Intro: Making a MeArm Joystick Pad
**Note: This instructable assumes that you already have a working MeArm. If you want to build a MeArm, there are many instructables that could help you with that. That's how I built mine. :) The code that I'm using in the video is a slightly modified version of https://www.instructables.com/id/MeArmJoystick-recording/**
The purpose of this project is to make a joystick controller pad for MeArm - an open source robotic arm designed by Ben Gray (mearm.com). This joystick pad will be part of the MeArm prototype for my upcoming robotics workshop where students will be building a MeArm and I thought kids will probably feel more comfortable controlling the robot arm using a joystick pad rather than buttons. Although various Arduino joystick shields are available on-line, they all have one joystick on the left and 4 buttons on the right; I want joysticks on both sides. Also, I think making their own joystick pad would add extra fun to the workshop as well.
Step 1: Tools and Parts
You will need following parts:
- A paper to draw your joystick pad that fits your hand
- A piece of cardboard big enough to make 2 cutouts
- 2 x Arduino joystick modules
- 1 x 10pcs 400mm MF dupont cables (I'm using 400mm long cable but it could be longer.)
- 8 x M3 10mm screws and 8 x M3 nuts
- Wire tie
- Utility knife
- Screw driver
- Cutter or scissors
- Label maker (optional)
Step 2: Draw Your Joystick Pad Template
Draw your joystick pad template on a graphic paper. Make sure it is ergonomically designed and fits your hand. Make sure it has enough space to mount 2 joystick modules.
Use the template to make two cutouts. The 2nd cutout should be rotated in 90 degree to form criss-cross layers.
Step 3: Glue Two Cutouts Together and Punch Holes for Screws and Cables
Glue two cutouts together to make it stiffer. Wait until glue dries up before making holes for screws and wire. I used a small screw driver to punch holes for M3 screws.
Step 4: Mount Joystick Modules and Wire Pins
Run 10pcs dupont cables through the wire slot. Mount two joystick modules on the board with pins pointing up. In this position, the X and Y pins are switched so you have to remember that when you're connecting wires to the Arduino board. Loop the wire tie around the cable for additional protection.
Optionally, you may want to use a label maker to clearly label MeArm joints controlled by joysticks.
Step 5: Connect Joystick Wires to Arduino
Connect your joystick wires to Arduino based on your code. In my code, I'm using A0-A5 pins:
- A0-A3: X & Y pins from both joystick modules
- A4-A5: button pins from both joystick modules
Two GND and two VCC wires are connected to the power source.
Power-on your MeArm and test your joystick controller. It works! (See the intro video.)