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  1. #1
    500+ This must be a daytime job BHawthorne's Avatar
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    Lightbulb SpaceShipOne Simpit

    Ok, so I'm bored and have a lot of spare old computer parts. I'm thinking on making a space flight simulator for the sim Orbitor. I want to put together somethign very visually immersive and actually make use of all this stuff I have laying around. Here is the stuff I can use on the build:

    CPUs:
    2 AMD Athon X2 Brisbane CPUs
    2 AMD Athlon 64 Winchester CPUs
    2 AMD Athlon Barton CPUs
    1 AMD Opteron 260 dual core

    Mobos:
    2 nVidia 6100 mobos AM2
    2 nVidia nForce4 SLI mobo Socket-939
    2 nVidia nForce2 MCP mobo

    Video:
    1 Geforce 6800 Ultra
    1 Geforce 7800GTXKO
    2 Geforce 8800GTS 320's

    Displays:
    6 Dell P1110 21" CRTs (I can get as many 21" CRTs as needed from a surplus source I have for $10)
    2 Samsung 740N 17" LCDs
    1 Samsung 172X 17" LCD
    1 InFocus LP400 Projector
    1 Matrox TH2G Analog

    Controls:
    Saitek X35 and X36
    Thrustmaster rudder pedals

    All this stuff I consider excess and think it has the potential to make something pretty fun to use. I have a 12x15 foot room I can build it in that is storage right now in the basement. I want to use Orbitor for the sim because doing a space sim would be different and fun for this build. I was going to eBay off all of this stuff, but I probably wouldn't get too much out of it and it would be more fun to actually make it into something. This has no effect on my F-84F build. This is just a second build for the heck of it to experiment and test out things. Thoughts, ideas, suggestions?

  2. #2
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor Tomlin's Avatar
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    Sounds fun- how interfaceable is the orbitor sim though? AND, do you mean the Space Shuttle or something else?
    Eric Tomlin-
    Learjet 45 Builder
    www.flightlevel180.org

  3. #3
    500+ This must be a daytime job BHawthorne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomlin View Post
    Sounds fun- how interfaceable is the orbitor sim though? AND, do you mean the Space Shuttle or something else?
    It's got tons of ad-ons and a SDK. It's pretty much the MSFS of space sims with tons of stuff available for it. I've not made up my mind yet on what craft to do. I'm leaning towards a custom one so I could make it use everything spare I have available. There also would be merit in just doing an existing craft though to take the work out of making a custom model and code.

    Check out:
    Some mods: http://www.orbithangar.com
    Orbitor Forums: http://orbiter-forum.com/

    I've given thought to doing Spaceship One, but I donno how well the hardware I have would fit that project. Spaceship One Has a bunch of circular windows in it. I could probably use a bunch of those 21" CRTs for those. It could be very immersive if done right. On second thought, rear projection onto the windows in SpaceshipOne might make the most sense. I think that would be majorly cool.


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  5. #4
    500+ This must be a daytime job BHawthorne's Avatar
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    After digging around for reference materials I think I'm pretty well set on doing SpaceshipOne. A few things made my decision for me. I'm really interested in the idea of rear projection onto the windows. Awhile back they had this guy doing jDome. It would be the same type of projection for this sim build. I also ran into something I've never pondered before. Apparently there are some very detailed and cool paper model kits out there. I ran into a few sources for SpaceshipOne paper models with both interior and exterior already done. Instead of me doing a 1/48 paper model this project is going to be a 1/1. I think this'll be a very quick build if I follow the paper model and just detail it out a bit more.

    paper model: http://cs.finescale.com/forums/636723/ShowPost.aspx
    jDome rear projection: http://www.jdome.com/the_jdome.asp

    Has anyone else thought about using scale paper models as a basis for a simpit frame before? Looking around the net there are a bunch of paper model sites.

  6. #5
    500+ This must be a daytime job BHawthorne's Avatar
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    I went ahead and put together a few of the paper models of the aircraft and came to the conclusion that tackling the simpit shell design like that might have merit but the kits are all pretty dimentionally inaccurate. I think what I'm going to do is take what I learned from the way the paper kits do things and add accurate dimentioning to my own model. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to details. Sometimes that gets in my way. I'm not looking for a super dimentionally accurate build in this project, but I won't be happy unless it visually looks the same at least. I've purchased all the books I could find that are walk around and detail books of the SS1. There are 2 on the market that I could find. I'm sure there are more references if I dig. I've pondered contacting Scaled, but I donno how receptive they'd be to some guy making a mockup in his basement. They've gone so far as to patient the SS1 fuselage design and trademark the name, so they have commercial interests in it not freely giving out help on something like this.

    The window configuration leads me to believe that it might merit 2 projectors to properly cover them visually. Instead of 1 rear projection in the front of the shell I think it makes more sense to do 2 projectors -- 1 for the starboard and one for the port of the shell. I'll shift from using the throw-away projector I have to using 2 of my InFocus SP5000 720p projectors. That way it won't have as bad a focus issue with how the windows are situated on the fuselage. I've also pondered something new with such a span of windows. I plan on only having the single seat in the pit. I'm pondering dynamic camera control based on freetrack. That way the simulator knows where my head is in the cockpit at all times and can properly frame the camera projection to where I am in relation to the fuselage windows. I think something like this would bump the immersiveness up to a whole new level.

    A few new sim app thoughts. SpaceShipOne is essentially a sub-orbital aircraft. I don't need to use Orbitor if it can't forfill all I need to do. Scaled Composites even test bed the real thing using X-Plane and I know that MSFS also have aircraft for it. I have a lot of options to ponder now with that in mind. Maybe I'll pick MSFS because of camera control with the previous points I mentioned. I might make one of the learning exercises in this build compromising the setup so it is capable of running all 3 -- Orbitor, MSDS and X-Plane.

    I'm using this build as a learning experience. I'm not going to really overthink it on this build. It's for experimenting, trial and error and for actually attempting a scratch build -- successful or not -- doesn't matter to me. It'll be a success to merely do something new and play around in the process. It'll also give me an excuise to learn a lot more about woodworking. I'm planning on doing the shell with 1/8" mansonite 4x8' sheeting with 2x4" framing and 1/2" playwood floor. One of my sources for materials is Spirit Aerosystems Surplus. I can buy all the masonite sheeting I can carry for $1 there. Apparently it is leftover packing material that they have an unlimited supply of. I've already picked up about 200 4x8' sheets so far from them in the last year. Only spent about $4 total on it. They also have tons of large shipping crates I can buy for $5-10 each. I'll break those down for the remainder of the wood I'll need.

    SS1 is a composite based craft. I gave brief thought to using my advanced composite manufacturing skills and doing a wet layup fiberglass shell, but that simply wouldn't be cost or time effective for a one-off build. I'm shooting for inexpensive, fun and experimental.

  7. #6
    500+ This must be a daytime job BHawthorne's Avatar
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    This is the 3-view I'm currently using for tentative shell design:



    http://www.currell.net/models/pdfs/ss1_factsheet.pdf

  8. #7
    1000+ Poster - Fantastic Contributor Tomlin's Avatar
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    Looks like it will be a very neat project!
    Eric Tomlin-
    Learjet 45 Builder
    www.flightlevel180.org

  9. #8
    300+ Forum Addict ak49er's Avatar
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    What a unique idea for a sim. I downloaded and toyed with Orbiter a few years ago, but did not realize one could interface with it like FS. I actually used it with Aquarius Soft PC Alarm Clock Pro (for WIN XP) to wake me in the morning.

    Picture this, Your computer is totally dead (in hibernate mode) At the preset time your computer wakes up and loads the file/program/application of your choice (mine was Orbiter) the countdown begins, and the shuttle launches, as it does the screen gets brighter making my room at work camp lit, as the shuttle breaks out of the upper most layer of the atmosphere, some classical music starts playing, something like ten minutes or so has passed by the time the orbiter rotated to a certain angle I knew I should be in the shower. Quite a pleasant way to start the day. And a realy neat program. Good Luck.

  10. #9

    Airbus

    OK Stupid question but... If its a space vehicle how in the world or better yet how in not in this world are you going to find scenery to coincide with leaving earths atmosphere, space etc and additionally who really wants to sit for ours and look at space! I think its a very cool project but I can see it losing its appeal extremely fast. JMO

    Tim

  11. #10
    300+ Forum Addict ak49er's Avatar
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    For me the appeal would be in the challenge of learning "space navigation." For instance how does on know which way is "up"? How do you navigate in three dimensions outside of the normal latitude/longitude constraints, how do you get from a point in space to another using the least amount of fuel, allowing you to get back into an orbit that allows re-entry. How do you line up for a multi-mile glide to the runway using energy management alone (no thrusters in atmosphere.) For me, I started using Flight Simulator just to know what all those fancy buttons and switches in the cockpit did, I wanted to know how to read all those cool gauges and displays, once I knew that the flying part became more enjoyable. Still I am feature rich but scenery poor when it comes to my pits. Meaning I have all the fancy simulated FMC, WXR, and displays, but running PII's only allows me to utilize minimal settings for scenery. The same discovery of systems would be another asppeal for a space sim. Sure it's not for everyone, but neither is flight simming.

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