Custom Switch Panel for a Flight Simulator

This is my first instructable.  If I had thought I would have took pictures of the entire project while making it.

This instructable is just one example of how you can make a custom switch panel to add some realism to your flight sim.  Is this the best?  No, far from it, but hopefully it will show you how easy it is and you can go from there.  This panel is very simply based off the DC-3, which is the airplane I fly most of the time.

Some things you will need:
Xinterface from
hin plywood, sheet metal, plastic, cardboard (reinforced with fiberglass), or what have you for panel
Switches and pushbuttons
N4004 Diodes
Soldering Iron

First, draw out on paper how you want your panel to function, with the layout of the switches and buttons.  Draw your design on the plywood.  Simply use a drill for the pushbutton holes.  The square switches you will need to first drill at a corner, then use a jigsaw (or dremel?) to cut the square holes.  Paint the panel however you wish, then insert all your switches and buttons.  Solder up the switches per the Xinterface instructions (example, an On/Off switch with two posts will have a "column" wire on one terminal, and a "row" wire on the other.  On/Off switches require a diode, but that's pretty simple and covered by the Xinterface).

Once you are wired up, you can mount your panel to your desk using some small screws, or you can attach it to a stand of some sort.  Just plug in the USB connector, fire up your favorite flight simulator, and assign the joystick buttons (switches and pushbuttons) to the desired functions.  That's it!  Pretty simple, super cheap, and now you have a new dimension of fun!

You can also do this sort of thing for race car sims, train sims, and even make your own custom joysticks (for FPS's, World of Warcraft, whatever).  Use your imagination!  Thanks for looking!



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    8 Discussions


    3 years ago

    were have circuit chematic and arduino code and how make step by step ?

    This instructable has been updated! You can find the new one here:


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Wow! This is incredible! Exactly what I've been looking for! How did you get the rotary switch to work? Do you treat it like a momentary or toggle switch? I'd love to learn as much about this system as I can. (I intend to construct switch panels for my flight/space/helo sim, and probably one for my little brother as well [he loves old planes and ships]).

    3 replies

    Hi, I haven't messed with rotary encoders yet but they should be pretty simple to connect. It's super simple to make panels though. The Xinterface turns a regular switch, either toggle or momentary, into joystick button presses which you assign to the function you want in your sim/game. If you need any further help, I'm glad to answer any questions you might have. God bless!


    Oh, I see. What kind (if any) of documentation does the controller ship with? Also, I was wondering if it would be possible to illuminated switches with this. I ask because I've got a couple of switches like that but are rated at 12v instead of USB's ~5v.


    The controller ships with pretty detailed info, and there is also some wiring pictures and a forum on their website. Not sure about the lighted switches though, unless you got the switches that have a separate (isolated) terminals just for the lights.

    Well, I still can't figure out why my image tags aren't updating (google chrome thing?), but anyways, I am going to add some potentiometers for rudder, aileron, and elevator trim, and some switches for lights.