Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fixed base operations

Spurned by my fecklessness of last week (and another mostly rainy weekend in San Francisco) I resolved to get the base finished and moved upstairs to the sim room. Second attempt with the plywood worked out fine. Rather than go with 2 pieces, I cobbled it together from scraps in the shop and went with 3:
Next I stretched out a piece of cheap carpet over the assembled frame and nailed it to the underside. With the wife's strong back help, we lugged the beast up to the sim room (aka "his playroom" according to the missus):

Unseen in this photo are 2 large castors at the fore end of the base. The idea being if I need to move the whole ensemble around, I can lift the back end up and wheel it back and forth. I'll attach a couple of handles on the aft end to enable this. Probably will also be working out with weights 4 days a week to get in shape for this feat.

And here is the result:

A lot to do before I can get it operating. Next up I'll make covers for the unused space in the pedestal and will fabricate some j-rails for the chair. But wait I hear you say, Revolution Simproducts makes j-rails. Indeed they do. However, it will be a cold day in hell before I buy anything else from them. My last 2 emails regarding the defective TQ have gone unanswered. I'll need to put more energy into chasing them up. And if that is your idea of good time dear reader, caveat emptor.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Measure once, visit lumber yard twice

One of the wettest months of March I can remember will not stop. Feels more like South Shields than San Francisco... Upside though is that I'm "forced" to spend more time in the workshop.

The goal this weekend was to complete the base that the sim will sit on. Diehard followers of this blog (or newcomers motivated to plumb it's murky depths) will note I started this some time ago but was distracted by other things. Made from 2" X 4" dimensional lumber (a standard building material of everything from garden sheds to McMansions in the US), the idea was to raise the base up high enough to hide the control column mechanism and electronics. In case I need to remove the assembly for servicing, I want to have a snug, friction fit. Here it is in situ:
Note the plywood to the right - more on this later. Now another shot with the assembly removed, simply pulled straight up:

A lot of measuring went on between the MIP and the base to ensure the yoke would clear it when in full forward position. If only I had taken the same care when cutting the plywood that sits on top of the base... I had to make a cut out big enough to allow me to pull the control column assembly through. The idea being, I'd use the cut out to fit around the bottom of the column. I was off my precisely 1.5" all the way around, the exact dimension of the skinny side of a 2" x 4". Wait a minute, I thought you said it was a 2" X 4"? You can read why we don't get what we pay for here.

I'm too embarrassed to post a photo of my cock up.

Back to the lumber yard then! No, it's raining. To heck with it - early dinner, movie then bed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pedestal complete

Finished painting the pedestal this week. Here it is:
I just have the units sitting on top. No point mounting them with the DZUS until I have the base ready. It looks pretty cool though:

What else is going on? Ivar Hestnes has posted a great tutorial on how to plan for and build a wrap around screen. You can find it here. Also, he is recommending Warpalizer, software that not only warps an image on a wide screen, it blurs the edges of each projector image so that you can overlap and merge the images. This results in more of a seamless transition in the projected images, something I'm very interested in. Think I'll go with this approach.

First though I need to square away a few other bits and pieces. They are:
  • Get the Revolution Simproducts pedals working. Eren sent the missing nuts this week (don't ask...)
  • Complete the base and get the control column mounted at the correct height
  • Finish wiring up the replacement CPFlight card
  • Get the recently purchased Project Magenta instructor workstation set up on my work lap top (shh - don't tell...)
Not this weekend though - first need to spend some quality time with the missus.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Checkpoint Charlie

In Berlin this week on business. A fascinating city with lots of history. My first trip there and I was thoroughly impressed. As I was with my new colleagues, one of which is Dirk. His son, a sensible 8 year old, is interested in all things aeronautical and loves to fly the sim at the Sinsheim air museum.

One of my blog followers, Raik, came over to my hotel to exchange ideas and progress reports on our sim build outs. He yet again confirms my belief that most people in the sim building community are thoroughly decent types. And of course I was flattered that he went out of his way to meet with me.

The conversation alternated between his experience flying helicopter simulators (real ones) and the home built efforts we're involved in. He too is having problems with his Revolution Simproducts TQ. We're both struggling to get the reverse thrusters going and the TOGA functionality working. Will attempt to get Eren from RS on a Skype session this week, once I'm home.

Currently sitting in the Frankfurt airport for my flight back to San Francisco. More to come next week. Surely the paint on the pedestal is dry by now?

Tally ho.