New build this summer...

(Long. I suggest you don’t read this)

Hi gang,

I’m on deployment at the moment, and while gone I tend to scheme about projects upon my return. The origin project is to make open source flight simulator panels and hardware, so that my flying club can have a ‘hands on’ ground school. With Arduino and a lot of work from a community like this, the tech side is easy.

3D printing makes the creation of hardware easier. I’ve owned a lathe and mill in the past, and for more than a decade have been fascinated with CNC. It’s been about 5 years, though. I chose a 3D printer… Then stumbled upon this site.

My life will be forever ruined. But whatever. About my MPCNC build… :wink: If I’m going to build a dozen panels, I NEED this. I can’t 3D print everything, so I’ll start with painted finished plywood at first, then aluminum sheeting…

So I’m thinking 36X48, as fitting plywood sheets in would be great. My wife already wants to make cabinet doors as well… A 1" build, possibly with stainless tube, Rambo board and a leadscrew in the Z axis. It won’t need to be tall, so maybe 3" of Z.

I’m thinking of running a single board linux computer (something more than a PI running OctoPi maybe, but not sure) if for no other reason than having a computer in the shop is super handy these days. Maybe an Odroid-XU4 running Ubuntu 16.

Anyway, couple questions about this amazing machine.

First, how difficult\expensive is it to build\have a second gantry setup to re-size it, should I want more Z?

Second… It looks like the X-Y dimensions can be changed pretty easily, so the same question stands. How hard is it to make it bigger or smaller?

I’m working in Fusion 360 and Eagle. I intend to order the simple circuit boards that I’m designing, but would like to print plastic and cut finished plywood for the sim (Eventually Aluminum). Eventually, I would like to be able to feed it raw materials and crank out parts. My club has over 60 aircraft that fly all the time in the San Diego area, so a half dozen or more for our three locations would be great for teaching. We are a non-profit, so Open Source and community printed\milled and assembled seems fitting! I’m calling the “Open Source Flight Training Device (OSFTD)”.

If you’re curious, the avionics run on Arduino, and SimVimCockpit ( ).

The cockpit is inspired by the work of this maker, who publishes some of his work on thingiverse… He’s done AMAZING work. I want something similar, but with more 3D printed parts, the frame being CAD designed and notched so it interlocks, pre-drilled holes, etc. A KIT.

Thanks in advance for the help, and sorry for the long post! I have a LOT of time on my hands…





Here is an example of the panel from . The frame is obviously plywood. I’m printing the GPS units and radio stacks… The GPS turned out amazing, with a tiny HDMI screen from China in it.

The lower pic is with a 1/4" finished plywood overlay, with 3D printed bezels and rotary encoders to adjust the instruments. He did AMAZING work, and I hope to expand on it (or at least do something similar…)


Okay, I just realized that’s an overlay with the first picture’s screen under it! NEAT!

Yeah… It is!

That’s the maker community for ya. I had the same overlay idea (many people I’ve found do it in one fashion or another)… But this guy went and did it way better! He found flatter encoders that wouldn’t require as much standoff away from the screen, used 1/4" finished birch plywood (I was thinking aluminum)… I sent him a message, but haven’t heard back…

It SOUNDS like he cut everything by hand… Made router guides, etc.

I would like to be able to make this a kit… And have as much automated as possible, so if a club decides to make it, they can have it cut by a service, or invest the time in making an MPCNC… Regardless, I want to have the tooling to do it myself.

Every engineer that takes things to the next level stands on the shoulders of others, right? The awesome thing about the internet is that we can collectively push the limits higher, without having to spend years learning the same thing everyone else did…

That’s what makes this community so cool.



That is a lot of knobs, buttons, and switches…I NEED to flip some of them.

Cool project for a CNC for sure, glad you picked this one. Easy to scale a DXF to fit whatever monitor that is displayed on.

As for resizing, my opinion is, not that big of a deal. ~1hour or less. I would not want to do it often though. If you have to do it more than a few times build two and just share the expensive control board between them to save some money.