Thursday, August 11, 2011

Projectors ordered

Just placed the order for 3 Infocus (I hope they are...) IN146 projectors. According to my SketchUp 3D model, they should work out:

Link to the model is here (you'll need Google SketchUp to view it)

Wish me luck...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pleased we got that covered

As you know, the build has been put on hold while I work on a built in sideboard for the missus. Before sawing through more lumber than I need to, I decided to draw up some plans in Google SketchUp (don't worry, we'll get back on point in a minute...). I've tried this "free" software in the past and found it a hassle to work with. Too mean to actually purchase some CAD software, I decided to give it another try.

I found an excellent set of instructional videos for SketchUp that are geared towards woodworkers. You can find them here. So if you want to use it to plan your build, I highly recommend it.

If you're interested in the sideboard design, here you go (drop me a line if you want me to send you the SketchUp file):

Now it got me thinking, maybe I could use SketchUp to plan the wrap around screen for the sim. Here's my first crack at it:

Note I still need to add the projectors on the ceiling and check for clearance/coverage but you get the idea. You can also see that I have very little clearance between the door and the right hand edge of the screen. The beauty of this approach is that I can move around the room in 3D to see what fits and what doesn't. I can get a visualization of what I'll see by putting the viewpoint where my head would be and by panning from left to right. What's also apparent is that I'll need to move everything else out of the sim room to get the screen in. Well that will make me popular...

I did take some time out to make some covers for the center console, to fill the holes not taken by instruments. Decided to go with 1/4" plexi glass. First, I took a forstner bit and drilled out anchor points for DZUS. Then trimmed out the remainder with a Stanley knife. Now how to paint? Since the surfaces are polished, I knocked one side down with an orbital sander to scuff it up, to give the paint a surface to key into. I then sprayed with a plastic primer that provides excellent adhesion:

I can't say enough about this stuff. You really need to go to town on it to scratch it off the plastic:

A coat of latex paint later and here's the result:

Not that thrilled with the finish - I rushed it and rolled the paint on too thick, causing air bubbles to form and dry into the surface. Nothing for it - I'll need to buy a spray it is. Isn't she a beauty?

Well it's for the sideboard right? I watched a great review on this British built product at the Wood Whisperer web site. There are a lot of great tutorial videos here that I highly recommend.

Also had a visitor to the sim last week. My colleague Dirk was visiting from Sinsheim, home of the Tecknik museum if you ever find yourself there. Dirk has a lot of hours flying the standard FSX 737, so I threw a lot of new topics at him in a very short space of time. He was making a very good approach to SFO 28L, when everything went pear shaped on short final. He and his lucky passengers took an unexpected dip into the bay...

What I learned from this experience is that after a while we take so much of what we do for granted, we operate the plane instinctively rather than think about what we're doing. We amass so much knowledge and skill, we often overlook it. It's only when you see someone try to make that jump in a one hour session that you realize how much expertise we've developed.

My expertise will be spent on cabinet making for the next few weeks...