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...
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-viper.org.
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 the-viper.org/progress.
Also check out our previous projects:
Saphira: a fire-breathing animatronic dragon http://gizmodo.com/5539851/no-one-messes-with-the-kid-who-has-the-pet-dragon
FireJam: a fire candelabra synchronized to Rock Band http://reviews.cnet.com/2300-6501_7-10007855-19.html?s=0&o=10007855
Varia: a wearable replica of the Metroid character, Samus Aran http://makerfaire.com/pub/e/5885
Potato Gattling Gun: a six-barrel potato cannon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHUyKrJeNv0
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.