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vonrickenbecker

Sopwith-Style Joystick Grip! Pre-Order Announcement + Q&A

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*Updated with new information and ordering instructions 2-8-2020*

 

Greetings, fellow pilots!

 

I am excited to announce the official release of the SopGrip MK1: An add-on joystick grip styled after the grip used in the Sopwith Camel, Dolphin, Pup, and others, with compatibility for Thrustmaster Warthog, Virpil Controls, VKB (coming soon!) and Microsoft Force-Feedback 2 bases!

 

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This grip is the culmination of nearly a year of painstaking development, working from original Sopwith Aviation blueprints for maximum historical accuracy. Extra buttons have been discretely added to enhance functionality (especially in VR) without compromising the authentic look and feel of the grip. Each grip is hand-made with strict attention to detail, providing an unparalleled level of immersion for WW1 flyers. 

 

As of today, grips are available for order! Ordering instructions can be found in the thread linked below. MSRP is $100 USD (+VAT if applicable in your country) + Shipping. Read on for more details on this fantastic (if I do say so myself) addition to your simpit or simulator peripherals collection. Happy flying!

 

To place an order for a SopGrip MK1, please see the instructions in the ordering thread, linked below.

 

 

About the SopGrip

Grip is compatible with Thrustmaster Warthog/Virpil style bases, and MSFFB2! An adapter for VKB Gunfighter bases is in the works and should be available in the near future. The grip utilizes a self-contained microcontroller with USB interface to your computer, eliminating the need for costly joystick-specific electrical adapter cables. Warthog base, luger, and bayonet not included :)

 

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Four standard lengths are available to accommodate a variety of simulator setups. Custom lengths available too!

 

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Unique cold-casting process utilizing a layer of real aluminum and steel gives resin castings a true metal finish: extremely durable and incredibly realistic! Authentic treated-cotton cord wrapping makes this grip feel just like the real thing in your hand.

 

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Use the replica “Blip” switch to control your rotary engine just like a real WW1 pilot. Two historically accurate individual triggers let you control weapon groups independently, or fire everything you’ve got!

 

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The discrete 4-Position Hat switch with center pushbutton gives the ability to program up to 5 extra commands to the stick.

 

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Every component of the SopGrip is constructed from tough and durable materials, including rigid polyurethane resin for the grip itself, 6061 aluminum tubing for the control column, a tough 3D-printed plastic for the joystick base adapters, and stainless-steel bolts and hardware throughout. Joystick mounted to TM Warthog/Virpil base has been stress-tested to an applied moment arm of 59 N-m. That means that with our mid-sized MK1b (36cm overall length), unit can withstand side loads of up to 16.9kg (37lb) of force!

 

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Want to know more about the development of this grip and future products that are in the works? Check out my development thread, linked below!

 

 

Edited by vonrickenbecker
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That's really nice. I hope that you get plenty of orders.

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This is pretty cool.  I might pick this up in the future.  Just what my wife wanted me to start collecting - joystick grips!!

  • Haha 2

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Looks really iconic! Thank you for sharing.

 

I fear that there are not enough buttons for what I am used to..

 

S!

Edited by 1PL-Sahaj-1Esk
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Definitely interested in this but will need to check if I have enough clearance to mount it.

 

Can you give me an idea of the cost of shipping this to the UK please?

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46 minutes ago, nickj123 said:

Definitely interested in this but will need to check if I have enough clearance to mount it.

 

Can you give me an idea of the cost of shipping this to the UK please?

 

Hi nickj123,

 

The postage calculator is giving me an estimate of $38 USD for first class package service to the UK. Thanks!

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Wow, very nice idea! Does it work with TARGET (software of Trustmaster) also as virtual buttons/axes ect or as normal buttons/axes only if it will be connected with Thrustmaster Warthog base? Did you check it?

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Wow that is really awesome! Amazing job! 

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Any information on how you would set this up with a Virpil (or Thrustmaster) base please?

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On 1/13/2020 at 9:09 AM, YoYo said:

Wow, very nice idea! Does it work with TARGET (software of Trustmaster) also as virtual buttons/axes ect or as normal buttons/axes only if it will be connected with Thrustmaster Warthog base? Did you check it?

 

On 1/13/2020 at 9:37 AM, nickj123 said:

Any information on how you would set this up with a Virpil (or Thrustmaster) base please?

 

Thanks for your excellent questions!

 

The SopGrip mounts to the Warthog base but does not interface with it electrically (i.e. mechanical connection only). Instead, it has its own dedicated USB connection and internal microcontroller which make it appear to the computer as a separate game controller. Given this, I don't think it will work with TARGET software, but I will investigate further.  

 

I did extensively investigate creating an adapter cable that would allow direct connection to the Warthog base, but decided against it for three reasons:

1. Complexity & cost (connector used by Warthog base is expensive and difficult to source in the US, cable would have to be created from scratch)

2. Number of buttons on SopGrip is fewer than found on the Warthog grip, further complicating the electrical interface.

3. Commonality between joysticks: by using the same USB connection for the SopGrip regardless of joystick base, I can keep manufacturing costs down and keep price lower for you guys :)

 

For these reasons, I decided that the advantages of a standalone USB connection outweigh the benefits of direct electrical connection to the base. With that said, if there is enough interest in an adapter cable for direct connection to the Warthog, I'm certainly willing to give it a try!

Edited by vonrickenbecker

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1. How does connection with ffb base work? Same as Warthog (connect mechanically, plug to separate USB)? Can I unplug the original FFB2 handle without destroying anything?
2. How do FFb2 motors handling the additional mass, especially with 46cm grip?

Edited by J2_Trupobaw

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12 minutes ago, J2_Trupobaw said:

1. How does connection with ffb base work? Same as Warthog (connect mechanically, plug to separate USB)? Can I unplug the original FFB2 handle without destroying anything?
2. How do FFb2 motors handling the additional mass, especially with 46cm grip?

 

Hi Trupo, thanks for the question (and thanks for your excellent work on aircraft guides as well!)

 

To answer your questions:

1. Yes, interface is same as with Warthog. SopGrip is recognized as a separate controller your computer, with its own USB connection. And yes, you can indeed unplug your handle without destroying anything! The process to remove the msffb2 handle is a bit more involved than simply unscrewing as with Warthog/Virpil, but still easily done. I will include instructions on how to do this.

2. I don't recommend using an extension longer than the MK1a (31 cm) with a stock msffb2, as the felt force at the grip will be very low (though there is no danger of harming the motors, centering force is just weak). For use with longer extensions, there are ways to increase motor force, link below has a good DIY on it:

http://www.simprojects.nl/ms_siderwinder_ff2_hack.htm

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18 minutes ago, 1PL-Sahaj-1Esk said:

How many buttons do you have in that grip exactly?

 

Hi Sahaj,

 

The SopGrip has three buttons (two triggers + one blip switch) and one 5-way Hat switch (up-down-left-right + center-push).

 

Thanks!

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Nice, I would definitely order one if it worked with my VKB Gunfighter base.  But great to see something like this in the works regardless.

 

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Man, this is awesome!!! I would think it might require a seat that is not very deep, or with a cutout of some sort so that the stick isn't limited when you pull back ... or placed at a distance uncomfortably far forward. Do you have any images or diagrams showing a seated user with this? 

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9 minutes ago, the_dudeWG said:

Man, this is awesome!!! I would think it might require a seat that is not very deep, or with a cutout of some sort so that the stick isn't limited when you pull back ... or placed at a distance uncomfortably far forward. Do you have any images or diagrams showing a seated user with this? 

 

Thanks Dude! I don't have a photo at the moment, but I can take one sometime this week and upload it. I haven't had any issues when using it myself, I typically use it with a med-length extension, mounted about 5-6 inches below my seat level, which is similar to all of the stick-controlled aircraft I've flown in real life. I have some stick time in a Stearman biplane and a Luscombe (1940's taildragger), and the stick throw and position feel pretty comparable to those. 

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18 hours ago, vonrickenbecker said:

 

Hi Trupo, thanks for the question (and thanks for your excellent work on aircraft guides as well!)

 

To answer your questions:

 

2. I don't recommend using an extension longer than the MK1a (31 cm) with a stock msffb2, as the felt force at the grip will be very low (though there is no danger of harming the motors, centering force is just weak). For use with longer extensions, there are ways to increase motor force, link below has a good DIY on it:

http://www.simprojects.nl/ms_siderwinder_ff2_hack.htm


So, what are the practicalities of mounting 31cm stick on FFB2 base in center position? From my trials, the huge FFB2 has to be placed at same height as pilots knees / hips? (45 cm seems ideal length, shame it's not an option for unmodded FFB2)

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What Von Rickenbecker said is a good set up.I used a MSFFB with a 20cm extension for a while using similar measurements

It was a hack job which comprised of a length of pvc tube and the standard MSFFB grip (wiring extend) mounted on top

I removed the rudder pot and left that external to the main base, with a plan to use it in a throttle of some sort, but never did it.

 

I had it mounted about 6" below seat height (not on the floor) and a couple of inches forward.

The short throw of the MSFFB makes it ideal for extensions and providing the stick is not too heavy, feedback remains strong too.

But as Rickenbecker linked, there is a mod you can do to increase force from the motors.

 

I love what you've done here Rickenbecker

 

Any plans to look at an Albatros set up?

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Thanks for sharing your experience with that setup SteveF. I'd very much love to do an Albatros grip; it's probably my all-time favorite after the Sopwith! Unfortunately I've not had much luck finding drawings and detailed photos from which to model it, so if you have any leads on such information...

 

@Trupo and the_Dude, photos below are an experiment I did quickly before work this morning. I didn't have a 31cm SopGrip handy, so I just cut a 31cm piece of tubing as a stand-in. Msffb2 base is positioned a few inches below my seat (Pardon my messy office in the background). I found this position to be very comfortable, and I could use the joystick's entire range of motion easily, no awkwardness at all! 

 

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IMG_20200114_072118338.thumb.jpg.094ae57fd18c66bffb7c84a23fe5fe45.jpg

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Great work @vonrickenbecker! It looks more practical than I thought possible. The image helps, thanks! I join the few others who are wondering about any plans for Albatros or Fokker grips. I couldn’t pass on either. S!

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Thanks @nickj123! That's a good suggestion, I'm sure TVAL will have the info if anyone does.

32 minutes ago, the_dudeWG said:

Great work @vonrickenbecker! It looks more practical than I thought possible. The image helps, thanks! I join the few others who are wondering about any plans for Albatros or Fokker grips. I couldn’t pass on either. S!

 Thanks Dude! I would love to eventually get to all of them, though that may take a little while! Current plan is to add a Sopwith style throttle (Tampier unit) with magneto switches and a few other panel items, and a rudder bar. Given the community feedback, it sounds like an Albatros grip might have to be next in the que after those :)

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The best thing with the German grips is we can map our throttle control (or I might opt for zoom) to them. Even if the Alby’s next, I’d probably get the Sopwith first anyway. It’s just too good to pass up! 😍

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17 hours ago, vonrickenbecker said:

 

Hi Sahaj,

 

The SopGrip has three buttons (two triggers + one blip switch) and one 5-way Hat switch (up-down-left-right + center-push).

 

Thanks!

 

I think this would work fine for WWI planes given their limited features.  In VR I'm would use the hat switch for zoom, re-center view, and map, with the other buttons for all weapon functions.  Everything else can be mapped to throttle though off hand I can't really think of anything I would need.

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51 minutes ago, jarg1 said:

 

I think this would work fine for WWI planes given their limited features.  In VR I'm would use the hat switch for zoom, re-center view, and map, with the other buttons for all weapon functions.  Everything else can be mapped to throttle though off hand I can't really think of anything I would need.

 

Yeah, that's what I had in mind when designing it. I knew from day 1 that I wouldn't be able to add enough buttons to compete with the button count of a Virpil or VKB type grip without ruining the look of the grip, so I just tried to add as much functionality as I could without spoiling the historical asthetics!

Edited by vonrickenbecker
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Hey All, 

 

Just wanted to give you a brief update:

 

The first batch of SopGrips are in production now, and will be shipped to their future owners shortly! 

 

With the gracious assistance of one of our community members, I am in the process of developing an adapter for VKB Gunfighter bases. So if you own a GF base and are interested in the SopGrip, stay tuned!

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