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Enclosed cockpit build

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I have been getting more and more into racing lately....and I have already built several simpits for flight sims (links below). Lately I have been slowly converting my enclosed Mech pit into a racing pit, this evening after a three hour session with some buddies in Dirt 2 (I know, not a "true" sim but a lot of fun with friends) I was starting to feel that my current controllers are not good enough and before making major changes to the inside of the cockpit I should decide on what controllers that I would end up with, not just progress to...so after many youtube reviews, articles and flipping a coin I decided on this: Fanatec Porsche 911 GT3 RS V2 Fanatec CSR Elite Pedals Fanatec CSR Shifter Set I purchased the bundle so I hope that I am getting a pretty good deal.......that said.... Is There A Support Group For Those Who Are In Purchase Shock?! :D (ok, kidding, it was not really that expensive considering the cost of my Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS but still....) Anyway, on to the cockpit conversion: Here is the Mechpit build, and after I have some ideas on how to do the conversion I will add them as well. I plan on a leather car seat with the electric adjustments connected and working. Upholstry on the dash, "doors" and consoles. Audio controls (bass shaker that I have already installed, volume, etc) will be in a fake radio console, outside air provided via vents controlled by automotive style control board, etc. CAD image that I created to work from:

CADimage.jpg

 

 

 

 

Ribs being assembled

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The basic structure:

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The seat without upholstery (faux leather and memory foam soon to come).

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Inside, sorry for the reflection off the monitor, I should have used a better angle. Note the temporary interior lighting, lol.

 

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The MAME style trackball (Ebay 25.00) with buttons. It glows green...cool! [Edit: This will be replaced with a Windows 8 touch pad]

 

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The Power Core ™ lol. I purchased a Suncom UV blue acrylic case. As you can see I am not great at cable management.

 

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The Power Core ™ is mounted on a swing-out door (hinged on the bottom with piano hinge) which swings down into the pit and back to horizontal for maintenance (chain catch).

 

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There are lots of other pictures of the build but they are not pertinent to Simracing. The original build thread if you would like to see those pictures as well:

 

http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3734394/1

 

And the other pits that I have built:

 

http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2849902/Generic_Warbird_Simpit_Build

 

http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3258904/1

 

Not bad for a first post huh? :P

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Thanks Racelion, I appreciate it.

 

Tonight I added a keyboard tray that tilts down from the headliner (when finished it too will be covered in fabric and will be flush with the rest of the headliner when stowed) to sit in front of the wheel.

 

One of the biggest problems that I have seen with simpits is storage of the keyboard. Hopefully this will work out well and be convenient. I have pictures; I will get them posted tomorrow. The tray is painted black just for short term looks; eventually it will be covered with fabric like the rest of the interior.



 

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whoa, that looks like a shuttle from star trek, very cool. just one thing concerns me and that's the chain. its only as strong as its weakest link and id not trust it, a couple of remote hydrolic push rods are needed, ones that also make a swishy noise when in operation... ;) 

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I really don't get why you named your topic like you did, your Fanatec gear seems to be a good (and priceworthy) package =). But anyways that's a great looking built. You seem to be a top notch craftsman with access to great machinery. I'll definitely check out your links and read your whole story and I'm also already dreaming of a V2 of your rig with tripple screen setup...

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Ptux73, the chain is a small gauge farm chain; you can pull cattle around with that thing. I really do like your idea though, lol. Need to think about it. I have a couple of mini gas lift rods around the shop somewhere..... :) I had not thought about the resemblance to a Star Trek shuttle, cool idea.

 

Jrv01, Thanks!

 

DerKaffeemann, wie gehts? The title was tongue in cheek, I had just pushed the button on the Fanatec items (yes, well worth it) at 3AM and without discussing it with my wife first (some of you will understand that). I had been using the pit for racing sims for a few weeks and wanted to do a full conversion but that evening (morning?) I decided that if I were to do this I wanted to go with as high quality as I could. I almost pushed the button to buy the Forza Motorsport CSR but changed my mind in favor of a wheel that would look at home in a production car; as I plan on making the interior look like a street car.

 

As for triple screen...I had thought of that, actually I had thought of adding five screens in total. Three for the view and two 8" screens for auxiliary screens (Teamspeak, etc). I use TrackIR and have a very good profile for it (to avoid the head bobbling, etc that you get with racing sims) and find that I do not need the other two screens. The other issue with three screens is that it would require major changes to the structure of the pit, and that would ruin the symmetry.

 

I own a small custom cabinetry shop that doubles as my hobby shop :) The CNC router table (5'x9') is a wonderful tool for simpit building.

 

Other plans for the future of the pit:

 

I am going to make my own panels to include switches, etc. I have seen the very nice modules by Derekspearedesigns.com, but I can make and configure them to have engraved labels and backlighting. Here is a sample of what I make for flight sim pits. In this case it is an Integrated Control Panel (ICP) module for the F-16 Falcon fighter jet.

 

IMG_0269_zpsd1b5cce6.jpg

 

IMG_0220_zpsc2e27fdc.jpg



 

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Pictures of the drop down keyboard tray. I thought I would also add a couple of small map slots to either side so I can check the track maps at the same time (printed).

 

IMG_0279_zpsf57004e5.jpg

 

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Impressive, I remember playing a mech warrior briefly long ago and really enjoyed the imagination of controlling a walking/flying tank but the simulated environment of straffing/walking sideways/backwards and whatnot had me dizzy beyond belief and gave it up rather quickly. :sad:   I agree, had you implanted 3 monitors into this 'cube', I would think, made a very immersive mech rig.  Just out of curiosity, do have a video of this in action floating around during it's prime?  I would be very interested.

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Gunstar, Jisonga: Thanks!

 

Simul8r, the game you are thinking of was called Heavy Gear (I think). It was not one of my favorites either. The Mechwarrior series was much better (my opinion) because it was based off of the Battletech table top game.

 

As far as immersion I would say that with TrackIR it is just as immersive, but again that is just my opinion. I have three giant screens on my gaming desktop pc and have raced on it as well but the complete enclosure really beefs up the immersion for me.

 

Sorry, never took a video during gameplay. I did have a film maker (grad student) ask if they could come out and use it for cockpit filming for a Mechwarrior fan film they were making but I think they lost their grant or some such.

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I covered the headliner boards tonight, not real sure I am happy with them.

 

The overall color scheme of the interior is that of the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S Agate Grey.

 

The fabric that I found is a close approximation to the headliner fabric used in the full scale.

 

I may redo the headliner keyboard tray again to make the tray resemble a sun visor :)

 

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wow. that's impressive. i am thinking of enclosed rig as well for more immersive experience. but is it hot inside? do you use any ventilator inside it?

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Hi Benleow, I live in a colder northern climate so most of the time it is comfortable inside. When it does get hot, for a few months of the year, I have two fan units mounted at the rear of the cockpit either pulling or pushing air through the chamber.

 

Having said that, I was thinking about this last night; I had a thought of adding a portable air conditioning unit to the rig. You can buy rather small self contained AC units and I was thinking of wiring a 12v actuator switch (to control the 110v controls) and having it connected to the dash controls like  a full scale car.

 

 

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That's beautiful. Great design, I love it. I may have overlooked it but how do you enter and exit the rig? Does the seat slide back and forth? I had a similar idea for a rig and I love seeing you have done it. I would love to see the seat on some sort of actuators that could slide the entire back wall of the rig and seat out, then you could sit down, push a button, and it slides you forward into the rig while closing off the back. Thank you for sharing your rig, it's very inspiring. 

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Hi Boyerm, The seat does indeed slide out the back. The door tilts down and becomes the base for the seat to roll on top of. I too thought of having an entire section slide to the back with the seat on it but I wanted a full base to make the structure more stable. At one time I was thinking of making this a motion pit, hence the stout framework and fully interlocked outer shell. I had thoughts of a center pivot and simple boat crank actuators. This thing is really heavy though so I am going away from that idea now, although if I come across some powerful 220v geared industrial motors I might still do that, lol.

 

Having said all that, I was thinking last night (yes, I didn't sleep much) that I might make a gull wing or standard door on the left side. I can cut this out, make a steel framework for the doorway (to protect the structural integrity) and mount reverse pivot hinges.

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That's fantastic. Yea, when I thought about the seat sliding out of the back too, the problem always seemed to be the counterweight issue, or having something strong enough to support the seat with someone sitting in it, and being able to slide in and out. I had also thought about it sliding out left/right, but once again the counter weight became an issue. Ha, I hear you on the weight. Where do you keep your rig when in use? I imagine once you get it where you want it, it's not moving, haha. I imagine fitting through doorways would become an issue too. I assembled mine in my basement and there's no getting it out now unless I take it apart entirely. 

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MotionDave, that is exactly what I had been thinking about. I have been following the projects on x-simulator.de. Specifically the work of Earobbie.

 

Boyerm, I have a design idea that would work to slide the assembly in and out. When I built my CNC router table I used aluminum angle stock with v-groove bearings and a chain drive. But if I mounted the seat on v-groove bearings and steel angle stock I could use a screw drive (more standard for CNC and automation equipment) mounted along the side of the chair (hidden). The screw drive could be connected via a pull pin in case of power failure (or any other type of failure) allowing quick manual egress. Not as difficult as it sounds, we could chat about it sometime if you like.

 

By the way, great rig build. I didn't notice it on your first post but I had seen yours before (who hasn't?). Very inspiring.

 

My DIY CNC router table:

http://www.cnczone.com/forums/diy_cnc_router_table_machines/107010-another_computer-numeric-control_router_success_story.html

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Yea I am very interested in more knowledge about working with small motors and whatnot for motion, I know nothing at all about how all that stuff works, I've read and researched and have a basic understanding of it but I've never actually done/built anything with moving parts. When I start working on my next build I would definitely like to get some input from you if I try add some motion for a door, etc. I have a friend that got a hold of an actuator for me from his work, and we are going to mess around with it and think of some things to use it for. 

 

I'm extremely jealous of your shop area and all the equipment you have. I would love to get a small CNC table sometime in the future. That table you built is amazing. I would love to have/build one someday.

 

Thank you for your comment on my build, I feel like it's nothing compared to your work and other people's on here. I just made a box and hid wiring, haha. I do not have half the talent or knowledge of most people on here. I need to step my game up and actually try to do some of the ideas I have. I'm planning on trying to attempt a full fiberglass enclosure next, with triples, and motion. I love seeing when people use dashboards from real car's in their rigs but they never seem to look right because with triples its always off centered. I want to do a custom dash and everything, with the wheel right in the middle. I've also never worked with fiberglass before so who knows what will happen. 

 

BTW, I'm not sure your links from your first post are working. I tried to view the other pits that you built but it comes up with an error. I plan on checking out the rest of your work tonight. 

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