Introduction: Full Scale Fighter Jet Cockpit From Cardboard

Here is my project of cheap, durable, gluelles, assemble dissasemble and hope that kick-ass looking fighter jet cockpit, on which i am working more than two years and finally i can say that is ready to hit your man's caves.

I am animator and graphic artist, so i payed attention for details, promo video and graphic part. In everything are hundreds hours of work, no Pro companies involved ;).

Since i published it i had positive feedback, so i decided to place it also on Instructables to get some feedback from proffesionals.

Just my angry wife still complaints why kids have no space to play and why i am spending free time in a cardboard box. At least she doesn't need to clean the floor in living room.

Ready? let's go to first step.

Step 1: Fighter Jet Cockpit- Choose Your Design and Create 3D Mesh

There are two ways how to get data for your cockpit kit

1) You can create it from scratch ,but you need to be skilled in some 3d modeling software, texturing, photography, Photoshop and Illustrator. Also Pepakura designer , but it is easy to learn.

2)Or now is avaliable on our Online store for download http://dogfightboss.com/Online+Store

Now i will explain how to create it from scratch, not every details, supposing that if you choose this way, you are familiar with modeling, texturing and photography.

Choose Aircraft what you like most. In my case i choosed F-22 Raptor and because i am working in 3ds Max every day, i created fuselage and choosed cockpit section, sliced front and back, closed mesh in cuts and export to Pepakura designer. There you need to define parts. Some of them are curved, so Pepakura will unfold all and give you clear idea what parts of surface need to be sliced and how big sections you will get.

Sure you need to play with the settings and seams to get best result and maybe go back here in future to redesign some of it, but it's fun to explore all possibilities and inventing best way. Just one advice, in 2D menu turn off ''show flaps''.

Then you import your unfolded fuselage in curves to 3DS max again and you can grab your original 3D model, split it for same object like Pepakura did and by Morph modifier animate into the frames from curves. This will be very useful later to see how to unwrap and texture your kit.

Step 2: Fighter Jet Cockpit- Create the Skeleton

Like almost every creatures(except that invertebrates punks) my cockpit need skeleton to stick together, so you need to plan each rib carefuly and think about it to create useful part of your construction, not useless. But first you need to decide , or ask priting company, how thick cardboard they are able to cut. That is very important!

I am using 4 mm corrugated cardboard, so i created vertical and horizontal boxes as ribs in my original 3d model (need to be closed, no holes) and when i was happy with places, apply ProCutter modifier to get ribs in shape of surface. (your surface should be scaled before by 4 mm to get inner shape, best to do it by Shell modifier). When this is done, you need to create 4mm notches in every crossections between ribs, also for surface parts to fold it in vertical ribs. But these notches will be 8 mm, because two flaps is going in .

Then you rotate all and place to 0,0,0 axis, spread on sheets in size you asked in Printing company ( in my case is 245x200 cm pritable area on their UV printer and similar for CNC) and sort all to rectangles of this size. After you select each rib, in edit poly choose Borders, select all borders and click on ''create spline from selection'' button.

Here you are, you have splines almost ready for cut ;). Easy no? No? Yes i know, i was finding best way almost two years. But don't worry, you are almost done with the easy part of this project ;)

Step 3: Fighter Jet Cockpit- Texturing

And yes ,this is most trickiest part, if you have some experience with texturing, good for you and you can at least use your knowledge to find unwrap modifier faster, because rest is completely different. For unwrap you have ready sheets in size 245x200 (in my case), so you need to create blank texture in 180 DPI 245x200, select all parts from one sheet, apply this texture,apply uvw Map-planar - lenght 245, width 200 cm and if its needed, move it by gizmo exactly to the rectangle which represents the sheet. then bake your unwrap to texture in same aspect ratio like you have it in max and open it in Photoshop.

If you have headache from this, grab your camera and go to nearest aircraft Museum and make as much as possible macro photos of surfaces, gauges, cockpits etc. you will need it! ( If you think you took good pics, please show it to me and we can make exchange, because i need also other planes than we have in Czech republic)

You have to bear on mind that textures will be huge, 15000x18000 pixels for one sheet aproximatelly.

Stitch your photos and place it on baked unwraps in Photoshop. Now when you apply texture on all parts in sheet in 3ds max, you can see the result on 3D model if you done your homework with Morphing animation.

Step 4: Fighter Jet Cockpit- Preparing for Print&cut

Now you have all textures, all curves done, but just few more things. First, create some marks on cutted parts to recognise what part is and if you grabbed sixth rib or pizza box. Also create marks what is back and what is front.

Then create flaps with locks for all outer parts and flaps for horizontal ribs, to bend it and, glue or use mr.groovy's box rivets.

And make scale! create line in lenght exactly 100 cm place it in some corner and you'll be sure that Printing company will not send you cockpit 1:144 scaled. In this stage you should take all curves along with sheet rectangles and export it to DWG, if you don't have , ask someone to open it in some CAD soft and reset wiev to top. From some strange reason is saved in perspective, but resaving from CAD also gives it proper curves coordinates which are needed for CNC.

Now import dwg to Illustrator, divide lines for cutting and lines for spade by color, split it by sheets and to each sheet import texture (Need to be in CMYK) and place it to exact spot to copy lines from baked layer. When is ready, in photoshop turn off baked unwrap, save it as tiff (CMYK) and replace in Illustrator, then save as PDF (ask company foe exact setting) and send them to print,spade and cut.

Step 5: Fighter Jet Cockpit- Building of the Cockpit

When you get the cockpit, you can dance around for the while, screaming and laughing like insane, because you are going to build full scale cockpit from cardboard at your house, so one or two more crazy things will not make the difference :). My wife insist to see other guys like me to ensure herself that she didn't married mad man.

But back to our project, when you check all the parts, make angry call to printing company and they send you fixed parts, you can start with building. To be honest, now i have fifth version and i can say that finally is perfect.

So if you want to skip all dissapointments, i will offer soon downloadable version on dogfightboss.com.

Always bear on mind, Count with thinckness everywhere, shell modifier will help you to understand and always take outer surface for print, in other case you'll find some parts too short to fit.

I created animation as some sort of videotutorial, I hope you enjoy it.

Step 6: Fighter Jet Cockpit- Hardware

Don't forget to add hardware! I built in Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog, Saitek combat rudder pedals, 22'' display and currently working on curved screen since i have two projectors. But you can use what you have at home.

Now i am on most immersive project on the world in simulation, so please stay tuned and if this will work, i will make new instructable.

I hope you enjoyed my instructable and I'll be happy if you support my project in contest's on Instructables and onfacebook, google+

Thank you very much for reading!

Any comments, advices are more than welcome!

Lukas Homola

Step 7: Bonus: Gameplay

Comments

author
gravityisweak (author)2014-12-02

First, let me say this.... HOLY CRAP!!....that is insane!!!! Next, why is this not available in kit form, so I can buy one. Everyone knows if you buy kids stuff in big cardboard boxes, they will play more with the box than with the toy. However, if the toy is essentially a big cardboard box, will they play with it, or ignore it altogether? *head asplode*

author
Don Walker (author)gravityisweak2014-12-03

Hey thanks man :), you are right with cardboard boxes, you should see my kids with so much cardboard, i think kids will make a shelter from it and then burn it after find glue and matches. Kit will be available soon, i need to be sure that there are no issues but it is already done, just created marks and some minor changes for other people, can happens that someone build tractor if i dont make Ikea-like manual.

author
King_of_Creepers101 (author)2016-10-20

this is awesome!!!

author
Blaise_Gauba (author)2014-12-04

Very cool. That's a lot of work. Nice job. I don't know 3-D design programs...but I have always wanted to build a flight simulator for my DCS World A10 Warthog flight program. Right now I have two 24" monitors on my desk and just the Saitek X52 throttle and control stick. So far, that's all I need, but I would also love to have the Saitek peddles as well. If I had the room (my wife and I live in an apartment with my teenage daughter...NO ROOM!), I would love to build the full simulator on an X,Y,Z gimbal. I've seen some really nice home made simulators that work quite well.

All the same, your project is really inspiring and anyone can see that it is a deep passion of yours...and tell your wife...yes...you ARE mad...but then, so are a lot of crazy flight simulator addicted nuts out here...such as ME!

Keep up the great work you do. I am following you on Facebook and Google+ now.

author

me to!!! ;)

author
Don Walker (author)Blaise_Gauba2014-12-08

Thank you very much! I told to my wife that we are many, now she can see it for real and she is happier. Maybe she'll create some support group for wives of men like us :)

author
shazni (author)2015-01-27

Congrats! Its not the cameo. ..but the portrait is just as wonderful :-)

author
shazni (author)2015-01-27

This is so worth the GrandPrize! I hope you win it cause you so deserve it ! :-)

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Don Walker (author)shazni2015-01-27

Thank you Shazni! I hope too for it :)

author
Mysterious_Gal (author)2015-01-24

Pretty cool :)

author

Thanks a lot mystery girl! :)

author
Snowsongwolf (author)2015-01-01

Wow, I'm impressed that it supports the Warthog. the flight stuck alone broke my desk drawer. I'm not sure I could pull this off for an Elite Dangerous pit, if someone does u how you sell or share the plans!

author
Don Walker (author)Snowsongwolf2015-01-01

Thanks a lot :), it works perfectly with Thrustmaser Warthog, you need to glue it inside, but hot glue gun is perfect and when you need to remove it, doesnt leave any marks on hardware. Sure it is perfectly stable, I already selling Pdf's on my website, it is almost 2GB of data, but is ready for Printing company to print&cut. Please check http://dogfightboss.com/Online+Store for buy. I am ready to help you with anything you need about this project. Its also possible to order kit thru the e-mail. Thank you and happy new year!

author

I really hate how "u" is an "acceptable" word to cell phones. "I" hope you share or sell the plans.

author
jgderuvo (author)2014-12-20

????

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skipernicus (author)jgderuvo2014-12-23

I tried posting a link, but it didn't show up - the author has posted the same link.

author
jgderuvo (author)2014-12-04

I want one! When are you going to release the downloads?

author
Don Walker (author)jgderuvo2014-12-20

Great thanks, i just released it! http://dogfightboss.com/Online+Store

author
jgderuvo (author)Don Walker2014-12-20

Cool thanks. What does "triple license" mean?

author
Don Walker (author)jgderuvo2014-12-20

Basically is possibility to print three cockpits, if you have two friends who are interested about to have this cockpit, instead of buying each single license cockpit, you can buy cheaper multilicense version. I just want to avoid copying and resseling between people and this is option what should help. As i worked more than 12 years in games, i am not naive. But i hope that flying enthusiasts are more honest than gamers ;). Anyway, single license is just for you and if some part break or your cockpit get destroyed by kids,dogs, guns, police or other enemies for sure you can reprint it as many times you need. You can also reskin it or modify, i will release raw high res photos of surfaces as sources for people who wants to create their own maps.

author
jgderuvo (author)Don Walker2014-12-21

Ah, OK that makes sense.

author
Don Walker (author)jgderuvo2014-12-08

:) Hopefully in week or two on dogfightboss.com

author
liam.goodison (author)2014-12-17

someone do one for an elite dangerous cobra

author
Don Walker (author)2014-12-17

Thank you all for so big support! I worked hard to release PDF's ASAP and here it is! http://dogfightboss.com/Online+Store Enjoy!

author
matthieutje65 (author)2014-12-14

good work and great rendering skills ;) liked your animation video

author
praetorian216 (author)2014-12-13

Here. Listen.

Listen to my claps, "whoots!", and adulation! This is a masterpiece.

Take my votes! And to your lady, milady, you have married a genius and a master craftsman.

author
andy.knote (author)2014-12-10

Wow, that is hard work, determination, a pile of brilliance and a little bit of nuts!

author
blacksmith98 (author)2014-12-07

Amazing!! This is what I've always dreamed of having. I have an idea for a 737NG cockpit for my flight simulator. I'm not sure if I'll have room for it, but... You've given me so many ideas!

author
Don Walker (author)blacksmith982014-12-08

Cheers! I already making some research about 737, but i am happy that my work motivates you! Send me some results or don't hesistate to ask for an advice if you'll need

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blacksmith98 (author)Don Walker2014-12-09

Thanks

author
juan232 (author)2014-12-04

You are going to make me the best dad ever!!!!

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Don Walker (author)juan2322014-12-08

Yeah Thanks! That reminds me that i should stop making monkey bussines and play more with my kids!

author
rkrishnan7 (author)2014-12-04

If there was a reward for passion you would win hands down!

This is incredible! I would say more but you have inspired me to stop surfing and go finish my own projects!

author
Don Walker (author)rkrishnan72014-12-08

Perfect thanks! This is the best thing what we all should do. Stop surfing and make our god damn dreams come true. I go to create an immersive screen and then pilot licence!

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agis68 (author)2014-12-04

EPIC AWESOMENESS!!!!!BRAVO!!! make kits please and enlist me

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Don Walker (author)agis682014-12-08

Cool thanks! I am working on it!

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Maeglin_Arcamenel (author)2014-12-05

That is quite easily one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. I showed my brother, who also loves this sort of thing, and all he did was look at the screen, back at me, and back out of the room, probably depressed at not having one; or possible going to gather some cardboard. xD

author

Haha :) i can imagine it, many people just stay and stare on that old piece of scrap metal in the middle of my living room. Thank you and if you and your brother wants , in a week should be available pdf in my e-shop. Better to let print and cut in printing company, you can spent month to do it yourself.

author
Ayman_Alqdah (author)2014-12-05

Great job man.

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Don Walker (author)Ayman_Alqdah2014-12-08

Cheers!

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CrazyMeigan (author)2014-12-05

Amazing

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Don Walker (author)CrazyMeigan2014-12-08

Thanks!

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dvan roozendaal (author)2014-12-08

This is awesome! I love this thing! Looking forward to all your designs, if you need any help with 3d cad, i am experienst and glad to help you out, i work for a small engineerings bureau in the netherlands, but love your work!

author

Thank you Dvan! Maybe i will need someone really enthusiastic, I already planned to make more designs but don't have enough time! If you are interested, we can join our force and create better, cooler and bigger cockpits, what about this? ;) Just kidding with the photo, but really, write me on my e-mail and we can discuss it.

ekranoplane-russe-01.jpg
author
Raphango (author)2014-12-04

Beautiful... ;~~~

Congratulations! =D

author
Trike Lover (author)2014-12-04

Lukas:

I haven't even finished reading this Instructable, but all I can say is "I Want To Build One." Specifically, there are some very good cockpit diagrams for the Lockheed SR-71 (Blackbird/Habu) and other unusual or high-performance jet aircraft that can be found at: http://www.sr-71.org/

This website is the result of many years work by Mr. Paul Kucher, whose attention to detail and dedication to searching out information is
astonishing, and a great resource for aviation enthusiasts. He deservies
full credit for this amazing site.

The large flight manual specific to the SR-71 is here: http://www.sr-71.org/blackbird/manual/ but it is worth browsing the other sections of the web site for more images and information on aircraft such as the other Lockheed Blackbirds (A-12, YF-12, etc.);, as well as the B-2,
F-117, F-22, XB-70, and YF-23.

There are enough cockpit pictures and diagrams to mock up the interior of the SR-71 pilot's cockpit, and having a simulator cockpit of this aircraft would be really be something. If one was to take it a step further, and program in some of the flight profile and behaviours of the aircraft at various speeds, it would be an great way to augment the visual and structural project. There are several good interviews with former SR-71 pilots available online, and they describe the aircraft's behaviour (and quirks) in great detail.

Thanks for all your time and effort with this Instructable.

author
Don Walker (author)Trike Lover2014-12-04

Hi Trike Lover,

thank you for interest about my cockpit. In fact i have planned to build SR-71 or F-117, complete also with canopy, if you take better look to my front panel on cockpit, you can see that is from Blackbird and side panels are from F-117. I am posting one render to proove that i really want to build SR-71, so maybe i will create one soon. Cockpit pictures are cool, but i need bigger resolution or paint it from scratch, 2k photos are not enough to have it realistic. Since i am alone on it now and have day job, i am slow with making new prototypes, it takes me 4 months to create textured A-10.
Thanks for writing me and stay tuned, maybe i will have something for you soon!

OtherCockpits.jpgOtherC2.png
author
Don Walker (author)2014-12-04

Thank you all for such a big support! I am amazed of this succes and i am trying to finish my PDF's for dogfightboss online store. Physical version print and cut is around 450$ and shipping one cockpit for example to New Zealand cost another 450$. I will have this possibility on my website, but also PDF's which is ready for printing company or as source of textures for your own construction because you never find so big resolution on internet. All files have 1.5 GB so it is huge ;).

I'll be glad for any advice!

author
Doc_Cottom (author)2014-12-04

I spent a couple years in the Air National Guard after returning from 4 years in the Regular Air Force. The ANG gave me the job of being a technician on their F-100 simulator. The simulator was an actual F-100 cockpit, 4 axis control, sound and lighting and vibration. Outside control for the instructor, and get this, very little solid state. Relays, vacuum tubes, wire-wound resistors for the control input, massive power supplies, and on the side a super-spring ejection seat trainer. Don't eat breakfast first.

One of the neat things was I already had (have) a Private Pilot Single Engine Land with Instrument rating, which made any hours in the F-100 simulator count as actual flight hours. I have more hours in a F-100 Fighter Jet than in Cessna 177s!

author
who1buffy (author)2014-12-04

Wow. Finally. The word "Awesome" really applies!

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Bio: https://www.linkedin.com/in/homola
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