2021Barriers Flight Sim Expo

What is holding you back from your flight simulation dreams??

View the slides here

Watch the video here:


“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Cessna 172 GitHub

Captain Bob YouTube

Have Fun



We’ll be covering Startup Friction, Knowledge, Being Overwhelmed, Age, Tools, Cost, Space, Time, Tension with family, Push To Talk Fear, and Failures.


Some of the eBay links are “Affiliate Links”, I receive a small commission from these at no extra cost to you to help financially support this hobby.

Startup Friction First Steps and Planning

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” Benjamin Franklin

Questions to Ask:

  1. Which Airplane do I want to build?
  2. WHY do I want to build a simulator?
  3. What is your Budget?
  4. How much space do I have?
  5. Do you prefer building or flying?
  6. There are two flavors of flight simulation:
    1. Build = picky about looks, systems
    2. Fly = How flys, how feels
    3. Happy middle =  2 sims or 1 continue build.
      1. Careful to not accidentally build a plane 🙂
      2. I started building the wings, and my parents had to stop me (show model)


A. Are you willing to learn?

  1.  If not buy pre-built: (Simbuilding is a journey!)
    1. RedBird
    2. TRC
    3. FlightSimStuff
    1. RealSimGear
    2. AltMot
    3. FlightSimBuilder
    4. PropWashSim (Both DIY and Not)
    5. Desktop Aviator (Both DIY and Not)
    6. Cockpitsimparts.co.uk (DIY Mostly)
    7. HispaPanels (DIY)
    8. (Last 3 DIYish)

B. How Did I Learn?

1. Trial and error

2. Guidance from blog posts and playing it by ear I learned a thing or two about flight simulation.

3. Flight Simulator Enthusiasts also go on YouTube! 

4. I learned even further by looking on Instagram for inspiration and the wonderful communities on Discord and Forums.

5. Gain a Foundation, then as needed.

6. Knowledge is more available than ever. 

What skills do you need to learn?

  1. Solder, (SOLDering joke) Bond 2 wires together.
    1. YouTube How To Solder
  2. Woodworking
    1. Steve Ramsey Woodworking and HowCast
  3. Configure (Talk from board to sim)
    1. MobiFlight.com, SimVim.com, Leobodnar, Bits & Droids
  4. Homecockpit Knowledge:
    1. 737diysim.com
    2. CaptainBobSim.com
  5. Electronic Principles
    1. YouTube
    2. Stem.org.uk resource
  6. Learn to fly
    1. Doofer 911
  7. Budgeting and Finance
    1. Two Cents Budgeting Basics
  8. Engineering and Problem Solve
    1. Experience and failure
  9. 3D Printing
    1. Trial and Error
  10. CAD
    1. Fusion 360 or FreeCAD
    2. I find F360 very powerful, and cloud-based
    3. Learn F360:
      1. Brad Tallis
      2. Kevin Kennedy
      3. Lars Christensen
    4. Homecockpit hobbyists can use a personal license

Being Overwhelmed {Too much to learn!}

One Bite At A Time

What you learn tells you what to learn next

Perception of Age

To Find CNC Machinists, google “CNC Machinists near me”

See if any of them have a CNC router

Also, consider laser cutting.

Everyone is the right age for flight simulation!

Adapt your hobby to your age.


Tools cost money, they also cost space!

Tools to get:

3D Printer:

Ender 3 Pro: $200 (Shop around) Get one with a silent board.

Skill Saw/jig saw with a guide (clamps and level)

Soldering Iron: 

  1. Beginner Soldering Iron (I still use) or [eBay Affiliate Link]
  2. Advanced Soldering Iron (One you won’t have to upgrade) or [eBay Affiliate Link]

Professional wiring

Get some Helping Hands and the Solder Cleaner that kinda looks like R2-D2.

Dupont Crimper: Dupont Crimpers connect a DuPont connector to a wire. (Jumper cable)


  1. CNC Mill
    1. Small & Cheap (I have this one)
    2. Intermediate
    3. Expensiver
  2. Laser Engraver
  3. Router
  4. Table Saw (Do research to find the one that fits your situation the best)

Where to get tools to not pay for them?

  1. Schools
  2. 3D Printers at libraries
  3. Use makerspaces! (Google “Makerspaces near me”)

Get creative but not dangerous 🙂


Flight simulation doesn’t have to be this expensive


“Money is not the most important thing in sim building – Your brain is.”

Cheap Materials:

  1. Foam
  2. PVC
  3. 2×4 lumber
  4. OSB (Or at least it used to be)/Plywood

There’s a point where simulators are starved by money- and one where money hurts your simulator.

  1. Go on eBay/aliexpress/banggood/dealextreme and slow shipping 
    1. Read descriptions carefully.
    2. Aliexpress Dual Encoders $7 instead of $21
    3. Mouser, DigiKey work too.
    4. OctoShop Extension
  2. Trade Time for Money, and make things instead of buying them
    1. Make dual encoders instead of buying them (FSM)
    2. JayVR SW instead of OEM

“Lower your expectations”, that’s the only way you’ll ever be happy in life!”

-The Tooth fairy

E. Use the Community


If you have 6’ by 6’ (2m by 2m) you can store a simulator.

Get creative with your space!

CessSim’s Cessna simulator

Find him on YouTube: CessSim


We all have the same 24 hours

Use premade plans! {Don’t reinvent the wheel- they did just fine the first time.}

  1. Authentikit is a very good replica of WWII spitfire controls [Show]
  2. FlightSimMaker G1000- is a design that uses 3D printing and Circuit boards to make a G1000
  3. Heli Mech and Mickey’s Flight Deck both have well-engineered 737s
  4. Captain Bob 🙂 Cessna 172 Plans (in the making)
  5. The Warthog Project A10 Warthog Files and STLs
  6. GitHub MF panels- A Community building open source panels

If you know about any other ones, DM me on Whova! (Trevor Olsen)

Your “Local Government”

We like to joke that our “Local Government” is anyone we have to obtain approval from to build or expand our simulators. Usually, this governing body is someone we live with 🙂

A. Make a Win-Win situation

B. See their perspective: Reasons they’d say no:

C. Show how it will make you a better person

D. Start Small

Push To Talk Terror

VATSIM Stands for Virtual Air Traffic Simulation Network

A. Biggest tip: Just do it, it’s that simple:

  1. Put “Student Pilot” or “New to VATSIM” in the flight plan.
  2. VATSIM Get Started Page
  3. Learn this: 
  • Who you are talking to (Local Airport)
  • Who you are
  • Where you are
  • What you want
  • What weather/information do you have)

Stuck on a Problem/Failures/Mistakes


A. There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.  ~ Colin Powell

1. If you don’t have access to typical parts- use atypical! I’ve used cups for bezels and an old organizer for a yoke mount. I’ve seen people use cabinet knobs for throttle levers and hacked-up joysticks for yokes.


We learned how to increase your potential by decreasing barriers to your flight simulator. 

Startup Friction, Knowledge, Being Overwhelmed, Age, Tools, Cost, Space, Time, Disagreements, Push To Talk Fear, Problems, and Failures.

Common Theme: Do it anyways? No time? Make time. Scared? Make courage.

Email me: CaptainBobSim@gmail.com 

Extra Content

I was CNCing the support panel, and when one of the operations started it immediately jerked to the right and broke off my bit.

Upon investigation, I found I set the feedrate to 874,000 mm/min instead of the cautious 500 I went with before.

For reference: 874,000 mm/min is equal to 32 miles per hour 🤔

Thought I’d share that with you 🙂

Moral of the story: Double-check your Fusion speeds and feeds for all of your operations, not just the first.

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