I'm trying to create a six-lever throttle quadrant, and as my first "build something" project I'm worried that I might have bitten off a bit more than I can chew as there are a few mechanical issues I can't think of a solution for.
I want to create a box that has your basic six levers sticking out, and the levers sweep on a 90-degree angle. Kind of like that Saitek quadrant, if you know what I'm referring to. Anyway -- I purchased six rotary potentiometers, but I immediately have a couple issues:
* If you stack them end-to-end, with the direction of rotation the same as the direction the levers will rotate, they are kind of long: about one inch per potentiometer! That's a fine distance for every two, but I'd like to have the two throttles, two mixtures, etc. closer to each other than that.
* The potentiometers rotate 270 degrees, and I'd only be exposing 90 degrees of rotation. I haven't worked with potentiometers before, so I'm wondering if that leaves enough fidelity in the controls (10-bit ADC if it matters).
For problem 1, I had two ideas. I could stack them so the bottoms actually face the bottom of the box, and this would move the plane of rotation to be parallel to the bottom -- I'd need to create gears to go on the pots and the levers, to transfer the angle of rotation. I suppose I could make a 2:1 gear ratio if I was to do this to solve problem 2 as well, but this is really my first mechanics project and I'm really worried that at that point I'd have bitten off way too much.
Has anyone tried to do anything like this before and, if so, how did you deal with it? The other thought I had was to stagger the potentiometers slightly -- for the two throttles, the left-hand throttle would be further back than the right-hand throttle, and then make two different-sized levers, then repeat that for the mixture and propeller speed. Would this be a workable solution?
Any advice on solving either of these problems would be greatly appreciated. I'd really like to get this done just so I can prove to myself that I'm capable. As far as complexities of building, I have access to a 3D printer and thus have pretty high resolution in terms of measurements I can use.