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I'm building a simulator cockpit, need an idea.

Posted: 15 Mar 2007, 13:46
I've gotten tired of the awkward positioning of the flight controllers on my PC desk. So I've decided to put together a cockpit, nothing fancy, just something that will put everything in the proper place.
I've got the platform put together, 30in x 60in, and now I have been trying to come up with an idea for a seat. I would like it to be adjustable fore and aft. Yes like a car seat, but to go to the junkyard and get one might mean bringing home uninvited guests. Anyone have any ideas for a cheap seat? I'm trying to keep the cost of the non-controling components down as much as possible. I've thought of a low beach chair (a lawn chair lower to the ground) but my imagination can't seem to come up with a method of adjustment.

Posted: 15 Mar 2007, 14:39
How about heavy duty drawer slides of the type meant for kitchen cabinets or industrial applications, a decent hardware store should stock them. Mount one side to your base frame and the other to the frame under your seat (you might have to build a custom frame for the seat though).

Another idea would be to mount thin strips of UHMW polyethylene to the base and the underside of the seat frame with side guides to keep the seat aligned. UHMW polyethylene (commonly referred to as just UHMW) is used in industry as the preferred material for sliding surfaces as it is very slippery, very hard wearing and will support a lot of weight. It has replaced phosphor bronze slides in many applications. You would probably have to come up with a locking arrangement for the seat too otherwise you would be slip-sliding all over the place! :wink:

Most people building pits that I have seen on the net seem to go for car seats as they are adjustable fore and aft and can tilt back to find that perfect position. If you are worried about unwelcome visitors can you place it in a garage for a day or so surrounded by mouse traps?

Posted: 15 Mar 2007, 21:21
I went to Wal-Mart today and looked at the beach chairs. $20.00 is cheap enough, they even have a reclining feature. Thinking the fore/aft adjustments could be locked in with a peg/hole setup. I think a carriage of some sort would eliminate the problem of the chair folding up when moving it either fowards or backwards. The draw sliders would be a good option for that. They'd have to be industrial size. :D
Then again how important is moving the chair at all? It's not like anyone else's butt is going to occupy it. I could secure it to the deck with some plumping brackets, the type that attach cold water pipes to floor joyces. The CPU needs to be in close proximity to the pedals as I understand the Saitek pedals are on a short leash. Plus, since it'll be in the basement I need to incase the CPU for the time it's idle. The dust down here can be thick when the woodstove is going. So that'll cut down on the room to maneuver as well.

This is the hardest part of the project, deciding everything not controller related.

Posted: 16 Mar 2007, 06:35
Just a bit of a warning regarding cheap seats.
Don't forget you will be sitting on there for a while so make sure you look after your back.Anyone who has suffered back problems will confirm.
Don't cut costs on your health. :)

Posted: 16 Mar 2007, 09:49
I can appreciate your words, more than you could have known. I've been disabled since a couple of "incidents" 10 years ago. The people I worked for retired me and since then I struggle to find something to occupy my all too young for retirment mind. Hence this project. :)
The pain is with me 24 hrs a day, so sometimes it's hard to tell if I'm aggravating the problem. It has a delayed fuse, there might not be any more discomfort until an hour or two later. So you are so very right, comfort and support, as much as is possible in this state, is at the forefront of my mind. For this reason a beach chair alone won't be the last configuration incorporated in the project. I think I'll be adding a wee bit of padding, much like sitting on a parachute.
As one on this side of a "bad back", I agree with your assesment , if you aint here you don't want to be, lift with your legs.
Now I have to work up the discipline to sell my motorcycle. I've probably been pushing the limits with that. Life slowly closes in.

Posted: 16 Mar 2007, 10:39
On "" in the Forum section there is a cockpit forum.
It shows many pix of home build cockpits from simple to very good as well as almost real cockpit home build ones.
Mine is the Old Luftwaffe Pilots cockpit, a very simple but good working one.
It is dedicated to gaming & inexpensive with a comfortable big reclining not too expensive leather chair from the "Fry's" store of which I have also one for the other working computer desk.

Posted: 17 Mar 2007, 16:14
Nice site for what I'm doing, didn't realize their was such a demand for components for sim cockpits. Maybe our niche isn't so narrow after all.

Posted: 17 Mar 2007, 16:45
Tareget, here's a solution I used as I didn't have the room for a fabricated cockpit.



Made from Gov't surplus shelving supports used in a wharehouse.

Attchment photo of the bases used for stick and throttle to the up right pieces.


Posted: 17 Mar 2007, 22:49
Some retired trucker you turned out to be Gary! You still have diamond plate around. LOL!

Nice rig btw.

Posted: 20 Mar 2007, 15:47
I could've used that in the last house I had.

But now I'm happy to say I have a basement the size of a warehouse.
Well, maybe I exaggerate, but after living over a crawl space it seems like a warehouse.

Posted: 22 Mar 2007, 20:51
LOL... thanks Snuffy. Thats not all I kept around from my trucking days. LOL

I was at Home Depot here in Bear today and ran across the same stuff my stand is made out of mixed in with the metal conduit. Check HD and that section where you are Target, they may have it too.

Posted: 29 Mar 2007, 15:28
[EK]Green Knight
I'm in the process of fixing up an old go-cart frame and re-covering the seat with extra padding for my cockpit sim

Posted: 29 Mar 2007, 22:24
Here's mine. Enjoy. ... sm14xj.jpg ... sm12mk.jpg ... sm15kg.jpg ... sm16zv.jpg ... sm39aq.jpg

It's a modified Akers-Barnes cockpit. The car seat is a 2000 Dodge Intrepid (in very good condition). I examined many seats and yes, you want a seat that your body can remain in for long preiods. The sound system is a Klipsch THX. When the co-pilot and kids are out of the house, then I crank it up. Absolutley "touching" I say. :)


Posted: 30 Mar 2007, 03:30
Here's mine...
(unfinished and up for sale!)


Posted: 30 Mar 2007, 13:51

How do you like the Fresnel lens in your Pit? I had heard that if set up properly these can be very nice. Does it work well with the TrackIR?