desktop CPG dash – design

Whilst still planning & designing the full tandem AH-64D simpit,

I was sadly denying myself any flight time at all, so I decided to build an interim platform for short term use, whilst I also designed & fabricated all the flight panels.

Given the complexity of the TEDAC grips, I was pondering the viability of 2x (L&R) off the shelf grips that might prove a more readily accessible alternative to those who wanted the manual dexterity but were not in a position to manufacture their own grips.

I threw around some ideas & settled on the concept above that allowed for grips to be mounted from below in order to use existing connections & mounting points. The crude system indicated the basic layout.

I had previously purchased a gladiator stick & a LH kosima SCG grip with the intention of making a’collective’ again using off the shelf components, but attention to detail bit me & I was unable to action it as intended & got caught up trying to design a replacement gimbal with a single axis travel etc.

The plan was to mount the collective to the rear of a throttle so as to provide use of both fixed wing & rotary wing alternatives to sim pilots. Other projects & real life continued to interfere with this though & it was constantly put on the back-burner. Eventually I acquired a K-51 collective, so my requirement for this item decreased in priority significantly. Recently I saw posts where someone had done exactly what i was intending, though they utilised a base that had a metal gimbal which allowed for an axis to be locked out, which is perfect, no reinvention necessary.

To continue on with the full tandem pit was a test in futility, so to soothe my flying habit, I needed to come up with a solution that would allow me to fly as well as take advantage of each panel as they were created & mount them to prevent them from becoming damaged within the catastrophe that is my workspace.

The criteria was pretty simple

  • it needed to be wide enough to accomodate the 2x MFDs & TEDAC mounting points (1:1 scale wasn’t important)
  • it needed to provide a stow point for the keyboard when not required, but still allow for easy access.
  • the grips needed to mount from the bottom
  • there needed to be adequate dash real estate to accomodate other CPG panels.
  • the needed to be enough rigidity to support the monitor as it would consume the monitor stand normal space.

Firstly I had to establish the primary dimensions of height width & depth to ensure it would fit in the allocated desk space as well as accomodate all required panels. The finishing touches of top shelf & front trim would come once this was done.

the intial concept resulted in the following, very little changed from the initial concept to the final revision other than a few dimensions of the TADS ‘stem’

the monitor shelf didn’t need to be the full length of the dash so it was made only wide enough to accommodate a standard keyboard

The rear of the keyboard recess has a vertical brace that locks in the monitor stand verticals, these also support the dash angle

The dash dimensions were tweeked a little to ensure all panels could be positioned without over crowding, again 1:1 wasn’t a concern in this instance, only functionality

By utilising the joystick grips I also required the joystick base in order to get the button functionality, so after removing the gimbals from each & investigating the small PCBs within the base, I managed to map out safe areas to cut the bases into sections that would allow me to also use the majority of buttons/switches on each base, nice. Reducing these as much as possible & getting the angle right to provide optimum placement/accessibility whilst holding the grips. A little excess was allowed on the base panels so that I could drill new mounting holes if existing mounting holes/bosses, were not obvious.

I actually modelled the bases on the wrong sides, so the following images are incorrect, the gladiator base should be on the LH grip (oops)

the 1st (LH) gladiator I acquired was the original gladiator (std not pro) along with the SCG & I didnt realise the grip did not seperate from the basetilise all the grip buttons so capitalising on the base encoders & buttons, it was also butchered to be placed hidden behind the TADS LH grip.

the 2nd (RH) gladiator I acquired was when the new variants were release & the standard versions were reduced, so the base is different. Still require the components in the joystick base to utilise all the grip buttons so capitalising on the base encoders & buttons, it was also butchered to be placed hidden behind the TADS LH grip.

rather than creating a throttle quadrant I have decided to retain the warthog throttle & utilise it & its buttons to compliment the ah64 simpit, it can also double as a fixed wing throttle should I ever turn to the dark side.

go to the CPG dash build