Here I’ll talk about the cockpit base and shell for the simulator.
Cockpit Base: Home Built
Cockpit Shell: FlightDeck Solutions 737 Shell
The base was home-built, comprising of four sections, each 4 foot x 4 foot. I kept things square to keep the build simple. I thought about sizing the frame to the FlightDeck Solutions cockpit shell I was planning to put on it, but cutting angles would be time consuming and require more precision than I felt like dealing with.
The sections are made from 2 foot x 4 foot wood framing along with a 1/2 ” pre-sanded plywood floor (more expensive, but trust me, worth it!). The frame pieces of each section were joined together by a Kregg pocket jig which makes joining wood corners quick and very strong.
One thing that is VERY important is finding straight wood. Otherwise things will not align properly when it all comes together, so I found out. I was already careful to select the best wood I could find at Home Depot, but even the best pieces often have a slight warp to them so be prepared for that and be very accurate when you join your pieces. It’s a learning process. After I built the first section, I was able to learn from my mistakes and make the remaining sections much better. So 3 of the 4 sections lined up almost perfectly. The fourth, well, I can live with the minor variances.
I created blocks around the underside of each component to support the 3″ locking castor wheels I put on so I could roll the sim around the garage without an issue. On some sections I stuck the blocks out past the edges to create a lip for the other sections to rest on. Thus, two sections had wheels all around, and the other two had wheels only on one side. This created 9 wheels…one on each corner, one at the halfway point along each side, and one in the center. Each wheel can hold up to 300 pounds so 2700 pounds of weight total. More than enough. Since this base isn’t going to be on a motion platform, I’m worried about further strengthening. Standing on the base, it is quite solid.
I joined the sections with screw plates. One at each halfway point along the sides, and one in the floor center to keep all the pieces together. That plate will be under the pedestal so not visible. Along the sides, I screwed in “skirt” pieces of thin plywood to make the sides look cleaner and more finished.