Community Event / Creation DIY Controller and Throttle

Simplicatron 3000Z: DIY Controller/Throttle and rudder game seat setup

Notice: the project took quite a leaps since i started this topic. Please visit the latest post for updated pictures.

The project is now running almost a full year. After this post was made i added:
- joystick housing
- switch boards
- side consoles
- racing seat
- rudder controller
- console
- cowl
- switch panels
- metal frame
- side consoles
- full lighting
- and much much more.



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Hi guys,

I’d like to share the custom Hotas project i’ve been working on for the past few weeks. Using nothing but an Arduino, 3D-printer and some basic electronics I was able to come up with this contraption:

- pitch/roll
- throttle
- yaw
- mouse x/y
- 2x 5-way hat buttons
- trigger
- several momentary buttons on left and right thumb

TODO:
- optional chair or under-the-table mount
- casing
- lighting
- console mounted switches
- better grip design
- white or aluminium panels, green lights, black contours, stainless steel.

I just play my first 2 hours of flight with this setup, i’m very pleased with the result so far.



The joystick presents itself to the computer as a generic HID device so it should work with every game (PC and Mac), although I specifically started this project to create a HOTAS for Elite Dangerous.

(In the back is a rather ancient Saitek X45 which works great, but i’m only using that for backup)
 

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That is amazing. Is the left hand a single axis running in a slot?
Thanks, Andyd!

Yes the left hand stick is a single axis slot throttle. For the next version, i’m planning a more mechanical system with a few gears to get a better resolution and tighter axle response. My basic design idea was a symmetrical Hotas (at least from a grip point of view), trying not to copy what’s already there.

Here’s another feature i’m working on. This led bar should represent the current throttle.

[video=youtube;HRKjO1CX0Xs]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRKjO1CX0Xs[/video]
 
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Today and yesterday was lighting day. I’ve been working on assembly a 32-digit multi-color led bar. Man this take a lot of time. Next time i’ll just buy the specific parts and design a PCB to mount them on. I’ve been soldering and stripping 64 wires and i’m barely halfway.

Yesterday I also received vinyl sheet for masking out the leds. This time it’ll be blacked out instead of the white you see in the video above.

The joystick itself is fine. I will have to do a lot of work on the stability of the base plate and the mounting because it feels a little loose (which wasn’t my plan at all). Also one of the hat switches broke down (already!). It may have something to do with me prying the button hat on and off and on and off a little too many times since the other one that i use most still feels solid.

Back to the picture, you see a lot of wires which is a lot because there are a lot of leds. By using the concept of multiplexing all those wires come down to 4 groups with 8 leds each where each led has 2 wires (red+green) which makes 64 pins. By switching the lights very very fast (several kHz or so) i only need 4 + 16 pins to drive 4x16 = 64 led pins.

 
All this looks like some great work, Cat!
I sent you a few messages which totals an Old Testament's worth of ideas I've had for mine :p
Cheers!
 
Thanks!

Thank you for your kind and ideas on the PM!

I never intended to design something that is already on the market, which would be a flight-stick lookalike. If I wanted something like that I could just walk into a store and get a Warthog or a CH. That would save me the world of hassle. The controller grips you see on the forum are just bare prototypes to get the mechanics and firmware sorted. I have got some very interesting ideas on the look and feel of the whole thing.
 
Sounds good, I'm keen to see what you come up with! Cheers

EDIT: in your first image, on the left of your Mac stand is what looks like a small stainless steel top hat. I really hope that it is a small stainless steel top hat. If it is a small stainless steel top hat, it definitely belongs on top of your joystick once you make the final version :)
 
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Sounds good, I'm keen to see what you come up with! Cheers

EDIT: in your first image, on the left of your Mac stand is what looks like a small stainless steel top hat. I really hope that it is a small stainless steel top hat. If it is a small stainless steel top hat, it definitely belongs on top of your joystick once you make the final version :)
The hat you see is a Griffin Powermate USB. And below that is a Silverstone monitor riser. There’s no way I could make that myself but I do agree it would be absolutely awesome for a joystick.
 
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Here’s another feature i’m working on. This led bar should represent the current throttle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRKjO1CX0Xs
That is a fantastic mod, a good visual cue that you can follow with peripheral vision; going to have to google this up.

Please tell me that's not the wiring for the throttle display? o_O

You are aware that because of you and Anyd my search history is setting off alarms with the NSA?
 
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Yes, indeed that is the wiring just for the throttle leds. To make it worse: only half of it (another 32 blue wires on the other side of that display). I may have to reengineer this little bit because it getting a little big because of all the wires, perhaps I should develop a solid PCB. lol

Here’s some design candy. It shows the 3d bits for the throttle mechanics.

 
Today I did some shopping for ideas and parts. For example, I went shopping for Leather Vinyl for a hi-tec look on the grips but the shopkeeper was on a holiday :( So I sourced some racing bicycle steering wrapping tape make from rubbery cork and taped some of it on my less-than-round brand new throttle handle.

While it isn’t the look that i was looking it aint bad either. Sorry about the bad picture, the light came from behind.

 
Today I did some shopping for ideas and parts. For example, I went shopping for Leather Vinyl for a hi-tec look on the grips but the shopkeeper was on a holiday :( So I sourced some racing bicycle steering wrapping tape make from rubbery cork and taped some of it on my less-than-round brand new throttle handle.

While it isn’t the look that i was looking it aint bad either. Sorry about the bad picture, the light came from behind.

http://i.imgur.com/IZCMdlOl.png
Very Hipster :D Goes with the suits though.

Don't wish to hi-jack your thread but have a question. I want to build a switch panel (blame Dav). Saw this:

http://www.leobodnar.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=67&products_id=180

which looks too good to be true...and too easy. Is it possible to build something similar with an Arduino board? It's not a case of money, but rather I'd like to get my hands dirty and the Leo Bodnar board looks a little too 'plug and play'.
 
I'm building mine with a ln Arduino leonardo (Arduino micro 32u4 in fact ) so yes entirely possible.

I dont lnow about the board, but it looks it has everything to cover the basics. The hardware is what takes all the energy though. A basic pushbutton board shouldn't be too difficult to wire up.
 
I'm building mine with a ln Arduino leonardo (Arduino micro 32u4 in fact ) so yes entirely possible.

I dont lnow about the board, but it looks it has everything to cover the basics. The hardware is what takes all the energy though. A basic pushbutton board shouldn't be too difficult to wire up.

Many thanks man; so if I've understood my things so far on the Arduino buttons/thumbsticks can share the VCC and GND Pins but need to have their own 'axis' A1,A2 etc?
 
Awesome project OP

I've been pondering my aged Thrustmaster HOTAS Cougar for the last week or so and will be trying to update that over the next few months as well.....this thread gives me inspiration :)
 
Awesome project OP

I’ve been pondering my aged Thrustmaster HOTAS Cougar for the last week or so and will be trying to update that over the next few months as well.....this thread gives me inspiration :)
You might want to connect to the Arduino forums on arduino.cc is you need assistance with wiring up buttons and configuring your Arduino as a USB HID device. Not every Arduino board will do, the regular Arduino UNO or Mega are NOT suitable unless you put in a custom firmware on the USB chip. That is why I moved up to the 32u4.

Progress report:

I’ve pick up some scraps of leather from a local leather working shop. This could get interesting.
 
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