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Custom hardware control/switch panel - simpit WIP


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I think the real limiting factor on pricing is that a KSP panel is exactly that, while a Saitek box is a general purpose thing. And even priced at £100, you might not be able to recover the investment. Stocks of parts will require moeny, and you risk getting stuck once KSP popularity fades. If I should give an advice, it would be to make a reasonable estimate on time used per unit once you are done, and then think about having to do it several times over.

On a more positive note, I love your mockup. I hope to eventually see actual pictures :D

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Yep, looking like I would have to sell panels at about £200 plus postage, I might look at making 1 or 2 and listing them on Ebay or Etsy. Kickstarter would be nice to develop a cheaper version but unlikely to get enough funding.

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I don't see why Kickstarter would help you, honestly.

The controller is very specific (KSP and Orbiter is all I can think of) and your customer base will be in the tens, not thousands.

I'd only start making them after you have a buyer, not before. That way your financial risk is close to zero and you don't need funds from Kickstarter to get this started.

Maybe I'm missing something?

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Yeah, you're probably right not enough interest. The point of kickstarter is raising funds above your production costs to fund things like custom injection moulding, custom circuit boards (removing the need to have an arduino inside!), wholesale sourcing etc. Just selling prototypes at £200, they will always be prototypes at £200 and never developed into a more polished production model.... I think I'd sell quite a lot of polished, manufactured controllers if they were closer to the £50 (KSP sells a lot more copies that you might think) but without crowd funding that aint gonna happen ;)

Edited by Mulbin
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Yeah, you're probably right not enough interest. The point of kickstarter is raising funds above your production costs to fund things like custom injection moulding, custom circuit boards (removing the need to have an arduino inside!), wholesale sourcing etc. Just selling prototypes at £200, they will always be prototypes at £200 and never developed into a more polished production model.... I think I'd sell quite a lot of polished, manufactured controllers if they were closer to the £50 (KSP sells a lot more copies that you might think) but without crowd funding that aint gonna happen ;)

PCBs can be made 10 at a time for pretty cheap these days, 10x10cm for 2 dollar a piece at iteadstudio.com

But injection molded parts, forget it. That only gets interesting if you go over a 1000 units. Unless you go to protomold, which can do low volume, at higher costs. And even then, it will feel like cheap plastic parts. But I don't think a panel needs any injection molded parts, you can just laser-cut panels, which isn't that expensive for low volume, and actually looks awesome.

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What you say is right buy correct me if I'm wrong but I believe 50 pounds won't even cover your hardware costs?

Nope, not buying the items a separate components it wont! I've calculated it would be around £80 for parts. I think I will go down the route of making a prototype and seeing if it sells. If people realise how much it costs to build your own then £200 plus shipping is actually very good. I will have some space left over on my print file for my control panels (manufacturer charges per square meter rounded up) so I may squeeze a small protoype facia in when I get them manufactured.

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Update on panels

Art file is still coming along nicely (I've worked out how to do my navball now, and found a nice bezel for it)

fKoc3VR.jpg

The main switch panel artwork is now complete (bar a proof check for errors) and will be going off to be printed on Aluminium composite shortly.

HifKn6N.jpg

Still lots of work ahead, but the prototype I built before has taught me a lot!

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That is definitely the way to go Mulbin. My plan to use printed stickers for the cover went out of the window with your picture, I'll use Dibonds as well. Could you tell me what thickness your board has please? Thanks in advance!

Funny thing, ordering a printed Dibond is actually cheaper than ordering a printed sticker over here. God knows why.

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The Dibond is only 3mm but it's very rigid at this size. You can get thicker. Alternatively if its cheaper to print on 3mm then you could always reinforce the back with another sheet of blank dibond, wood etc.

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Most of the panel hardware I've worked with so far wouldn't really be suitable for anything much thicker than 3mm. If you need to reinforce you'll still need much larger cutouts for mounting stuff in.

Yeah, 3mm is really spot on, otherwise my switches wouldn't have enough screw thread to get through!

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Cool, thanks a lot you two. 3mm was what I was thinking although I won't be able to measure how much thread my switches / buttons have until tomorrow. But I figure I can always drill a bigger hole halfway through from the back to compensate for short screw threading.

Cool... back to Inkscape this weekend it seems :)

Edited by MrOnak
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A handful of the simpit builders I was looking at when I was figuring out how to get my panels built mentioned that Boeing uses Futura on their instrument displays. I had a quick play with that and liked the look enough to run with it.

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