Intro: Make a PDA Stylus-Pen
I like to use a HP iPAQ PDA, but I often lose the stylus. This instructable will show how to make a new PDA stylus out of a bamboo chopstick, and also how to insert a short ballpoint pen into it. A two-fer!
Step 1: Materials and Tools
You need a pair of disposable bamboo chopsticks. New ones are best. Also a short pen refill, a drill bit that's the same diameter as the pen, a pair of pliers and a knife. An electric drill is also handy.
Step 2: Measure the Chopstick
Insert the chopstick into the stylus holder of your PDA. The chopsticks I am using are thin, and have a round cross-section, unlike the more durable and expensive ones with an oval cross-section. Go to a cheaper Chinese take-out place to get the thinner ones, or you'll have to whittle or sand your chopstick to get the right thickness and profile.
Step 3: Cut Your Chopstick to Length
Use your knife to score around the chopstick at the desired length, leaving a bit extra to account for extra shaping and creating a writing point. After making a score mark, you can snap the chopstick at the mark, then smooth the cut ends. Cut some grooves for your fingernail to catch onto, so you can pull the stylus out easily. Finally, form a rounded point at one end for writing.
Step 4: Cut the Stylus Into a 'Body' and 'Cap'
Line up the drill bit, pen and stylus, to determine how far your drill can bore a hole down the bamboo. You don't want it to go too close to the end, where it gets thinner. Use the length of the drill bit to show where you can cut the stylus.
Score the stylus, then break it. Smooth and square off the cut ends with the knife.
Step 5: Bore a Hole Into the Stylus
This takes some care. Determine the center of the bamboo shaft, then use the drill bit to start a hole by hand. Don't use the electric drill yet, just turn the drill bit with your fingers to get a start.
When your hole is a few millimeters deep, check the fit with the pen. Change bits to make a hole that lets the bit enter easily.
Once you are satisfied that the hole is started correctly, use an electric drill to carefully bore into the stylus. Pull the drill bit out of the hole frequently to clear the flutes of debris, and be aware that the bit may emerge unexpectedly into your fingertip if things go wrong.
Step 6: Bore Into the Cap
Bore a hole into the bamboo 'cap', using the same precautions.
Step 7: Insert the Pen
Insert the pen into the main stylus body. The writing tip of the pen is pointing out. To make the pen stay in the shaft, use pliers to gently squeeze the pen barrel, making it a little wider.
This must be done carefully. If the pen is too wide, it will crack the stylus, so just a little squeeze is enough.
A slight crimp over a wide area will do a better job, and is less likely to crack the stylus. The pen should not move easily.
Do the same for the protruding end of the pen, to secure the short cap in place. The crimp should be less here, so the cap will come off, but still let the stylus be pulled out of the PDA without separating.
Step 8: The Finished Stylus Pen
If you are careful, the body and cap of the stylus should line up when the stylus pen is closed.
Now you have a handy pen with your PDA!