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Custom BIP Tiles Procedure

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garyzink
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Custom BIP Tiles Procedure

Post by garyzink » 04 Mar 2020, 03:39

Procedure for Creating Custom BIP Tiles

This procedure produces custom tiles for Saitek BIP display. Its inexpensive, easy and fast to make good looking custom tiles. Included with the factory tiles are many that I found useful and a few that were missing in the inventory and a few that I’ll never need. BIPs are still available on Ebay, although pricey, about 2 to 3 times the cost of originals which are no longer made.

If I had the time, I’d build a hardware dispay unit and software that would display 24 tiles using software input and keyboard text to display any function I need. Anyone know of any such item?

The following 8 steps refer to the 8 photos respectively, top row first, left to right, at https://photos.app.goo.gl/LNFgKFLScxiDQzth6


1. Create or edit a BIP drawing, to record desired tiles and layout on 3x8 matrix. Not a necessary step, but recommended for future information, especially if you should need to reconstruct the BIP layout. Photo 1.

2. Using a computer drawing / text editor, draw several black rectangles, so that the size when printed, is the same size of actual factory BIP tiles. I used FileMaker Pro. Better to be oversize than undersize.

3. Inside the black rectangle, type the desired text for the function you want the BIP to display. Use the following font:

Arial Bold, 12 point, white letters. Center the text within the black rectangle.
Make about 6 such duplicate figures for each tile on one sheet.

4. Print the paper sheet to see how it looks. If OK, then print the sheet on a 8.5" x 11" transparency sheet (clear plastic sheet, available at most stationary stores or on line, such as 100 Sheets Apollo Transparency Film for plain paper copiers, clear sheets for $15). Be sure it is no thicker than 4.5 mil (or 0.0045” or 0.114 mm)., else it may jamb your printer.
If your printer won't accept the transparency, copy your drawing onto flash media and have a copy store print it, such as Office Depot. Its interesting to note that printing white text over a black background on a transparency sheet will actually produce clear and transparent text letters. See photo 2.

5. Place a sheet of sandpaper on a flat surface and sand away the text and black background from a factory BIP tile that you know you will never need. Sand briefly until the tile is white and all the black is gone. See photos 3 and 4.

6. Using a sharp Exacto knife, carefully cut out three copies of the tile template from the transparency sheet. See photo 5.

7. Using a simple solid glue stick for pasting paper, apply glue to the perimeter backside of a transparent template and apply it to a sanded tile, let it dry for a few minutes. See photo 6.

Installing this tile will produce intended results to closely match all factory tiles, except this custom tile will also show a halo around the text due to light bleeding though the black printed background surrounding the text. If this looks OK to you, then you are done, else go to step 8.

8. Repeat step 7 and layer the custom tile with two more transparency cutouts to mask out the light bleeding through the black part. Using the glue stick to stick on two more transparent texts, hold each layer to the light and slide it into position so the text perfectly aligns and coincides. This is why you printed multiple copies of each tile text onto the transparency.

If you prefer to use black model airplane paint to provide a better mask, that’ fine too, but wait until the paint dries before you insert it into the BIP.

Insert the custom tile into the BIP and you are done. Note the light slightly bleeding through the black between the text letters, photo 7, row 1 col 3. This is unavoidable and hardly noticeable. The tile HIGH RPM in row 2 col 8, is also a custom tile.

Process improvement suggestions are welcome.

Gary Zink
gary_zink@hotmail.com

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thedazman
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Re: Custom BIP Tiles Procedure

Post by thedazman » 11 Mar 2020, 18:25

Man that’s a lot of work when you can just print your plate requirements payed out onto photo paper and job done.

Recently I 3D printed plates that hold individual printed labels.

Or you can just get BIP gauge from fipgauges.com and run BIP or your FIPs :-)

Daz
"theDAZman" aka "theGFXguy"
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https://fipgauges.com

garyzink
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Re: Custom BIP Tiles Procedure

Post by garyzink » 16 Mar 2020, 01:03

Thanks Daz, sounds like you have a better idea. I like the BIP gauge from fipgauges.com. However, I'd need to redesign my instrument panel to make room for them. Furthermore, I already have the Saitek FIP. Maybe this is why Logitek has discontinued their FIP panel. If I had to reconstruct my instrument panel, I'd indeed go with fipgauges.com.
Thanks for your reply, Gary

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