Yeah, I have had Home Depot in the US scan a section of metal and mix a batch of paint that matched it perfectly. Cool tech.
There’s good news, and there’s bad news…
The good news is that the floormount works great!
The bad news is that the screws that hold the cams in place, comes loose…
This might be because I have changed cams several times, in testing for the review, and I’m using the heavy springs.
I have changed screws to hardned steel so I could torque them harder without risking rounding out the socket, and I used threadlock. But they still came loose…
I’m in dialogue with Virpil, and they are looking into the issue and also seem determined to solve it.
Should this happen to you, be very careful when re-tightening the cam screws as you risk rounding out the socket.
Today I received my extensions and the replacement cams, so I went ahead and tried to replace the hard center cams. The bank-cam exchange went smooth, but the pitch-cam rests rock solid even after removing the screws. What should I do? After reading various user reports, I am scared as hell about doing anything to the base.
I am slightly confused about the replacement cams. The original cams had 1, 3 and 4 dots, with a very small difference in profile between the 3 and 4 cams (really small though). The replacement cams have 1, 2 and 4 dots and I am unable to discern any difference in profile between the 2 and 4.
Also a small suggestion for Virpil, the shipping costs should not be added to the content value when declaring the the shipment, as this will add to the import taxes that are due. In my case this added even more to already very high taxes. For the extensions worth about €60 I had to pay almost €30 in additional taxes!
After checking back with Virpil, I could remove the stuck cam with pliers and applying maximum force. The new cam didn’t seem to fit either at first, but pushing really hard I could eventually get it in there. I have now installed the no-center cams and I hope I will never have to touch them again.
The other good news is that the metal shop has my bracket ready, so I am going to pick it up later today. Fingers crossed that everything will fit.
What was the final design and costs associated with that? I’m quite curious since I’ve never had to build a design in a metal shop so far but its on my list of todo things!
Costs are 70 Swiss Francs (about €60) for the bracket, but it will be no frills (no rounded corners, no coating). Apparently they could not really read my FreeCAD file and had to guess all the measurements, so I had to correct all the measurements on their offer by hand. At that point I decided to keep it simple and not push for any extras, hoping they would get the basic design right. I am still not convinced I will really get what I have ordered…
Well, here it is.
So far so good.
Dimensions look all good, except it was 5mm too short! Fortunately I calculated with a little bit of reserves in length, and after working the tilted mounting plate of my Obutto with a hammer, the bracket fit in with no millimeter to spare. This also has the positive side effect that it is rock solid.
It works! I had to remove the upper aft screws to make some space, but since they are not load bearing it is no problem. Amazingly everything fits like it was designed like this.
Look at those margins! The upper pair of horizontal mounting screws is only a fraction of a milimeter from the framing. And those bottom screws of the base extend just barely behind the curviture of the tubing, while the base hovers over the tube by a hair’s breadth. The assembly would fail if the base sat a mere milimeter higher or lower. The fact that the this actually works is a miracle.
The final result. This is with the seat at the full aft position to easily sit down and stand up. I still need to figure out my exact seating position.
Ready for the first flight
Sometimes you just got to rely on luck. Nice job.
Nice! What kind of tolerance did you specify?The closeness of it failing or succeeding is why it’s usually specified for holes, lengths and such things!
Nice one mate. Looks like a great solution!
The metal shop told me they would work with a 0.5mm tolerance. The basic shape and positioning of the holes indeed ended up very precise. What got me was how the bending would influence the overall length. I can not comprehend how it ended up the way it did. It is pure luck that the bracket still just barely fit onto the seat.
When I took the measurements I knew it was going to be tight, especially with ‘how’ I had taken the measures. Up until the end I somehow expected that this would end as merely a very expensive experiment
I am still utterly amazed at the dimensions of the T-50. Would the base be 1 millimeter taller, it would not fit between the bottom tube and the horizontal mounting screw of the seat. Would the attachment points of the base be placed 1 millimeter higher, they would be blocked by the upper tube. If you were to design a base specifically for installation on the Obutto, you could not dimension it more perfectly. What are the odds for that?
Aha either you got lucky or they did the calculations for you! When I was doing sheetmetal work I had to learn the formula from the top of my head for 2024 aluminium. The metal stretches when you bend it, and that is what causing your part to be so close to the structure!
Really, once you know how it works and get a bit of a feel for your tools you can get really close. .5mm is a pretty big tolerance though, I suppose it’s to keep the price down.
Having had a little stick time, I can now also offer some initial impressions on actually using the setup. First let me say that I have wanted a long-throw central mounted stick for a long time, that I am very pleased with my installation of the T-50 and that I approached my first flights with quite some excitement.
My T-50 is set up with the strong springs, no-center cams and 175mm of extension. I made a couple of flights with the Me-109 and Fw-190 in Il-2 BoK and the F-5E and Huey in DCS.
What became clear immediately that flying with this stick is a lot different than with a traditional joystick and will probably take a considerable amount of time to get used to. Even though I have a few flight-hours in actual aircraft with such a stick and thought I knew what to expect, it will probably take quite some time for me to get proficient with this new controller.
What I absolutely love is the ability to fly the aircraft with 3 fingers while resting the arm on your leg. This is both very precise and relaxing.
The central stick is also great for VR. With my previous side stick arrangement I had great problems to twist my upper torso to check 6 in a dogfight. With the stick mounted centrally, it is really easy to move in both directions, especially with the ability to switch hand. The long throw of the stick and the distinct profile of centering force along the pitch axis also make it a lot easier to precisely hold pitch while you move around with your body.
Having been a user of the Logitech G940 (stick only) for a long time, it will be very hard to let go of FFB. FFB is fantastic to trim realistically, both in fixed wing and rotary aircraft. In the F-5E I could hold the desired attitude and then trim the stick forces away, and in the Huey even a single button press would make your current stick position the new force center. Trimming the F-5E with the T-50 (simultaneously move the stick to center while you trim) felt extremely weird and imprecise. This will be very difficult for me to adapt to.
The T-50 with the long extension and without any damping has a considerable amount of pendulum effect. If I give the stick a health nudge, it will oscillate for 3-5 seconds. This is also noticeable when flying it hands on, you can sometimes feel how the stick oscillates in your hand. I had the experience that when flying upside down with giving a lot of forward pressure on the pitch axis, I do not have the dexterity to stabilize the swing of the stick in the roll axis, to the extent that the aircraft wiggles left and right. This behaviour might be amplified by the use of the no-center cam and might be less apparent with the other cams.
The plastic stick make a lot of aching noise when under load! So much that I hear it under my headset while flying. I am sure it will not actually fall apart, but it leaves a very unfavorable impression.
I am not completely happy with my seating position. This is nothing strictly wrong with the T-50 and more an issue of my seat. Even with the seat well forward (to the limit given by pulling back of the stick), the grip is too far forward to comfortably hold it without having the backrest up very steeply and a slightly hunched seating position. I have fears that this might become quite uncomfortable on longer flights (especial compared to the relaxed F-16 style seating I had so far). My hope is that VPC will eventually come up with a curved extension that gets the grip further back, even if this probably means a new grip is required as well (as the present grip is so tall that a curved extension would be of no use).
Regarding practical flying precision, I have to report that so far I have found no considerable difference to my previous stick. In fact I have to say that I couldn’t hover the Huey as steady with the T-50 as with my old G940. A lot of this is probably just inexperience and requires some more getting used to. Still it pains me to say that I feel a little underwhelmed. I am sure things will improve with practice and the T-50 is certainly an excellent setup. But so far I do not feel like this is a entirely new level.
I should probably also try the soft-center cam to check how it compares in feeling, tough I really didn’t want to endure the cam changing process ever again. I also wonder how much the differences actually are, as the soft- and no-center cams basically look identical to me. Anyone has experiences with both of them?
My journey with the T-50 continues. I decided switch the spring on the roll axis to medium while retaining the hard spring on the pitch axis. I really like the gradual increase to a strong force on the pitch axis, because it helps a lot with precisely attain and hold a certain amount of pitch. On the other hand I prefer a light aileron because you often have to attain maximum deflection quickly.
I also decided to switch the roll cam to soft-center to see what it is like (only roll for now because the cam is a lot easier to switch). I didn’t expect any difference because the soft-center cams looks basically identical to the no-center cam. At first I indeed couldn’t notice a difference, but when I started to additional tighten the (medium) spring, a very nice and smooth center became noticeable. It in no way affects precision control but helps tremendously in positioning of the stick neutral (for example during a 4-point roll).
Overall I am very pleased with the improvement. I might eventually also change the pitch cam to soft-center (looking forward to THAT), but for now for now I will keep and further test the current setup. This really shows the great amount of customization that is available with the T-50.
If you figure out any more quality of life improvements, please post!
obutto makes a center colum for joysticks and it includes a stand for throttle and all nuts and bolts
Is the throttle out yet ?
Combined pricing ?
Any discounts for f-111 devoutees
Good review! But is no any views from right side or top of stick head. It’s very strange.
I found this views (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hFivQyfWv8)
Top cover not look perfect. What you think about?
I originally wanted to buy this stick, but now in thought.