Small Things that Go a Long way
When it comes to building your at home cockpit, flight simulator enthusiast often have to custom build their setup to mach their budget and tastes. A few small additions can go a long way. Even with a full Saitek avionics kit, the keyboard might still be in play for some additional flight functionality.
To make it feel a little more authentic, a good move would be to fashion a mount for the keyboard above you to simulate controls that are above real pilots head’s. Simply get a label maker to affix the keys with whatever function is bound to them, and pretty soon it’ll start to feel a little bit more like the real thing.
For racing and flight simulation fans alike, mounting the Wrap 1200VR or similar system inside an actual helmet (authentic or otherwise), as well as the headphone and mic setup will further put you on the track or in the air. Carefully affixing pretty expensive equipment into the helmet will take some skill and patients, so be prepared to log in some man hours to make your hobby that much more immersive.
That’s it for part two of How to Build a Flight or Racing Simulation Computer. In part three, we’ll look at specific games and their optimum setups, as well as some neat extra features special to each one that will bring you that much closer to the real thing.
The Best Setups for your Bucks
Budget (DIY) Build
- Do-it-yourself IR: $50 max
- Scavenged-it-yourself seating: $50 (It’s about the most you’d spend, unless you bought a car seat new)
- Self built shelving: $50 is tools and parts
- Three monitors next to each other sitting on a table: $500-$1000.
- A lot of man hours and a little elbow grease
Total: In between: $650-$1200 depending on the price of the monitors. You can save significantly more if you use some really used monitors, or worse scavenged CRTs
- Track IR 5: $150
- Volair Sim Cockpit: $600
- 3 BenQ XL2420T 24” Widescreen LCD Monitors: $1200
Money to Burn Build:
- Wrap 1200VR: $400
- Custom Helmet to affix it to: $50-500 (depending on authenticity of helmet and if you pay someone else to do the work for you)
- SimXperience Stage 5 Full Motion Racing Simulator: $20,000
Total: Up to $21,000. More if you upgrade the computer that comes with the Stage 5 Rig, and if you grab the Track IR 5 system ether in conjunction with the 1200VR (it has been done before, though it is very homebrew), or as an option for those who prefer to use the massive monitors that come with Stage 5.