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VRpit Warthog Extension - Assembly Impressions


whartsell
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EDIT: part two of the review,Flying Impressions is located here

 

Since I am one of the early adopters of the VRpit Warthog Extension I figured I would write about my experience building the extension.

Apologies for photo quality my phone doesnt like closeup shots

 

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Assembling

I decided to go with a 12" stick extension as it appeared to be about the right size. Now that its built I might actually make it about 1/2-1" smaller to fit my seat height better.

 

The assembled stick is very solid and will require a bit of pressure to deflect it all the way to its limits. You will defiantly need to mount the base to something as the force of the springs is more than enough to lift it off the floor.

 

What you get in the kit

The kit comes in two options

  1. Just the 3-D printed parts to assemble the kit as well as a complete parts list including part numbers to order from McMaster-Carr
  2. 3-D printed parts and all hardware minus the actual aluminum extension

Both options will of course include an assembly guide and links where to order aluminum tubing

 

My kit included just the 3-D parts required.

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First-Step -Trial Fit

The first thing i did was trial fit the 3-D printed parts to the aluminum extension. You can cut the extension to size with any pipe cutter that can handle 1" tubing. I had one from Harbor Freight that i got for $5 and it did the job just fine. Once you cut your aluminum shaft you must debur the edges inside and outside. This ensures everything fits together nicely. The proper way is to use a file and finish it off with a Scotch Brite pad. If you dont have a Scotch Brite pad you can use one of the foam sanding blocks used on drywall that you can get from your local hardware store.

 

 

Upper Adapter

The Upper Adapter fits very tightly and will require some force to get it all the way on. I used a rubber mallet to persuade it on the aluminum. You can tell its all the way on when you can see aluminum through the optional attachment hole. Getting it off is even harder as you need to insert something inside the tube and tap it out.

 

 

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You really don't need to put it all the way on to trial fit so just get it snug and you should be good to go

 

 

Lower Extension Assembly

These parts fit loosely and will appear to wobble but don't worry they will tighten up when everything is assembled with springs and such

 

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Fully fitted

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Cable Modification

TM in their kindness did not use a standard PS2 configuration so we will have to make some changes to the extension PS2 cable and possibly the connector on the stick itself.

 

Modifying to fit the base

The manual is very clear on this and its quite easy. Just reach all the way in with needle-nose pliers and break off the black plastic key on the male end of the cable. You will also need to remove a pin. Its not as brittle as the key but with a few wiggles and patience it will break off as well.

 

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Modifying to fit the stick grip

There are two approaches here I have found.

  1. Dremel out the key slot on the female end of the adapter to be longer
  2. Snap off the key on the base of the stick grip itself

I inadvertently did the latter but would have preferred the former

 

Clevis Installation

This requires you to drill and countersink four holes in your aluminum base plate. Conviently the instructions even give you the part number for the proper countersink if you dont have one. The instructions call for .6" from the side of the plate but I used 9/16" and that worked fine. (I wish we were metric. Life would be so much easier.) Make these holes as precise as you can but dont worry if they are not perfect. I had one hole about 1/3 of a diameter off the others and its fine.

 

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When you attach the clevis be sure to leave them loose enough that there is enough clearance to pop the retainer off/on the clevis.

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Cable Installation

Believe it or not this was the hardest part for me. After a few failed attempts i wound the cable tightly around a long skinny screwdriver and taped it there for about 30 min. This way the cable developed a little "memory" and stayed coiled a bit. I removed the upper adapter from the extension and attached the cable to the base and fed it in through the bottom while turning the extension so the cable wanted to coil more and it slid into the extension. Patience is key here as it took me about 10 min to get it all the way in.

 

Coiled cable

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Done

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Installing the Stick Grip

Installing the stick grip on the adapter is a bit tricky as you have to match up the cross section of the adapter to the stick or it will not fit. It also takes a but more pressure than you would think to get it to mount up. You will feel a little thump when its all the way on. this is due to the cutout being exactly the same size as the flange on the stick. You should trial fit the stick to the adapter first w/o the cable so you know how it feels.

 

Pull the cable through the upper adapter then install the adapter on the extension. Remember it will take allot of pressure to get it on all the way. Attach the connector to the stick and then slide it onto the adapter and screw it all the way down.

 

Installing the extension on the base

This is almost straight forward. Just align it to the offset you want (im about 15 deg) attach it and screw it down until when the stick is fully deflected the lower adapter almost touches the base. If you screw it down all the way you will not get full deflection.

NOTE the stick will feel sloppy and wobbly. This is normal and will tighten up when the springs are on.

 

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Installing the springs

This is rather straight forward. Rotate the spring mount match the clevis and push the springs into the mount. This is really tight and you will have to wiggle them a bit to get them to clear the holes. Secure them with the nut and screw.

 

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Now just pull the stick over towards the clevis as far as it will go and clip the clevis pin back in. Then tighten the clevis.

 

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Recheck all your screws and you are done with assembly.

you will need to calibrate the stick using the TM Calibration Tool (i used 1.13)

 

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Conclusion

I am very happy with the stick and if you are looking for an extension this is the one to buy. Its very well thought out and build quality is excellent for FDM 3D-printed parts. FDM is very economical as far as 3-d printing goes but its not Stereolithography so don't expect nearly perfect cast quality parts. The Stick feels very sturdy and I dont think there will be any problems. If by any chance you do run into problems Flim at VRpit is very friendly and helpful. He will take care of you.

 

The springs will make a little noise when they are deflected a bit and its too early to know if it is just a break-in period or if it will linger. I fly with headphones so its not a problem for me.

 

Flying with the stick is a joy. There is more precision by having larger movements and the stick will return to center quickly but its not that "notchy" center most sticks have. If feels closer to real flight controls where you dont have a sharp center you have more of an area near center where pressures drop off substantially.

Im not a helo pilot but flying the Huey was very precise no bobbing like i experienced with the Warthog and no extension. I would even be tempted to try it w/o the springs as the stick will still have a (weak) center spot with out them.

 

Flying the mustang was a blast and its alot less touchy. I hated having such small stick movements generate large attitude changes in the plane. Nothing like having the stick stuffed to your nuts taxiing a tail-dragger as thats the way its supposed to be.

 

Its getting late here and the wife is hungry so i gotta feed her (dont upset a pregnant hungry lady)

 

Tomorrow after spending some time flying ill post more thorough flying impressions.


Edited by whartsell
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