• Rays Aviation Project Home Cockpit

    I found a Danish web site created by a person who had built a Boeing B737 captains side cockpit and he had used a material called FoamAlux, which is foamed PVC (polyvinylchloride) that has the strength like plywood, or actually probably even better, and the surface is super smooth. To process this material was described to be very easy - only using a Stanley knife or similar, but that I later found out would be a modification of reality, or maybe that was because the person who had used this material, had used a thinner piece than what I would later on use.

    I selected the FoamAlux as material for the MiP and ordered at the local DIY shop one plate with a thickness of 10mm - this was way to think for me to process simply by using the Stanley knife, so I had to use a small manual saw and also an electrical saw to ease the processing, no problem though - it's like the phrase "Learning by Doing".

    Now my only concern in regards to materials was the glare wings and top + sides of the consoles - my first idea was to use the FoamAlux for that also, but that would be an incredible expensive solution so I had to find a different solution. I went to the local DIY shop and looked around. I found various possible solutions as 3-5mm FoamAlux, plywood, hardened plastics such as Plexiglas and acrylic plates, various hardened foam products and the Kapa Graph plate which is foamed carton in 5mm.

    The Kapa Graph material was already colored black, easy to process, price wise very fair and it had enough stability for what I needed - the few places where I needed additional stability I could support the Kapa Graph with wood on the back side + all screws mounted into the Kapa Graph would also be fastened into the wood behind because the density of the Kapa Graph is not sufficient enough to withhold screws properly.

    The Build

    I started out by building the frames for the left and right console, and I remembered to make sure that the left console had a support for the dual throttle that I was going to place there. That was a very essential part and something that I easily could have overlooked until I were to place the throttle to the setup...yea.


    After building the two consoles I laid down the FoamAlux plate and started placing various modules on top of it - just to get a picture of what it would look like and get an overview of the complete size of the MiP.

    Next step was to start the marking of the modules, etc. on the FoamAlux plate together with the edges of the MiP, so that I could start the process of cutting the plate into the correct form including mounting holes for the various modules, TFTs and frames, etc.

    This part was actually quite easy and I found the FoamAlux to be a nice material to process. It was a material that had a good strength but still was very easy to cut through using a small manual saw. To do the finish and clean the edges I used the Stanley knife.

    When I had finished the cutting of holes and shaping the MiP I started building the stand for the MiP. Since I had already build the left and right console I could now also calculate which height the MiP would be mounted at - this gave me my total height of the support for the MiP stand.

    Actually the support and stand for the MiP was built extremely simply but still very stable and when finished I mounted the MiP onto the stand. The next step was painting the MiP - I had looked at various colors but liked the Boeing B737 style using the RAL7011 grey.

    The FoamAlux surface is very smooth and thereby it turned out to be a little tricky to paint - what I did was actually to paint it several times to get the very smooth and clean surface that I wanted, but that also meant that the MiP suddenly looked brand new and what I actually wanted was for it more to look a little bit used instead.

    1. aarmin's Avatar
      aarmin -
      Congratulations on a project well done and above all getting joy and fun out of it.
      Many happy landings!
    1. henrystreet's Avatar
      henrystreet -
      Thanks for the in depth look. Will likely use some of your ideas
    1. dgsmith37's Avatar
      dgsmith37 -
      Awesome results. I can see your next project being a wrap-around screen. It's amazing how much you learn building a project that requires more knowledge than we start with. Thanks for the write up and pictures.
    1. RaysAviation's Avatar
      RaysAviation -
      Quote Originally Posted by sammonsb View Post
      Don't see a tailhook lever. Must be a softie pilot not able to land on a boat.
      Well - actually on the Rays Aviation light and mission panel on the left side console I have a switch on/off/on named HOK => that switch controls hook up/down ... I could only fit 3 letters in the legends when cutting the panel with the water cutting machine.

      But you are right - my skills for landing on a carrier are not excellent

      Merry Christmas All

    1. RaysAviation's Avatar
      RaysAviation -
      Thanks for the feedback all - if you need guidance in a similar project or just has questions, I would very much like to help out and share my experience with home cockpit building.

    1. jpgregg's Avatar
      jpgregg -
      This is fantastic! I love it. If you like, check out my setup (link below). It's very similar, although your interfaces are much more advanced. Do you have a website? I will be checking back with this article often as I upgrade my system. Thanks for posting!


      Happy New Year!

    1. RaysAviation's Avatar
      RaysAviation -
      Quote Originally Posted by jpgregg View Post
      This is fantastic! I love it. If you like, check out my setup (link below). It's very similar, although your interfaces are much more advanced. Do you have a website? I will be checking back with this article often as I upgrade my system. Thanks for posting!


      Happy New Year!


      Hi Paul,

      You have a really cool setup!

      3 projectors gives an awesome view - what specs do your projectors have?

      My website is www.RaysAviation.Mono.Net and you are very welcome to visit :-)

    1. jpgregg's Avatar
      jpgregg -
      Thanks Ray. I will check out your website.

      I bought the projectors used, on Craigslist, for roughly $80 each (it's been a little time and I don't remember exactly). They are not identical. I have two 3M MP8670s, and one Panasonic. Also, my youtube vid says I'm running two 9800 GTs, but I upgraded a while ago, and am now running a single GTX660 (much better performance, as might be expected). Since I'm running 4 monitors off a single card, I run the projectors at XGA resolution, to keep frame rates in check. I also use megascenery, with autogen turned off - which also helps keep my frame rates in check. The projector screens are shower curtains purchased at k-mart, stapled and taped in the back, and stretched flat with a heat gun... works quite well.

      Thanks again for the link to your website, I'll be checking back often!

    1. TheSchwartz's Avatar
      TheSchwartz -
      Absolutely fabulous. I have been toying with the idea of doing something like this, but maybe on a smaller scale. Is there a tutorial somewhere on interfacing hardware to flightsim programs (particularly X-Plane)?

      A link would be appreciated
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