Instructables

Keyboard Joystick

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Picture of Keyboard Joystick
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I was playing a video game on my PC and found that my poor little fingers were getting sore from pressing the WASD keys.  Since I am playing this game a lot perhaps I could find a way to ease the pain by using a joystick or gamepad.  I already have a couple of old gamepads lying around that won't work due to compatibility issues so I was reluctant to buy a new one.  So I made a little joystick that can be placed on the keyboard.  It is light weight and portable, no cables to plug in and there is no need to download any drivers.  Just set it on your keyboard and it is ready to go.

Bonus: I created a 3d model of the joystick.  See step 5 below!

 
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Step 1: What you will need

Picture of What you will need
  • Coat hanger
  • Sugru or make you can make your own here. You can also make it with clay but you will likely need to but some rubber feet on the bottom to grip the keys batter.
  • Thinner wire (20 gauge)
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Plastic wrap

Step 2: Choose Your keys

Although the game I'm playing used WASD keys to move, I wasn't sure how well the joystick would  work with having the ASD keys all in a row, whether moving the joystick to the right would also press the center key.  I decided to use WAXD instead (I can reassign the keys in the game).  Using the arrow keys may have the same problem.  You can also use the 8426 keys on the number pad .  I found that the joystick that I made works on both the WAXD and the 8426 on the number pad even though the rows of letters on the keyboard have a slight skew.

Step 3: Framework

Picture of Framework
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frame5.JPG
I wasn't sure how sturdy the Sugru is on its own, so to be safe I added some framework.  I used a coat hanger for this.  I cut two pieces of coat hanger wire roughly 8 cms long (one piece is slightly longer).  I bent them to form a "bridge" shape, the legs being 2cms and the span 4cms.  One of the pieces has slightly longer legs so that it can fit over top of the other (see image 4 above).  I then wrapped the two piece together with the thinner wire.  I formed a little nub at the top with the wire for the joystick handle (it could probably be made longer than what I did.)  Since I was making this for the WAXD keys, I skewed the two pieces so that the legs sat on each of those keys.

Step 4: Sugru

I ended up using four packs of Sugru.  Cut open each pack, knead them together and cover the entire frame with the Sugru.  Shape the Sugru so that it has a handle/knob at the top and the legs fit onto the keys (place some plastic wrap on the keyboard before you put the uncured Sugru on otherwise it will stick).  Once your are satisfied with the shape of your joystick let it cure overnight.

Step 5: 3D Model

When I first posted this instructable Kiteman suggested getting it printed on a 3d Priner.  That is a great idea, assuming I know how to create 3D models.  I tried in Sketch Up and 123D, but I only manage to create a cube or cylinder then I give up.  I tried a different approach instead, since I already have a physical model I tool photos of it an created a model with 123Catch.  I included the stl file of the model and I also have a pdf created in 123Make if you want to construct it from cardboard. 

Note: I scaled the model to the correct size as best I could but since I haven't actually printed it out myself I am not completely sure it will be the correct size for the keyboard.
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i made mine with play station like joystick controler head
ChrysN (author)  boksburgbommer6 months ago

Nice, that sounds really cool!

abpanda0211 months ago
This is so smart! I play Minecraft, and this is so helpful!
This is brilliant!
ChrysN (author)  asdfghjkl5931 year ago
Thanks!
That is so smart!!!! I ometimes play online games I can so use this.
karalalala1 year ago
Simple & totally genius!
ChrysN (author)  karalalala1 year ago
Thanks!
may i ask what game you are playing? because i know of a game that can do the same thing to me! :)
ChrysN (author)  papercrafter4082 years ago
I'm playing Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, you spend a lot of time running around a large open world. How about you, is it Minecraft?
yes, it is minecraft! same here with the running around! you can literally do anything you want... until a creeper comes by and messes it all up...
omg I wish i had seen this a loooooong time ago! U R AMAZING!!! =(^..^)= purrrrrrrrrrr!

ChrysN (author)  GASHLYCRUMBTINY2 years ago
Thanks! I like your ASCII cat
Awwww ty! n I voted 4 ya! =D
n-2-stuff2 years ago
This is one of those things you go why didn't I think of that. Awesome. You got my vote.
ChrysN (author)  n-2-stuff2 years ago
Thanks!
neil17012 years ago
back in the 80s,you used to get a thingiemajig for sinclair computers like the zx81/TS1000 or ZX Spectrum 48k/TS2000 which was like your creation but it stuck on over the 5,6,7,8 and possibly 9 key for fire.I never had one myself,i had a C64 with 2 x Konix Navigator joysticks,but i think this was called a Sinclir Cursor Joystick,probably made by datel or Dk'Tronics or Fuller or CDS microsystems.You could probably find a picture of it on a Sinclair computers retro-computing website....
Another option besides Sugru for silicone rubber is EasyMold. It's a 2-part mix (as in it comes in 2 jars and you have to mix equal amounts of each) so it doesn't start setting once you open the container, so it can last longer. Only drawback is that the only colour option is purple. http://eti-usa.com/easymold-silicone-putty/
ChrysN (author)  xenobiologista2 years ago
That looks really good, coincidentally I was looking for something to use for a food safe mold for another project, thanks for the link.
It's fun stuff, I've made a bouncy case of it for my ebook reader, which is an unusual brand and needed a slot to keep its stylus in. My only other complaint is that the working time, once mixed, is a bit short (3 minutes).
blueaxe2 years ago
I'd be willing to bet a similar device could be fabricated using wooden dowels and a small plywood disc. Very clever though, I always applaud creativity. Kudos!!
ChrysN (author)  blueaxe2 years ago
Yes, wood can be used for this too.
Matheus98bp2 years ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE0AXDOQHIA&feature=plcp
Manny B2 years ago
I'm soiling myself on how clever this is.
13blue2 years ago
Frik-in Gene-yus!
xanxor2 years ago
GOTTA GRIP DAT KEY BATTER!!!
this is cool! i say patent it, and try to market it. you could sell millions of them. all hail the keystick!
It's nice to see a home-made one, but it can't be patented.

The original "Keystick" was released in the 80s. It had a small flat pad that adhered to the number [Keypadfive] and the Keystick slipped into it operating the 2, 4, 6, and 8 arrows on the numeric pad. It tempted me back then, but as a typist, I didn't want to lose the touch on [Keypadfive], and I didn't (and still don't) play enough games to justify it.

I can state with full knowledge that it existed, because I did try one on someone else's keyboard.

An image search does not turn it up, probably because it died out before the www got started, but I did find this which could probably also be modified to do the "WASD" thing:

http://media.eventhubs.com/images/2011/04/24_keystick.jpg
and that is why most new patents are not new ideas, but improvements of others ideas. as they say in writing, there are no new stories, just new characters. it is still a really neat idea.
I'm not knocking the project, I think it's a fine example of "parallel thinking".
Some addition searching turned up this which is as close to the original as I can find:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_BQjC9aTBcYk/S99E4G6AC2I/AAAAAAAAATY/i2L3mYWUMg0/s144/stickrender_thumb_large.jpg
ChrysN (author)  handyhippie652 years ago
Keystick, that is a great name for it, thanks!
your welcome. when i saw it, and read about what it does, it just popped into my head.
Kiteman2 years ago
What a cracking idea!

Well done that man!

(Now you need to persuade HQ to 3d print one for you...)
ChrysN (author)  Kiteman2 years ago
Yes, perhaps they will run another 3D print giveaway.
randofo ChrysN2 years ago
Just make a 3D model and let me know...
ChrysN (author)  randofo2 years ago
I created a 3d model by cloning the joystick with 123catch. I added it to the instructable.
Kiteman ChrysN2 years ago
I saw a colleague playing with 123D Sculpt on his iPad today - you could use that to smooth off the rough edges.

When you get the printed version, you might still want to add a dot of Sugru to the feet, to prevent slippage (or maybe those adhesive rubber feet you can buy).
ChrysN (author)  Kiteman2 years ago
I imagine 123D Sculpt would work well, but sadly I don't have an Ipad. It is a shame they don't have a PC version of the program, it looks really cool. Putting feet on it is a good idea.
Though I havn't tried myself, 123D Sculpt reminds me of a free application for PC's....123D, a CAD program that can take the catch input. Maybe it would do what it is you are looking to do.
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