My Mini Cockpit Project

Over the winter months I’m starting another project, this is for one of my other hobbies I mentioned in my last posting here, it’s my take of what I would call a mini cockpit for flight simming 🙂

OK it’s not laid out or designed nothing like a Boeing 737 is, but it’s more of what I want to be an ergonomic compact flight sim desk/cockpit. 🙂

Designed using Sketchup here are a few pics of what it should look like.    (Click on the pics to see bigger/better pics)

One last thing I want to mention before anyone makes any comments, you may see on these design pics, on left hand side of the desk a sketchup drawing of what is an engine control, I used this addon from sketchup as it’s the nearest drawing I could find of what should be a Cessna Trim Wheel. 


Here are a few more pics some showing the measurements.

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So watch this space to see it being made 🙂

First Revision of the design 100mm added to length and a different layout of the panels and instruments.

Flight Sim Mini Cockpit 2 Flight Sim Mini Cockpit

Expect possible revisions before I start cutting any wood up :)

After cutting a few of the pieces out I have started work on the base of the mini cockpit desk, in this first pic you can see I’m edging the veneered MDF.

This piece will be the monitor shelf, here one of the long edges gets veneered.

1 Adding Edging

2 The Footwell .  These parts make up the foot well, here I’m cutting biscuit slots ready for the first glue up.


3 First glue up. First assembly glue up of the footwell.


4 Adding The Right Plinth. Looking from what will be the rear view i’m adding the right plinth where eventually the computer and disk drives will stand.


Biscuits cut and left hand plinth glue into place.

Adding the Left Plinth

Seven Biscuits cut in the rear rail, and not as easy as it looks because the centre three are not on the same level as the rest so extra care was needed to make sure they were correctly cut.

Adding the Rear Rail

Having to wait now a couple of hours before adding the front rail. 🙂

Started fitting the end panels, in this first pic you can see that I’ve marked out where to cut and clamped them both end panels together to be sure they are exactly the same.


Cutting the biscuit slots for the left hand panel.


Left hand panel fixed and glued into position. Braced at the rear to support it until I have fitted the other end and added rails.


The central divider and rear rail is fitted, here the right hand panel is fitted.


The desktop is fitted, sorry for the out of focus pic.


Marked out where the Saitek Instrument will be fitted


Cutting out


Two coats of danish oil and one coat of yacht varnish, done not for looks but to seal the wood as I’m covering this panel with Carbon Fibre Vinyl.


The desk top and front rail are  fitted. The desk top has a routed housing joint cut into it where the central divider is.


Dryfit of the front panel and monitor stand, the monitor stand has a little more work to do on it as I have to fit the small wings each end to accommodate the angles left and right monitors.


The front panel is covered with Carbon Fibre Vinyl and fixed into place with biscuits at the ends and screwed along the length from underneath.

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OK a Heath Robinson set up of clamps to help fix the panel and gussets were added at the end to beef up the biscuit joints.

A Few More Parts Added

The lugs for the monitor shelf are  positioned around the top of the unit and care was taken not to position them where fixing bolts need to go for the instruments. The Vinyl was removed where the lugs are glued and screwed into position.

The rear shelf in the second pic  will hold ten power points plus 27+ powered USB sockets. All the wiring will be out of sight 🙂

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Starting The Finish

All the woodwork is done, now the finish is started, the first coat of Danish oil is applied, another three or four coats to go then it will be adding the electrics.

The Monitor shelf and the Flight Simulator Desk

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Power Points Added

All the electrical power sockets are fitted, and I’ve just applied the third coat of Danish oil. Some of the exterior panels are soaking it up so much they might need another three coats,  😦  it’s a slow job because each coat needs at least 24 hours to dry. So don’t hold you breath to see it finished.  😦

Power Points

Ten power points in all, one for the computer, two for external hard drives, two for powered USB hubs, one for the sound speakers and three for the monitors. Just one spare. 🙂

Extra hardwoods pads added to mount the wheels on as the MDF does not have enough strength to take the screws. So the wheels are fitted 🙂

Wheels attached

First time on the floor 🙂 the monitor shelf is not fixed it’s just there to take this pic. 🙂

First time on the floor

The red aircraft style light switch is fitted to the facia of the panel for the diode lights that will be hidden behind the small bead of wood that you can see below the monitor shelf. 🙂

Light Switch

Instruments Fitted

I say fitted but mounted would be a better description. I also had to remove the monitor shelf for easier access to fit the instruments.

instruments fitted

From Left to Right, Pressure setting pad for Saitek Pro Flight X-65-F Joystick. then at the bottom is a Saitek Pro Flight Switch Panel with two Saitek Backlit Information Panels above it (one with protective cover still on it). Next is Six Saitek Pro Flight Instrument Panels. Finally two Saitek Radio Panels and above those is a Saitek Pro Flight Multi Panel.

It’s in the house

Just a bit of tidying up needed and a three holes cut in the desktop to insert the three teak finger holes that can be seen to the right of the joystick. Just got to empty the room where it will be installed as I have to decorate the room as part of the deal with SWMBO. 🙂


All wires installed except one, One of the DVI-D cables wouldn’t reach the monitor so I have one on order, it should be here on Monday 🙂


So for a week or two while the decorating gets done that’s about it. When Installed into place I will take some final pics for appraisal 🙂

Almost Finished

Almost finished, holes in the desktop to route cables through done. Everything plugged in and running 🙂


Lighting effects working.


The trim wheel on the left hand side is going under the desktop, it just needs the bracket reversing, a job for tomorrow. 🙂


Beam me up Scotty!  🙂

First a closer view of the Saitek Pro Flight Trim Wheel attached below the desk top.


Next a better view of the Pedal Well, this stops any sliding movement of the pedals when in use, it’s a common complaint by pedal users.


USB desktop socket for the sole use of an iPad. The iPad has most of RemoteFlight Software loaded on it the HSI can be seen running in this pic. This close up also shows a clearer view of the teak finger hole I used for routing the cables. Also in this pic you can see the pressure setting panel (top centre) this unit is normally fitted to the throttle control but I moved it on to the panel.


The Final Pic 🙂 Everything except the night light is on and running, if you look really hard at the bottom of the top screen you can just make out the sensor for the TrackIR 5 head movement.
That’s it then project finished 🙂 Hope you enjoyed the trip.

The Final Pic

One last thing  that I have not mentioned before is I removed the monitor stands and fixed them into place using brackets I made out of stainless steel sheet, It gives me a lower viewing angle more in keeping with a real cockpit.

Last Pic