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Thread: Full Cockpit Ground Station construction blog

  1. #21
    Size matters c5galaxy engineer's Avatar
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    Yes.....That is exactly what I mean by having 2 or 3 cams. They would be static and pointing at different quadrants.....The monitors would be placed like windows around the pilot.
    Brett Hays
    JosephOregon.com
    flitetest.com/articles/fpv-full-scale-cockpit-ground-station-w-42-tv

  2. #22
    Grasshopper Reliku's Avatar
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    Hmm, I get exactly what you mean with the screen and not having to stare at a TV. As for the projector and round screen, I may have an idea.

    Do you know those big turnigy servo's at hobbyking? My dad uses them for his 1:2 piper J3 and I've experimented with them a little. They're fairly reliable, and can pull 30kg or so, while being incredibly cheap ($30 or something, I don't remember). A P/T system would indeed be quite robust, but that's not something impossible. Keep in mind this thing doesn't have to fly, it's OK if it gets heavy. And with robust servo's that won't really be an issue. You could just make a metal frame around such a projector and connect that to the servo's. You'd only have to make sure everything is mounted well, it'll be hanging above your head after all

    You could then of course connect it to the same P/T from the HT that's already moving the camera. I think I can draw this out, but I can't do that right now.

    As for the screen, I think it's do-able. I've flown 1:1 gliders for two years, and back then a few guys created a glider simulator with a simular setup. One thing I've learned there is that a screen doesn't have to be perfectly round. Just a bunch of white-painted wooden pannels arranged in a dome-like pattern around you will give the same effect, as long as it's not rectangular it'll work. It'd require a fair bit of effort and materials to construct such a thing, though..

    But it'd definitely be cool if it can be done!

  3. #23
    Size matters c5galaxy engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reliku View Post
    Hmm, I get exactly what you mean with the screen and not having to stare at a TV. As for the projector and round screen, I may have an idea.

    Do you know those big turnigy servo's at hobbyking? My dad uses them for his 1:2 piper J3 and I've experimented with them a little. They're fairly reliable, and can pull 30kg or so, while being incredibly cheap ($30 or something, I don't remember). A P/T system would indeed be quite robust, but that's not something impossible. Keep in mind this thing doesn't have to fly, it's OK if it gets heavy. And with robust servo's that won't really be an issue. You could just make a metal frame around such a projector and connect that to the servo's. You'd only have to make sure everything is mounted well, it'll be hanging above your head after all

    You could then of course connect it to the same P/T from the HT that's already moving the camera. I think I can draw this out, but I can't do that right now.

    As for the screen, I think it's do-able. I've flown 1:1 gliders for two years, and back then a few guys created a glider simulator with a simular setup. One thing I've learned there is that a screen doesn't have to be perfectly round. Just a bunch of white-painted wooden pannels arranged in a dome-like pattern around you will give the same effect, as long as it's not rectangular it'll work. It'd require a fair bit of effort and materials to construct such a thing, though..

    But it'd definitely be cool if it can be done!
    You should probably just move in with me.......you are thinking EXACTLY like I am. I'll get your room ready. Everything you just mentioned has gone through my head.

    I figure to build the screen I could just frame it out of plywood and cover it with paperboard (thin particle type board). It bends easy and is cheap. It is what the hood is skinned with. So I know it is paintable.....Ive got some ideas how to do it but the size of this thing might get a bit unmanageable when I build it......lol.
    Brett Hays
    JosephOregon.com
    flitetest.com/articles/fpv-full-scale-cockpit-ground-station-w-42-tv

  4. #24
    Grasshopper Reliku's Avatar
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    Hm true, the size of it would make it way harder to actually construct. But if you start off with just building a frame around the cockpit to which you can simply bolt the panels, I think that's the best idea if you were to go with that route.

    Plywood is exactly the material I had in mind, it's cheap and easy to use. Bending it may be an option, depending on the thickness of the plywood used. And keep in mind that if you bend it, rectangular panels won't fit anymore, so you'd have to calculate the exact shape of the panels, then bolt them to the frame (and bending them in the process) to make a nice round screen. And then cover up the holes that are left with tape from behind or something to block off any light and to make it look smoother. But especially calculating the shape of the panels would be hard I figured. A not-perfectly-round screen would be far easier to construct, I think. And I think it'd make little difference in the overall picture. All that's left then is making a frame. Plywood frame/paperboard panels would work fine I think, but you need to be sure it's strong enough, so use plenty of plywood around the edge.

    It'd require a fair bit of time and materials though, but if done correctly (and I believe it is quite possible) it should work out perfectly. Even though I think rectangular panels would be easier to construct and make it less vulnerable overal (because there's less stress in the materials), but it'd arguably take a little more time.

    I'll pack my bag

  5. #25
    Size matters c5galaxy engineer's Avatar
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    So a few more tidbits like I promised. I guess I do my best writing in the morning.
    Anywhooooo...........
    I wasnt really sure what I was going to build for a cockpit or even what it was going to look like. I spent quite a few days brainstorming on just exactly what I was going to start building. Then I got a hold of a chair from a beauty salon that was used at the shampoo station. It was already built and upholstered and just needed me to add a stick rudder and throttle............
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    It seemed perfect at the time but as I was putting it all together with the help of a friend of mine it just wasn't twistingmynipples so to speak. It was still to ''game chair-esqu''. It would have made a great ''heli chair'' I guess but that just wasn't what I was going for. I want the feeling of being surrounded by an aircraft. When I was in the Air Force, part of my ongoing training as a Flight Engineer was several hours of Simulator Time. I was fascinated by the immersion of that beast. When I was sitting at my station in the cockpit of the simulator I felt like I was in the plane......it was amazing!! I know I will never achieve this level in my carport or on my deck but after living that experience I knew I had to do better that a shampoo chair......lol.

    It was not very long after those pictures were taken that I dismantled it and went back to the drawing board. I grabbed a pencil, a tape measure, and my graph paper and sat down and really thought about what I wanted.
    1. I had to sit ''in'' a cockpit not on a chair in front of a monitor.
    2. It had to be fairly easy to transport and set up in the field.
    3. I wanted to be able to easily change things without having to start over as I got new ideas for it.
    4. It had to be user friendly.....I wanted other pilots to be able to uses it with their own planes if someone wanted to without major set up of either plane or cockpit.
    5. I want it to look like a single seat cockpit but be generic in nature (ie: not a scale cockpit of any one aircraft)
    6. It HAD to fit through a bedroom sized door one way or another. This was important if I was going to work on it in my sparebedroomshop (yes, its one word).

    With those parameters in mind I began the brain storming process with several brain farts along the way. I researched pictures of different cockpits and took ideas that I liked along with having spent 20 years of my life inside military aircraft cockpit and combined all that to come up with my ideas.
    Love this picture....lol....take your C-5 to lunch day!
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    So to tackle #1....build a box to sit ''in'' with a built in chair at one end and the rudder pedals at the other end......simple enough. Except I am not a carpenter. LOL
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    I went back and forth with a side mounted joystick or a center stick. The throttle was a no brainer....it had to be mounted on the left on some sort of shelf or console. This is where the side consoles started to take shape......I could just build the frame of the consoles out of wood like you see in the pictures then use aluminum panels to cover the frame work with. This would be like the consoles of real aircraft where each system has its own control panel mounted in a frame in the console. This is when I decided that each of my systems along with the throttle would have their own control panel mounted in the console.....This would tackle #3....easy to upgrade and change around.

    Here is an example of a control panel for the side console....it is for control of the Eagle Eyes module that I use for video splitting. It can also be used for antenna tracking and diversity though I don't use those features.....I had to ''hack it'' to bring the controls to the panel surface......easy enough with some radio shack buttons and switch.
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    By making all the panels the same size it made it easy for me to change their location in the cockpit or move things around as I saw fit. I could even eliminate a system very easily and just put in a blank panel to fill the hole. Now this whole concept is not my idea.....this is the way it is done in the Aircraft world but it sure was the way to go in the Cockpit Ground Station world also.....lol. It answered a lot of my dilemmas all in one fell swoop!
    Here is my master power panel. The rotary switch is to select which battery the battery monitor is monitoring (not being used at the moment cause I haven't built that panel yet)
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    As you can see it is the same size with the same screw hole locations so it can be moved around the side consoles to any location. You guys saw the UHF control panel....it is part of the dash panel system....these are different in size and shape due to the shape of the dash but it is panelized also and therefor completely reconfigurable, all I have to do is cut out new aluminum panels on the band saw and paint them flat black......taaaadaaaaa!

    So now I had the box concept and panel system figured out.....it was at this point I decided on a center stick along with a center dash panel just in front of the joystick. This would give me the cool looking rudder pedal ''tunnels'' for my legs. IMHO this is what makes it all look like a cockpit. The dash would be vertical and have a ''sun shade'' on it to finish out the ''look''. I would figure out with what systems I was going to ''fill'' the dash with later.
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    So parameters #1 #3 and #5 out of the way and #6 easy enough to accomplish I started to build. I used myself as ergonomics dimensions fudging here and there for other pilot sizes. I figured I am an average size guy with a few pounds on me so it would reason that if I added an inch or two for things like leg room and arm reach a taller pilot could still use the CGS comfortably. I haven't yet but my plan is to make the rudder pedals adjustable. This will help accomplish #4 as far as ergonomics go. BTW......I am throwing around the ''ergonomics'' word like I know what the Hell I am talking about.....it is just a word I am using to describe "can I reach it or not". That's all. To be honest......the damn thing aint that comfortable and I would not want to sit in it for more than a half hour or so....LMAO!!

    As I finished the Box up I decided the interior color should be flat ass black. Everything inside the cockpit would be painted flat black to help with the visuals which I hadn't even decided on yet......I was toying with the idea of using a projector some how but in the long run decided it would not be as user friendly as a large monitor/lcd TV. I will talk more about the visual system later.
    I decided the outside would be fighter jet grey......just because.....it is a very utilitarian color. the dame thing looks like a shipping crate on the outside and you can only polish a terd so much......so grey it is.....no pin striping.....no fancy RV type wrap.......just flat ass grey.....like a C-5.......(grin).

    Okay.....that's 15 pictures attached to this post so I guess that's enough for now. I will talk more about the systems and wiring next time. I am saving the control system for last because I did a huge rethink and re vamp of the controls. As I write this I am in a sh!t storm of wires and solder but I will talk all about that down the road after I see how it turns out.

    Again.....comments or pictures of your own projects that relate are more than welcome here. If you got anything to share please do!!!

    Post #47 for next update..... http://fpvlab.com/forums/showthread....ion-blog/page5
    Last edited by c5galaxy engineer; 13th February 2015 at 09:05 AM.
    Brett Hays
    JosephOregon.com
    flitetest.com/articles/fpv-full-scale-cockpit-ground-station-w-42-tv

  6. #26
    Navigator bsbauman's Avatar
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    very cool! Do you plan on being able to transport this?

  7. #27
    Size matters c5galaxy engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reliku View Post
    Hm true, the size of it would make it way harder to actually construct. But if you start off with just building a frame around the cockpit to which you can simply bolt the panels, I think that's the best idea if you were to go with that route.

    Plywood is exactly the material I had in mind, it's cheap and easy to use. Bending it may be an option, depending on the thickness of the plywood used. And keep in mind that if you bend it, rectangular panels won't fit anymore, so you'd have to calculate the exact shape of the panels, then bolt them to the frame (and bending them in the process) to make a nice round screen. And then cover up the holes that are left with tape from behind or something to block off any light and to make it look smoother. But especially calculating the shape of the panels would be hard I figured. A not-perfectly-round screen would be far easier to construct, I think. And I think it'd make little difference in the overall picture. All that's left then is making a frame. Plywood frame/paperboard panels would work fine I think, but you need to be sure it's strong enough, so use plenty of plywood around the edge.

    It'd require a fair bit of time and materials though, but if done correctly (and I believe it is quite possible) it should work out perfectly. Even though I think rectangular panels would be easier to construct and make it less vulnerable overal (because there's less stress in the materials), but it'd arguably take a little more time.

    I'll pack my bag
    Its times like this I wish I knew how to use CAD. I bet printing out the exact dimensions for dome sections that fit on a flat sheet of thin 4x8' wood or paper board would be easy......along with the framing to go with it.

    Anyone on here want to tackle that......anyone that knows CAD that is. A 10 to 12 foot half of a full dome made out of ply wood and paper board. It would also have to be able to be taken apart reasonably easy for transporting. This would definitely not be a system one would take to the field for a Sunday outing. The way the CGS is designed now it is reasonably easy to get to the field. This visual system would be a show piece more than a easy to use fun flying system I think.
    Ready
    Set
    .
    .
    .
    GO!

    Then we just need to figure out the P/T gimbal for the projector and the power system. I figure it could run off a second receiver binded to the radio just as the plane is.
    Brett Hays
    JosephOregon.com
    flitetest.com/articles/fpv-full-scale-cockpit-ground-station-w-42-tv

  8. #28
    Size matters c5galaxy engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsbauman View Post
    very cool! Do you plan on being able to transport this?
    Yes!! As it is built now it is easy to transport but not simple. The cockpit its self fits in the back of my Jeep JK wrangler but the TV hood is a different story. The whole system needs to be transported in a trailer (which I have) to keep it the simplest. Otherwise I would have to separate the hood from the cockpit and put the hood on top of the jeep and tie it down......not really an option. The trailer works great plus I can throw the airplanes in there also....and have shade when I get there!! It also just stores in the trailer (cargo type trailer) so I don't ever have to unload it.
    Brett Hays
    JosephOregon.com
    flitetest.com/articles/fpv-full-scale-cockpit-ground-station-w-42-tv

  9. #29
    Size matters c5galaxy engineer's Avatar
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    Guess What!!!
    A friend of mine just donated his Sky Surfer to me for the initial test flights. It has a motor and ESC, a pan tilt pod for the cam and the whole works. The sonofabitch is still making me pay for shipping (the nerve of some people) but he said I could turn it into packing foam if I wanted.....LMAO.
    He is a nice guy for sure and I would like to thank him publicly in this forum. He emailed me and I thought he was kidding......but he is serious. This should be a very easy flying plane to get used to before I take on the Multiplex Mentor on floats that FPVFlyer donated to the cause. I just don't know what flying FPV from a cockpit is going to be like. Plus this should give me a plane to let other pilots demo if they want.

    The nice guy that donated the Sky Surfer probably wants to remain nameless but he is a common sight around the Lab here and a Hell of a guy to fly with. I cant say his name or handle but if I was going to I would say PDXDave from Portland Oregon. His real name actually is David but I wont say his last name address and phone number but if I did I would say ......... Awesome, David Awesome at #1 Damn Nice Guy lane apt# Epic. 1(800) he's-cool!
    Thanks Dave!! and FPVFlyer for the Planes!
    These are the guys that I flew with at Mt. St Helen. What great guys.......seriously, I would say that even if they didn't donate planes to the CGS cause.....lol
    Brett Hays
    JosephOregon.com
    flitetest.com/articles/fpv-full-scale-cockpit-ground-station-w-42-tv

  10. #30
    Grasshopper Reliku's Avatar
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    Haha, that is really cool! Should be easy to do test flights with such a plane

    As for the wiring, yeah, you could have guessed that was going to be hell, haha. Just keep everything as clean as possible with no excess wires running around and label everything properly, that should make it manageable

    As for the sitting comfort, there are two things you may want to do. First of all: add a cushion! That'd help loads. And secondly, adjust the sitting angle for the cockpit and make the seat nice and low. If I look at it right now the height difference between the sitting surface and the pedals is pretty big. From what I remember from gliding, is that the pedals are not really any lower than the seat itself and the back surface of the seat is angled backwards. And of course, don't make it some random wooden plate to sit on; that's bound to be uncomfortable. Look at how pilot seats are fabricated and you should notice they're all quite comfy to sit in. That's what you want to be aiming for.

    Not saying you should spend 3 hours sitting in that thing flying fpv (hehe ), but you wouldn't want to get chronic back issues if you sit in it for 30 minutes, get what I mean? It needs to be comfy to sit in

    As for the transport, a trailer seems a good idea. But it'll be hell to transport such a device regardless. A static screen seems the best option for this cause. Goggles with HT seem even better (although they ruin the instrumental functionality), if you consider transport as a factor. A screen with projectors would ultimately be the best, but as you said yourself, that's not something that's going to be set up easily, and the CGS is enough difficulty on its own already.

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