This is a miniature joystick made from a few switches and a ballpoint pen. An optional fire button can be added if your pen is the clicker type. The action is very smooth and responsive. A bit of back story follows so feel free to skip it and get right into building.
Most projects start with an idea and then you source components to build it. This one started from a simple component which turned into an idea.
I had made a purchase from the Electronic Goldmine and got a free surprise box with my order. The box contained around 50 right angle switches amongst a lot of other goodies so I started thinking about what I could do with them.
It didn't take long before I came up with the idea of mounting four of the switches around a center point and using something to control them like a joystick. But what to use as the joystick? I rummaged through my junk pile and found half of an old pen, perfect.
I prototyped it out and it worked okay. The first thought was that it would be cool to have a button at the top of the joystick. I needed a better pen, the retractable type with a clicker. I built another version with the same electronics and a new pen. It was close but there were still some issues to work out. The third time was a charm and I'm very happy with the results. So let's get started.
Step 1: Gathering the Parts
What we'll need:
1) A pen, preferably the retractable type but just about any pen will do.
2) Four right angle push button switches.
3) A long screw, the smaller the diameter the better, and a nut to match. I used a 4-40 at 1-1/2 inches long. A 2-56 at the same length would be even better but I couldn't find one at the local hardware store.
4) A small piece of proto board.
5) Some hook up wire. The thinner the better.
6) Headers of some sort.
7) A small grommet (optional).
8) A round push button switch (optional, not pictured).