Well, panels is my concern was the biggest question of all.
A good looking panel makes a good cockpit as I see it, and probably as you know, engineering students can't just go online, get the nicest looking panel money can buy and wait impatiently to the mail man while cleaning the simulator room.
So, in order to have a good panel that will hold up for a while, looks decent enough, and have a backlighting option (don't you just love the back lighting feature at your sim ?) I had two options :
- Print stickers of the over and put them on Transparent Acrylic.
- 3D print them
I do have to say that option #1 is a very very good option, easy and will do the job just fine - I just tend to pick the more tricky one. I will refer to this method a little later.
What's a 3D Printer ?
A 3D printer is Mechanical machine, using files that are being sliced as a 2D layers, and being built on top of each another, and forms in to a 3D model. There are MANY 3D printers, each one has a different engineering, but mostly they all have the same conclusion - It's a pain in the bum.
Whice printer do I use ?
I have the Tevo Tarantula with a large heat bed, and an automatic leveling method using the genuine BLTouch by ANTClabs.
Here's a couple of pictures to show off my men cave :
My lovely printer :
After we had a brief overview of this specific method we can now move on to the "How to" section.
How to and what to print ?
Google has so many options and benefits (aside of they know EVERYTHING WE DO in each given time), and that helped me to find a few different batch of files.
The first batch was MartinK one's, he has managed to have a few versions, posted at his website. you can reach his files here :
Martin has a great amount of files for the cockpit, the thing is that the backlight version has some minor flaws, and from what I remember it's not fully finished (hence the project on halt comment).
Most of his files are directed to Thingiverse and that leads us to the next source I have encountered.
Thingiverse is so great, seriously, you can type anything you like to print and chances are in your favor that someone already have designed it and probably other users made it as well. I made a 230 size quad copter frame with GREAT results :
Thingiverse has some great results finding a few essentials for the cockpit, like gear lever, gear lever mechanism, knobs and korry annunciators.
the few problems I have had with each one of these batch of files is that I couldn't edit them and that is essential for some reasons :
- I have bought gauges dummies from cockpitsimparts and the mounting holes are different.
- Backlighting is not an option - and that's a major goal.
- Some files include the whole overhead and not as a "standalone" panel parts.
As mentioned earlier, Google is the answer.
A quick search in google has led me to the russian avsim website (didn't even knew it was exist), and to this website.
Turns out I've found a complete FWD Overhead with some MIP files for Solidworks. problem was I didn't know how to use SW, but that's not something youtube "How To"s can't deal with.
I still design some of my own panels, but basically what I did is in order to have backlight, I cut extruded the words on each panel, panels come in two layers and the Base layer has a cut for the words so the lights will have the exact room to fit in, but thats for a little later.
In conclusion, this method provides a lot of work, BUT, it also let me choose what I want to do, so I hope we will have some good results in the near future.
Keep you guys updated.