My A320 FCU and MCDU finished

My dream is to build my own A320 cockpit. I call it my 10-year project :slight_smile:

I started with making my own interface using SimConnect and WASM. I intentionally didn’t want to make use of other great tools you can find on the internet, but build everything from scratch myself. I just like programming. You can read everything about that in a few posts on this forum.

After a few years of study in both software and hardware development, I finally finished my FCU and MCDU. I am using FBW A32NX for connecting them.



I developed everything myself, using the following set of tools.


  • Snapmaker 2.0 A350 for CNC, Laser and 3D-printing
  • MPLAB PICkit4 to develop and debug the PIC Microcontroller software (I’m using PIC18F47J53)
  • I also have tools to work on electronics such as soldering iron, hotair soldering station, oscilloscope Rigol DS1202 E, multimeter, etc…


  • SketchUp for Web (yearly paid license) for making all my full 3D drawings (my starting point)
  • Fusion 360 (non commercial license) for creating CNC toolpaths
  • Inkscape (free) for drawing the laser engraving designs
  • Ultimaker CURA for my 3D slicer
  • Snapmaker Luban for controlling my Snapmaker 2.0 A350
  • EasyEDA for drawing my electronic schematics and PCB layout (my PCB’s are ordered with JLCPCB)
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2022 (for my CockpitHardwareHUB and WASM module - see posts mentioned above for more details)
  • MPLAB X IDE v5.45 for developing my PIC-microcontroller software

Now I will take a break and enjoy a bit the flying itself. I need to practice a bit before I rent a real A320 simulator for a couple of hours together with my youngest (although, he is more a Boeing guy). If you live in Belgium, look here: Northsea Flight Simulation - Full Motion Airbus Flight Simulator (

Safe flights!


Very cool, well done! Can’t wait to see more!

Congrats…very nicely done. It takes a lot of knowledge to do what you are doing. Keep up the GREAT work!!!

Does the MCDU you made require a graphical input to the PC, or is all the data populating on the screen come from your software? In other words, is the screen simply acting as a “pop out” screen for MCDU screen from the sim? I’ve heard using PCB’s eliminates the need for that and all the data showing on the screen is coming via the external MCDU hardware/software itself.

Ehm I think I have very bad news for you… that might dampen your A320 spirit a little bit now.
The Fenix Airbus does not support home cockpits, and probably never will… but maybe you are lucky with the FlyByWire A380, and the A350 that is currently in development, and the A300-600 of iniBuilds.

Yes, my MCDU requires a graphical input to the PC. I’m using the FBW A32NX, which has a feature to get a full-screen version of the MCDU display in a separate browser window.

This works through “SimBridge”, which is part of their installation package. Once this is installed and running, you simply enter the URL “[your computername]:8380/interfaces/mcdu/?fullscreen”. The MCDU display then appears in a seperate browser window that you can drag to the extra display (the MCDU screen), and from there you put it “full screen”, and bingo.

I have made sure that the L1…L6 en R1…R6 buttons are perfectly aligned with the content on that screen. This more or less binds me to FBW A32NX, but at the end, if I would use another sim in the future, it won’t make that much difference.

I know, but I’m using the FBW A32NX, and have no intention nor need to change. This is also one of the very high quality simulations, and it’s even free of charge!

Although, I have seen several YouTube video’s of people having a full blown cockpit connected with the Fenix A320. How is that possible then?

Only the Fenix has a uniqué photorealistic cockpit with superior ultra high polygon visuals, and full MCDU programming with all sub-pages and other systems simulated.
MCDU enthusiasts praise the Fenix for it´s perfection.
Flight Simulator 2020 and Fenix A320 is like the ultimate aviator´s dream come true, finally redemption from the eternal outdated ugly PlayStation2 + PlayStation3 level graphics, and in all cockpits 50% of all switches and systems INOP … the whole flight simulation genre seemed to be stuck in this time-loop like situation literally forever from 1999 till 2019, with little (if any at all) visual and technical progress.

And literally everyone (except me) was defending this situation “it´s a simulator, therefore it must look like this, it must look like a Nintendo64 game because it´s about the REALISM…”
Hm. Realism. I know the realism is the most important aspect but funny thing is, I found none of this almost bible-verse like chanted realism comparable to what the Fenix offers to it´s dedicated aviator in any of all the other (civilian) flight simulators. But mostly only INOP-switches and duds that cannot even be clicked scattered everywhere all over the cockpit, on almost all panels, half of the systems not modeled and simulated, or significantly dumbed down and simplified, and everything being “heavily modified and simplified for simulation only”.
That´s why the Fenix and the FlyByWire is truly something special yes. :slight_smile: and it will even get better in Flight Sim 2024 - your 10 year cockpit build project will get delivered better and better simulators in the future, and also better panels more cockpit parts available, maybe you even get some real Airbus cockpit seats on eBay and other interesting and uniqué parts.

And you should also give the Fenix a chance, you will surely become a 100% satisfied customer never wanting to fly anything else.
Except of course the Fenix A320 IAE version… :wink:
And the Fenix A320 freighter and A321 freighter in half a year or so.

Unfortunately I have zero knowledge about cockpit building that´s why I know nothing about if and how these parts function.
But I often think about getting me some nice MCDU replica that is plugged in a USB port to program the Fenix with even more style and immersion, plus having a decorative authentic Airbus part sitting somewhere in my room that is beautyfully illuminated at night.

You are definitely right! I’ve seen a lot of YouTube video’s, and it looks really stunning. But as a Home Cockpit Builder, that is not relevant, because all that realism is been replaced by a REAL cockpit. I even would love to be able to hide the cockpit (still not possible in MSFS2020, it was possible in FSX).

My choice for FBW is obvious. Next to the fact that the realism is also very good, including the flight model, MCDU, etc…, it has all the interfacing capabilities that are required for a Home Cockpit Builder. That is mainly the reason why I don’t use Fenix, because as you already said, it is not intended for connecting hardware. And for me, the simulation realism of FBW A32NX is far good enough for a “non-pilot”. I won’t notice the difference if something is not 100% correctly simulated.

Strangely enough, I even like the building more than the flying - at least for now. In that context, I’m looking for super realism on the hardware that I make. If you look at pictures of my MCDU, you will even see that the buttons have a small spherical cutout on top, just like the real one. Many people wouldn’t care… but I do.

A couple of weeks ago, I hired a real A320 simulator for 2 hours. Next to the flying, I also looked at the cockpit in detail, and I was so pleased to see that my FCU and MCDU just looked exactly the same! Anyway, the cockpit that I hired was not a “real cockpit” of course, it is also built by components coming from Opencockpits or Skalarki. Even funny was that they used Boeing seats, as they were a lot cheaper than the Airbus ones :slight_smile:

Ok then, up to the next build. I’m now working on the complete glareshield, including the Warning panels (left and right) and the EFIS (left and right). The PCB’s (JLCPCB) have already arrived, and now I’m 3D-printing (Korry, buttons, etc…), then it’s going to be CNC, and finally lasering. Then I need to finish the PCB’s (adding some components), and then doing the software. I guess I will be busy for the rest of the year (as I’m not retired yet… :frowning: ).

A preview of what’s coming…

And this is a photograph of the simulator I was in - comparable?

1 Like

Beautifully done…Congrats!!!

Incredible job, I’m very jealous. I had built a panel for X-Plane 737 a couple years ago. As I started looking for encoders for A32n, I’m wondering how you executed the push/pull encoder? If you’d be willing to post a bit more detail on that, I would be greatly appreciative. I’m not sure if you can purchase an encoder with both push/pull or if you have to build a custom box with a pull button using a momentary switched encoder (push)? or something else? This one thing has me stumped at the moment. Thanks for posting!

Kudos to you, Sir.
I both envy and admire you.

Yes, you can buy push/pull encoders. But when I did my research a couple of years ago, these costed about 70 to 80 EUR per piece. If you know that for the FCU and both EFIS you need a total of 6, then for the glareshield that means already between 420 to 480 EUR. Not the amount of money that I want to spend, and also not as much fun as making them yourself.

With a 3D-printer, you can do a lot! This is a mandatory tool if you want to build your own cockpit. Otherwise you have to buy your components ready made (Skalarki, Opencockpit, …), but also that will be expensive. The money I didn’t spend on these expensive alternatives could be spent in my Snapmaker A350. Agreed, not the cheapest 3D-printer, but it’s also CNC and laser, which are also required if you want to take Home Cockpit Building serious.

And on top of that, you need to have a huge budget of time and patience.

The most complex Push/Pull switch is the one that has an extra switch (example to switch between “in Hg” and “hPa” on the EFIS, or select the “100” or “1000” ALT increments on the FCU). I designed it completely myself in Fusion 360 (I used to work with SketchUp, because Fusion 360 has a lot steeper learning curve, but I finally took the time to learn to work with it, and now I don’t understand why I didn’t do that earlier :slight_smile: ).


The bottom knob controls a switch via some levers. Honestly, I think there are more simple designs possible. But this one does fit in all my modules (you need to think about space as well).


I’m using a rotary encoder with no shaft. That allows me to make my own shaft out of a plastic tube with a diameter of 6mm, where at the end I used my CNC to cut out some D-shaped extension that fits in the encoder. That also allows me to make the shaft exactly the length that I want.

And for the Push/Pull mechanism I created some kind of “spring-like mechanism” that allows me to push down and pull up. This mechanism controls 2 small buttons, one at the bottom (the “push”) and one at the top (the “pull”). Buttons and encoder are mounted on a small PCB (made by JLCPCB) and are attached with superglue to that spring mechanism. Below is a section showing the details.


On top of the switches, I have some small “tuning bolts”. These allow me to tune the mechanism, because there are always tollerances.

The result is that the travel of my Push/Pull mechanism is really small. I have seen other designs with normal switches (same type of switch as the one I use at the side), which gives a more pronounced push and pull. It’s a matter of preference. I’m happy with my design, as it works perfectly.

Oh, just you know, I think I made about 10 versions to have it perfect. As I said, time and patience… :slight_smile:

Thanks for these kind words!:heart:

So you already have an A350 and now want to build an A320? :smile:

This looks fantastic I wish I had the space or talent to do something even remotely like this. Have fun, great work!

Prop Wash simulations have a dual encoder and switch “kit” for $12.95 FWIW

Yep, but it’s not a Push/Pull, but only Push! If you only need Push, there are indeed a lot of options (including yours) in that price range. But I challenge you to find a Push/Pull.

Thank you HBilliet!

One other question, encoders come in all sorts of types, pulse specs, etc. Can you recommend a good spec?

I have the 3d printer. So I’m willing to make parts. After spending what I spent on the new computer, the horse has left the barn!

Are you planning on offering your fusion design or STL files?

What you’ve done is pretty incredible. I’ve done a bit in fusion and understand the learning curve. Pat yourself on the back!

I like the way you chose to do your build. However a lot of people do not have access to a 3d printer or know how to use one. Great work!

Are you going to make your plans available on the web???

I agree with you that not all people have access to 3D, CNC or laser. But these people won’t build a home cockpit the way I do (would be rather impossible), but for these people the ready made modules are of course a solution.

I have been thinking of a website already a few times. But I still have a busy professional live next to my hobby, so didn’t find the time yet. But I’m more than willing to share some files. Attaching them in this forum is not possible, as the file format is not supported :frowning: