28/09/2014, 10:25 AM
(Edited. 21/12/2014 at 9:38 PM)
The CP-1 : A DIY Command seat (build log - formally C-Pod))
The time has come to start a new project; a command chair/pod. Rather than make a full blown cockpit (for which I don't have sufficient space), I will be building a seat with the HOTAS built into it. I'm intending to buy a Rift at some point so I simply want to sit somewhere where I can fully immerse myself. It must look the part as well. I generally post a build log for my projects to kick me into action and help me to stay focused. It's also useful to get community feedback and, if I'm honest, words of encouragement also. The latter helps to motivate so feel free to post comments!
This opening post is just a brain dump of ideas at present.
In terms of hardware, I already have the TM Warthog and Saitek Combat rudder pedals. The HOTAS will be incorporated into 2 mini pods either side of the chair, the pedals will be built into front of the seat and be suspended rather than lie flat on the floor. The design will take some inspiration from the in-game chairs, specifically the seat shape and the upholstery, but also from some of my other project builds.
From kicking a few ideas around, I can see that the seat shape, in terms of the contours, will present the most challenges. Upholstering can be very difficult as I've had some previous experience with that previously. Getting the shape correct, whilst making things comfortable and seamless will no doubt prove a little problematic but I do like a design challenge.
A bit more of a breakdown on my current thinking:
The overall design of the chair will follow the design of the one in-game:
The chair panels will broadly follow the in-game seat:
I'm not kidding myself that this is going to be easy and will take some time. My last project took around 350 hours to complete so I am prepared to invest the necessary effort needed to achieve the desired result. One change I will be making is to have less of an extension at the front where the leg rests are. This is due to space issues. I will be considering a centre partition in the base of the seat for a movable control panel (moveable for easy access) where a control device can sit.
The material I've selected for the seat is a flint gray leather fabric which is 2 way stretchable:
It's very important to get the stretchable vinyl to work around difficult shapes. An example from a previous build is here (dashboard top panel):
The further challenge will be presented due to the foam I will be using for the seat; a hard rather than pliable surface is much easier to work with.
The seat mini pods located to the sides will be shaped and have various inserts for materials. They will need to be wider than those presented in-game but the basic design principles will likely follow those I adopted for my racing simulator shifter pod:
The inlays here use automotive mesh, a fine ribbed rubber material and cast acrylic sheet with artwork placed underneath. I used an accent colour underneath the mesh for a bit of interest and will likely go for orange to keep in line with the ED colour scheme. The materials I'm intending to use can be seen better in this picture:
The vinyl accent, ribbed rubber and the mesh can be seen more clearly here:
This also shows some aluminium inserts which I may use on the seat sides.
The main difference from previous projects will be due to more shallow bevels I intend to use around the edges. This is again to keep space to a minimum but also to streamline the design more.
Just for a bit of self indulgence and to give a better view on the design aesthetics I'm targeting, here are a few picture of previous projects:
Sim Racing Simulator:
Console cabinet for my son:
So, lots of sharp angles involved which I feel would be appropriate for this design.
If you would like to see how the techniques were executed with a video tour of the racing sim build, I have a full breakdown with 100's of posts and pictures here:
As mentioned earlier, please do provide comments and feedback to kick me into action
Edit: Initial concept sketch:
Current state of the build:
Centre console mechanism:
Judging by the quality of your previous projects i think this could turn out very nice... I look forward to seeing how it develops..
Very nice, I will be following this!
/My own project of replacing arm rests on an old leather seat with controller and stick seems kind ridiculous in comparison...
The build quality of your previous projects looks incredibly high!
My father is one of the best classic/custom auto trimmers in the world and your racing seat reminds me of his work, wonderful job!
Can't wait to see what your cockpit looks like
Amazing job man, seriously that's very impressive. It doesn't look like a homemade system, but like something a serious company would sell. Do you do this type of work for a living ?
Thanks very much for all the feedback - it's greatly appreciated and provides the fuel to make progress
@Gamma, don't let anything detract you from your project. I find there's little more satisfying than designing and building something with your own hands.
@Zephyriel, I work in IT for a living - nothing physical is produced and that stifles my creativity. This type of work is an outlet to counter that. I've only ever made game related pieces and have a limited set of tools; an exceedingly small Black and Decker workbench which I set up and take down in the garage, a router (albeit a good one), a jigsaw and a power drill/driver. That covers the main basics I've found to be needed really. Time, patience and commitment are the best tools for any job in my experience!
Here's someone who knows about crafting. Mad respect, and quite frankly I'm extremely curious what your talent and experience can do with Elite as a motivator ^_^
I think if you go through with this, Braben and the lads will want to talk to you about "borrowing" your work for trade show displays and the likes.
I envy your time and commitment to doing this.... Wish I had the space to do it myself
Looking forward to setting the build and completion
The creativity, skill and dedication shown by some members of this forum never ceases to amaze me. So, good luck with your project! If the other stuff you've shown us is anything to go by, it's going to look pretty amazing.
I can't wait!
Good luck and please post updates!
Your past projects show some serious skill, patience and dedication. Having made a few things myself I know how important those last two qualities are.
What router do you use? I find mine indispensable but it scares the hell out of me. Not a tool I'll ever use lightly!
Just in case it helps, I can recommend:
I've not bought anything from them for a while (my tools don't get enough use) but I've been very happy with their router bits - very high quality and reasonably priced.
These pocket hole jigs are so useful when building cabinets. I did a lot of joints in 18mm ply with an older version of the Kreg Master System jigs. Well made and very easy to use.
Sorry in advance if I'm teaching grandma how to suck eggs!
Looking forward to your build. If the racing sim is anything to go by it should be fantastic.
Wishing you lots of luck
Thanks again for the responses, it really helps!
@Toumal, I've looked at a few pictures of trade/game events for ED and wondered why a more immersive setting hasn't been used - maybe I've missed something here though. I have to agree, it would be extremely cool to have a suitably constructed seat at one of these events. Support for Simvibe or similar tactile response software would be fantastic - I have these on my Racing simulator and the immersion is improved greatly. Motion simulation, even more so.
@ijam, I'm a relative novice when it comes to woodworking so thanks for the links. The router is my biggest investment and it is treated with a great deal of respect. I have one with a 1/2 inch collet. It's the Trend T5:
Cool project, looking forward to seeing it progress to completion.