Using the previously mentioned pit as an example, and with the help of my two residential carers, I sat myself on the proposed SimPit seat (Ex WAB) and we began measuring me.
Sounds daft I know, but when presented with a blank sheet of paper and you are designing an aircraft cockpit, it rapidly becomes really important that you can see out the windscreen and that you can reach the pedals and switches!
The effort here cannot be understated and halfway through the helpers got fed up and went back to their other assigned tasks.
Design Stage 2 instead then: IO mechanism. Its unfortunate that the market leader here is so expensive. No-one argues that EPIC controllers are the best way to go.
Unfortunately, there is no way that my budget would stretch to this so another solution was needed. Also to add weight against the EPIC, it’s not clear how many sims support it so we need something a bit more generic. Enter the Hagstrom.
Hagstrom Electronics sell a Keyboard controller card which sits between the real keyboard and the PS2 connector on the PC. The device supports up to 72 switches and can play macros and switch/on switch/off events. The card costs about $120 plus shipping, so the cost per switched input is pretty low.
Now that the design is very much a generic cockpit for a single seater craft, such as a fighter for example, I have discarded the idea of buying hideously expensive switches.
Instead, my local electronics online catalogue is the ideal place for a whole bunch of generic toggle switches which won’t cost an arm and a leg.