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P-51 Mockpit Build


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I'm calling this a "mockpit" because it's not going to be a cockpit, per se, it's going to be a console I can attach to my laptop to make the flying a bit easier.

Some controls are going to replicated, some are just going to be built to work.


This idea was inspired by Warhog's "My First A-10C Cockpit" album on flickr.


I'm planning on making some of the instruments as they should be, but others will just work.

e.g. this could end up with an A-10 altimeter as I'd already started building one for the challenge.


And whose damned stupid idea was it to put fuel gauges on the FLOOR? Yup. They're going on the panel. ;)



Mechanical design work will be done in Fusion 360.

For construction, I have a lathe, mill, CNC engraver and I just took delivery of a shiny 3D printer (Creality Ender 3 Pro).

This means I have a diverse choice of materials I can work with.



First-up is the fuel tank select valve.


I think I may have gone a bit over the top with this, but I had fun with the modelling.

It's likely to be the most realistic of the parts I make for this project.


The idea is that the lever turns a shaft with a rotor attached.

The rotor presses down on one of the 5 microswitches to selelct the tank. The rotor presses the next switch before releasing in order to stop it jumping on-screen to the default position.

At the end of the shaft is a pentagon that's used with a spring-loaded arm to provide detents and hold the lever in place over one of the positions.


So far, I've built and tested the switch PCB - that's how I determined it needed to be "make-before-break".





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  • 2 weeks later...

Fuel selector valve is done


Plastic and plywood sheet parts are cut on a 3040 CNC router.

The faceplate is laser engraved plywood - I modelled a proper 3D one, but it wasn't necessary for my build and too much hassle for me to print as a beginner - I think it needs a smaller nozzle than standard.

I could CNC mill it, but again, too much hassle.

The engraved plywood is good enough for now.


3D printed parts are the lever, rotor for the switches, the detent pentagon and the detent arm.

The shaft is steel with a milled square end.

Bushings are brass.


The elastic band pulls the detent arm onto the pentagon to hold it in one of the 5 positions


Here's a video of it working.


I'm really pleased with how this came out.


Fuel gauges are probably next.




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Twin servo driven gauge mechanics.




The markings will be printed paper stuck on with double-sided tape.

No backlight on this one.


The square front is 54mm x 54mm.


This was based on and idea from Alvaro Alea on Thingiverse.




His designs were made for Tower Pro SG90 servos.


His servo connection idea was particularly useful -it's a clip that attaches to a single arm servo horn.


I used the idea to make new designs to fit the Tower Pro SG51 servos I have.


As the P51 has 3 tanks with gauges, I'm going to use 2 of these.

One will have the laft and right wing tanks.

The other will have the fuselage tank and a total gauge.


Another option I'm considering for the second gauge is turn it sideways and use the second needle as a "balance" readout to show relative levels in the wing tanks.

e.g. If there's more fuel in the right tank than the left, the needle will point to the left

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Two dual-needle fuel gauges done.


This shows them without glass.


The graphics are colour printed on paper.

No backlight required for my application.


Here's the back of one.


The needles are driven by clips that attach to a single-arm servo horn.


The face and servo plates are 3D printed here, but they could easily be CNC machined as they're flat on at least one side.


This is the completed gauge.


The glass holder is 3D printed. The glass is cut from a broken CD jewel case

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