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X-Plane 11 6DOF motion platform

Discussion in 'DIY Motion Simulator Projects' started by SixDegreesOfFlight, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    @Austin Slater
    Hi Austin, I am yet to add my design thinking about the software interface to this thread but it will be done in the next day or so. @baykah is using his 6DOF with X-Plane and so have many others successfully so don't expect too many problems from that perspective.

    There a few options to get the flight data out of XP e.g. Ian's BFF and Simtools. Once the data is outside the pc you can choose @Thanos' 6DOF board which is currently being offered through a kickstarter. This is the approach @wannabeaflyer2 took. The other option is to use Arduino Unos - three of them if you want 6DOF. The Uno runs a sketch called SMC3 written by members of xsimulator. @SilentChill used this approach. There are passionate advocates of both approaches.

    As I understand it, Simtools provides an interface with XP and actually provides a patch so it can get the forces information it needs. In other words you install Simtools along side your XP installation and it acts like a plugin. Simtools runs with a very long list of plugins written for many other games which you can download using the virtual coins earned as an active community member. There is a huge of range of configurable options with Simtools and specialized testing arrangements. So it almost becomes a game within a game ;)

    Simtools or Ian's BFF (which is an alternative to Simtools) communicate data to the outside world through the pc USB ports. You choose Thanos' board or the Arduinos to process this data. These boards connect to the motor drivers like the Monster Moto or Sabertooths. The motors connect to these driver boards.

    I hope that part is clearer :cool:

    As for the engineering question of a motion platform that would handle several people and equipment, I would think the @SeatTime design would need a re-think. For example, you would be looking not at server or LED power supplies but something like a welder to supply that much DC current :eek:. With six 450W DC motors the expectation of +300mm/s acceleration and a load up to say 150kg is workable but what you are considering is in another league. Others may be able to assist you but if you are not a really experienced 6DOF builder then a project of that size may be too ambitious.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
    AC motor, Arduino, Motion platform, 4DOF
    I have nearly completed the ordering of the parts. Slight delay now as the bank rang yesterday and queried the large number of purchases wondering if something fraudulent was going on:p AliExpress also wanted me to submit further proof that I wasn't using someone else's CC. The reason for that was all the purchasing activity to get around the exorbitant postage cost when ordering more than one item. For example, the lead screw was $27US post free to Aus. Once I clicked on 6 the postage was nearly $40US. OK easy I will order one at a time and get free post. This worked for the first three orders but during the fourth order my credit card provider stepped in and put a hold on the purchase saying too many transactions in too short a time.:mad:

    Have to wait now for a day or two so my CC cools down:D

    Update: I used my other CC :cool: I rang the bank before using it with AliExpress and told them what I would be doing today. That worked great. Only three of the ball screw sets still to order. AE simply won't let me buy them with this payment thing still outstanding. Never mind, as long as I get at least one to build the prototype.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  3. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR Tassie Devil Staff Member Moderator Race Director

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. SeatTime

    SeatTime Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    I don't won't to polute the OPs thread too much, but @Austin Slater this is close to what you will need for a big rig that will take 3 people (see setup in the video) AC motors of course.

    • Like Like x 1
  5. baykah

    baykah Active Member

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    I was about to post the same, use AC motors ..

    @6°offlight : I may not be able to send you my sketchup before next week
  6. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    @baykah
    That will be fine. I am spending lots of time ordering all the parts and they will take months to get to Aus.
    Hope you don't mind if I remind you again say in a week's time ;)
    I appreciate your help
  7. Austin Slater

    Austin Slater New Member

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    My apologies, I did not realize. This is my first time using a forum, figured im going to need some support with this "ambitious" project. I will start my own thread, thank you all, I will tag you all on new thread, hope to continue to get great advice from you all.

    Thank you @SixDegreesOfFlight , @SeatTime, @baykah, and @noorbeast for your advice. I look forward to talking to you all on my new thread. I will update soon.
  8. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
    AC motor, Arduino, Motion platform, 4DOF
    I have been researching a seat as I will need to get it before considering the material and dimensions of the top frame. I would think normal car bucket seats would be out of the question due to their weight? There are online stores such as AliExpress but most sell seats in pairs and the cost of postage is more than the seat itself. For the lighter simulator seats which would be suitable, seem to be sold in a frame with mounts to hold a steering wheel. So I would be paying for parts that I would throw away. I have looked at office chairs but their construction is usually in parts held together by the arm and I would question the structural integrity.

    Any suggestions for something suitable in Aus?

    Attached Files:

  9. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    Just got a reply from Dimension Engineering regarding the configuration of the Sabertooth 2x60, battery and power supplies:

    My question:
    "...how to configure the battery and power supply without the power supply overcharging the battery if they are in parallel with one another. Do you recommend blocking diodes and if so how does this affect the (direction of the?) regenerating current? If you do recommend blocking diodes what is the recommended way to use them in this application?"

    Dimension Engineering response
    As long as the supply is not at a higher voltage than what the battery can safely handle, then it will not overcharge. You can put diodes between the supplies and the battery, but not between the battery and the Sabertooth. Consult the operations manual for the supply for info regarding paralleling them and diode recommendations. Some supplies will have no recommendations regarding such.
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  10. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    This might be of interest to other flight simmers - my previous cockpits.
    The first image from a couple of years ago is one pc and a 42" 1080p, and 2 x 19" for the instruments. This was followed by a data projector for the main screen in an effort to increase immersion.
    The following six images are a walk-in cockpit with three pcs, 3 x 42" 1080p monitors 3 x 19" monitors and one 10" touch screen.
    The final image is what I have now with the HTC Vive and what will be used on the 6DOF platform - Puma helicopter controls

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  11. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR Tassie Devil Staff Member Moderator Race Director

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  12. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    Just pulled the trigger on the seat. Hope to pick it up on Wednesday.

    I have to say that even with so many other 6DOF projects already finished which give some great ideas, the ordering of parts has taken nearly a week. It's like a full time job;) I go back to work on Monday, so I tried to get everything ordered whilst I was on holiday. Won't be much time to think about it now for a few weeks. The packages arriving over the next few weeks will be nice though :grin

    Attached Files:

  13. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    Minor update. Got the material for the bottom frame and ordered the metal for the top frame which I will pick up this week. Everything takes more time than you expect. I am going to start a spreadsheet to keep a total of the cost.

    Updated the links and images on the first page :)
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  14. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
    AC motor, Arduino, Motion platform, 4DOF
    Cost of the simulator pc, Vive, Buttkicker and Puma heli controls was $7419
    Parts for the 6DOF platform so far: $3076 AUS (19JUL2017)

    I will keep this updated as I go. The excel spreadsheet is a zip on the first page where I have listed all the parts, URLs and images.
    • Informative Informative x 1
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  15. value1

    value1 Nerd Staff Member Moderator SimAxe Beta Tester SimTools Developer Gold Contributor

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    Do you really want to do that? :D
    • Funny Funny x 2
  16. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    @value1
    Well not really it is extra work for me - but there are two drivers: I am a bit OCD and the second is the inevitable "how much did it cost" :rolleyes:

    I have so thoroughly enjoyed reading through the build threads of others and doing my own research and ordering over the past few weeks, it is so much more value to me than flying away to some holiday destination for almost the same money.

    To be a bit more circumspect, I have always dreamed of a full motion flight simulator but have been too guilty to spend the money. So last week I asked myself "why wait - when will the right time come?" The OCD part of me then kicked in and as @SeatTime said - "I have the bug" ... and wow am I enjoying it:p
    • Winner Winner x 2
  17. SeatTime

    SeatTime Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
    DC motor, AC motor, Arduino, Motion platform, 6DOF
    If you want to spent 'real' money, try motor racing :eek:. If nothing goes wrong, a single track day will set you back at least $1,000 with oil/brake fluid, fuel, tires, brakes, accommodation , meals etc, with a engine upgrade at $20K and a rebuild at $8K , It is the reason I got into simulators in the first place. And if you fly real planes/helicopters, it is often worse. I think DIY simulators are good value and you only live once :D.
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  18. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    @SeatTime
    Exactly.

    My friends often say, "Oh why don't you spend the money on real flying?" In Aus, it costs about $10k for a private license but who wants to fly a single engine Cessna at 120 knots and only when the weather is fine and only between your local airport and another one 60 mins away? I am really interested in helicopters and it takes about 30 hours to learn how to hover and navigate around the airport. Imagine how much that would cost? It was VR that really changed everything for me as you can see from my previous cockpit builds a few posts up.

    I have a memory of an XP 11 helicopter flight I did at the end of January this year from Cairns to Port Douglas in far north Queensland. It was real time and real weather - late afternoon with the sun about to set. I put the heli on the grass clearing near the Port Douglas point where I have holidayed many times. I got out and stood next to the heli, with the Vive on, and watched the sunset for nearly 30 mins. I was quite a magical moment that I am having a hard time separating from other 'real' memories. That one moment made everything worth it.

    ...imagine what it will be like with 6DOF :)
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  19. SixDegreesOfFlight

    SixDegreesOfFlight Well-Known Member

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    My Motion Simulator:
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    Deciding to use the 24V 470W DC motors I purchased has had a knock-on effect. The higher power means higher current which meant choosing the Sabertooth 2x60 over the 2x32. That means that I must use a lead acid battery to soak up the regenerative current...2x12V with at least 30Ah capacity given the current involved, instead of the more simpler arrangement of resistors with the 2x32s. The higher current motors, in addition to the higher voltage, means 2x24v 30A power supplies for each pair of motors with their associated blocking diodes. So it looks like I will have to use 6 batteries or put all the power supplies in parallel - which I am not keen on doing - balancing them would be difficult.

    The blocking diodes are required to stop the power supplies from feeding into each other or the battery feeding back into the power supplies. In this application, the recommendation is to use Schottky diodes because they have a low forward bias voltage, however due of the peak current involved they are hard to find and expensive. The forward voltage drop is the reason for not using a bridge.

    After a few hours of searching I ended up with non-Schottky stud mounted types with a forward voltage of less than 1V at 100A. My understanding is that both diodes must be mounted on the same heatsink to ensure they are at the same temperature otherwise there is a chance of thermal runaway if one starts feeding more current than the other.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  20. mariano68

    mariano68 Active Member

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    That 24v motors would have about 19amp? The Sabertooth 2x32 with 32A continuous, 64A peak per channel "could" manage them... I have bigger motors (winches) that I hope my sabertooth 2x32 can handle...I hope I can have my first linear actuator prototype ready next week, so, if I blow the sabertooth I'l let you know :p.