reifsnyderb

Custom Control Panel

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I've been enjoying KSP since at least 2013.  While I haven't posted much (only once, Intrepid E Series Interplanetary Ship) I have spent a lot of time lurking and reading these forums.  Recently, I was looking at all of the neat control panel designs and decided to start my own.  I decided to make it modular so that if I want to change something in the future, it will be as easy as removing one set of controls and replacing it with another.

Today, I finished up some gcode and milled out the main panel.  While it is only 12 inches by 6 inches, I can envision stacking them.  

 

Here is the panel still on the milling machine:

KCzsAir.jpg

 
All Cleaned up and the screw holes are threaded:
 
a9e78Mz.jpg
 
I'll add more as I finish milling out the aluminum.
 
Best Regards,
 
Brian
 
 
 

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Very nice! Looking forward to what its going to look like.

I wish i had the tools and material to do this.

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Hello!

I just finished the gcode for the first panel control cluster and installed it.  There is a slight nick in the plate so I'll make another as machining flat plates has a slight learning curve.

 

4bAwlEC.jpg

As an example, I added two guarded switches and a toggle switch.  I also noticed there is space for 4 toggle switches, so I made up some gcode for such a plate as well.

While working on the gcode, I made up gcode for a guarded toggle switch with a push button (i.e.  for staging), and gcode for a plate with 10 push buttons.

I'll make up some gcode for RCS controls as well as the turn/roll controls.

What are the preferred electronics to use for custom panels?

Best Regards,

Brian

 

 

 

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Hello!

I have some new pictures!  I added a plate with 10 push buttons, a plate with holes for 4 toggle switches, and a plate for a guarded toggle switch and button for staging.  I probably want to use a plate for 5 push button switches, instead.  We'll see how it works.  There should probably be another guarded switch with a push button for abort, as well.

 

e0Z3FFK.jpg

 

ZOlzsdC.jpg

Best Regards,

Brian

 

 

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2 hours ago, 0something0 said:

I assume an Ardunio will be used to hook it up?

Hello!

I am thinking something Arduino related.  The Teensy is a possibility but I need to do some more research.  Ideally, I'd like something that is easy to re-configure if there is a change.

Best Regards,

Brian

 

 

 

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More milling today!  I made up a panel for roll/pitch/yaw/throttle and a panel for RCS.  I messed up on the button positions on the roll/pitch/yaw/throttle panel and need to move them over to the right slightly as they are too close to the left edge.  It happens.

What is really nice about this panel design is that it can be reconfigured without much trouble.  New control plates can be machined, installed, moved around, etc.  I suppose two of these panels could be made up so they are side-by-side, too so as to add even more controls.  Lots of things are possible.

 

imR3Mcd.jpg

 

 

 

o0Nyic1.jpg

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Hello!

Today I made a new lower left control switch cluster that has space for 6 switches and a toggle switch.  This replaces the earlier panel where I had the push-button switches too close to the left edge.  I also changed out the top center switch cluster for a cluster that has space for four push-button switches and two toggle switches.

So, across the bottom, the switch clusters are as follows:

Bottom Left:  Roll, Pitch, Yaw switches and a space for a momentary contact center-off toggle switch to use as a throttle.

Bottom Center:  A guarded toggle switch to enable the included staging button.  No more slipping up and hitting the space bar at the wrong time!

Bottom Right:  RCS switches.  The two left are to replace the H and N keys for forward and backwards.  The other four switches are to replace the I, J, K, and L buttons.

The top 3 switch clusters may change as I decide to do so.  The nice part about this design is that mistakes or changes will not involve the entire control panel but will, instead involve just making a new switch cluster and replacing it.  Maybe another such panel could be used for additional switches and/or gauges in the future?

Something else that I need to do:  Get some other colors for the switch caps and guards.  There is too much red.   :-)

Next up:  I need to figure out the electronics!  I am thinking of using an Arduino Uno with a Mux Shield II (http://mayhewlabs.com/products/mux-shield-2).  I think MMJoy can work to provide the firmware for the control panel.   (https://github.com/MMjoy/mmjoy_en/wiki)

Best Regards,

Brian

 

 

yufZdgI.jpg

 

 

Edited by reifsnyderb
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I Ordered an Arduino Uno R3 and a Mux Shield II.  I would have liked to find a lower price on the electronics; but, that seems to be the easiest option at the moment.

 

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That is so cool having access to a cnc mill for a control panel. On the electronics and programming side, quite a few people have had great success with KSPSerialIO or kRPC for accessing KSP from a microcontroller, both as control and display device. Hit the relevant threads for lots of information and advice.

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Thanks for the links!

I have been milling out by using a piece of MDF as a base.  If I make too many more of either those panels or control cluster panels I might make a proper fixture.  The MDF works.  But, a fixture would be much better.  I also need to get a proper end mill for aluminum.  The 4 flute end mills work but will build up too many chips without a running at a very slow speed and constantly clearing the chips out of the way with a brush.  With a proper fixture, end mill, and flood coolant I think I can reduce the time from well over 10 minutes each to under 3 minutes each.

With the same changes, it should be possible to reduce the the main panel machining time to under 20 minutes each.

I've been looking at some other options for electronics, as well and found it in youtube videos.

So, here are some other options and links for instructions, that I have found thus far, to create control panels:

Note:  I found these links and are providing them for info only.  I have no relationship with any web shop owners.

Mux Shield II Instructions:  http://pub.ucpros.com/download/Mux_Shield_II_User_Guide.pdf?osCsid=jq2c9a8knq2bun17o48hsj4u96

MMJoy (firmware for arduino):  https://github.com/MMjoy/mmjoy_en/wiki

Instructions on making a custom control panel:  http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Custom-Control-Panel-for-Elite-Dange/

Video on making a 32 function "button box":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7Sc4MJ8RPM

BU0836X 12-Bit Joystick Board:  http://www.leobodnar.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=67&products_id=180

Info and store for the I-PAC hardware interface:  http://www.ultimarc.com/ipac.html

Tips on building controllers:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5isF90goq5bc1RYbmFiSndTWTQ/view

Forum for flight sim builders (while aircraft sim related, has a lot of info):  http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/forums/81/1/flight-sim-pit-builders

Info on custom vinyl decals:  http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/10186

Groovy Game Gear (sells electronics for custom controllers):  http://groovygamegear.com/webstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=76_81&products_id=235

Info on creating custom waterslide decals:  https://mcgpaper.com/pages/how-to-make-inkjet-water-slide-decals

Info on etching aluminum panels:  http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-etch-aluminum-panel-labelsdesigns-with-a-r/

I am sure there are a lot more.  But this is what I found thus far.

Best Regards,

Brian

 

Edited by reifsnyderb

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Those milled panels are gorgeous, nice work! 

As far as MMjoy goes to, note that it doesn't work on all Arduino-compatible boards. The USB HID emulation it uses requires an Arduino Leonardo or similar, the regular Uno won't work. :(

Have a look at https://github.com/MMjoy/mmjoy_en/wiki/Controllers-(compatible-base-boards) for some confirmed working boards. 

I used a Mux Shield 2 in an earlier iteration of my controller and it worked pretty well. Very easy to hook up to an Arduino board and start polling switches. 

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4 hours ago, stibbons said:

Those milled panels are gorgeous, nice work! 

As far as MMjoy goes to, note that it doesn't work on all Arduino-compatible boards. The USB HID emulation it uses requires an Arduino Leonardo or similar, the regular Uno won't work. :(

Have a look at https://github.com/MMjoy/mmjoy_en/wiki/Controllers-(compatible-base-boards) for some confirmed working boards. 

I used a Mux Shield 2 in an earlier iteration of my controller and it worked pretty well. Very easy to hook up to an Arduino board and start polling switches. 

Hello,

I was thinking the Arduino Uno R3 had the USB HID emulation and it appears I may be wrong....or the info I read was wrong.  I just ordered an Arduino Leonardo.  While it appears an UNO could be adapted to work, I think it is best to go with what is made to work out of the box, so to speak.

Best Regards,

Brian

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Hello!

I got more switches in yesterday.  I found out the hard way that the "caps" are different sizes and don't match.   :-(

MIKdxPd.jpg

 

On a more positive note, the toggle switches fit nicely!  I picked up a couple black and white guards (not installed) as well.  A center off, momentary contact, toggle switch is used for the throttle in the lower left control cluster.

GS5nkxk.jpg

 

 

 

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22 hours ago, reifsnyderb said:

A center off, momentary contact, toggle switch is used for the throttle in the lower left control cluster

Interesting idea! I'd love to hear how you find that in-game. 

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I checked the tracking and it looks like it will be next week until I get all of the electronics in so I can wire this up and see how it works. 

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Hello,

I just ordered a bunch of these --->   https://www.ebay.com/itm/5x-Rectangular-Panel-Mount-White-Light-16mm-Momentary-Push-Button-Switch-DC-12V/301114497553?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

They appear to be the same time used here -->  http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Custom-Control-Panel-for-Elite-Dange/

If they work out, I'll make up some switch panels with those switches, as well.

 

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While the idea of controlling throttle by increase/decrease is interesting, I will implore you to make a simple throttle with a rotary pot hooked to an arduino and try it out before you commit. For me, it was the single greatest improvement of my control scheme that I was able to instantly and very precisely control my thrust, far more so than adding a joystick.

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Thanks for the tip!  Once I get the arduino I'll take a look at adding a potentiometer or 2.  With the modular panel design, and milling machine, it's easy to make changes.  I'll just change out the panel, if necessary.

Best Regards,

Brian

 

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The Mux Shield II came in today!  If the Ardiuno Leonardo was shipped via USPS as opposed to UPS (which doesn't deliver on Saturdays), I'd be ready to wire this up today.

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Ordered some thin black ABS sheets and more aluminum.  I am thinking of gluing the black ABS to the aluminum prior to milling for a more modern look and less of a 1950's look.  Though, maybe I should just go with black ABS plates as opposed to aluminum?

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