Introduction: DIY - IPad Joystick

Picture of DIY - IPad Joystick

I love my iPad.  I can do just about anything on it.  But when it comes to gaming, you just can't beat the precision of physical controls. You can find joysticks on the market, but why spend 25 bucks when you can make something just as good at home?  So, after weeks of tinkering and testing, I've got a working model that I made with common household items for less than $5.

I hope you enjoy building it and playing all the joystick controlled apps on your iPad.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

You'll need the following items to build your iPad Joystick:

   1. A Nerf dart (with a suction cup end)

   2. A chess piece (a bishop is the best)

   3. A bouncy ball

   4. Scotch Brite non-scratch cleaning sponge (most any scratch resistant sponge should work)

   5. Aluminum foil (8" x 8")

   6. Scissors

   7. A hot glue gun


   1.  A single hole punch

Step 2: Assemble the Structure

Picture of Assemble the Structure

Use the scissors to cut a slice halfway through the bouncy ball.  Open the cut and insert the top of the chess piece.  Use a hot glue gun to secure it into place.

Step 3: Wrap Your Structure

Picture of Wrap Your Structure

Cut out a square of tin foil roughly 8" x 8" and wrap it snugly around the piece you just assembled.  Try to retain as much of the original shape of the piece as possible.  Make sure to cover the bottom of the chess piece as well and try to keep it as flat as posible

Use the scissors to cut a small hole in the base, roughly the width of a pencil.  

Step 4: Prepare the Sponge

Picture of Prepare the Sponge

Use the scissors to cut the sponge into a 1.25" diameter circle.  Slice it so it is only 1/8 - 3/16" thick.  

Use the single hole punch (if available) or scissors to cut a hole through the center of the circular sponge.

Line up the hole in the sponge with the hole in the bottom of the foil-covered piece, then use the hot glue gun to glue the sponge in place. Do not use too much glue because the sponge still needs to have contact with the foil for the joystick to work.

Step 5: Attach the Suction Cup

Picture of Attach the Suction Cup

Disassemble the Nerf dart, removing the foam part of the dart.  Next, cut away the plastic sides that surrounded the foam.  

Insert the plastic shaft of the dart through the hole in the sponge and into the hole in the bottom of the chess piece.  Use the hot glue gun to glue it into place.

Step 6: Have Fun

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And you're done! Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the many joystick controled apps for the iPad and Android tablets.

My favoritve joystick compatible apps are:


2. Edge

3. Death Worm

4. Radiant HD


6. Reckless Racing

7. Death Rally

8. Meteor Blitz

9. MX Mayhem

10. Star Blitz

11. Buganoids HD

12. Revolt

13. Gun Bros.

14. Galaga 30th Collection

Feel free to share your favorite games in the comments below.


SamuelC1 (author)2015-01-11

I think it would be cooler if you could make a smaller and more portable one but nice job

gal-x-e (author)2014-09-28

4 so long i wonted to make 1 (the price on ebay was to high 4 this kind of thing).

& now thanks 2 i've my own DIY.

Thank you :)

SuperTech-IT (author)2013-11-28

Your creativity and ingenuity impresses me.
I am not easily impressed.

joseqtb (author)2013-09-22


TSC (author)2013-02-15

Awesome great job!

PapaHex (author)2012-01-17

I really do like this structable. The thing is, when I saw the thumbnail for it, I thought it was a homemade bong lol. Still cool as hell and I will definitely give this one a try.

wolpert101 (author)2011-12-27

Wow this is really great! I'm gona make this as soon as I can. This is so much cheaper and cooler than the ones on think geek. Keep up the good work! ;)

Akaii (author)2011-07-06

Cool. Can you explain how or why it works?

Pnmelville (author)Akaii2011-07-06

The iPad has a capacitive touch screen. It can sense your touch because when it's on it has a small electrastatic field around it, that is disturbered when your finger (which conducts the electricity) hits it. Then it takes the information of where the field was distorted and converts it in to where you pressed.

Pnmelville (author)Pnmelville2011-07-06

The joystick just conducts the electricity into your finger because the sponge and tin foil are both conductive.

About This Instructable




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