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  • How to make a cockpit out of a mouse pad

    Majority of those little copy/print shops offer printing on mouse pads. That inspired me to design my own cockpit and have it printed on a mouse pad. Its smooth surface is nice to look at and won't damage the cards as you slide them around, and the rubber bottom makes it stick on the table. I couldn't think of a better choice. I designed a few layouts and had it done. In this thread you can see and download some of the layouts - they are zipped at the bottom of the first article.

    The stuff you need:

    1. Your own cockpit layout design or one of my creations
    2. A common razer blade (to cut it clean, a sharpie is not sharp enough)
    3. A steel ruler (to lead the razor blade while you cutting it)
    4. Soldering iron (to bake the fringes after you cut them)
    5. A 5mm drift-bolt (to make holes that will hold the altitude pegs) and a hammer

    Standard printable mouse pads can be 18-19 x 22-24 cm, 3mm thick. There are also thicker variants (5mm rubber), but i can't recommend those for reasons stated below (however they can be used).

    Steps to do:

    1. Have the layout printed on the mouse pad

    2. Cut it apart. This ain't an easy job. This is where you can screw up big time, as i did first. You need a really sharp tool and firm hand to cut it clean, otherwise the fringe will fray and it will look ugly. The sharpie is not sharp enough as i found out, so i went for an old-timer - a razor blade.

    a. Put the mouse pad on some sort of a hard surface
    b. Push the ruler on the pad so it doesn't slip, then lead the blade in a sharp angle along. Make sure the blade dives in the fabric from the very start. As you proceed towards the end of the pad, release the pressure on the blade a bit, otherwise it can pull the rubber out by the end and the line won't be straight.
    c. Give it about two more cuts to cut through the rubber. That's why i prefer the 3mm rubber.

    3. Bake the fringe up by a soldering iron. Even if you use the procedure described above, the fringe will fray a bit. No problemo - place the steel ruler along the edge, making sure a hair-thin line of the frayed edge pokes out from underneath. Then heat up the soldering iron full blast, and lead the rod slowly along the ruler. Lean the rod on the ruler in an angle, so it moves right next to the frayed edge but it doesn't touch it straight (another of my mistakes was touching it with the hot rod, ...) .

    The edge will harden up a bit, getting that smooth, clean look.

    4. Use a 5mm drift-bolt to cut the round holes that will hold the altitude pegs. You can skip this one, if you hate altitude rules, haha. I did it just because i get really irritated by the pegs rolling around and falling on the floor. Put the mouse pad on a hard surface, mark the spots where you want to have the holes, attach the bolt and give it a few good punches by a hammer.

    Bake the fringes up - put the hot rod of the soldering iron inside of the hole without touching the fabric. I used a couple of thick washers that i put under the hole to lift it. Then i sticked the rod inside so it stood on its tip with the fabric around at the close distance.

    And there you go, no more rolling ya little bastards.

    This is it. If you made it all the way here with all your fingers still on, no burns, no blisters and no heart attack,

    then enjoy your new cockpit.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: How to make a cockpit out of a mouse pad started by Lino22 View original post