Change of (Overhead) Plans

Seeing as how my ‘cockpit’ will probably never evolve past being a desktop-based cockpit I’ve decided to replace the my fullsize overhead with a custom “mini” overhead. Here’s a look at the print out of the first design.

I’ve compacted most of the overhead down into a 23″ x 14″ panel. Most gauges have been left off along with some non-essential switches that I’ve never ever used. I may remove some more as well that I’ve simply never touched. The panel is small enough that I could use sitting on my desktop or still mount to an stand like my current overhead, but just not be so huge.

Here’s a comparison shot on the fullsize overhead.

In other news, if you’re looking for an overhead I’ll have one for sale soon. 🙂


After taking a few weeks off to pack and move I’m back at the cockpit building now.

Yesterday I received another GP-Wiz joystick controller card to wire up the last few switches on the overhead panel. After that what remains are the Flight/Land Altitude Displays and rotaries, the Power Displays, and all the annunciators.

Hoping to get some video of the hardware in action soon too.

Box Molding

Yesterday after getting home I tried to create the mold for the annuniciator boxes.  It’s a two part mold I was going to try but I must not have let the 1st mold sit long enough to cure. After I poured the 2nd half the whole mold it dried in one solid chunk.  Doh!

I’m also having my doubts to whether it would actually work because of how thin the boxes are.  The slightest misalignment in the mold plug (for the hollow inside) may screw up the whole casting.

This morning I created a new 3D model and doubled up on the wall sizes to increase it’s rigidity (1.4mm vs 0.7mm) but it has bumped the price up $1.21 to just over $4/box. Yikes!  So instead of all the walls I did just the top lip where the text panel gets glued on. That yielded just a $0.27 bump to $3.14/box.

I’m going to airbrush the boxes I have now black, cut out the LED holes, glue on a text panel and see how it works with the LEDs installed using the O/C led boards.

If it works well, I’m really thinking of just ordering the 3D printed models in batches over time despite the cost at this point. Be a lot easier.

3D Printed Boxes

Got my 3D printed annuniciator boxes in yesterday.  Here they are fresh out the box.

The top lip was a little thinner than I expected compared to an OpenCockpits box, a result of trying to cut down volume (and price) as much as possible.  I might cut some styrene strips and line the inside walls to give a little more surface area to glue the annunicators on.

The annuciators still fit fine though.

And most importantly they fit in the overhead panels.

I have to travel this weekend so next week I’m gonna start working on molding these guys so I can try to copy cast them in black plastic resin.


Overhead Boxes

Here’s the finalized design with proper dimensions.

Final price came out to $2.87/each for the rough print. I ordered 5 of the polished models for about $0.50 cents more so they’ll have a smoother surface.

The boxes should arrive in about 2-3 weeks looks like, then I can get to molding and casting.

Overhead Annunciator Boxes

As I previously discovered, the OpenCockpits Annuciator boxes don’t fit the ProSimParts overhead panels.  The boxes are about 2mm to large.  So I set off to find a solution.

Today I almost, sorta have one.  I began playing with some 3D software and roughed up a 3D design for an annuciator box similiar to the O/C one but sized to fit the ProSimParts Panels.  Here’s the draft design:


The only problem… the price.  The 3D printing cost is $2.42USD each for a white box ($2.90USD for black).   For comparison, the O/C boxes are about $1.30USD each

$2.42 sounds cheap but when you need 100 of these little guys it adds up. $242 just for boxes! You can get O/C boxes, annuciators and LEDs for the same price. Granted they wouldn’t fit 🙂

So…. time for Plan C?

I’m thinking of ordering a couple of these guys so I can get a nice, clean properly sized box and then take another crack and molding and casting them myself.  If I can do 5-10 at a time, it wouldn’t take too many castings to make a full set.  Once a mold is made, casting would probably take ~15mins a set.

While it’s lot more work it should be a LOT cheaper in the long run if I can figure out how to do it. A $25 bottle of resin could probably cast over a thousand boxes since these are small and mostly hallow. Plus I could cast them in black tinted resin.

So that’s where things are at now.  Once I get the 3D design finalized and confirmed to fit I’ll gladly make it available for purchase at cost for anyone who wants to buy them.  Depending how the casting goes I may also offer to make/sell those too.