Autopilot panel


I built a flight simulator in my basement (as one does) and decided it would be nice to flick actual switches and turn real knobs rather than click things with a mouse.

I’d hand-built a prototype of an autopilot panel a few months before I got the glowforge but it looked pretty rough and I also wanted to be able to backlight it.

The panel itself is some medium maple plywood with holes cut for the switches and knobs, plus some lighting holes. Above that is some medium acrylic which was spray-painted black and then engraved and cut. (I now know that I should have reverse engraved it which would have looked even better, so I may end up re-doing the front panel).

The enclosure is medium draftboard, as are the self-designed captive nut brackets that hold the panel onto the enclosure.

It’s backlit using some 5V LED strips I bought for cheap on amazon and talks to the computer using a Teensy 3.2 board.

Inside it’s a bit of rats nest so hopefully I never have to open it up again… :slight_smile:


Nice looking panel. Makes a great addition to your cockpit simulator. It will make your simulator time more enjoyable.


Always wanted to do that! (I’m talking my Dad and I have dreamed about it for decades.) Yet to have the time/money/room.

Have you ever checked out


Yeah, I’ve seen GoFlight’s stuff but nowadays I mostly fly with the Oculus Rift and I’m not building a simulator for a specific plane.
Also, building it yourself is most of the fun! My landing gear handle I bought off ebay and came out of an old F-86 Sabre, which I then wired to a USB controller.


That’s fantastic. Keep us up on this stuff as you do more. I’ll live through your eyes. :wink:


Dumb question alert!

How do you see your lovely panels if you’re wearing a VR headset?


Great question! The Oculus has a small opening at the bottom next to the nose that you can see through. If you position the panel just right it doesn’t break the immersion.

And with the landing gear lever you just ‘remember’ where it is and you don’t have to see it to reach out and use it.

Every once in a while if I want to use some charts or approach plates and do some ‘real world’ flying I use the monitors rather than the Rift.


Man, i bet you must pwn on World of Warplanes with that set-up!

How are you finding the Oculus?
I had DKI & DKII and as impressive as they were they convinced me that Oculus was not working for me… thinking of a HTC Vive now.


All my likes! (I can’t but, you know :grinning:)


I’m more of a DCS guy. Eagerly awaiting native VR support in X-plane, though. I don’t think the DK2 is comparable at all to the CV1. The CV1 has higher resolution which makes all the difference. It’s mostly a preference thing between the Vive and the Oculus (although the Oculus with touch is probably a better deal now that the price-drop is permanent).


The difference between just the DKI and the DKII was huge.
I think the nausea that affected me with the DKI in many ways colours my opinions of the Oculus.

Still, much appreciate the input