At the start it was difficult to get a MIP built, however a friend of mine is a Technical Drawer for a Refrigeration company and very good at it too.
We had found some drawings on the internet of the MIP, overhead, radio panel etc.
So we made a paper cutout first to see if the 3 x 19” flat panel screens the good lady had bought for me would fit?
OK the drawing is the correct size and the 3 monitors fit the paper mask, now its time to make a MIP out of something solid.......
But first of all we need a MIP base to mount it on:
This is the basic MIP base with the three monitors positioned to match the paper mask above, notice only using two computers so far?
Already hooked up the 5.1 surround sound too just to make the whole experience more interesting.
This base is going to form the whole basis of the Cockpit shape as everything is going to be built on to it, by the way this base is from the same drawings (see the links page).
This is what my first effort at building a solid MIP out of Plywood looked like, deeply disappointing?
The problem with making a plywood MIP with only an electric jig saw and wood rasp’s was, to say the least not easy.
Also the depth of the wood, (which needed to be quite thick in order that the whole structure remained solid), was too deep, bearing in mind the monitors had to stand behind it too.
So another plan had to be hatched.......
John mentioned that a small company close to his workplace where experimenting with a new laser cutter that they had bought recently and had asked John if he could make a suitable shape up using Auto CAD, to try it out?
Well what a coincidence, so idea number 2 was born, lets see if they can cut a first trial one out of mild steel plate?
Not bad, I like it.
Lets try one out of Aluminum and paint it too?
Now we are going places..........
Added a few Bezel surrounds (made out of Balsa), two cheap clocks from Pound land, this is starting to look like a real one?
Now we need to start adding some other items to it, how about a ‘Gear Lever’ ?
As you can see I also added some display panels which I bought from Hispanels, you need to understand that this was early on in the Simulator Building life of manufacturers, there are many more panel makers available on the net now; this chap was based in Spain, I am sure he used to do these panels on the side after work, but they were very good quality though.
Hispanels also provided me with the Enunciators for the whole MIP, which included the Gear Lever lights too, so next we need to make up some small light boxes to fit at the back of the gear panel and wire them up to the switches on the gear lever brackets (already fitted with the purchase of the lever, that was from Aviation Megastore).
The light boxes were made form Balsa, and I drilled two small holes in the back of the boxes to allow the LED contacts to poke through, this picture shows my first trials with the boxes and the enunciators placed on top of the boxes.
Now with the lights dimmed and the enunciator lights illuminated it looks very convincing, now I have got to work out how to get them to “switch” at the right time and in the right order.
The reason I haven’t used an MCP interface board was because at the time, there were only a few analogue output’s available, bearing in mind there are six lights to control, it seamed a bit of a waste of an expensive interface board from CPFlight, when I could make it do what I wanted with a few digital timers.
A long time has passed since I first mounted the “one-
So I took everything apart (Oh No!), and started again, which was good, because it gave me the chance of including real gauges (Yaw, Flap & Brake Pressure).
Also I interfaced all the switches with the 737 MIP interface panel from CPFlight, what an excellent piece of hardware that is (works without a glitch), along with installing a full set of MCP/EFIS “Pro”, everything now works as it should do.
As advertised on the front page I am also using ProSim 737 along with P3D, what a match these two are! Both programmes complement each other, especially running it with ASN as my weather generator REAL! Or what!!!!
Anyway some photo’s of the finished MIP: