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My New Cyclic Build with Magnetic Brake Trim


molevitch
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I have been running a 2xMSFFB2 modded cyclic for a number of years. I fly DCS helicopters almost exclusively now, especially the Huey, Mi8 and Gazelle. My current stick has a long extension with a CH fighter Stick Grip with some additional buttons and an extra hat switch from Warthog spares.

 

I find the deadzone in the MSFFB rig increasingly frustrating when flying the helicopters using refined and necessarily miniscule motor skills. The "twitchiness" of the Gazelle is frustrating with such a deadzone exaggerated by the stick extension.

 

I have been interested in the idea of incorporating an authentic cyclic (and collective) into my rig for some years, but the real things from surplus MOD stock are often prohibitively expensive, or just plain trashed. So imagine my surprise when I acquired a Lynx cyclic recently on ebay for £180.00. Similar items are generally listed at £250 plus.

 

So now I have the core for a new cyclic build project. A real cyclic, with a heavy steel tubing stick and cast metal grip is too heavy for any standard retail joystick gimbals.

 

Time to get real!

 

I am not an engineer, and I do not have access to CNC machinery. (Well I do, but its a 1 hour drive away....). But I have a good set of tools, and a reasonable skill set. Plus I am a designer of things.... I wanted to be able to achieve good and effective results without resorting to complex machinery, to keep it simple but efficient, and to use as many readymade components as possible.

 

Design. After many hours of internet searches, I referenced these other projects, and credit them as my guides and inspiration.

 

http://1stcavdiv.conceptbb.com/t2568-building-a-cyclic-with-force-trim

 

I set about ordering components.

 

For my gimbal, I settled on a combination of aluminium box section pieces, pillow block bearings and steel rods. All ordered from eBay. 35mm box tubing would be cut to a 100mm length and filed to fit over the base of the cyclic tubing at the pivot point, and to give it some flat surfaces to mount other connections. At 35mm external, this will fit inside the 50mm x 100mm x 100mm external box giving a clearance for rivets used to secure pillow blocks on the outside of the ext box. See images.

 

3x Steering dampers ordered from China via ebay. 1 to be saved for upgrade to existing collective system, 2 for the cyclic project. Springs ordered from RS components. The dampers end attachments were removed after heating with a blow torch for a few seconds to soften the glue used to secure them. The 50mm long compression screws were then threaded onto the rods at each end and the stops and connectors reattached. These will be the force gradients for attachment to the gimbal.

 

3 x fire-door electro-magnets ordered from China via ebay. These will be the magnetic brakes for the force gradients. running from a 12v transformer, they will be disengaged by a PTB button added to the cyclic grip as the Trim button. The steel blocks which are acted on by the electro-magnets will be mounted on short bearing sliders, for drawers, also bought on ebay for a few pennies....

 

With all components on site, it took a morning to put it all together. I learned one extra valuable lesson. DON'T buy cheap HSS drills....

 

The biggest and probably most time consuming part of the project is probably going to be working out how to connect up all the switches from the wiring loom. Luckily all cables are named and numbered and grouped, but all disappear into a 55pin mil circular connector.

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Edited by molevitch
update

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Custom Mi-24 pit with magnetic braked cyclic and collective. See it here: Molevitch Mi-24 Pit.

 

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Of course I will as it comes along. I am away this week but will continue building on my return

SCAN Intel Core i9 10850K "Comet Lake", 32GB DDR4, 10GB NVIDIA RTX 3080, HP Reverb G2

Custom Mi-24 pit with magnetic braked cyclic and collective. See it here: Molevitch Mi-24 Pit.

 

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Mole that is a really nice simple design. I might draw some inspiration from your build myself to try to mod my microhelis cyclic base. I've got a serious space limitation in my motion pit, so I'm not at all sure what I'm going to do at this point. My dual FFB2 is what I'm now using because it's fairly compact in terms of footprint and doesn't extend below the floor like my sweet microhelis base plus it gives me Force Trim, but if you say the dead zone was bothering you it will probably bother me too.

 

I'm not home right now, but I'm thinking I might be able to make this work for me if I can solve a problem or two and make it fit.

 

The one problem I see is there is going to be no friction/resistance whatsoever when the Force Trim is off. I'm going to ask Comanchero about the feel of the stick with Force Trim off.


Edited by TripRodriguez

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Hi Trip, thanks for the kind words. The design is not strictly mine, though the gimbal kind of is. I just needed simple solutions as I don't (yet) have a good tool-shop setup.

 

On reflection, I am thinking to turn the mechanism around, and put the pitch force gradient under my seat, rather than extending into the area where my feet are. That way, the entire mechanism will be an extension of the seating support. I have a sports-car seat which is adjustable and on sliding rails which I got off eBay some years ago for £40.00, and it has space under it so....

 

Alternatively, for ease of maintenance, I may put it all in a box/under a floor. That way, it will all be accessible for tweaking and tightening up, without needing a full breakdown. I am building pedals to go with it all, and incorporate into the same control system. The interface will be Leo Bodnar board(s) based. And the pitch, roll and yaw will all be read by Hall sensors, not pots.

 

I will be adding cast rubber boots to the cyclic, pedals and collective, once I get there....

 

Anybody with any advice about interpreting the wiring from the Lynx grip switches would be gratefully received. There are groups of cables, numbered. But each switch has 4 cables.... I think I worked out the 4 way hat switch. A simple test circuit I can make with battery and light bulb, contacts etc, but that 55 pin plug is damn fiddly to connect to! And finding a mate for it is either REALLY expensive, or really random. Found one, but it will need filing to fit.

IMG_5171.thumb.JPG.9056cfc5f1fceb85fe0f75e72e19cfa0.JPG

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Edited by molevitch
added image

SCAN Intel Core i9 10850K "Comet Lake", 32GB DDR4, 10GB NVIDIA RTX 3080, HP Reverb G2

Custom Mi-24 pit with magnetic braked cyclic and collective. See it here: Molevitch Mi-24 Pit.

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC] www.blacksharkden.com

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Those might be double-pole switches. Either for redundancy (so it still works if one connection breaks) or it might switch both a higher voltage signal to do the work and a lower voltage signal to notify some flight computer about the switch state.

 

Either way, you can take a multimeter, find two wires that are disconnected when the switch is off and become connected when the switch is on, and ignore the other wires :)

 

Disclaimer: I have no knowledge at all about real-world avionics. I am just a computer scientist who tinkers with electronics in his free time.

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Anybody with any advice about interpreting the wiring from the Lynx grip switches would be gratefully received. There are groups of cables, numbered. But each switch has 4 cables.... I think I worked out the 4 way hat switch. A simple test circuit I can make with battery and light bulb, contacts etc, but that 55 pin plug is damn fiddly to connect to! And finding a mate for it is either REALLY expensive, or really random. Found one, but it will need filing to fit.

 

A long time ago in a galaxy far,... well you know the rest of it, I have terminated those connectors, and all I can say they were interesting to say the least. If I can suggest a budget digital multimeter (not too budget) might be more useful for you.

 

I'm not sure on your skill set but an option might be to terminate the wiring loom onto a db 37 and maybe a db 25 connector if you want to retain the ability to easily disconnect it. But as someone else has suggested the dual contacts maybe a failsafe arrangement.

 

I've gotta say your gimbal looks great I'm currently thinking about doing my own torque pedals so keen to see any developments.

Control is an illusion which usually shatters at the least expected moment.

Gazelle Mini-gun version is endorphins with rotors. See above.

 

Currently rolling with a Asus Z390 Prime, 9600K, 32GB RAM, SSD, 2080Ti and Windows 10Pro, Rift CV1. bu0836x and Scratch Built Pedals, Collective and Cyclic.

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A long time ago in a galaxy far,... well you know the rest of it, I have terminated those connectors, and all I can say they were interesting to say the least. If I can suggest a budget digital multimeter (not too budget) might be more useful for you.

 

I'm not sure on your skill set but an option might be to terminate the wiring loom onto a db 37 and maybe a db 25 connector if you want to retain the ability to easily disconnect it. But as someone else has suggested the dual contacts maybe a failsafe arrangement.

 

I've gotta say your gimbal looks great I'm currently thinking about doing my own torque pedals so keen to see any developments.

Thanks Fragbum! I may take the soft option and cut the plugs off. Sadly.... there is the 55 pin and also a 10 pin, though the 10 is only host to 4 cables. I think I will cut and terminate in a long connector bar for ease of management. Easier to test as well.

I will post some sketches illustrating the pedal design and the overall design later.

SCAN Intel Core i9 10850K "Comet Lake", 32GB DDR4, 10GB NVIDIA RTX 3080, HP Reverb G2

Custom Mi-24 pit with magnetic braked cyclic and collective. See it here: Molevitch Mi-24 Pit.

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC] www.blacksharkden.com

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Ian;3153942']Those might be double-pole switches. Either for redundancy (so it still works if one connection breaks) or it might switch both a higher voltage signal to do the work and a lower voltage signal to notify some flight computer about the switch state.

 

Either way, you can take a multimeter, find two wires that are disconnected when the switch is off and become connected when the switch is on, and ignore the other wires :)

 

Disclaimer: I have no knowledge at all about real-world avionics. I am just a computer scientist who tinkers with electronics in his free time.

Thanks [FSF]Ian,

 

I figured there may be some redundancy involved, and you may well be right about some info being passed to flight computers too. I will simply have to test and see which ones do anything. I also realise that I have far too much length of cable and need to shorten it anyway, so will be cutting off the connectors any way. I will save them for posterity....

SCAN Intel Core i9 10850K "Comet Lake", 32GB DDR4, 10GB NVIDIA RTX 3080, HP Reverb G2

Custom Mi-24 pit with magnetic braked cyclic and collective. See it here: Molevitch Mi-24 Pit.

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC] www.blacksharkden.com

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Beautiful work there @molevitch. When I assisted a good flying budy of mine implementing this collective, we chopped of the MIL spec connector simply because it was too much hazzle to find the female part. Then we too the collective head apart and basically just pulled gently in one wire at a time to map out the connections. As Ian mentioned there may very well be redundant connections which you may just want to get rid of.

 

I look forward for seeing more photos of your project.

 

Cheers

Hans

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Well, my project may have just taken a turn, as I have just acquired a Mi24/Mi8 cyclic and collective off eBay.... At what I think is a fair price.

 

So I may be looking to sell my Lynx cyclic. Anybody interested?

SCAN Intel Core i9 10850K "Comet Lake", 32GB DDR4, 10GB NVIDIA RTX 3080, HP Reverb G2

Custom Mi-24 pit with magnetic braked cyclic and collective. See it here: Molevitch Mi-24 Pit.

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC] www.blacksharkden.com

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Tomorrow I take delivery of Mi-24/Mi-8 cyclic and collective sticks.... To which end I have been searching for images of the mounting mechanisms for the collective.https://forums.eagle.ru/attachment.php?attachmentid=163853&stc=1&d=1496782661

 

Found a fascinating and useful blog about Mi-8s: http://szextant.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/91-8-17-and-huaf-markings-s-design-mil.html?zx=b4116420eef6f9f9

 

Some of you might enjoy and find useful too.

https://forums.eagle.ru/attachment.php?attachmentid=163854&stc=1&d=1496782661

https://forums.eagle.ru/attachment.php?attachmentid=163855&stc=1&d=1496782661

 

Trip, I was thinking of doing similar pedals to UH-1 type, ie typical western chopper see-saw pedals but now I'm not so sure. Might build something more like the Russian designs. Or buy these.... sometime. :helpsmilie:

https://forums.eagle.ru/attachment.php?attachmentid=163856&stc=1&d=1496783046

1732701286_hindsticks.thumb.jpg.acf74c110615411133bc0bb4d050fdbe.jpg

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Mil-pedals001.thumb.jpg.b0ecd7adeed732a9700e58cbc08269cc.jpg

SCAN Intel Core i9 10850K "Comet Lake", 32GB DDR4, 10GB NVIDIA RTX 3080, HP Reverb G2

Custom Mi-24 pit with magnetic braked cyclic and collective. See it here: Molevitch Mi-24 Pit.

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC] www.blacksharkden.com

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  • 2 weeks later...
Well, my project may have just taken a turn, as I have just acquired a Mi24/Mi8 cyclic and collective off eBay.... At what I think is a fair price.

 

So I may be looking to sell my Lynx cyclic. Anybody interested?

HI Molevitch,

 

I might be interested in your cyclic. Are you in the UK?

 

Send me a private message?

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Russian cyclic update.

 

So, I have been busy with accommodating my new components.

 

The gimbal I had made for the Lynx cyclic did not fit the Russian stick. So I ordered a new piece of aluminium box section, this time 120mm x 60mm x 4mm. I also redesigned the pivot points to the top of the box, as the cyclic has its extension to join onto control connectors. I want to use this to connect to my own force feedback gradients for the pitch axis.

 

The electro-magnetic force gradients will now be mounted under my seat, and parallel, with the roll axis offset through 90 deg via an ingenious right angled triangular pivot.

 

The gimbal is mounted almost under the front of the seat, due to the shape of the stick.

 

Pictures in the morning to follow. Too late tonight! Too hot here in London, and heading for bed....

SCAN Intel Core i9 10850K "Comet Lake", 32GB DDR4, 10GB NVIDIA RTX 3080, HP Reverb G2

Custom Mi-24 pit with magnetic braked cyclic and collective. See it here: Molevitch Mi-24 Pit.

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC] www.blacksharkden.com

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So, I have been busy with accommodating my new components.

 

The gimbal I had made for the Lynx cyclic did not fit the Russian stick. So I ordered a new piece of aluminium box section, this time 120mm x 60mm x 4mm. I also redesigned the pivot points to the top of the box, as the cyclic has its extension to join onto control connectors. I want to use this to connect to my own force feedback gradients for the pitch axis.

 

The electro-magnetic force gradients will now be mounted under my seat, and parallel, with the roll axis offset through 90 deg via an ingenious right angled triangular pivot.

 

The gimbal is mounted almost under the front of the seat, due to the shape of the stick.

 

Pictures in the morning to follow. Too late tonight! Too hot here in London, and heading for bed....

 

So here are some pics. The gimbal with stick in place, and side attachment for link to force gradient.

attachment.php?attachmentid=164567&stc=1&d=1497981055

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Here also first stage of development of the collective from a co-pilot to main pilot. The throttle will have a damper which will attach to the base of the connector rod. The base of the connector rod will in turn attach to its own damper. All will become clear once done. The bracket is made in MDF, but will be beefed up to be more authentic with structural reinforcement, and paint. I will be adding engine controls as well.

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=164573&stc=1&d=1497981117

attachment.php?attachmentid=164574&stc=1&d=1497981117

 

And the grip has been stripped down for wiring identification. I acquired a 4-way hat switch from an old Westland collective which is a perfect 25mm barrel fit! From which I have taken a mould for the hat switch top, to cast a replacement for the missing one on the collective.

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=164571&stc=1&d=1497981117

attachment.php?attachmentid=164572&stc=1&d=1497981117

 

Now awaiting bolts and such to assemble the cyclic to the magnetic brakes. That will keep me busy for a day or two....

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=164575&stc=1&d=1497981117

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SCAN Intel Core i9 10850K "Comet Lake", 32GB DDR4, 10GB NVIDIA RTX 3080, HP Reverb G2

Custom Mi-24 pit with magnetic braked cyclic and collective. See it here: Molevitch Mi-24 Pit.

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC] www.blacksharkden.com

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Damn that's looking good. I'm still procrastinating with my design. I know I am rough but have you thought of some steel bar instead of the pressed steel bit's for the electromagnets to attach to.

 

Although magnetic reluctance of the material used and the effect of residual magnetism on operation of the mag brake would have to be considered perhaps not mild steel, some other alloy.

 

I have procured some RHS 2mm steel tubing so I can fabricate a frame, but first of all is hopefully decent pedals. ;)

 

Especially after seeing what BIGNEWY got to play with, shipping for that item is expensive for me but it looks like a nice platform to start with and I might have got some basic concepts from it, just saying. :music_whistling:

 

Whetting my my thought process even more cheers. :thumbup:

Control is an illusion which usually shatters at the least expected moment.

Gazelle Mini-gun version is endorphins with rotors. See above.

 

Currently rolling with a Asus Z390 Prime, 9600K, 32GB RAM, SSD, 2080Ti and Windows 10Pro, Rift CV1. bu0836x and Scratch Built Pedals, Collective and Cyclic.

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Update on Collective and Cyclic Mi-8/24

 

Hi Fragbum,

 

Yes, I thought about a longer piece of steel for the magnets, but as they really only move about 4-5cm each way, there is enough to attract to. Once I am actually using it, I may add longer bars.

 

Hey Trip, thanks for the words, yes, coming along nicely. I have some time right now for this project as I am waiting for some paid work to pan out.

 

Just rearranged the Mancave as well to be more efficient on space.

 

And here is a pic of my first casting of a thumb button for the hat-switch. Made by pressing warm Milliput into the mould, and leaving for a couple of hours. If anybody needs one please ask, I'll work out a price. Got to be cheaper than 3D printing! Looks kind of used and authentic too....

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=164621&stc=1&d=1498046550

 

Now, BACK TO WORK!

thumb-hat-switch.thumb.jpg.c4267edfd5bcf3641e1f29d60b3803bc.jpg

SCAN Intel Core i9 10850K "Comet Lake", 32GB DDR4, 10GB NVIDIA RTX 3080, HP Reverb G2

Custom Mi-24 pit with magnetic braked cyclic and collective. See it here: Molevitch Mi-24 Pit.

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC] www.blacksharkden.com

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Hi Guys,

 

I have just listed my Lynx Cyclic on eBay. It goes live on Friday night at 9.00pm.

 

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/-/232382330713?

 

Happy Bidding!

 

Mole

SCAN Intel Core i9 10850K "Comet Lake", 32GB DDR4, 10GB NVIDIA RTX 3080, HP Reverb G2

Custom Mi-24 pit with magnetic braked cyclic and collective. See it here: Molevitch Mi-24 Pit.

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC] www.blacksharkden.com

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Started again with Mi-24 cyclic stick and collective

 

Latest assembly of the Mi-8/24 cyclic, now with rewired grip and connected up to the refined magnetic brake. The roll axis is connected to a triangular pivoted lever which transfers the force back wards, parallel to the force gradient of the roll axis. The Force Gradients, Magnets and electronic Boards will all be concealed under the seat.

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=165076&stc=1&d=1498657343

attachment.php?attachmentid=165074&stc=1&d=1498657343

attachment.php?attachmentid=165073&stc=1&d=1498657343

 

Because the original Trimmer button on the grip is a Push-To-Make switch, I needed to add a relay switch to the electro-magnet circuit, so that on depressing the Trimmer button, the relay switches the magnets off.

 

 

It took me a full day of brain-wracking to work out the wiring of the 2-stage radio/ICS trigger switch. Finally I understood. The original mechanical switches with their springs and magnets are consequently retained, restored and functional.

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=165075&stc=1&d=1498654557

 

Unable to find a Russian 2-way or 4-way hat-switch at a reasonable price, I happened upon a battered old Westland Wessex collective which gave me a 4-way hat switch for the grip, and which with minimal filing proved an almost perfect fit.

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=165077&stc=1&d=1498656697

 

Having rewired or extended the buttons and switches, I remounted the grip into the stick, threading the wiring through to the outlets at the stick's pivot point, covering them with shrink tubing for protection and neatness. So far I have connected and tested only the Trimmer circuit. I have assembled an EDtracker box for reading the pitch and roll of the cyclic, which will fit neatly inside the gimbal. The other switches will be connected to a Leo Bodnar BU0836A board via Breakout Matrix board.

 

Hopefully all that will be completed tonight and tomorrow. Then further work on the setting-up of the collective will follow over the coming days.

 

Dam, cannot get the Youtube clip link to work! What am I doing wrong?

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Edited by molevitch
youtube!

SCAN Intel Core i9 10850K "Comet Lake", 32GB DDR4, 10GB NVIDIA RTX 3080, HP Reverb G2

Custom Mi-24 pit with magnetic braked cyclic and collective. See it here: Molevitch Mi-24 Pit.

 

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC] www.blacksharkden.com

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