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How do I build a home cockpit? What do I need for this?

How do I build a home cockpit? What do I need for this?

Since my cockpit is not quite finished, I do not want to present myself as the guru, but I can give you some tips on the way.

How do I start?

Which cockpit would I like to build?

It begs the question which cockpit you want to build. Do you want to build a 1 to 1 replica or some panels that give you the most realistic feeling in a cockpit?

If you have answered this question, you can start with the next step.

In my case, I have opted for a very accurate 1 to 1 replica of a Boeing 737-800.

What budget do I have and how much am I willing to spend?

Not everyone was born in a bed of gold so you should set yourself a limit.How much can such a cockpit cost!

I opted for a low budget complete cockpit. How does it work ?! First and foremost, it is important to do as much as possible yourself. Costs less, but of course does a lot more work.

If you decide on the high budget option, you just need a well-filled account and manufacturers like Opencockpit to deliver your cockpit to your home, build it there and all for under 60,000 EUR;).

Which software do I need or with which software do I want to work?

In the market there are some leading simulator programs (in the favorable range).

- X-plane

- Prepare 3D


Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages.

At the time, I chose X-Plane because I had the software already there and the community was great. Countless addons that are free to get and a super quality of implementation.

The deciding factor was the free version of ArdsimX (now SimVim) and Mobiflight. In addition, the connection of Opencockpit modules and other manufacturers.

As I already described in "About Me" I wanted to start with Mobiflight but unfortunately there was a lot I could not connect. Also, the software was too complicated for me. I opted for SimVim which just came to the market and was pleased with this decision. Of course there were and there are always minor problems that are quickly resolved by Vlad and his team. And not to forget my own faults when assembling;).

What's next??

So let's look at what we have now

- We know we want to build a low budget 737-800 complete cockpit.

- We chose the software X-Plane.

- and we want to do all this with SimVim.

That's what but where is the cockpit!?

Now we get the cockpit parts and all the tools you need!

First to the tool:

- Drill: Of course! You have never had to drill so many holes.

- Screwdrivers of different sizes: That too is self-explanatory

- Soldering iron and accessories: You are soldering and that not too little! You need of course the soldering iron with a fine tip (best to organize a replacement) and a fine soldering tin.A small pump to suck.

- Crimping pliers: As we are working with Arduino's, it is recommended to have a crimping pliers and crimping accessories.

- Multimeter: for testing currents.

- Tape measure

- Measuring stick


Switches, Guards, Motors, ....:

After you have received the panels, you have to equip them with something!

Please list what you need!

- Switches: There are various types of On-Off, On-Off-On, On-Off (ON) and On-Off (ON) switches in both large and small versions

- Buttons: You need some buttons like small 6mm for keyboards (FMC and the like) to the other momentary buttons 

- stepper motors: there are two types. Stepper motors and servos. Although stepper motors are louder, they require very little power and are easier to mount. In most cockpits x27 motors are installed.

- Switch Guards: Needed in red and black.

- Encoder: For setting the frequencies. But also to determine positions similar to a potentiometer

- Potentiometer: Analog input for movements like home-made Yokes.

- 7 Segment Ads: You need some of them. Displays such as frequencies or MCP data are read from it.

- Arduino: To wire everything you need 1. Arduino Mega, 2 Arduino Uno / NANO (once for servos and second for stepper motors) and several multiplexers (each multiplexer can control 16 inputs / outputs)

wooden construction / Shell

After we have our panels, the necessary switches, the arduinos we still need the so-called "shell" and the racks for the MIP, pedestal, overhead ....

On the Internet there are a lot of instructions to build the shell and also for the individual panels. I will provide you with some links here but do not write my own contribution.

Boeing 737:

Airbus A320:

General Aviation:


How do I get the picture on a screen or TV?

As already written in the question you have two options. On the one hand, you can use projectors that give a much more realistic feeling or television or monitors.

In the following LINK I wrote a tutorial how to build a canvas.

I decided against the monitors because they simply can not produce a 3 dimensional image. Besides, you will always see the transitions. But if you have some at home and want to build cheap as possible this is an option!

How do I get the picture on my MIP / FMC / Lower?

Behind the MIP one builds monitors. In my case, I installed 3 x 19 inch monitors that fit perfectly behind it. You get some cheap at Ebay and similar portals. But be careful that you buy the same model! Not every screen displays the same color and brightness.


With the FMC / FMS it gets more difficult, because the screen size is very small. There are the following options:

- AdaFruit 5 Inch Monitor (unfortunately not in the size 4: 3) 20 - 30 EUR

- Playstation One Screen (The best but also the most expensive version) depending on the provider between 50 and 150 EUR

Lower DU:

For this I use 10 inch screens, of which there are enough cheap versions on the Internet.

That's how it should have been. Can not be that hard to build something like that :)

To have an overview of what I have spent so far here is a small list:

Parts costs
Panels 500 EUR since only overhead, Aft overhead and Pedestal was needed
Cockpit shell

2000 EUR for the Shell and MIP Panel

Again about 500 EUR for additional wood, glue, screws, angles, ....

Elektronics 1000 EUR since I made many wrong purchases and had to reorder again and again
Cabel  100EUR

Soldering iron and accessories 150EUR

Crimping pliers and tools: 15EUR

Beamer 800EUR for 2 Optoma 1070x
Screen 140EUR in the first attempt and another 170EUR in the second
All together about 5.500 EUR! A giant difference to the 30,000 to 60,000 euros for finished cockpits


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