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DIY OpenBeam Flight Yoke

DIY OpenBeam FFB Flight Yoke


BFF OpenBeam FFB Yoke


UPDATE Nov '18 - 3D Printing stl files now added for adaptor parts to allow 60ST-M01330 motors to be used in the yoke.


UPDATE Jan '17 - More detailed plans now added here.


This force feedback flight yoke provides an alternative build approach to the original timber structure CL yoke shown here. It will be of interest to builders who do not want or aren't able to get into making individual components from timber or metal.


The yoke's framework is assembled from OpenBeam aluminium extrusions, with other brackets and components 3D printed.

Force Feedback Flight Yoke

DIY CL Yoke - constructed from OpenBeam beams

and 3D printed parts


The drive motors and transmission specifications are more or less the same as for the timber yoke, as is the force performance.


Like the original timber version, this OpenBeam FFB yoke is designed to be installed behind the sim instrument panel; it is not intended as a desktop device.


The OpenBeam system offers a flexible way of building structures but I was initially concerned that the 15mm square OpenBeam extrusions might not be rigid enough to deal with the forces developed by the drive motors. However the framework has proved surprisingly rigid on its own, and when secured to a solid support structure it is perfectly adequate for operation - the control wheel feels solid in use.


Force Feedback Flight Yoke

Base - Frame with elevator axis drive and linear

guides for supporting the moving carriage

The 3D printed components - belt pulleys, bearing housings and various brackets have also proved effective. Their strength and accuracy depends off course on material and printer choices. I use a Zortrax M200 printer and have produced the components using the Z-Ultrax material.




The base frame provides the support structure for the elevator axis drive motor and belt transmission, and the linear guides on which the upper moving carriage slides. It also provides the mechanical end stops for the elevator movement.


The design uses linear guides with roller ball carriages rather than the round rails with linear bearings used in the original yoke.

Force Feedback Flight Yoke

Carriage - slides on the base frame guides and

carries the aileron axis drive.

The elevator drive is the same as for the original yoke - a 3mm pitch toothed belt driven by the brushless motor at the rear and with an idler pulley at the front. The idler pulley is supported in a 3D printed housing which can be position adjusted to provide belt tensioning.





The moving carriage sits on the linear guide rails on the Base to provide the elevator axis movement. It carries the Aileron axis drive motor and single belt stage which rotates the yoke tube. The yoke tube is supported in needle roller bearings housed in 3D printed bearing housings. The front bearing housing also provides the aileron axis mechanical end stops.


Force Feedback Flight Yoke

DIY CL Yoke - constructed from OpenBeam beams

and 3D printed parts

Care needs to be taken on assembly of the Carriage on the linear guides - the guide rail fixing screws should be left loose during assembly to ensure that the rails find their true parallel positions when the carriage is mounted. They are then tightened once the carriage is secured and so allow smooth fore/aft movement for the elevator axis.


The resulting movements in both the elevator and aileron axis are very smooth, and the loading from the brushless drive motors and BFF CL cards is as smooth as expected from the BFF CL system.


3D Printed Components:


Force Feedback Flight Yoke 3D Printed Parts

3D Printed parts - including belt pulleys and

bearing housings

Most of the components in the build aside from the OpenBeam aluminium beams and bought transmission components (bearings, belts) are 3D printed. The printed parts are:

  • L and T brackets to secure the beam sections together

  • Mounting feet

  • Yoke tube bearing housings

  • Linear rail fixing brackets (to secure the main carriage to the linear guides)

  • Elevator axis belt attachment bracket (to connect the belt to the moving carriage)

  • Drive and idler toothed belt pulleys

  • Idler pulley housing

  • Rear end stop for carriage

The quality of the 3D printing needs to be good for several of the components. The bearing housings need dimensionally accurate holes to accept and hold the bearings and the toothed belt pulleys need accuracy to reproduce the tooth forms fully and to produce the shaft mounting holes to the required fit.


I use a Zortrax M200 printer and have used their Z-Ultrax material to good effect. I have found that some shrinkage allowance on holes is required to ensure accuracy for bearing and shaft fits. On the belt pulley shaft holes about 0.15mm oversize allowance is needed to end with a firm press fit of the pulley onto the motor shaft. On the larger bearing housings about 0.2mm allowance is required.


One particular advantage with the belt pulleys is that an integral key can be included in the printed pulley shaft hole which makes fitting the pulley much more straightforward than before.


There's a fair bit of printing time involved, but if you have access to a 3D printer it should still work out fairly inexpensive in terms of filament cost.


Movie Clips:


Here's a YouTube clip of the yoke....




Drawings and Specifications:


UPDATE Nov '18


To use 60ST-M01330 servo motors in the yoke, flange adaptors and a few other parts are required.


60ST Motor Adaptors STL Files


NOTE: To use the 60ST motor, the drive belt on the aileron axis must also be changed from the 450-5M-15 shown in the buy-list to the shorter 425-5M-15. The adaptor places the motor centreline slightly closer to the yoke tube and so a shorter belt is required.


60ST Adaptor - Aileron


Force Feedback Flight Yoke Layout

OpenBeam Flight Yoke


3D Printing STL files


UPDATE 13/1/17


I've updated the yoke plans pdf - it now includes the build sequence and more details of the components. Click on the image for the pdf.


I hope also to be able to offer the full set of 3D printed parts for sale.


UPDATE 18/1/17 Buy List and .stl files for 3DP printed components now available, see links below -




3D Printing STL files


IMPORTANT: To work well the 3D printed parts must be of good quality (dimensionally accurate and with reasonable strength). This implies a reasonably dense fill and good internal bonding. The belt pulleys and bearing housings especially need good dimensional accuracy on internal diameters used for shaft or bearing location. You may need to experiment with these to determine what if any adjustments are needed with your printer and material to get internal hole diameters to give a firm press fit of the pulleys on motor shafts, and of bearing into housings.


For reference on the pulleys I increase the hole diameter by 0.18mm on my Zortrax to get a good press fit of the pulley on the motor shaft. The bearing housing stl models already have a 0.15mm increase in dia on the bearing housing holes to get a firm press fit of the bearing into the housing.



I hope also to be able to offer the full set of 3D printed parts for sale soon. Please contact me for more information if you would like a set....




So more to follow - I'll add further details as I get them ready....




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