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I've been into flight simulators for a number of years. I decided to build a full fight simulator of an A-10c WartHog.
A Sim Pit , is an effort to spend as much money as you can to play a $30 flight simulator. That's only half of a joke, but the real purpose is recreate as actually as possible the interior of the cockpit.
In this instructable, I will be working on creating an overlay that can be placed on top of a 23' monitor. I've been working on my own for a few years. I have recently joined up at a local hacker space. This has opened up a vast amount of tools, from CNC's, Laser cutter, Drill presses etc.
I started out prototyping in cardboard and once the layout was right I cut it out of Acrylic Sheets. I was vary impressed with the cardboard prototyping. So I thought I would post it here as a cheep alternative to the more expensive Acrylic route.
I was able to get the standard cardboard science fair display board. turned out it was the perfect size for all the parts and also fit perfectly on the laser cutter. The boards run about $4 buck. the Acrylic is about $70
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Step 1: Display Board
Step 3: Down Load the DFX or SVG File That Contains the Pattern.
This file is the basic pattern. I've set this up to fit a 23' monitor. If you want to fit this to another size monitor you can use Inkscape. Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Once you have the file the size you want, you can do it the hard way. Take the file to Staples and have them print it out on there large printer. be sure you have it printed to the actual size. they will try and ask you what size and just tell them you don't want any adjustments and you should be good. Once you have the printout pick up a can of spray adhesives, spray a light coat on the board and attach the printout. Now take out your best razer or exacto knife. Get to work cutting out the pattern. A large straight ruler will come in handy and if you have a few water glasses that fit the circles or if you have other objects that will help you cut out the circles bits.
Step 4: The Better Option
The better option is look around and find your local Hacker Space and give them a call. If it turns out there is not one near you can send the file out to a shop that has a laser cutter. I've recently join a local Hacket space and now I have access to a laser cutter and CNC, I went that route. Now gone are the days of rounded squares and straight edge circles for me.
Step 5: Cut and Paint
Once you have your pieces, paint them up in some good old Navy gray. The center panel should be stacked and glued.
Step 6: And Again, Cut and Paint
These ones should be done in flat black.
Step 7: Now Slap on More Glue
That's about it slap on some more glue.
Step 8: Stop and Take a Look.
It should be starting to look pretty good.
Step 9: If You Can Afford It
For around $60 buck you can pick up a set of ThrustMaster cougar MFD's if your playing DCS A10c then these are a must. Plug and Play, no setup needed.
28 buttons per MFD and like I said you just plug them in and they go.
You can also reset any of the buttons as well.
Step 10: All Most Done
Pick up some Velcro and glue it around the cut out's for the MFD's and then add some to the MFD's them self.
You will need to cut a small notch for the USB cable. Run the cables thorough and attach them MFD's.
Step 11: And Add More Velcro
Out line you monitor with some Velcro, and then add some to the back of the panel. This will allow you to attach the panel on the front of your monitor. The light weight of the cardboard wont cause any problems, But on my acrylic panel it was a bit heavy so I drilled some guide holes and used screws to hole it in place.
Step 12: Thats About It,
This is my first indestructible and is a bit rough. I plan to add a bit more to this one such as the top glare panel, but am still working on it. One of the best sites I found that I molded this off of was http://hogpits.net/ They have a lot of good stuff and panels all up under the "GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE" This a picture of what a real one looks like.