||It may be hard to decide where to start building. Some people
like to make a full detailed plan, others just start somewhere.
I have setup this website in different sections.
Improving visuals has a big impact on the flightsim experience. If you are still flying on a desk, and you can spend the money, I'd recommend to go the Parhelia way, with three screens instead of one. I got mine at Ebay for about €175. Parhelia is a bit outdated, Triplehead To Go now seems a popular solution to get scenery over multiple screens.
Another addition that can still be added to the desk setup are Tactile Transducers. It's unbelievable how much this can add. In my setup, you get so used to it, that it's just terrible when you switch it off.
Rudder pedals with toe brake are easy to build, and add a lot to your flight control capabilities.
When going for new cockpit controls, you either go for a cockpit console (still desk flying) or make a real stand-alone cockpit like my simpit. Some cockpit builders go for a specific plane cockpit. I have always flown lots of different planes, from gliders to Dash-8, which is big enough for me. The simpit is a general setup, and will be suitable for both.
The motion platform is a very interesting experiment, it is still in the tweaking stage. There are lots of possibilities, hardware and software wise. I also have some new ideas to be checked further. Technical wise, the motion platform is somewhat of a challenge. Make sure you have all the skills required, or you will get stuck somewhere.
Where to get materials:
On the cheap:
If you want to make use of dump material, get a good idea of what you might need, and regularly check your local dump/junkyard for goodies.
(I realize now that the junkyards in Taiwan were a great place. In the Netherlands, all household and industrial junk is recycled by commercial companies, and they seldom allow the public to go through their stuff)
Where to buy parts:
Since the availability of parts varies a lot in different countries, I cannot give much advice here.
I have listed the web-sites of major part suppliers, where at
least you can view component spec sheets. Those suppliers however
do not sell loose parts, only large quantities. For single parts,
electronics and computer shops are the best bet, and you can find
alternatives by talking to the shopkeeper. Otherwise, mail order
service is the only way. Farnell seems to be a good but somewhat expensive company for
buying electronics parts.