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  1. #1
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    Panel instrument cutouts over computer monitor question

    Hey all,

    Im building a quick sim for practice at home on IFR procedures, it is based on a king air type setup and i was wandering what is the best way or "how to do" the cutout panel to go over the computer screen.

    Im using a 19 inch LCD monitor and will do a simple painted MDF board cutout to sit over the top, I was wandering how do you make sure the instruments line up with the holes/squares cut on the panel.

    Do you cut out the panel first then undock the instruments to align ?
    Do you use panel editing software such as FSpanel to adjust the size and positioning of the instruments ?
    Do i align the image on the monitor and trace the instruments then cut them out ?

    I have seen alot of people do this however i have not been able to find anyone detailing how they exactly did this.

    Do you know of any links to any good tutorials ?

    Anyone wish to share how they did theirs ?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    300+ Forum Addict Shawn's Avatar
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    Re: Panel instrument cutouts over computer monitor question

    I use networked gauges on a separate computer, this allows me to place each individual gauge where I want them. A good start would be to try the freeware gauges by Laurent H.

    http://www.thegaugesfactory.org/

    You can use a very basic computer on a home network, with the added bonus of reducing the workload on you FS computer. Instead of Mdf you might consider PVC board, it's thinner and very easy to work with. It comes under a variety of names but I have been able to buy it at local sign shops quite easily, it costs about the same as good 1/2" plywood.

    Shawn

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  4. #3
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    Re: Panel instrument cutouts over computer monitor question

    I use the Peix GAPanel on a second pc for the instruments. It is payware but I've been using it for at least 5 years with no problems.
    You can have several different panels saved and open the one you want. I have one for C172 and one for a generic twin, and separate MIP panels whic I can change quickly with thumbscrews to hold them in place ove the lcd screens.

    Den

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    Re: Panel instrument cutouts over computer monitor question

    Thanks im going to use plexiglass once ive finalised what im doing, the MDF is just a trial, do you have a link to the Peix software, do they have collins type glass instruments for the AHRS.

    Did you guys cut out first and align later ?

  6. #5
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    Re: Panel instrument cutouts over computer monitor question

    Hi Ozziesim,

    Editing panel configurations is very easy, either with software like FSPanel, or simply changing the panel config files direct in Wordpad. The gauge x,y positions on the screen and height and width are defined by four numbers. It's simple to fine tune both individual gauge position and size.

    For me the key first point was sizing the gauges on my screen. Then I made cardboard mockups of the panel fascia to test the general layout and dimensions before getting my fascia plates cut (I got them CNC'd in 1.5mm aluminium sheet). A pair of scissors and some old fruit boxes from the local supermarket was all it needed for the test stage. I need to fine tune my gauge positions now, but I'm waiting until I can get some bezels to fit the instrument cutouts. The picture below is still a work in progress, the VSI will be replaced with a TCAS unit! Also I have a 10mm thick sheet of clear Perspex between the screen and the panel, it fills the gap which would otherwise be left and "pulls" the instrument image forward as well as giving a nice glass effect.



    I'd second what Shawn said about the PVC board, the stuff I use is marketed as "Foamalux". Can be cut with a sharp knife, sanded, bent, etc....very easy to work with.

    Cheers
    Jon
    http://www.g-bvob.net

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  8. #6
    VMD


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    Re: Panel instrument cutouts over computer monitor question

    That's really nice BW901. The gauges on the right are they functional or dummy?
    After seeing your craftsmanship I'm not sure if I should go with G1000 or this type of setup with my C208 project.

    Thanks for posting the picture.

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    Re: Panel instrument cutouts over computer monitor question


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  11. #8
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    Re: Panel instrument cutouts over computer monitor question

    Thanks Louie,
    The F/O's gauges are Flight Illusion. I was going to go down that route for the whole panel, but I wanted engine instruments that looked like the real aircraft, and also an HSI and Flight Director for the captain's side. plus it would have been a wee bit too expensive! 99% of that work was done by the guys in the Fokker factory in 1968, all I had to do was go mad with an angle grinder to be able to mount the screens behind the panel.
    No reason why as Den says you cannot do both a G1000 setup and a clockwork panel, just assign them to different aircraft and when you change the fascia panel you can load either one. I'm thinking of also doing an F50-style semi-EFIS captain's panel so if I ever want to follow a magenta line instead of doing things the old-fashioned (proper) way the option is there.
    Cheers
    Jon

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    Re: Panel instrument cutouts over computer monitor question

    I also have a 3rd MIP facia, this one for a glass cockpit using the freeware VASfmc software. It is very good but, unfortunately, the site no longer exists and I don'y know anywhere else hosting the files.
    Would it be considered improper to place a copy in the MyCockpit file library? It may break the licence agreement but as the site no longer exists I can't ask them.
    Or does it already exist there?

    Den

  13. #10
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    Re: Panel instrument cutouts over computer monitor question

    Now I'm curious about the PVC panel, sounds like it could be useful for some other bits I'm working on for my sim.

    On the instrument panel itself, however, I would suggest you stick with aluminum. Yes it's a bit more work than wood or plastic or other more flexible materials, but it maintains the right look and feel as a real plane, plus it's strong enough to hang stuff on (like the monitor).

    For making the cutouts: decide how you WANT the panel to look, and cut it to that design, allowing for the dimensions of the monitor you're working with. Then adjust the software (gauges) to match. It's far easier to tweak software than to wrangle a piece of aluminum (or plastic, or wood, or cardboard, etc). For my panels, I primarily use metal-ready hole saws for the instrument cutouts (3-1/8" for standard instruments, 2-1/4" for the smaller ones), a $30 Lowes jigsaw with metal blades, my trusty Dremel, and an el cheapo benchtop drill press of Asian descent for precise drilling. Your initial investment probably won't be much higher than if you were working with a softer material, you are just getting slightly different tools. Throw in a countersinking drill bit for screw holes on the panel (making sure to buy some countersunk screws or bolts, of course), a couple cans of flat spray paint of your choice, and you can have yourself some fine looking (even professional) instrument panels.

    Matt

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