Rudder pedals for Flight Simulator

Hi, flight simmers! I invented and made rudder pedals from a fitness stepping machine. A reliable stepper made of metal prevents broke pedals, in addition, it is a ready-made mechanism that provides a mutual movement of the pedals just like in a real aircraft. This idea was liked by many fans of flight simulators, but also caused a lot of comments on my first pedals design. The most of suggestions were as follows:
—  increase the pedal movement,
—  make them standalone HID-device independent of the joystick.

Friends who come to visit me also flew on the simulator and their comments I were also taken into account in the final version of the pedals.

As a result, I almost completely changed the way the pedals are attached to the rocker arms.

To do this, I used larger perforated metal plates and offset them in relation to the axes of the stepper arms. To increase the pedal travel, I installed several washers on the axle of the wheel chassis. After that, the length of the springs was not enough to ensure the center position of the pedals and I created a new two centering rocker mechanisms. This simplified the design to four springs.

Most importantly, the increased pedal movement has also increased the operating range that the Hall sensors need to read. Therefore, I had to radically redesign the sensor unit and change the sketch code.

To do this, I carried out several dozen experiments and, as a result, I got an ideal linear characteristic and the highest accuracy of readings of the new block of sensors. The new block also contains two bipolar sensors from Honeywell, but the principle of their placement takes measurements into account when my testing.

Landing challenge - Nice

The main indicator of the effectiveness of the new design, in my opinion, is the increase in the landing rating in Flight Simulator 2020. For example, I first got over a million points when landing in Nice thanks to the new pedals.

I was very annoyed with the need to unlock the brakes at the start of each scenario in the simulator, and I added a special button in the pedals that turns off the parking brake and has a light LED indicate. Also, to pedals I added two orange LEDs for indicate left and right brake activation.

Rudder pedals for Flight Simulator

For a soft stop of the elements of the mechanism in the limit positions, I added shock absorbers, which are used to prevent vibration of the supports of washing machines. Inside these shock absorbers, I placed magnets for the brake sensors.

Arduino Micro HID Rudder Pedals

Using the MHeironimus/ArduinoJoystickLibrary and Arudino Micro I have created an independent HID-device.

I know that many simmers saw my videos and have already made similar designs. If you want to thank the author of this idea, then you can make a Donation. If your donation amount will more than $ 20, then I send gift to you with a printable PDF instruction with a full description of the making of a new version of the pedals, a code for Arduino and a setup pedals profile for a FlightSimulator.



Several events related to my hobby inspired me to create this section. Firstly, I stopped enjoying the production of new pieces for the railway. Most of this interesting process has been replaced by the tedious manufacture of small parts, the endless waiting for postal parcels (Russian Post is disgusting), and the mismatch between the characteristics declared by the manufacturer and the real product. The epic with the creation of the turning circle brought me to depression :).

Secondly, I began to see worse, and all new ideas require great precision in the manufacture of parts that compose them. If you notice, I do most of the design on a computer, then print a template on the printer and make parts using it. It is logical to abandon the last stage and immediately produce parts on the CNC.

To illustrate these processes, I will post here a recent video from the excellent modeller Luke Towan.

Luke uses a laser cutting machine in his video, but in terms of functions it is the same CNC.

On the video of Luke and other similar videos, the manufacture of parts looks like an elementary process. Unfortunately, this is not the case. If you buy a 3D printer or CNC, the first thing you encounter is difficulties at each of the stages of production of parts on these machines.

Below is my first review of the 1310. After months of use, my enthusiasm gave way to great skepticism. Firstly, it is very slow, the spindle turned out, as I suspected, the main problem of this CNC. It is impossible to process hard plastics, and even more so copper and aluminum, with this spindle.

Preparing files for the CNC is not difficult for me, but this process consists of five transformations. First, from a drawing on a scale of 1:1, you need to create a digital model for the CNC. In this model, you must specify the type of tool and the type of material being processed. Then need set the processing path and cutting speed parameters. Then needs export this file to G-code for a specific CNC. Then I check it already on the machine and in the process of processing the parts carry out additional settings. And at each stage you need experience and knowledge and many additional operations (fixing the workpiece in the machine, changing the tool, positioning, setting start parameters, etc.) And this is a common problem for all machines.

This is not an attempt to frighten you with the difficulties of operating the CNC, but a statement of the current state in the use of these machines. On the other hand, the reward for using machines outweighs all the above disadvantages.

If you are interested in the experience of operating such machines for your hobby, and I will receive feedback from you in the form of letters, then I will publish drawings and finished files, as well as methods for manufacturing parts. In general, this section depends more on you than on me.

And, also I will express my opinion on 3D printers. If we compare the capabilities of 3D printing from ABS plastic strings (this is the most common type of 3D printers), then they worse vs the CNC in accuracy, speed and quality of processing. In addition, the price of consumables is quite high and the strength of the finished products is much lower compared to parts made of aluminum and solid plastic.

The only type of 3D printer you really need is a Resin 3D Printer.

First run CNC 1310

My CNC 1310

This is a joint project with my friend Erik. We needed a tool that could cut out small parts for our hobby.

I had experience with CNC machines in the 90s, so I have an idea about the operation of these machines. Nevertheless, home CNC based on Arduino is new to me. I hope the experience of implementing CNC will be of interest to you.

In modeling, there are often situations where you need to make a lot of the same details. And the accuracy of their manufacture is crucial. CNC is perfect for this job. CNC 1310 in have an accuracy of about 0.1 mm. The accuracy declared by manufacturers of these machines of 0.03 mm is an advertising trick.

Compared to widespread type 3018 models with a large machining area, the accuracy of the 1310 (1419) machines is much higher. This also served as the basis for the selection of these CNCs.

Often mention the low speed of the cheap spindle of these machines. It is quite possible. But firstly, it can be replaced. And secondly, we are going to process only soft materials and engrave circuit boards for electronics.So, will be even more interesting to conduct experiments with different materials.

Tools for CNC

PCB for CNC engraving machine control it is very similar to Arduino. In fact, this is Arduino, supplemented by stepper motor control drivers and etc. Almost my URB unit :)

The manufacturer gave extremely scarce information about its functions and connection. I tried to figure it out and carefully examined the board. Therefore, here I will add pictures about the electronics of this machine.

Also, the operation of the machine (speed and precision) depends on the type and shape of milling cutters. Now I have 10 tools and I plan to test them on various plastics.