UPDATE - Sept
My focus continues to
be on the flight simulator equipment related web site and I
haven't made any new EV designs for some time now.
I've now made the
plans for all the EV's free to access. Just follow the
plans order links to the order
page where you will find the download link. You can access the
pdfs from there...enjoy!
UPDATE - 2 July
I've neglected to post updates for a wee while
now... All of my work recently has been on the flight simulator
sections of the web site. It's mainly commercial work on the
force feedback systems that has occupied me and I've been
continuously developing the
cards and software over time.
An interesting wee diversion recently is the new
cockpit/seat shaker & rumble system - see
http://bffsimulation.com/BFF_Shaker.php. Good fun - if you
are interested in building a rumble system a bit different from
the usual bass shaker units..
Work in the pipeline at the moment is a racing
car simulator FFB steering wheel version of the FFB system. This
is interesting because the maths of the road tyre modelling is a
bit more interesting than that for flight controls, and some of
the maths needs to be done on-board the motor driver card.
Steering wheel FFB is also single channel - so it is potentially
a simpler, lower cost project than a full set of flight
UPDATE - 13 May
Google has become
confused, and can't decide if the web site is for EV's or for
flight simulation projects! So I've decided at long last to give
the ever expanding flight sim projects section its own web
address. You can now find the BFF Simulator Force and Motion web
...don't worry - all
the internal site links will work as before so most folks
probably won't notice it has moved.....
UPDATE - 8 Sept
I've now made
available plans, software and hardware for building a DIY force
feedback flight yoke. Otherwise known as a yoke control loader.
The hardware is derived from the earlier brushless motor drive
development work. More details
UPDATE - 21 March
Further work on the
DIY force feedback flight controls are for flight simmers. I've
been working on a more sophisticated brushless motor drive for
the FFB flight yoke and am getting much better results with
regard to force smoothness. More details
UPDATE - 14 Sept
More activity on the
flight sim side of things. I've released a beta version of the
BFF Motion Driver software for Condor Soaring the gliding
simulator. Available on the
sim downloads page. Various other software improvements also
on the V2.6beta -
see the change list.
UPDATE - 21 July
Since January there
have been a number of updates on the flight simulator section of
the web site - these include updated versions of software,
hardware improvements and updates and the addition of free
force feedback software and microcontroller comms software. See
the flight sim home page for
UPDATE - 29 January
A further update for
the BFF Motion Driver software - I've made V2.6beta available
for the Falcon F4-AF flight combat sim. It's available to
download and try from the downloads page
here. If you do give it
a try remember it is beta software - so please report any issues
you come across.
UPDATE - 11 January 2010,
Happy New Year! An
update on the motion platform driver software - I've put
V2.6beta code up on the
site for interested platform builders to try. V2.6 has a number
of interesting new features - including support for Dyadic SCN5
linear actuators, joystick movement input and some configuration
additions. It is beta software however, so there might be
further changes to be made - let me know if there are any issues
UPDATE - 15 October 2009,
Update - no update!
I've been neglecting the site recently due to a commercial
design and build project I've been working on over the summer
Swarm Systems Ltd. However I hope to get back to new
projects for the site before too long. I have plans to do more
with the DIY force
feedback yoke and the motion
platform servo drive.
UPDATE - 15 June 2009,
For DIY motion
platform builders - details are now available for a
ready-built signal processor unit
PCB to replace the DIY bread boarded electronics used in the
earlier drive system designs. The board will be available to buy
soon - but technical details are now available on the site,
follow the link above.
UPDATE - 18 May 2009,
I've added a couple
of pages in the flight sim section - these are a write up on a
DIY force feedback
(control loader) flight yoke I've been working away on for
some time. The design isn't quite finished yet but it's been a
fascinating project and I thought I'd put up some info on it.
UPDATE - 10 April 2009,
A couple of updates
in the Motion Platform section. I've released
v2.1 of the motion driver
software which has some interesting updates - for commercial
users there is now direct position demand output to Galil motion
controllers and I've added in-program cue settings and a
built-in virtual oscilloscope to trace the cue outputs in
real-time - very useful during setup stages.
I've also finished
work on a high-speed version
of the servo control system SPU for the motion platform
drive system. This uses PICAXE's new 28X2 higher speed
microcontroller chip and brings further improvement to the drive
UPDATE - 13 Feb 2009,
Detailed plans are
now available for the Mini Motion
Platform 3. They are bundled FREE with V2 Motion Driver
UPDATE - 21 Jan 2009,
I've added a page on
a software implementation of the flight sim Articulated
Projector display motion method. This produces the same visual
effects as the projector articulation but on a
monitor and using software only - no hardware build! I don't
have robust software available but there is a demonstration
application and some movie clips.
I'm a bit late in
posting this but there is a new page with details of an
enhanced speed SPU for
the motion platform control system. This uses 115200 baud to
improve the speed of data transfer between the hardware and PC
and improves the control system performance. Page
UPDATE - 22 Dec 2008,
A number of
interesting new developments in the flight sim pages. I;ve
upgraded the BFF Motion Driver
software to V2 for both MSFS and X-Plane sims. The driver now
includes an integrated
Articulated Projector driver which is a new and interesting
way to add further motion immersion to motion platforms. There
is also a new page on US
Digital MA3 encoder use with the platform drive hardware.
UPDATE - 21 Nov 2008,
Work has been
proceeding on a third, even lower cost motion platform design
and I've added a write-up page for interested visitors -
BFF Mini Motion Platform
(well I had to call it something!)
UPDATE - 22 Oct 2008,
The flight sim motion
platform driver software has been upgraded to version v1.6.5d
for MSFS sims. This is an important update and this version
should be used in preference to previous MSFS versions. It is
available here. There is
now a v1.7 beta version available which has a LAN network
operation feature - see the sim downloads page.
UPDATE - Sept 2008,
There is now a full
information pack available for the DIY Wi-Fi Bot which includes
drive software, user guides, wiring diagrams, flash programs and
detailed technical drawings. Most of this is available free from
the Bot web pages, however the
full version of the driver software and the detailed engineering
drawings are available as part of the paid-for
Full Access Passwords set here.
UPDATE - Aug 2008,
I've had a number of
projects on the go and it looks like it's the
BFF DIY Wi-Fi Bot that will make
it to the site first. I haven't made up a plans and information
set for it yet but there are a couple of pages of write up
UPDATE - May 2008,
I've worked up a
design for a 1500W electric kart - one that's a bit bigger and
faster then the 500W kid's kart already on the site. I haven't
found time to build and test it yet but the design look
reasonably sound to me and shouldn't throw up significant build
problems. More details at the 1500W
UPDATE - April 2008,
I've added a basic
set of dimensioned drawings of the Platform 2 and updated the
Linear Actuator drawing set to reflect some design improvements.
The platform drawings are here.
UPDATE - Feb 2008,
Platform 2 prototype is now up and running
and I'll now be testing it to see how it runs - more details on
the Platform 2 pages.
I've completed the design of the flight sim
motion platform 2 and the build is now underway. Three linear
actuators have been made and are up and running albeit without
load. An interesting experiment has been to run the 24V drive
motors on 36V to see how the speed response of the actuators
improves. Movie clips of the actuators running can be seen on
the Platform 2 page here.
The remaining structures shouldn't be difficult to make and I
should have the whole platform running by the end of the month.
UPDATE - Nov 2007,
Low cost motion drive software is now
available on the motion cockpit
downloads page here.
This offers an attractive solution for DIY motion platform
builders looking to reduce the build costs of their systems.
I've also made available informational plans for a low-cost
linear actuator that might
be of interest in more conventional platform designs - the plans
are bundled free with the motion drive software.
UPDATE - Sept 2007,
I've updated the DIY 3 DOF Motion Cockpit
pages and made available detailed information about the drive
software and drive and control system. This includes free
software, micro-controller programs and wiring diagrams. You can
see them here.
UPDATE - July 2007,
The main moving cockpit mechanical system is built and moved
indoors from the workshop. I've done most of the electrical
system fit-out and have the control system running and stable,
although I need to do some testing now to see how the system
runs. There is a short
movie clip here to let you see the cockpit in motion under
test (still without a pilot though).
UPDATE - May 2007,
I've added a few pages giving a bit of a
progress report on the latest project. This is a 3 DOF flight
simulator movement cockpit and
will be quite a challenge. Have a look and see what you think.
UPDATE - April 2007,
The 1300W Yard Tractor plans set is now available and is
included with the Full Set Download and on the Plans-on-a CDROM
available from the plans page.
I'm working on putting some preview sheets up on the site for
free - probably just of the assembly drawings, for builders
interested in seeing some ideas for their own projects. Update -
the assembly drawing previews are now up - go to the
Yard Tractor page.
Design work on
the next project is underway - this one will be quite a bit
UPDATE - March 2007,
I've just about finished the 1300W Yard
Tractor build and am now drafting the plans set. There are some
newer photos on the tractor page - get to it from the home page.
UPDATE - February 2007,
I'm pleased to say that work on the 1300W Yard Tractor is under
way. Most of the steel steering and drive components are made
and work has started on the wooden chassis. See images below - I
hope that another couple of weeks will see good progress and
something in the workshop that looks more like a tractor than at
Left - work started on the chassis.
Right - Front beam axle, still unfinished but looking sturdy.
UPDATE - December 2006,
Version of the vehicle power calculator
added for imperial (inch & lbs) units.
UPDATE - December 2006,
For designers/builders interested in
vehicle power calculations I've added a simple calculator that
can be used to experiment with vehicle and drive condition
parameters and see effects on power consumption. You can find it
here (I'm afraid only a
metric version is available at the moment).
Design work on the new yard tractor has progressed and
although plans aren't ready I've added a write-up
UPDATE - November 2006,
I started design work on the next vehicle - a sort of towed wheeled sled pulled by a "pack" of electric bogies. This sounded interesting to me - you could stand on the rear of the sled and steer the "pack" by steering the lead bogie, a bit like steering a dog team (I guess - never having driven a real dog sled!). I explained this idea to my oldest son and got a, well, muted response - "a bit weird maybe", "not to everyone's taste?" I took the hint am am
now working instead on an updated garden tractor design - one that uses proper lawn tractor wheels and a more efficient electric motor drive than the old mini-tractor on the site. Should have the new tractor design finished by Christmas for building in the New Year.
UPDATE - September 2006,
I've now been able to add FREE plans for the 1000W antique style Voiturette -
The Voiturette plans are also available now as a convenient download with overall materials and components lists and are included in the full
paid-for plans set and the Plans on a CDROM.
UPDATE - August 2006,
FREE plans for the go kart and gearbox have been added to the site -
UPDATE - August 2006,
Our 3/4 scale electric Voiturette has been built and is running - see the link from the home page. Work
will start soon on a set of detailed plans for the vehicle which will be available in a month or two.
UPDATE - May 2006,
Work is continuing to collect the parts needed for the replica Voiturette build and work will begin on this very soon now.
I've also started to add new Plans Walk-Through pages which will let visitors see what's in the plan sets in a bit more detail. For those just interested in ideas about construction it should be possible to see in the images the general approach used in many of the vehicle designs. I've started with the tilting scooter and the walk-through can be accessed through the scooter links.
UPDATE - April 2006,
Design work is proceeding on the next vehicle which will be an antique car replica - something a bit larger than the kids' karts. I've had another article published in Engine & Wheels
which discusses the early part of this project. You can find it at the SmallCarPlans web site
A second article on the replica antique car design has been published in issue #45 of Engine & Wheels
TM. See the link below to the SmallCarPlans web site or you can download pdf copies of both articles from our site here -
Article Part 1
Article Part 2
UPDATE - March 2006,
The powered yard or garden flatbed/walled trailer plans are now available in all the usual formats. The trailer plans have also been added to our "fullset" downloads and our "Plans on a CD".
Time to move on to the next design!
UPDATE - February 2006,
I've had a technical article on electrical drives for small EV's published in the web-publication "Engine and Wheels
" Issue #41. You can find it through the SmallCarPlans web site
or download a re-print from our site
UPDATE - January 2006,
First of all many thanks to our customers and site visitors from all over the world and your encouraging comments. With Christmas come and gone the next vehicle - the power assisted hand trailer - has moved off the drawing board and into the workshop, although as I type it's mainly a pile of bits. Winter in Scotland is usually a cold and damp affair and the problem is our unheated workshop can de described in similar terms which makes it difficult to work the wooden parts - time to roll out that old space heater!
It's at this time of year I get jealous of those visitors to the site from the southern hemisphere.
UPDATE - November 2005,
Have finished testing the back-office systems and order pages are now available. If you have any problems with them please let us know at the e-mail link at the bottom of the page.
UPDATE - November 2005,
Work has been continuing on the first set of new buggy designs and on a major upgrade of the web site. We have finished the first set of plans and have decided to release the new web site - but to hold back the plans order pages until we finish testing the "back-office" systems. These will be up soon. The mini-tractor plans can be downloaded now for FREE!
UPDATE - July 2005,
Two of the new vehicles have been built and tested and the plans prepared. Work is progressing on number three. Once I have this one ready plus one other I should have time to put some work into
updating the web site and making the plans available. Still on course for release later in the summer.
UPDATE – March 2005,
Work on EV4 is still on the back burner I'm afraid. Instead a new range of easy to build vehicles is well under way with the first one being built and tested this month. Details of these should be available in the summer from our new web site at -
Come back and pay us a visit in the summer; in the meantime enjoy the rest of the site.
UPDATE – October 2004,
Unfortunately design work on the single seater has had to take a “back seat” due to pressure of other “real” work and time spent during the summer on some other vehicle design ideas. Work will resume however ASAP and I'll post developments when I have them!
EV4 will be a rugged single seater for adults, probably
4WD again and will make use of the articulated steering approach used in EV1 and a drive system similar to the tractor's.... I think......
As you can see, still a bit of work to do on this one.