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  1. #1
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    So, where do I start?

    Hello, I've been interested in building a Cessna 172 (Just standard guages, not a glass cockpit)

    And was wondering where do I start? Where can I find plans for the panel dimensions and what kind of material should I use? (I was thinking MDF board and just a hole saw to cut out the guages) I'm planning on using software guages on screens mounted behind the panel. Where can I find some good free guages?

    Um, anything else I haven't covered? I guess things like electronics ect but I really just want to get the shape, colour ect of the panel, well, good

  2. #2
    300+ Forum Addict Tom_G_2010's Avatar
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    Re: So, where do I start?

    WELCOME! Always good to see another GA builder out there.

    Do a search in the forum on this site and you'll find plenty of information on the 172 to include full scale PDF ans CAD drawings of the panel in the download section. As for gauges, I'm not aware of any freeware sets but I haven't been searching the freeware stuff much. But, there are a number of options to include purchasing some basic panel editing software and to build your own. Other options include Project Magenta, or Flyware's FSXpand.

    You'll find that a couple hours of reading in the forum will give you plenty of info to get started. And, asking questions of the folks here is a great resource. I'm just getting started on a fuselage conversion and what I've found here is a real goldmine of information and experience!

  3. #3
    500+ This must be a daytime job



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    Re: So, where do I start?

    Welcome aboard!

    As Tom mentioned there are 1:1 PDF files that can be printed to use as a template in the downloads section. There is also a CAD file that you can manipulate and/or get cut out for you to use. When I built my MIP, I chose to do a 2 layer approach. The rear section is 1/2" MDF, and the face is 3/16" hardboard. I did this so that heavier gauges/controls could have a solid "bite" into the mdf, but smaller switches could still be mounted just through the hardboard by cutting out the MDF behind it. That is probably clear as mud, but there you have it. I have not done the final finish on mine, as I am ensuring I have kept it flayable all through contruction. I am currently at the stage of figuring out how to do the gauges. After that I will peel off the template I printed, paint and label the MIP. That made it sound easy, but it may take me years to do it in my spare time.

    Here is a link to some pictures that will give you a better idea what I have done. Link

    Good Luck!

    Reid
    Last edited by AK Mongo; 06-22-2011 at 09:03 PM. Reason: Link fixed
    http://juneaucessnasim.blogspot.com
    N58243 (virtual)- Low and Slow...

  4. #4
    500+ This must be a daytime job



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    Re: So, where do I start?

    By the way...Standard gauges vs. Glass

    If you are going standard(steam) because that is what you want, then knock yourself out!

    If you are doing it because it seems easier, then seriously look into glass. It will actually be much easier to put one of those in than trying to do the old fashioned way.

    Just my 2 cents.

    I am doing steam gauges because I am a knuckleheaded fool.

    Reid
    http://juneaucessnasim.blogspot.com
    N58243 (virtual)- Low and Slow...

  5. #5
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    Re: So, where do I start?

    All I can say is; Steam gauges will ALWAYS be around, gauges is the way to go.

    Because of this I would build the 172 IFR panel or go down the 152 route as it uses less guages which means it is smaller in cost to build, also if you can conquer the 152 then the worlds your oyster especially in sim building anyway. I have a special place in my heart for the 152, I never used to, until you actually fly one you get hooked!

    The 152 is very easy to implement by using an LCD especially by using 18.5" lcd widescreen. From experience do not bother trying to wire up OBS knobs next to gauge cutouts and instead go and buy a goflight rotary panel. Just add a com (and maybe a nav) and your pretty much sussed!

    If you can afford it go with PM gauge software (its come down alot in price since) and get yourself a reg'd copy of FSUIPC to link fs to your external hardware and i/o cards.

    A cessna build really is straight forward, all I say is that for the best virtual reality you need a high performance pc with an up to date graphics card, go with fsx if you can and buy REX addons. For the visuals in a C152 you can get away with 2 large LCD screens on a DH2GO adapter, or go 3 screens if you dont mind bezels in your way when flying, also a 3 screen setup is best required for a Cessna 172 setup.

    Alternatively, A projector setup is very impressive if you can afford it!

    If you need any help just ask us on this forum! or shoot me a PM.....

    All the best, Alex
    Last edited by AlexJ; 06-24-2011 at 06:45 AM.
    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

  6. #6
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    Re: So, where do I start?

    I like the idea of a simple (and cheap) 152. Great fun to fly. But the only problem I have noticed so far is how the yoke is in the way of the 18.5in screen? How could you overcome this without buying heaps of monitors?

  7. #7
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    Re: So, where do I start?

    You simply can't, believe me I have been through this a million times when I built my 152.

    You either have to not have a yoke pass through and just sit your yoke infront of the mip, or you mount the lcd on top of the yoke shaft which is in-accurate but would work, only problem with the lcd sitting on the yoke is the MIP becomes 'higher' at eye level and the actual reality of flying is incorrect, so is the flying posture.

    2 small tiny lcd's may work, but I am yet to see this as of yet! If this can be done, the gauge size would have to be modified and the mip design gets complex because you are modding the panel design and you have to take into account everthing else so that it all fits next to each other.

    The best way is the most expensive way! Buy real gauges!

    Alex
    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

  8. #8
    500+ This must be a daytime job



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    Re: So, where do I start?

    Alex,

    I agree about the best way to do steam gauges is with mechanical gauges. Not sure that buying complete gauges from a European mfg is the best option yet. There are some very promising developments for diy gauges through Arduino and servo's for example, that would allow you to build most of them for less than the cost of one from one from FI or Simkits.


    Homebuilt may be a very attractive alternative, at least for the simple gauges. (VSI, Tach, engine cluster, Turn Coordinator....)

    Reid

    http://www.youtube.com/user/raysot?b.../3/QdmeDlyIums
    Last edited by AK Mongo; 06-24-2011 at 01:17 PM. Reason: link added
    http://juneaucessnasim.blogspot.com
    N58243 (virtual)- Low and Slow...

  9. #9
    300+ Forum Addict Tom_G_2010's Avatar
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    Re: So, where do I start?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Jay View Post
    You simply can't, believe me I have been through this a million times when I built my 152.

    You either have to not have a yoke pass through and just sit your yoke infront of the mip, or you mount the lcd on top of the yoke shaft which is in-accurate but would work, only problem with the lcd sitting on the yoke is the MIP becomes 'higher' at eye level and the actual reality of flying is incorrect, so is the flying posture.

    2 small tiny lcd's may work, but I am yet to see this as of yet! If this can be done, the gauge size would have to be modified and the mip design gets complex because you are modding the panel design and you have to take into account everthing else so that it all fits next to each other.

    The best way is the most expensive way! Buy real gauges!

    Alex
    Cessna actually produced a standard 172 panel layout that had no gauges above the yoke. Cessna moved the engine gauges over to the co-pilot side to allow three inch gauges to fit without using that space. I'm not sure why they did that but it's out there. I had started to hunt for small lcd monitors that might fit to either side, but the cost of small odd size monitors was way up there so I started leaning towards a glass cockpit while I save up for real gauges. Although . . . if I could find some affordable smaller monitors to mount sideways on either side of the yoke I might revisit that.

  10. #10
    150+ Forum Groupie Roland's Avatar
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    Re: So, where do I start?

    It may not be 100% accurate, but 2x 15" LCD's at the left & right sides with yoke in between works quite OK for me.
    http://www.simprojects.nl/modular_simpit.htm

    At the end of below video you can see how the yoke passes inbetween the two panels. Not as good as real gauges, but a cheap and easy alternative. And you can use it for many different airplanes.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrhGiVl1RNs
    RR

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