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  1. #1
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    Red face A320 first ever build (for me)

    Hi guys, I've been fascinated by the sims I saw on the last few months, want to gather as much information as I need to decide if I will really build it. I have no idea of what to do first, was thinking to start on the easy part, making the over head panel, or main control panel. Where to find knobs and buttons? dimensions for the panels, drawings? I have access to plasma machines, press brakes, lasers, cnc machines of many kinds and sizes, and also can do 3d modeling with solidworks.

    I know the electronic side will be very hard and interesting and I wish anyone could give me a hint on what to do to get started.

    Julio Cesar

  2. #2
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    Re: A320 first ever build (for me)

    Hi Julio,

    Welcome to the site .... and to the A320 club!!

    I am about 6 months into my build and have been all over the place doing some construction, some electronics, some software. I have been learning about Link2FS, Linda, Lua, and Mobiflight and still unsure what my final solution will be.

    How you go about things, will be determined by your own goals. For me, I wanted my sim to fly as realistically as possible, then to look as realistic as possible on the inside. I am not really bothered by by how good the outside views look, so am not that interested in realistic scenery, weather, etc (although that might change in the future).

    It all depends on how much room you have, how understanding your partner is, how patient you are, etc, etc.

    So I started building a one man A320 cockpit, but have just realised I actually want to build a proper 2 man for all sorts of reasons. so I am going back to the drawing board.

    I will rebuild the cabinetry first. I have already uploaded a bunch of plans for building all the carcasses to the file library - I will need to update those and begin building again.

    I have also uploaded many of the panels for laser cutting/engraving or CNC milling to the file library. I will add the FO side panels as I do them.

    I am working on making my own Korry-type switches and will upload plans and a how-to when I have it figured out properly. There are already lots of Korry-type switches out there that are perfectly fine, but I get a buzz out of designing my own solutions. There are also several STL files for 3D printing Airbus knobs around.

    At present, I am using a Logitech 3D joystick and Saitek throttle and pedals. I will probably fabricate my own eventually, but for now they are realistic enough. I have a home-made hydrid pedestal/overhead panel that has all the commonly used switches and buttons as I like to fly my sim. My plan is to gradually replace these with a proper pedestal and overhead when I have built them.

    My advice would be to make the cabinetry for the MIP first and put some screens in. It's fairly straightforward and will give you a buzz, when it begins to look like a cockpit. Also build the pedestal carcass as that adds to the realism - that is where my temporary panel and throttle sits. Then I would build the glareshield - as this will give you a good grounding in switches, buttons, rotaries and even 7-segment displays if you want to go that far. By that time you will either be hooked or tearing your hair out - probably both!!!

    You also need to think of your software and computing hardware. There is lots of advice here. I started with Aerosoft Airbus on top of FSX Steam, but am now working on P3D and Jeehell, which has been a good progression for me but several steep learning curves.

    The folks on here are a friendly bunch and always willing to help out - I have learned so much from them!!!

    My main piece of advice is to get it flying early and keep it flying as much as you can.

    Jim

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    Re: A320 first ever build (for me)

    Honestly,

    The BEST way and EASIEST way to give you direction in terms of building an A320 sim, is to just keep flying the aircraft on flight simulator, all you need is a cheap joystick, a set of pedals and a throttle (saitek will be fine for now). This gives you the bare basics to get learning and flying. It may take you weeks or months to learn how to do a cold and dark start, then add taxiing, takeoff, aborts, cruising, mcdu, fcu, navigation etc. I believe that this learning process takes a long time, but the more you learn and know, the easier it will be when attempting to build a cockpit however basic or complex. This is because, when you come across hardware, switches, buttons, LED's etc, you will have an idea how you can use these & how to design a panel, then interface it to your computer(s).

    Read the Airbus Crew Manuals on SmartCockpit, and learn the systems, what they all do, what button does what. You will learn tons and tons. Everyday I read these manuals on my down time, and I just read, read, read.

    If you were to walk into a real flight deck, would you know how to start the cold and dark startup process, such as switching on the batteries, connecting to ground power, switching on the cockpit lighting, screens, starting the APU, aligning the IRS, getting bleed air to aid engine starts etc, there is soooo much to learn, and this will help you massively in giving you some idea how YOU can replicate and interface panels to help you simulate the A320 experience.

    Looking at it at the other end of the scale. You could probably build a mock up of the A320 cockpit if this is more your idea of 'simulator' but making it actually do something is what us folk have been pulling out our hair for for years (plus the blood, sweat and tears). It wont come cheap either!

    But honestly, good luck!
    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

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    Re: A320 first ever build (for me)

    thanks for all the advice, I know it won't be cheap, won't be easy, but will see where I can get. I will read as much as I can, I downloaded the manual

    I will have a look at the drawings Hypnorm has and model a 3d of what I can, this will keep me going and having a lot of new questions and probably answers.

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    Re: A320 first ever build (for me)

    Soo many members on here that join the forum, and never see them again, they realise the hobby is out of their reach when they discover the cost and complexity of building a cockpit. It doesn't have to be that way at all. Panels are only expensive when cut and engraved, so cut your own from mdf board, design your own panels on a drawing program and get a printer company to print a laminated version. You can probably print all your panels, MIP, and OVHD on 2xA0 Sheets. You are instantly saving up to a 1000 already. Cut your panels neatly using a sharp saw and jig for curves, or laser cut if you have a little extra cash. Think outside the box. There are so many drawings, diagrams and plans on the internet, half the fun is discovering them, then modding and changing them to create your own cockpit. This website is full of great advice and ideas, and with a little bit of perseverance and determination, you will get there....Good Luck.... Alex
    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

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    Re: A320 first ever build (for me)

    I appreciate all the help Alex, will be going through drawings and will model it, I spoke to my boss and he will see if he can get me his friends contact for the engraving. We have 2 lasers and about 10 cnc machines, so the machining cost is 0, and also I can use some acrylic sheets we have in old stock. The most expensive part of the over head panel is the electronic, I will try to mod square industrial buttons, they are cheap to get. Looking at the drawings I got, I can see some fun in making the fire buttons.

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    Re: A320 first ever build (for me)

    My current overhead panel idea has 0 LED's (Not out of choice), because I could source 80 momentary squared push buttons for about 12. Its either that or 900 on Korry Switches. I can bring up my overhead on the visuals at any time to reference what are lit. Really not a problem at all. Other than the LEDs, the rest is just inputs which are simple (LeoBodnar).....
    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

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