams and hands are more sensitive than feet. The axes are also not quite symmetrical in feel, which is annoying. I wonder why Virpil didn't go with a dual cam design to help with this. All in all the gimbal feels like a downgrade from my Cougar U2 NXT. That gimbal is perfectly smooth with very nice progression. Not as adjustable though (although it is possible to adjust the centre position) and it's not really suitable for using with an extension. I miss Foxy too 🥴.
  9. I've been busy with work, but I've managed to find time to do some painting: I've also ordered a couple of bass transducers to experiment with. If they're any good I'll incorporate them into the cockpit. I've gone with 2 Dayton TT25s (the mini puck versions). It sounds like the larger units work better, but I don't quite have enough space for them. I can fit the TT25s to the underside of the seat, attached to the front mounting blocks (just behind the bolt access holes in the picture above). I'm hoping this will transfer vibration to both the seat and the stick mount. We'll see what happens. As mentioned I've used transducers before but I wasn't that impressed with them. Looking back I realise now part of the problem may have been that the actuators in that system were motors with offset weights (like the vibration motor in your phone) rather than a piston arrangement like the audio transducers you see around today are. They took a while to spin up and gave a feeling more like vibration rather than impact.
  10. It's a general purpose do-everything VR plane 😀. Also for gliders (Condor 2). The heels of the pedals nearly touch the steel frame, and the highest part of seat base (at the front, since it's reclined) is roughly 150mm above the frame. There will be a 40mm cushion over the whole seat, but since it's compressible it's hard to account for in measurements. From the bottom rear corner of the seat (without the cushion) it's roughly 800mm to the heels of the pedals when they're in the neutral position. The pedals traverse 50mm in each direction. The seat base is about 300mm deep to the high point at the front (which is the frontmost point you feel) and about 360mm deep overall. That's just the part you sit on, and again measured without the cushion. The stick base is about 20mm below the high point of the seat base (without the cushion). I'm using a 200mm extension and a Cougar grip. Hopefully that makes sense. It's a bit hard to measure precisely because the seat is a complex shape and the pedals are quite adjustable. I'm 185cm tall by the way. I could move the pedals forward a bit more but it makes the toe brakes a bit hard to use. I setup a few mockups before I started to figure out the dimensions and then I've been testing and tweaking as I go. I used some of Kermit Weeks' videos to help figure out the rough position of the pedals and stick. By keeping things simple and (somewhat) modular it won't be a big deal if I need to rebuild a component to improve comfort. The frame is also easy to mod: just chop and weld 😄.
  11. The original plan was to use Arduinos. I have a bunch of Pro Micro clones laying around, which are really easy to turn into USB HIDs. That would obviously allow a lot of flexibility since I could emulate joysticks, keyboard and mouse in the firmware and make them behave however I want. But... I'm time poor at the moment (family etc), and I want to keep this project simple to give myself the best shot at completing it. Realistically, building my own controllers would add a few months to the completion date at my current level of time committent. So I'm going with the simple option for now. I can always add custom controllers later if need be. Plus, using simple game controllers has a side benefit - it forces me to build a more ergonomic control layout. Previously I had all sorts of fancy programming in Foxy to achieve the desired functionality. Without that option, if I want to add another function I'll need to add another control somewhere. I'm hoping that this approach will result in a more intuitive control scheme. It certainly feels in keeping with the sort of virtual aircraft we fly.
  12. No current plans, but that’s not to say it won’t happen eventually. In my Mk1 cockpit I had a series of transducers under the seat cushion but found it a bit underwhelming to be honest. In the past I’ve also used a Buttkicker clamped to a chair but again didn’t find it helped with the suspension of disbelief. We’ll see.
  13. Seat painting is underway: While that's going on I'm making a box to house the electronics (a USB hub and 2 Bodner BU0836X boards). So far it looks something like this: I also plan to include a compartment for storing spare springs and cams and the like. While I'm thinking about it — Dear Virpil, please consider using standard USB-B sockets on your devices instead of those round plugs. I get that they look cool and are positively retained, but USB-B sockets would make replacing cables far easier and are more than robust enough.
  14. Thanks. It feels fine when sitting in it, even without the cushion. I'm trying to avoid things like button boxes since the controls won't need to sit on a desk. I've yet to see how it works in practice, but my plan is to spread all of the controls around to help avoid ambiguity. VR is also the reason I'm sticking with a full featured HOTAS for the primary controls. Plus the F-16 TQS is particularly ergonomic. Still a bit of filling and fairing to go, but I'm happy with how the curved areas are turning out:
  15. On the front (convex) curve I definitely need something supportive to hold the shape. On the inside corner it's less important. Surprisingly enough you can't really feel the ribs (even before I put any sheeting on at all).
  16. I would have done a kerf bend for the whole seat (in one piece) if I had a tablesaw. One day... I'll make it work. I was contemplating leaving the sheeting off altogether at one point. With the cushion it was quite comfortable and it wasn't actually that obvious that you were sitting on the skeleton.
  17. Started skinning the seat. I used 3mm MDF, which won't go around the tight radius curves. I'll have to do something else there.
  18. The chair is glued together. I did put some staples in during the glue up to help with alignment, but they don't add any appreciable strength. No plans, I'm making it up as I go along. Plans wouldn't be very useful anyway as I'm building based on my anatomy and the materials and parts I have to hand.
  19. Sanity checking the basic layout: Looks and feels good so far. The real challenge will be figuring out placement for the other controls. Controls I'd like to have: A three lever quadrant (incorporating an F-16 TQS, see discussion above) in the traditional left hand position. Another four levers spread about in strategic locations for radiators and cowl flaps. A landing gear lever with a few ancillary switches (eg rotary encoder on a crank for manual gear up/down). A bank of switches on the right hand side for lights, engine and electrical systems. An eject lever somewhere down low. Possibly controls for flaps and airbrakes. I'll probably just end up using controls on the TQS for those. I'm not yet sure whether I'll have a small centre console in front of the stick or position everything along the sides. I would like to avoid adding high side rails if possible, but I will if it ends up making the most sense. The number one goal is VR ergonomics, so each control needs to be unambiguous and easy to locate blind. Lots to ponder while I finish off the seat. Did I mention that I'm making this up as I go along? 🙄
  20. Nice, I hadn't seen a T-28 throttle before but yes, that's the sort of angle I want to mount it at. I want to make the whole thing narrower in profile than a traditional quadrant, though, so the other levers will be sitting more underneath the TQS grip rather than beside it. I have a picture in my head but I haven't tried building it yet.
  21. The plan is to build a quadrant with the levers stacked vertically. Similar to the Spitfire, P-47, P-51 (and many others) throttles. The TQS will be to the top throttle lever, and underneath will be mixture and RPM. The mixture and RPM levers will just have simple knobs on top. The TQS is not at all period correct but it's very comfortable and great for VR. That's the plan, anyway. We'll see how it works in practice.
  22. Starting to put the main frame together (it's less fuzzy in real life):
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