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Lynx Cockpit Utility Brick "Button box"


LynxDK
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Hello Fellow Pilots.

 

Now that i am well into the A-10C Cockpit product development, i have had more than a couple of requests, on "button boxes". That has resulted in the following idea, which is still in development, but i thought i would share the idea with you, just to get an idea of how much interest there would be in something like this.

 

The idea was to make a product, that first of all was truly Plug And Play, but also make it possible to buy the parts individual, so the buyer could assemble the unit for a lower price.

 

Im calling this the "Cockpit Utility Brick" or CUB, and its made so you can connect 2 or more units together for more switches / Functions. It has the same width and length as the Thrustmaster Warthog Throttle, which means that you can place the units around the throttle, for easy access.

 

I have calculated a price, and I have to say that I really tried to keep it low, but its difficult since switches cost, and also the assembly takes time. However, it will be offered in packs, so you can buy the box alone, and then put your own switches in it.

 

But i will start by showing you some pictures, and then explain a little between the pictures, and then I will post the prices in the end.

 

So here we have the CUB1:

 

cub_prototype_1.JPG

 

cub_prototype_2.JPG

 

cub_prototype_3.JPG

 

cub_prototype_4.JPG

 

Its outer frame is 3D printed, with a top of acrylic, and then panels ontop. The holes in the frame are made to DZUS standart, which means you can also use this frame for installing original Panels, from fx. F-16 and the A-10.

 

cub_prototype_5.JPG

 

cub_prototype_6.JPG

 

As you can see above, its the same size as the WH Throttle, with only a little bit higher, its matching the military look and feel of the Throttle. Only thing is that its not as heavy, but you can easily install weight to make it heavier.

 

cub_prototype_7.JPG

 

Its possible to backlit the panels, simply by putting LED strips underneath. Here i have shown it with a white flashlight, so you can get the idea.

 

cub_prototype_8.JPG

 

The CUB is made for easy replacement of the Top Panels, either from some difrent panels packs that i will be offering, or you can get some custom engraved panels that also will fit.

We are also going to offer transparent top panels, so that you can print you own overlay on paper, cut it to fit, and then put under the clear panel. This way the Backlight will also work on "printed panels". Here you can see the box wihtout panels, as you can see, the switches are installed in the plate, and then its screwed down into the frame, with 8 of my DZUS Replicas.

 

cub_prototype_9.JPG

 

cub_prototype_10.JPG

 

Here you can see the Box itself, without the backplate with switches. And the bottom where you have 4 rubber feet. The cutouts in the bottom acrylic plate, is made for the cord from the throttle to be able to sit there, if you want to place it in front of the throttle.

 

cub_prototype_11.JPG

 

Here we have a set of panels, this is the first set i made for presenting this, which where to be used for the A-10C startup and flight. I will be offering more versions, also for difrent planes, and a "universal" panel pack, for use in all aircraft, and games.

 

cub_prototype_12.JPG

 

cub_prototype_13.JPG

 

cub_prototype_14.JPG

 

At these 3 final pictures, you can see my idea with them being able to connect to eachother. If you want more than one, you can connect them to eachother, and also tilt them.

This is only my first idea, there will be differetn "brackets" available for putting the CUB in many different positions.

 

The CUB itself is going to be driven by a Arduino Leonardo, with 20 switch "functions." which means that some of the On-Off-On switches take 2 functions each.

It will be truly plug and play if you get an assembled one, but you can also install the arduino yourself, and load the code into it, that we will release on the web.

 

We are going to Link all the products we have used to make this, so you can buy all these parts yourself, and then just order a 3D frame with panels, and then put your own switches in it, that way you get a real cost effective box, where you can get custom or premade panels with difrents engravings, and the possibility to make a unique setup.

 

Now we have come to the pricings, and I will present just a few of the packs we will be offering, just to give you guys an idea on the different possibilities.

 

CUB 1 - 3D printed Frame with backplate but without panels or anything else. This is for the truly DIY guy that wants to build everything himself:

 

CUB 1 - Panel set. This is what every engraved panel pack will cost, unless you want a Clear panel, or custom made engravings:

 

CUB 1 - Plug and Play Without Backlight. This is a complete assembled product, ready for connecting to your computer. This one dosnt have backlight, but can be installed later on:

 

CUB 1 - Plug and Play with Backlight. This one have it all, ready for gaming:

 

We are also going to offer different packs with arduino, backlight etc. But that will follow later, remember, this is still in development.

 

Let me hear what you guys think and if you have any questions feel free to ask


Edited by LynxDK

Regards.

LynxDK

 

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Its a great idea, and I love the plug and play aspect. I would be interested, but I think the plug and play price of about $286 USD is a bit much. Get it down to $200 and I'm in!

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Mad Dog 7.62:

I cant really go lower on price for a finished Plug and Play Unit. The big cost here is the Switches, they cant be too flimsy, and then they cost a little more. However you can buy the box, panels and arduino from me, and install everything with your own purchased switches. That way it wont costs near as much. And everything for assembling will be included in the kits, you only need a screwdriver and a pair of pliers to attack the wires from the arduino to the switches.

 

ggerman:

This will be truly Plug and Play, simply plug in the USB cable, and windows 7+ see the unit as a Arduino Leonardo Gaming Device. And then you can program the switches in game, Just like if you would hook up a Logitech Joystick.

 

FraserNZL:

My plan is to make this version, the CUB 1 which has this Switch layout, and then you can swap the top panels to a custom made panel, or you can print your own on Paper, and place underneath a transparent panel i will make available.

 

When this one if fully delevoped, i will also make a CUB 2, which will have rotarys in the switch laouyt. The panels will also be different sizes, so it wont look exactly like the CUB 1.

 

If you have any ideas to different versions of the panel packs that you would like, i hereunder post the Switch layout for the CUB 1, as which you can see that it has 3 On-Off-On Switches, 2 Momentary Push Buttons and 12 Normal On-Off Switches.

 

http://lynx.dk/blueprints/CUB_1_Switch_Layout.pdf


Edited by LynxDK

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I'm more focused on a generic Rotary Wing Cockpit, so a CUB 1 and 2 (when available) with a more fitting engraving would nicely fit into my simpit plans.

 

Will keep an eye on this.

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I never do this, and I never would but all this 'affordable' talk is really rubbing me the wrong way. I think every one of your products is great, I really do. But lets not pretend we're saints doing divine work here. If you're making it for a nice profit just say so. People will still pay, and gladly so, there's no other option for them.

 

So 286$ right? Can't make it for less. Ok, here's my math, please correct me:

 

1) Switches

-I see 17 of them altogether. The exact same ones from a warthog throttle cost 0.45$/piece. They are of the most quality and with strongest tactile feedback because they're used on cars/boats/machinery running high current.

 

2) ABS filament

- given the dimensions of the tm throttle, and my assumption your walls are 4mm thick and 100% infill, i calculate there is 250 grams of abs fillament in one box. Price is 20$/kg

 

3) Acrylic

- taking in account the most outer dimensions of the box it's a surface area of 0,042m2. Let's say you use the standard 3 layers of acrilyc that's 0.126m2. Price for the best and most expensive acrylic in Europe is 30$/m2

 

So let's see:

Switches = 17 x 0.45$

Plastic = 0.25 x 20$

Acrylic = 0.126 x 30$

--------------------

Total = 16.50 $

 

Even if I'm off by 100%, which I'm not because all the components I mentioned can be had for half the price if you look harder and buy in bulk. Please tell me how do you label your products affordable with a 900% profit margin. But there's nothing wrong with that margin at all, you're offering something that nobody else can achieve, GREAT job! You want profit? You deserve it! I'll have great respect for you even if you sell it at 2x your price, just don't call it 'affordable cockpit parts for everyone' and don't say 'the switches are expensive' because that is just bs. And your products are not that.

 

You'll get more respect by saying switches and plastic are cheap, but my hard work, knowledge, investment and time are worth 286$, because that's the truth and nobody can call you out on that. If they do, let them make it for less.


Edited by hegykc
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1) Switches

-I see 17 of them altogether. The exact same ones from a warthog throttle cost 0.45$/piece. They are of the most quality and with strongest tactile feedback because they're used on cars/boats/machinery running high current.

 

Do you have a part number and source for these? Whenever I try to find inexpensive toggle switches in that price range on eBay or AliExpress, all I seem to find are miniature versions. Sorting the Toggle Switch category over at Digikey by unit price lists the least expensive switch at $1.45 a piece with a minimum order quantity of 500.

 

Have I been looking in the wrong places?

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I respect the price, is ok.

 

Here is my guess. If this cost $ 300, the US people need add ~60 for shipping for a final price of $ 360.

 

I see there a good stuff with high quality very fine. Maybe he can make a initial shipping of 10-20 units to Amazon USA. This gonna help for the final price for the people of the other part of the Sea. Some extra logistic idea for distribution for lower price are needed here.

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hegykc:

I’m actually a little sad that you write this post the way you do. I can tell you that I’m 100% honest when i say, I cant make it for less than i have posted here.

 

But since i have nothing to hide, i will happily point out what prices are here for me, and also remind you of a lot of things that you may have forgotten in your calculations.

 

First i will point out that i live in Denmark. It’s not an excuse, but there are going to be price differences between here and elsewhere in the world.

 

So lets start with the acrylic. You say that a piece of Acrylic is 30$ pr m2. I have to correct you with what the cost is here. The 6mm acrylic i make the Panels of is 118$ pr m2. and that is cheap. Just because you live in Europe, you won’t have the same prices everywhere.

 

Then you say the switches are $0.45, I don’t know where you are buying your switches, but i cant get them near that price in good quality.

Prices on switches here is $1.84 plus shipment. And you might say that i could just buy them in the US and get them cheaper,

well... when i buy from outside Europe, I have to pay import taxes for around 20-25% on top of that, so that doesn’t really help much either.

 

And the the 3D printer Filament. Yes, that price you have written is correct, but you might not have factored in that the 3D printer is running 5 Hours, with a nozzle at 200 degrees and the printing bed at 60. That would be the same as you turning on your stove for 5 hours. Plus there is a computer running the printer, that costs in electricity. When I say that I 3D print for people, and I’m charging $3 per hour, I’m pretty sure you won’t find that much cheaper elsewhere.

 

This was just your examples, but there is a lot of other things you have to think about. I will list some of them and point out a couple things.

 

Machining Time, Machine Maintenance, Painting, Engraving, the Arduino, the programming of the Arduino, the wires, Backlight, Assembling.

 

And on top of those, the time i use for preparing the sheets for cutting, the cleaning after that, the time it takes to clean the panels before paint. The actual paint and cleaning after that. Then again prepare the panel for engraving. It’s true that I could use acrylic that is made for engraving and pre-painted, but again, its not as thick, it would leak backlight on the edges, and it would be more expensive.

 

I mentioned the electricity used for everything, but there’s also the fact that I don’t charge anything for all my time used for developing, and all the materials i used to do that.

Not to mention that my machinery aren’t a cheap investment.

 

After everything is added together, I only charge $14.75 for my time doing everything needed, and afterwards I have to pay 42% tax off that.

 

In the end we have a product that i have to pay VAT off... And that is 25%. So if you add everything up to that, and the fact that i would like to have a little something extra for my time and to pay back my machines, etc. i also want to give some kind of guarantee on the products.

 

So maybe you can say that because I’m living in Denmark make’s it a little more expensive, but that’s not something i can control, and i really do everything i can to keep prices low. I really hope that you understand that I’m speaking the truth when i say that I’m trying with all my heart to do this as reasonable as possible,

because i really want to make this for the people, and not the profit. I have a normal job besides this, and i can say that i would never be able to do this for a living at these prices. If that was the case I would have to charge much more.

 

And I’m sorry if you guys think that the price is too high, but the fact is that i cant do it any less expensively. That this is why i asked on the forum what you guys thought of this, because if it is too expensive, I simply won’t offer them.

 

But I would like to say that at least I am offering a way to save a lot of money if you wanted to or am able to. If you can buy those switches that much cheaper, and you like what you saw on wanted one, you can simply buy the Box from me in any form you like as DIY kit, with or without switches, with or without assembly, with or without the Arduino, etc. That way you don’t have to pay for my time assembling the unit either.

 

I thought it was a great idea to have boxes like this so you can mix and match different panels and controls without having to build an entire more expensive cockpit, but still give you some level of immersion and easier control in flight, and offer that to other people as inexpensively as I could without losing money. It’s up to you to decide if it is worth it. By all means, though, if you think you can build a panel for $16, I would definitely go that route.

 

Pepin1234:

Shipping to the US for a complete box is 187,5 DKK around 27,66$, the shipping dont get more expensive than that no matter where in the world you live, if you live in europe, the price will be lower.

 

And i know its not much, but i will just add, that paypal also want something for their services, alltho the price will never reach 360$

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LynxDK

 

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No reason to be sad. I offered my respect, and I meant it. I don't have the slightest problem with the price or the product, neither does anyone else. It is absolutely worth it. Just for the fact than no one else is doing anything like it. You are the man right now, no one is disputing that.

 

But I could be living on the top of the Trump tower and manufacture something like that for 2.860$ and be left with 15$ profit because of my high living expenses. But that doesn't give me any right to call it "affordable for everyone".

 

Every time someone announces something on these forums as "affordable for anyone" it ends up several hundred bucks. And you need at least 30 of it to complete a pit of some kind. Again, anyone making anything on these forums has my respect and their products are great. I mean this, it's not sarcasm. I'm just really tired of everything being labeled as affordable. This label couldn't be further from the truth. If anything this price is closer to the maximum a simmer is willing to pay, not that there's anything wrong with that, just label it as it really is.

 

You are making hi-end quality products, for hi-end users. You are not making affordable cockpit parts for everyone, regardless of your final profit. This is not an insult, if anything it's a complement.


Edited by hegykc
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hegykc:

Pepin1234:

Shipping to the US for a complete box is 187,5 DKK around 27,66$, the shipping dont get more expensive than that no matter where in the world you live, if you live in europe, the price will be lower.

 

And i know its not much, but i will just add, that paypal also want something for their services, alltho the price will never reach 360$

 

Nice. Thank you.

 

I see two holes without switches. What kind of switch do you have in mind for eject/TRM. I saw a Eject switch in your photo gallery. This is the design for this panel?

 

PD: if this from your photo gallery is the Eject, could you red anodized the aluminum, or maybe yellow?


Edited by pepin1234

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What about shipping to RU?

I think I'd buy it, but I'm really worry regarding shipping. Russian-post is... well.. it has some... let's say issues.

 

And second question - did you consider to ship it as self-assembly kit?


Edited by Necroscope

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Im pretty sure i never presented this as affordable for everyone, but asked if there would be any interest in this kind of product.

This is completely different from what i have been doing so far.

 

[FSF]Ian:

you are right, a Wire transfer could be a option worth looking in to.

 

pepin1234:

yes, its going to be Momentary Puch Buttons in those 2 holes... the design are not finished in those 2 spots :)

I plan on a black switch in the top, and a red on the bottom, however, i havent found the switches for this yet, so that part is still under way :)

 

Necroscope:

I have shipped to many countries, but not yet Russia. However, it hasnt been more than max 10 days from i shipped to it arrives at the destination. Normally under 7 days, but then again, i dont know how Russia are handling packages.

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LynxDK

 

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I think the custom brick idea is great. The production and professionalism of the blocks you have produced look superb... for sure I could not do better with my limited resources.

If the switchery and text was custom made to the end user then I would be salivating.

Very nice work.

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There are people on the forums who are not as passionate as us and don't have the ability or the desire to make switch boxes.

 

Lynxx, I think they are expensive for the day to day user, but you are offering a modular solution. Ask someone who has never 3d printed, or bought acrylic or laser or cnc to cut, switches, pcb's. He will buy the solution, saves him burning out more arduinos, learning soldering, learning coding, etc, etc. Yeah its cheaper to source parts and build by yourself, but forget what everyone else is niggling on at you for, there is a niche market for pre-assembled hardware and the cost is only relative to what the buyer thinks is acceptable. Carry on mate, fcuk the disbelievers. :pilotfly:

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Necroscope:

yes, i will also offer a DIY assembly kit, with everything.

 

Rogue Trooper:

The switches will be standart positioned like you see here in the CUB 1, the CUB 2 will be different. But the Panels can be custom made just as you wish them to be.

 

Thank you all, as i have mentioned earlier, i will list ALL the items i used for this brick, so that you can buy those yourself. And then only buy the Box and the panels you want, and end up with a much cheaper product.

 

I will also release the code for the Arduino, so you will be able to use a Arduino Leonardo you have bought yourself. you can even just use my Arduino code, to make your own botton box, without buying anything from me.

 

A more specific set of "kits" will be presented when we get closer to a release, as right now, it seems that you guys are interested, so i will carry on :)

 

Dont hold back if you have questions.

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LynxDK

 

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Multi-purpose button/switch boxes are always desirable. I have invested quite a bit in various solutions to that end. I will be quite interested in seeing what you have to offer, when it is ready.

 

Keep it up!

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Hey.

 

The 3D printed base has a final cost of 100 DKK. or 14,75. Inclusive VAT.

Im pretty sure i cant make it for less even with resin, as i dont count my hours in 3D printing at all, people tend to forget the hours put into making things :), i just turn it on and press print. And when the print is done, there is zero cleanup.

 

If i where to cast it... first all the equipment, the mold, the cleanup, and my time doing it. at least that takes time i can use on other things.

 

Im aware that the price is high, and i would very much like to make it cheaper, but then the idea of swapping panels which can be backlit has to go.

 

I could make it all out of one piece, with no backlight function. then its only to paint a simple sheet of acrylic, without engravings and thats it. but then it would just be another "standart" button box, and in my honest opinion, we have plenty of those, at much lower prices.

 

So i did it like this, so the buyer could get something unique, that he could change the look if he would, and get it exactly like he wish. And if someone one day gets a real panel from lets say a F-16 from Ebay. He can simply install it in this boxs, it will fit.

 

I will release a guide, explaining how to assemble it all, i will deliver everything needed to make this, so you dont need anything else than a pair of pliers, a screwdriver and a Diagonal Cutter or something simular for stripping wires. So you dont need to pay for my hours putting this together and test it. :)


Edited by LynxDK

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LynxDK

 

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Ian;2692483']Do you have a part number and source for these? Whenever I try to find inexpensive toggle switches in that price range on eBay or AliExpress' date=' all I seem to find are miniature versions. Sorting the Toggle Switch category over at Digikey by unit price lists the least expensive switch at $1.45 a piece with a minimum order quantity of 500.

 

Have I been looking in the wrong places?

 

 

I too would like to know where you can source full sized toggle switches at $0.45 a piece. I have scoured the Internet and the best possible price I found was $1.40 apiece from a Chinese supplier. And since the A10C requires around 80 toggles I was very motivated to source a good price. So where is it that you can get switches at those prices? I also assume we are not referring to locking type toggles.

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Are you considering any russian panels? If it's one thing I'm missing, its buttonboxes in a russian style, you know, instead of black they are blue. They dont have to be in russian, but it would be a cool thing for us flying mostly russian aircrafts.

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Are you considering any russian panels? If it's one thing I'm missing, its buttonboxes in a russian style, you know, instead of black they are blue. They dont have to be in russian, but it would be a cool thing for us flying mostly russian aircrafts.

 

That could be done yes :) i just need to find the right color blue paint, and do some tests, alltho the color in reality looks more Green than blu to me.... nothing like the blue in DCS... maybe its just me :)

 

If you have an idea to a Panel engraving, your most welcome to send it, the switch layout is in the PDF file posted ealier.


Edited by LynxDK

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Very nice idea LynxDK to offer switch box with most basic switches for user who doesn't want a whole pit :thumbup: I like the idea.

 

I toyed a little with the idea myself for some of my flying mates. We constantly change frequencies for different controllers, and adjust altimeter settings which can be a hazzle while keeping the formation. Never got around to it though.

 

 

Cheers

Hans

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