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Building a Generic Cockpit Panel

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After much research and reading I'm coming closer to a vision of what I want to build...

Need advice and/or hints and how to avoid pitfalls...


I like the idea of flexible panel so I can fly different planes....

I think I've decided on getting the following for input devices: has these.....

Saitek Pro Flight Yoke and Three-Lever Throttle $126

Saitek Pro Flight Rudder Pedals $87

Saitek Pro Flight Multi Panel $117

Saitek Pro Flight Radio Panel $119

Saitek Pro Flight Switch Panel $87


Total for Saitek Input Devices $535


For my panel I would like a set of generic gauges displayed on a LCD Screen. The screen(s) would be mounted behind a MDF cockpit cutout and the gauges could have a CNC Machined metal front plate...

The big decision here is what Software to use and what size LCD Screen would work best..

I have looked at three choices for Gauge Software:


Project Magenta GA-IFR: It cost ~$150

Peix Software: It cost ~ ~60

Panel Mania: Shareware

Total of 300 new or modified gauges! I've tried it out and it seems pretty good!

Does anyone have suggestions on this?


How about material and finish for CNC Panel(s) for Gauges? I was thinking aluminum with powdercoat finish?

Should I go to the trouble of trying to build in the rotary knobs into the panel or can I buy I prebuilt box with rotary knobs instead?


I would also like a seperate LCD for a Gamin 530 GPS (this could be a separte project for later but need to plan for it on my panel)

I was thinking about a touch screen? Not sure if that is possible? Or possibly build the knobs and buttons my self and connect to Leo Bodnar BU0836 board...

I think I will tackle this as a seperate project!


I have a Panosonic Projector and a Theatre Room setup I would like to use as my front projection...

What views do people usually use on this? Virtural Cockpit View?


I then need some sort of portable table that I can put my panel and control Yoke and pedals.. That way I can move it out of the way when I'm watching movies etc.....


LOTS OF QUESTIONS!!! Any comments and/or help much appreciated!!!!

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Hi dbeam.


first off, welcome to AVSIM!


Your thinking is very similar to mine in what you are doing. I too am in the concept stage of building a mutli aircraft cockpit. I have done done enough proof of concept for a few things that I can share. My primary limit is, my carpentry skills.


1. Project Majenta IFR PAnel is perfect for what you are doing. I have the PM IFR Panel. But I have moved on to Flight Illusion hardware gauges. They are tad pricey. But PM IFR is the next best thing. That PEIX software you linked to seem to serve the same purpose. I did not know about that earlier.


2. A cut out panel for the gauges is also an awesome idea.


3. The question of having rotary knob on your gauge panel faceplate, is good a one, if you are good with building custom PCBs etc..


4. I have a touch screen monitor too but I am trying to move away from that. I want something better. Actual switches and knobs. But touch screen is good step.


Here is my setup as of now. You can't see the 19" touch screen I have to the right. I also have a Flight Link TR-1 Avionics panel that you cannot see here. Not decided if I should use the TR-1 or the Go flight gauges yet for the panel




I also have another 15" touchscreen monitor that I am planning for a G1000 MFD. So I have to make s decision if I put the 15"tocuh screen to the right side of the cocpit panel or use the TR-1 Avionics. There is not much space I have to choose and make decisions.





BTW..what CAD program are you using to design your cockpit that payware or freeware? I have been searching for something like that for a while.


I bought some Hard boards to make cutouts for the panel. I was also thinking of MDFs for the side and top. I have a carpenter buddy who can help build it provided I give his very specific design of what I want done.


I want to use the table that you see in the photo. But the panel should not go any higher than 12" inches from the desk top. thats my goal.

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I think I've come up with a little better layout...

Some of my progress so far over the weekend...


Thanks for the reply!

Wow you have some really good hardware there! I'm trying to stay with rather low budget approach for now so some of the really nice flight illusion gauges are out of my price point... :(

I love that GPS unit... that would be really awesome... I guess I will start low and work my way up..


The CAD program I'm using is Autocad (I have it a my work... its what I do for a living so its second nature to me)

The renderings are done in a program called Lightwave... also part of my profession... I'm really not aware of what's available freeware etc...


I have ordered the Touchscreen and I'm about to order Saitek hardware... I hope to get my Faceplate for instrument panel done in next few weeks and kinda do a test fit...

Im having real trouble with aligning the gauges on the second monitor... Each time I open FSX I have to expand the window to fit my screen... position doesn't really stay

the same... I guess its just something you have to adjust each time you open FSX?


Given the amount of gauges and equipment I found it impossible to keep the Panel from getting to be pretty "tall"... I'd love to see your layout using that table and keeping it less than 12"....

I also am looking for a table that I can use to put this panel on... it needs to be somewhat portable and would be really cool if it was adjustable height.. no luck so far with a reasonable price....





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