October 16, 2008

The Top Ten DIY Flight Sims Cockpit Construction Tools

We have a whole workshop full of tools that we use to build our home-made flight simulator projects, but we tend to use these ten tools a lot more than the others.

1. Drill / cordless drill
We would just say cordless drill, but the battery occasionally runs down at the most inconvenient times, so we have the old reliable regular drill to fall back on.

2. Cordless electric screwdriver
This isn’t our cordless screwdriver, it’s a picture of a similar model. We sacrificed ours to science by using the parts to create a jack-screw pitch attitude trim system for the MAACS flight simulator. Turns out we didn’t need it. It was a wonderfully useful tool and I miss it.

3. Chop saw (miter saw)
This single tool makes things 1000% percent easier. You can get by doing infrequent projects with just a hand miter saw, but if you’re going to cut a lot of 2x4’s and PVC pipe like we do, there’s just no choice but to get a chop saw. With the proper blade, it even cuts through metal. Love it.

4. Box knife
The lowly box knife. So simple, but so very useful. This isn’t even a high quality box knife and it’s still useful.

5. Tape measure
It seems like we’re always reaching for the tape measure. Keep one in the workshop, one in the garage, one upstairs, one downstairs. I usually have one clipped to my belt whenever I go to the hardware store. Make sure at least one tape measure is both metric and standard.

6. Adjustable crescent wrench
You can get by most projects with a crescent wrench and a 7/16” wrench and a 9/16” wrench for the ¼” bolts and the 3/8” bolts respectively. If you’re going after larger projects, just get a socket set and ratchet wrench.

7. Sharpie marker
Sharpies are great. If you’re doing a lot of drawing on dark colored medium density hardboard (MDF) or any other dark material, use a silver-colored Sharpie.

8. Paint brush or roller
Paint your flight simulator project.
Paint your flight simulator project. There I said it twice. Paint makes your project look wonderful. Regular interior latex paint is cheap, convenient, and readily available. Keep the paint brush or roller in a ziplock bag in your refrigerator in between coats. It will actually keep wet for weeks.

Paint your flight simulator project. There I said it three times.

9. Caulking gun
Many of the DIY Flight Sims projects use PVC pipe, and we use our trusty Liquid Nails and a caulking gun to glue these pieces together. It’s much more easy to work with than quick-drying, noxious PVC cement.

10. Safety glasses
Are safety glasses a tool? Technically no, but they sure are important, especially if you visit a Federal Aviation Administration Designated Medical Examiner every year. I don’t want a stupid mistake in the workshop to affect my FAA medical certificate.

Did I miss one? What other wonderfully useful tool should be on this list?


Rachel said...

I am super jealous of your chop saw.

Linda dadson said...

Learning to use a caulking gun is important if you want to do home improvements yourself, it is an absolute advice. It actually involves a lot of patience and concentration. But if you do it properly on the first try then you will be quite pleased with yourself.
Webbing Slings