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Will Depart in...



What have you done for your simulator today?

Started by blueskydriver, January 14, 2018, 04:01:20 AM

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Hi Andrew,
I looked up the specs and it is not big enough.Its about the size of mine.
I did split the model(rudder pedals) and was a bit worried that the force might brake them.
So i have printed a 3d u shaped bracket to glue over the join. Hope this will be strong enough. Thanks for replying.


The CR-10S is bigger, but it's over twice the price!

I think if you print with a decent amount of infill, and you orient your model so that the lines of force go across the filament and not in line with the layers of the model it will be quite strong.

You could also try annealing your prints to strengthen them:

My test prints on the Ender 3 V2 are great. Very happy with my purchase.

bernard S

removing both main windows due to delam and space is tight.. plus need replace beam splitter


Spray painted one of the frames for my FMC. Looks awesome.


February 15, 2021, 09:16:56 AM #1029 Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 10:19:33 AM by RayS
I've been quiet, but busy....

1. Work continues on adding a newer Universal FMC. Not for navigation but for basic sim functions.

2. Slowly removing 20+ teensy controllers and replacing them with 2 FDS SYSX1 controllers. This allows me to switch back and forth between X-Plane and P3D/2020

3. Added the proper fuel control panel for the B1900.

4. Added a Garmin G5 Standby gauge from SimInnovations

5. Removed an old audio control panel and now using switches in the Center MIP radio panel

6. Working on new pilot-side yoke that has the elusive Pitch Trim switch stack.

7. Designed and now testing a 4-place intercom interface that has audio compression so ATC doesn't blow my ears out.

8. Restored an old Beechcraft chronometer. (Came with the yoke)

Regarding the Garmin G5... I have it running on a rPI3+ (About to convert it to use a rPI4) And I have to say that when paired with a perfectly square LCD panel that has a near 179-degree viewing angle, the end result is stunning.

After 3D printing a bezel for it, I find myself flying more by the G5 than the Avidyne PFD.
Ray Sotkiewicz


The Universal FMC I picked up for a song off eBay...
Ray Sotkiewicz


Where did you get that square screen ?
Looks amazing.



February 16, 2021, 08:24:43 AM #1032 Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 09:20:33 AM by RayS
I dabble in photography and unfortunately I also like collecting gadgets. Every once in awhile I go through my gear inventory to see if there's something I'm not using that perhaps I can trade or sell.

I had this iKan 5" LCD monitor laying around for years that I used once or twice.. if that.

It has a new home now. :-)


The "weirdly square" screen came from here;
Ray Sotkiewicz


Thank you.
You are not alone keeping stock on shelves  :D



Today I acquired a junk PC and monitor with sufficient grunt to run the X-Plane demo. It is by no means a gaming rig, but it does run. I intend to use it to finish off the devices I have made, which have stalled for various reasons (pun intended).

The first one will probably be the FMC, since I recently finished the hardware for that, and it is self-contained and standalone. The FMC comprises a PCB with 69 tact switches, a 3D printed fascia and buttons, a 5" VGA monitor, and an Arduino Pro Micro running QMK to scan the keyboard matrix. I intend for this to be plugged in to a Raspberry Pi which will handle the screen and keyboard like any screen and keyboard, and will communicate over the network to X-Plane. Any Pi will do, and a "complete" flight deck will require two of them.

The current cost of the unit is approximately $100, as follows:
$ 10 PCB and components
$  5 Arduino Pro Micro
$ 40 VGA screen and driver
$  5 3D printed parts
$  5 Raspberry Pi Zero (if you can get one)
$  5 Ethernet and USB hub
$ 10 12V PSU

Plus various cables, fasteners, adapters, etc.

Using a Pi 3 or similar will only affect the cost by $25.


I printed the same model in two different coloured filaments. Both are eSun PLA+, one grey (fascia), one silver (keys). They look great, and I'm going to try colouring the legends with white air-dry modelling clay. I saw the technique applied to resin-printed key caps and it looked fabulous. I don't have a resin printer, but I am quite impressed with the Ender 3 V2. We'll see how it looks.

I don't really want a resin printer, but I can see plenty of applications for one...

Joe Lavery

Resin printers are great for things like those key caps. Not only because they are much higher resolution but unlike FDM printers, whether you print one or 30 it takes the same time. As long as it fits on the plate  you can print as many as you like.
Well worth the investment Ame
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain

Journalist - writer for  PC Pilot Magazine


An "investment"...

Hmm. I'll pitch that to the financial department.

Joe Lavery

Yes I have one of those, she's called the entertainment manager and holder of the purse... ;)
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain

Journalist - writer for  PC Pilot Magazine


Drying overnight. Not great, but not terrible. I'll clean them up a bit more and finish the others, but I'm satisfied for now. I should probably spray them with clear satin acrylic to seal the clay.

The alpha keys are 3/8" square, with a curved top. The number keys are 3/8" diameter, with a flat top.


A bit of sanding and cleaning. Looks okay, but I'm really at the limit of the printer's capabilities.

The flat-topped keys look good, but sanding the top just exposes the edges where filament extrusions touch, so the surface is smooth, but there are wavy lines within it.

The rounded keys capture clay and dust in the stairsteps formed by printing the curved top.

I might also reprint them with deeper insets for the legends, then I can get more clay in there. The top and bottom of the legends are not very deep at all, due to the shape of the tops.


Looks like a real one!

Now on to software.


February 23, 2021, 06:36:17 PM #1043 Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 06:39:56 PM by ame
Here's a real one, for comparison.


Ok. Well, it's a bit slow, and it's appallingly badly written, and I haven't done keypresses yet, but! As a proof of concept, it works!

Attached is a photo of X-Plane FMC on screen, and a photo of the Raspberry Pi driven pyfmc.


Keypresses are working. Hooray for me.

Still a bit slow however. And the unicode characters aren't showing properly (surprise!). They are supported by the font, but I think I'm not extracting the character code from the dataref properly.

Anyway, job's done.


Turns out that I need to subscribe to 96 datarefs for each line on the FMC (which is documented). That's 24 character cells with up to 4 bytes each. Astonishingly inefficient!

Never mind. I'll just do it and see how slow it is.


WOW...that is amazing work Andrew. How does it interface with X-plane, and can you do the same for Fs9 or X?


Quote from: Mach7 on February 26, 2021, 04:14:45 AMWOW...that is amazing work Andrew. How does it interface with X-plane, and can you do the same for Fs9 or X?

The X-Plane interface is pretty straightforward. There are a bunch of datarefs that contain the contents of the FMC screen. Then there is a list of commands that represent the actions of pushing a button on the FMC keyboard.

The unit itself is a standalone Raspberry Pi with a screen and keyboard, running Python and pygame. My program does three things (which you will see when I tidy up and post the code).

First, I send a request to subscribe to the datarefs for the display. It turns out there are 1920 requests, so it takes a few seconds (these are 16 rows of 24 characters, where each character can have up to 4 bytes (Unicode characters) plus one byte of formatting information (colour, size, etc.) so 16x24x(4+1)=1920).

Once that is done, X-Plane will continuously send the requested data at the requested frequency. So, the second thing I do is run an infinite loop which accepts the new data from X-Plane and draws the new screen content (using pygame because it's easy).

The third thing is to check for any keypresses during the main loop and look up what command to send to X-Plane for that key. Sending a key command causes X-Plane to do something, which changes the display, which is sent out via datarefs, which updates the Pi's display.

So, the Pi (the FMC) is completely decoupled from the simulator. If other simulators can provide the FMC screen content somehow, and accept keypress actions then my code could probably be adapted. As you can see, it's not that complicated.

Another thing to note is that my code will run on anything that runs pygame. So, anything with a screen and keyboard can be an FMC. It just so happens that I have made a keyboard that looks like an FMC keyboard, and a screen that fits inside it, but that's just the icing on the cake.

However, it's not all plain sailing. It does work, but it's a bit slow. Everything is done with UDP packets, which are essentially "fire and forget". If a packet is sent and the other end doesn't catch it then it is lost. So, if the request for a character cell is lost, I won't get the content. Ever. If the request is successful but occasional content is lost that's not too bad as I will get it next time. If keypress commands are lost then the operator will press the button again.

I've got some ideas to try, but I'm pretty happy that it basically Just Works.


Finally got the yoke installed I won off eBay. Love the pitch trim switch stack.

This particular Beech yoke has rubber grips in the back of the handles.

Aside from peeling away the 30-year-old rubber cement that faithfully held them in place all these years, there was also 30 years of pilot hand goop to contend with.

Ray Sotkiewicz

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