• Tutorial: Beyond Plane Maker Part 2

    Beyond Plane Maker

    A Second Step into Miscellaneous Bodies/with Motion

    Making a Nicer Airbrake

    By Ray Hill

    Before starting this tutorial, it may help for reference if you have my 'Plane Maker Tutorial 1.0' file downloaded and installed in X-Plane, as this tutorial is based around this model. It can be found in the file library here at FlightSim.Com (tutorial_xp.zip). Please make sure you don't overwrite any of your existing work.

    The basic airbrake that is configurable in Plane Maker is a rather boring square plate which you can paint (via the .PNG). However it does give the flight engine the required aerodynamic effect. It is not something you can make invisible, but there is a way around this in that you can paint it with zero opacity (so it is see through), your painting app ought to have a color setting to do this. By doing this, it means that it can then be hidden and then overlaid by your (yet to be made) wonderful new object!

    To create this object, it's probably easiest for many to do this in SketchUp, or Blender if you are familiar with it. Your airbrake will probably need to be something like 3 feet wide by 4 feet; which is a size suitable for a Hawker Hunter (this is just an example). Once you have a standard object modelled, you can simply scale it.

    Below is an image of my new airbrake. To achieve the folds, I had to use ViaCAD, although there are probably SketchUp Rubies (3rd party plugins) for curving and folding, whilst Blender has it all built in. What you see below is after I have exported the object using ViaCAD's SketchUp exporter (nice of them) and after I have applied my chosen PNG texture file.

    Beyond Plane Maker

    When you export the object you will get the following dialogue message:

    Beyond Plane Maker

    The triangle count (mentioned above) is important due to the fact that X-Plane uses triangles to build and image objects. The fewer you use, then the less CPU power is required (I built an earlier one with complex curves which resulted in 30,000+ triangles).

    The object may now be copied into your plane's 'objects' folder and then applied to a suitable position using Plane Maker's miscellaneous objects tool, as shown below.

    Beyond Plane Maker

    When I originally did this, I must have got the axes a bit wrong and so had to configure the angular offsets (the last three numerical boxes) in which to get the situation correct. The value 091.0 is to allow the object to fold up further toward the fuselage. The lateral offset (mid left) was required, as I probably didn't set my axis exactly to the mid point in SketchUp.

    Lo and behold we have an airbrake, however...it is not animated (yet).

    Beyond Plane Maker

    During the process of making the airbrake, I found the X-Plane export utility for SketchUp (when using their animation tool) to be very quirky, as the focus there seems to be on buildings and scenery. So after about a day of debugging and reverse engineering, I managed to find a way to manually add animation commands at the end of an X-Plane object.


    1 Comment
    1. smithclarkson01's Avatar
      smithclarkson01 -
      I know nothing about python. I recently did an MTA in software development and had to learn some C# so weirdly I understood some of what was going on.

      I'm gonna have a stab at making a bot. That video is fantastic. Thank you.
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