The above photos show the Proteus high-altitude aircraft under construction
and in its natural element. This is just one of the dozens of composite
primary structure aerospace projects I have been intimately involved in.
In fact, many of the structural panels on the MachPit are scraps from the
I have been doing
this stuff in one way or another for a long time now, about 16 years.
Actually longer than that if you count the surfboard ding repairs and Hobie
Cat patches done in my misspent youth. After being in the thick of it for
so long, sometimes it's easy to forget that when you sling around terms
like "layup schedules" and "cure cycles" most people will have no idea
what the hell you are talking about, or where to get the stuff to try it
That's why I have
started this page. Well, that and threats of physical violence from my
buddies in the SimPit community.
Sources and Stuff
OK- I admit it. I
have a job where I can get my clammy hands on normally very expensive materials
far cheaper than the average Sim builder on the street (as a volume user
we buy direct from weavers and manufacturers) or even free (by scabbing
chunks of scrap and generally circling like a vulture around projects).
The MachPit is an amalgam of such cast-offs and debris from legitimate
aircraft and spacecraft programs.
But you've gotta
go solo. Don't freak- thousands have done it before. A good pair of introductory
books to composite construction techniques are MOLDLESS
COMPOSITE SANDWICH HOMEBUILT AIRCRAFT CONSTRUCTION (Burt Rutan-
long before he became my boss) and
AIRCRAFT COMPOSITE CONSTRUCTION (Zeke Smith), both avaliable
through Aircraft Spruce (below). Spruce has many other reference publications
This site is
not going to be a full-blown course on the theory and execution of taking
on your own composite Simulator Cockpit, or anything else for that matter.
I'll probably confuse most people, piss the others off, and just plain
get lots of stuff wrong. I know just enough engineering to be dangerous.
Besides, I don't feel like it. But here are some excellent sources of information
on building techniques and materials:
and Specialty - An excellent source for composite materials- carbon
fibers, fiberglass, epoxy resins, and core materials, as well as the books
referenced above. Prices are not too bad. Lots of metal stock, milspec
hardware, and other aircraft stuff for your cockpit, too! They have branches
on all continents, and online ordering is avaliable.
These guys are a great source of information on epoxy composite fabrication
techniques and materials. Their Technical Manual
(part of their FREE Literature Package) is a "Must Have"- a great introduction
to the wonderful (and toxic) world of composite fabrication.Their
Pro-Set 125/229 Laminating Epoxy is used extensively throughout the MachPit
and, indeed, on the Proteus aircraft above. They are really big in the
marine industry, and as such are known worldwide. Their web site has links
to distributors all over the globe.
Technology - Good Source of materials, supplies, and general info
on things composite. Not the cheapest source- but a fairly complete
one. Low min orders as they are geared towards modelers. We're modelers,
after a fact, no?