Introduction: Makey Makey Joystick
Build a joystick that uses the Makey Makey to control the mouse or to use with key controls in Scratch.
Learn about the conductivity of different materials and how to build a switch; Build an alternate input device for a computer; Control the cursor or objects on the screen with your invention.
Makey Makey Classic, Glass marble, Aluminum foil, Solid hookup wire 22 gauge, Wire snips/strippers, Chopstick, Copper tape with conductive adhesive (available in Invention Booster Pack), Makey Makey “Simple Box, ” or a similar box, Paper towel cardboard tube, Permanent pen, Ruler, Scissors, Glue stick, Awl (the tool on a pocketknife or multi-tool designed to poke holes in material), Masking tape, Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks, Alligator clips, Short white wires
Step 1: Gameplan
First you will build the part of the joystick that you hold on to: there is much room for customization here. Next, you will build the contact points for the joystick. Once built, you will wire the contact points. You will then mount the contact points in the box. Finally, connect the wires to the Makey Makey with alligator clips. You can try two different Scratch projects, one that uses the joystick to control the mouse, the other to control a Sprite with key presses reported by the joystick.
Note on standards:
These lessons were developed with the idea that teachers all over the globe and a variety of grade levels could hack the lesson plan to meet their students' needs. Therefore, these are just some of the standards the lessons are based on, and not an all-inclusive list.
Carefully wrap the glass marble in a small piece of aluminum foil, making sure to cover the entire marble.
Cut a piece of hookup wire about 8 inches long. Strip the insulation from half an inch of one end and about two and a half inches on the other end.
Wind the wire loosely around a chopstick to hold it in place. Try to align the wire so the bare wire starts at the end of the chopstick.
Make a loop of wire around the marble. Secure the loop to the chopstick with a piece of copper tape with conductive adhesive.
Cut a short length of hookup wire and remove about two and a half inches of insulation from one end. Use it to construct another loop around the marble and secure it, too, with a piece of copper tape with conductive adhesive. The marble should now be held in place by the wires. Trim any extra wire.
Cover the wire loops and the marble with another small piece of aluminum foil. Secure the foil to the chopstick with a piece of copper tape with conductive adhesive. Set the joystick aside for now.
Now you will build the contact points that the joystick touches to close the circuits.
Place the paper towel tube in the bottom half of the Makey Makey or similar box. Use a permanent pen to scribe where the tube reaches the upper edge of the box.
Use scissors to cut a slit in the tube that extends slightly beyond the mark you made in step 8.
Cut a small tube from the bottom of the paper towel tube. You can use the glue lines on the tube to help you cut a straight line around the tube.
Use a ruler and permanent pen to measure and mark one inch increments on the tube with 1/4 inch gaps between.
Use a glue stick to affix one inch strips of aluminum foil to the inside of the paper towel tube. Repeat three more times to cover the back of the paper towel tube, leaving 1/4 inch gaps.
Use the awl, the tool on a pocketknife or multi-tool designed to poke holes in material, to poke holes in the center of each aluminum foil pad, large enough for a stripped wire to pass through.
Remove the wires. Roll the short tube around the left over paper towel tube to reform it into a circular share. Use a piece of masking tape to connect the ends. Reinsert the wires.
Cover the wire ends on the inside of the tube with strips of copper tape with conductive adhesive and affix the copper tape the aluminum foil.
Use the awl to poke a hole in the corner of the Makey Makey box lid. Use the chopstick to make the hole large enough to fit four wires through it.
Use the hot glue gun and hot glue to put a small bead of hot glue on the bottom of the short tube. Adhere the short tube to the inside bottom of the box.
Route the wires through the hole in the bottom of the box. Use a piece of masking tape and a permanent pen to label the wire with its position on the tube. Curl the stripped end of the wire around the chopstick to give it a loop.
Route the remaining wires through the hole in the bottom of the box and label them with tape and the permanent marker. Put a medium sized blob of hot glue over the wires inside the box to keep them from being stressed by tugs on the wires.
Wrap the wires outside the box with masking tape to help reduce stress on the wires from being tugged.
Place the box lid next to the box bottom with the paper towel tube in it. Use the ruler to find the approximate center of the paper towel tube and mark it on the outside of the top lid of the box.
Use the awl to poke a hole through the center of the box. Use the chopstick to enlarge the hole.
Wrap the chopstick with a short piece of masking tape near where the wire emerges from the foil covered marble to help hold the wire in place. Unwind the wire from the chopstick up to the masking tape. Insert the chopstick through the hole from the inside of the box lid.
Use the awl to poke a hole through the lid of the box, near the wood joystick. Insert the wire through the hole. Label the wire with the Earth symbol.
Wrap the chopstick in a piece of masking tape.
Place the lid on the box.
If you intend to use the joystick as a mouse controller, turn the Makey Makey over and carefully insert short white wires into the mouse up, down, left and right holes on the mouse header on the right side of the Makey Makey.
Attach alligator clips to the short white wires, then attach the other end to the wires on the joystick. Attach the USB cable to the Makey Makey, then connect the Makey Makey to the computer.
The joystick will control the cursor on your computer. You might have to swap the up mouse and down mouse wires to change the joystick from an airplane-style joystick (push to go down, pull to go up) to a typical joystick, where pointing the joystick up moves the cursor up on the screen.
You can also remix this Scratch project that uses mouse movements: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/87686630. After you click the flag Scratch waits one second then goes to where the cursor is located on the Stage. The Sprite follows the cursor as you move the joystick.
If you intend to use the joystick as a key controller, turn the Makey Makey over and carefully remove the short white wires into the mouse up, down, left and right holes. Detach the alligator clips and reattach them to the appropriate keys on the Makey Makey.
You can also remix this Scratch project that uses key movements.
The joystick will control the Sprite on your computer with key presses. You might have to swap the up mouse and down mouse wires to change the joystick from an airplane-style joystick (push to go down, pull to go up) to a typical joystick, where pointing the joystick up moves the cursor up on the screen.
Step 34: Extensions (Optional)
- Add a button so you can click, too.
- Build smaller foil pads on the inside of the tube, but build more of them. Map them so you can go up and right, for example.
- Make the joystick mechanism out of more durable material. The cardboard tube could be 3D printed, for example, while the chopstick could be made more comfortable.