Archive for January, 2009

Airspeed Indicator

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

It doesn’t look like much yet, but this will be an airspeed indicator. I am following the design ideas in Mike Powell’s book.

Here I have colored the motor deck (3.24″ square) with blue Sharpie and laid out the center lines for the holes.

asi-001 asi-005

Below are the faceplate and the motor deck, both 0.064″ aluminum. The 1.8 stepper motor was salvaged from an old HP Scanjet 5100.

asi-009 asi-011

Next up will be the acrylic faceplate and light diffuser.

Joystick controller

Monday, January 26th, 2009

This weekend I etched a board for the excellent MJoy16-C1 controller board that I have mentioned in the past. This board is a USB joystick on steroids, supporting up to 8 axis, 64 push buttons, 16 toggle switches and a POV hat. The creator (Mindaugas Milasauskas) seems to have dropped from the net and the old domain is now a search farm. There is one website selling these online for the tidy sum of 199EUR. I found a good mirror of the old project page and downloaded the docs and hex file there. Update: This mirror is now gone as well. 🙁

mjoy16-002 mjoy16-005


I have had good luck using the toner transfer method of etching PCBs. Google it for a lot of sites with step by step details on the method. This etch wasn’t the cleanest I have done (I forgot to use photo paper and used regular printer paper), but was functional. I didn’t bother populating the parts for the ISP port, hence the blank area beside the USB connector. The jumpers on the white headers prevent false readings from unconnected axis. I had all the parts on hand with the exception of a 40-pin header for the digital inputs. Now I am one step closer to a functional panel.

Poor man’s metal scribing compass

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Lowes didn’t have a compas for scribing on metal, but they did have a pencil compass and a scratch awl.



panel-044 panel-043

A wide tip blue Sharpie makes a good substitute for layout fluid. I got the idea from Mike Powell’s book, Building Simulated Aircraft Instrumentation

Start switch update

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

panel-063 panel-062 panel-067

I constructed a bracket from 1/16″ aluminum stock to hold the rotary switch and key assembly. It would make a machinist cry, but not too bad for basic hand tools and a bench vise.



This was a fun installation…



Clear prop!