A simulator of this size cannot sit on the floor. There has to be space beneath the simulator to house the column and rudder pedal assemblies. There are many methods used to construct a platform - some very fancy using sheet metal and aluminum and others quite bland using second hand timber.
The platform must be constructed so that the surface of the stage is strong enough to hold the weight of two seats, a MIP, a throttle quadrant, avionics bay and two people. The main area that strength is required is from the central area toward to the rear of platform; this is the area that the seats and throttle quadrant sit. The areas immediately in front of this doesn't have to be a as strong as only the MIP sits here. Although strength isn't of importance in the frontal region, under floor space is. This is the area in which you install the captain and first officer's flight column and rudder assemblies. These two pieces of equipment will be installed within two separate aluminium made modules - what I call "flight modules"
In the image above, you can see the sectionalised central and rear portion of the platform. The sections provide increased strength to stop the platform top, which will be 20 mm plywood, from bending or warping. This region of the platform has the most weight (seats, throttle quadrant and avionics bay). The red carpet is only to stop me destroying the carpet in the room!
I've used Baltic Pine for the basic construction and will be using a 20 mm thick plywood sheet to cover the platform. On top of this plywood base I will install (lay) industrial strength Boeing grey carpet. (don't ask about where to purchase Boeing grade carpet as I made the term up) The areas for the column and rudder pedal will be cut out using a jigsaw after these items arrive in February 2012. I will also cut an area in the central region of the stage to construct a hatch / pull away section to enable access to the under floor flight modules (column & rudder assemblies). The height above the floor is a tad over 150 mm (6 inches). This is because the flight modules are 150 mm (6 inches) in height.
The platform is not to Boeing specification as the floor space I currently have is limited. In time, when I move the simulator to a dedicated room I'll reconstruct the platform to the correct measurements. No doubt it will be easier and faster to do the second time around.
I'll be cutting and installing the plywood cover in a a week or so (I need to pourchases a mobile jigsaw).
I'd also like to say thanks to "Flight Sim - Hobby or Obsession" who provided some measurements for me. All other measurements were gleaned from the document "Boeing 737 Flight Deck Measurements". This document can be downloaded in the training section of this Blog.
It's pleasing to finally begin to build something that is tangible and is not software related.