Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 18, 2012.


High school kids building a flight sim from a recycled Piper Cub fuselage. Cockpit done, working on software. Help us make it happen!

5 high school kids + mentors + tools = Viper


Though we've exceeded our initial goal of $2,500, we hope to raise a total of $10,000 through Kickstarter to cover all project expenses. Read on...

The Project:

Our Maker Faire project for 2012 is "The Viper" -- a motion controlled flight simulator inspired by the ship of the same name from the hit TV Series "Battlestar Galactica". Visit our project website to find out more and to follow our progress:

The basic idea is to mount the fuselage of a small plane (a Piper PA-28) on a motion control platform that is capable of 360 degree rotation on both the pitch and roll axes. The video above shows the basic design we're shooting for. This design allows for considerably more motion around the pitch axis than commercial entertainment systems, such as those found at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum.

Who we are:

We are a group of 5 high school students plus parents and mentors from Marin, Oakland, and San Francisco. We've built projects for the MakerFaire before, but this is the most ambitious one yet!

Our team is building this project as part of the Young Makers program. We want to learn more about engineering while we have fun making a project that hasn't been done before.  We like a challenge!  We also want to entertain people at the Maker Faire and inspire them to make things themselves.

How will Kickstarter support be used?

We are currently estimating that the final project will cost approximately $17,000. In round numbers that breaks down as:

- $6,000 for the motion platform framing (we had it professionally welded for safety) 
- $3,000 for motors and speed controllers 
- $1,500 electronics 
- $3,000 monitors and graphics cards
- $1,000 slip rings and fasteners 
- $1,500 fuselage, seat, harness 
- $1,000 exhibit materials, flight suits, trailer rental, etc.

We've received approximately $6,500 in corporate support from Autodesk, NVIDIA, and others. We are looking to make up the difference through other sources including Kickstarter.

We're thrilled with the support so far. Any funds that exceed project costs will be forwarded to the Young Makers Program for future projects.

Progress so far:

We found the Piper fuselage in an airplane scrap yard, cut it to fit the proposed frame, and installed a racing seat with six-point harness. We used Autodesk Inventor software to design the frame, acquired the steel to build it with, and sent the steel to a local fabricator for professional welding. (We want it to be safe). Here's what it looked like at the end of February:

Next, we designed and built a small-scale model of the Viper out of legos, and we are now testing the scale model with the FlightGear software which will drive the simulator.

We post updates, including pictures and video each week. You can find that at

Also check out our previous projects:

Saphira: a fire-breathing animatronic dragon

FireJam: a fire candelabra synchronized to Rock Band

Varia: a wearable replica of the Metroid character, Samus Aran

Potato Gattling Gun: a six-barrel potato cannon

Please help us fund this project so that we can bring it to life for the MakerFaire.  We'll send you some cool rewards to say thanks!


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    66 backers

    Take the Viper with you! We'll send you a phone ringtone of the Viper music we're using for the Maker Faire, and a screen saver of the Viper plane doing a test-flight 360. PLUS- your name goes on our Kickstarter Founder's wall on our site:

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    143 backers

    Get your Viper pilot's credentials: We'll make you a personalized anodized aluminum 2012 Viper Team dog tag and give you DVD access to behind-the-scenes footage & photos from the team's build sessions. We'll also send the screen saver and ring tones. PLUS- your name goes on our Kickstarter Founder's wall on our site:

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  • Pledge $50 or more
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    48 backers

    MAKE-it-yourself! Along with the Pilot's dog tag and behind-the-scenes DVD, we'll send you a Make-it-yourself guide to building your own Viper. Use the instructions to create either the full-sized version or the Lego model prototype. The guide will include schematics, parts lists, videos and how-to interviews with the crew on designing and building the software, the mechanical components, and the electrical systems. Please include $10 extra for international deliveries. PLUS-- your name goes on the Kickstarter Founder's wall on our site.

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  • Pledge $100 or more
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    32 backers

    Fly your Viper colors! We'll send you an official Viper team t-shirt (signed by all team members, if you like). Wear it while perusing your MAKE-it-yourself guide and the behind-the-scenes footage. PLUS we'll inscribe your name on the inside wall of the flight simulator as a Kickstarter supporter! Of course, your name goes on the Viper Team Kickstarter Founder's wall on our site as well.

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    1 backer Limited (29 left of 30)

    Experience the Viper Up Close! We'll provide a ticket to Visit Bay Area Maker Faire for a personal backstage tour of the Viper. We'll take a photo of you in the flight simulator, and send this to you along with the MAKE-it-yourself guide, the t-shirt and the other rewards. Of course, your name goes on the Viper Team Kickstarter Founder's wall with our extreme thanks!!

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    0 backers Limited (15 left of 15)

    Get a personalized experience at the Viper VIP Pilot's Lounge! You and a guest will join us for the Viper Team sponsor's reception at Maker Faire Bay Area. You'll enjoy delicious snacks, while getting a personalized backstage tour and special access to the flight simulator. We'll create a customized video of your Viper experience, and send it to you after the event, along with the other rewards. As a key sponsor, your name will appear on the team flight suits and will be inscribed inside the plane as a supporter. This experience includes two Maker Faire tickets, and recognition on the Kickstarter Founder's wall on our site. Thanks for your awesome support. You ROCK!

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    Share the VIP Viper experience with your friends! After the Maker Faire, we will create a special Viper experience at your location in the Bay Area. (50 mile radius of SF) We'll create a special photo opportunity and immersive experience for you and your friends. Wear the flight suits, helmets and gear, and we'll create a personalized video of the experience. Of course, we'll include your name on the team's flight suits for Maker Faire and on the inside of the plane. And we'll send you the previous rewards. Thanks for your AMAZING support!

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Funding period

- (30 days)