Prototype Build Volume 2 Part 3 – Making Chips

Watching our CNC router cutting out the Spitfire Mk.IX labels is a mesmerising experience. First the lettering appears as if by magic, gently carved out of the Romark Matte 2-Ply Black/White plastic laminate. Then suddenly little white chips are flying everywhere as the label contours are cut out. The end result looks fantastic and the labels add hugely to the realism and accuracy of the build. The G-Code file and laser engraved pdf format will be made available as part of the plan set, allowing you to cut these yourself or provide it to a local service provider for processing.

Label sheet

Having the labels allowed us to progress further with some of the items such as the Reflector Gunsight and various switches.

We also installed the Hall proximity sensors and magnets in the covered switches. These clip into place really neatly. They will signal the simulator when the cover is opened or closed.

Hall magnetic
sensor in switch base

We are still waiting for quotes on the machine drawings but did manage to place orders on the fasteners and various fittings such as bearings, electronics sensors, plexiglass waterjet cutouts and the plywood cover panels. We should be receiving them this week.

Various bits and pieces are starting to arrive at the HFS workshop, most notably the Aluminium 4.5mm and 3mm Plate.

Bag of 4.5mm aluminium parts

The laser engraving of the component numbers on each piece have come out nicely and will be hugely helpful in identifying their position in the build.

Component number laser engraved

We are still waiting for the bulk of the sheetmetal components, mainly made up of 0.9mm and 2mm aluminium sheet. We were however able to start some of the assembly with what arrived, like parts of the Chassis Control, Wobble Pump and Spade Grip Clevis joint.

With most of the drawings complete and with many of the components arriving we will be able to focus on the build process. Hectic!


6 thoughts on “Prototype Build Volume 2 Part 3 – Making Chips”

  1. Roel,
    I continue to be amazed by your dedication to detail in this project. I have seen other Spitfire cockpit simulator projects and they all pale into insignificance compared to yours. You deserve to be richly rewarded for your exertions.
    I was wondering if you had any long term plans to mount it on a six degrees of freedom motion platform with a wrap around high resolution display. That would be “almost” as good as flying a real Spitfire (almost but not quite). During my flying days in the RAAF, I managed to get a back seat ride in the RAAF Museum Mustang – a highlight of my life. Keep up the good work.
    All the best

    1. You are very kind, thank you David.

      Wonderful getting a ride in the Mustang! The closest I have come to piloting a high performance aircraft was with my RV. Nowadays I am content with low and slow in my Stampe 🙂

      From the outset the intent has been to allow the mounting of the cockpit on a 6DOF motion platform. I am in contact with a person in China who has built such platforms and a unit suitable for the weight of the Spitfire will cost around US$15,000 excluding shipping.

      I have however been doing a lot of research on the subject. This has led me in the direction of preferring a G-Force Seat solution. This has numerous advantages over a full motion simulation, not least of which is cost. One is also able to simulate sustained G-forces, which is impossible in a 6 DOF motion simulator. One also avoids the propensity to motion sickness, something which easily occurs when the motion is not accurately portrayed and in synch with the visuals. As such I have designed a G-Force seat solution for the Spitfire, one that will fit neatly in the current seat frame and works with 5 low cost (read around $30 each) electric actuators. I will do a separate post on this in due course. It is a most interesting subject.

      As for the wrap around high resolution display, VR does away with this need entirely and provides a much more realistic and cost effective solution. If you have not yet experienced flying DCS World or X-Plane 11 in VR, you really owe it to yourself to do so. The technology is in its infancy and I am expecting ultra realistic visuals to become available in the foreseeable future. As it stands now, the experience is already amazing. It is what drives me on this project. To have the real world cockpit underlying the VR world with believable and accurate motion and vibration will offer an unparalleled experience. Hence I cannot wait to complete the prototype 🙂

      Thanks for your interest and keep in touch!

      1. Roel,
        Yes, I have flown aircraft in DCS World with a Vive VR headset. I agree that the resolution needs to improve, but thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The only reason that I suggested a wrap around display is that it seems a pity to build a beautiful cockpit and then not enjoy it by putting on a headset. Also, it may be a little difficult to use all of the “real world” controls and switches while wearing a headset. I found that a problem with the Vive.
        I can see your logic with the 6DOF platform and agree that a G force simulator is a rational solution. From personal experience, vision is by far the most powerful sense when flying; and when coupled with G simulation should provide a realistic representation of flight. Notwithstanding these comments, the sim is fabulous.

    1. Hi Bob,
      Indeed I have. Lovely, but not very repeatable given the many original parts, surplus components and complex build. My intention is to make a cockpit that is physically nearly indistinguishable from theirs but in affordable, fast build format. Our simulator will also make full use of the latest technology in Virtual Reality rather than a dome screen. This means you are literally in the simulator created world. Our unique Augmented Virtuality model integrates the physical cockpit within the virtual world. It should provide an incredible experience.
      Best regards,

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