Mini Joystick




About: I am an engineer and a maker who loves technology challenges.

I am building »End of semester« project and I was i need for small joystick. This is what I come on while searching instructables:
This design is pretty good, but angled push buttons are a bit expensive for me and I did have some spare non-angled push buttons. So I wanted to build the same mini joystick but with non-angled switches.
I came out with this idea, but it turned out to be not as good as I expected. So I have to make some last minute changes in design. Mechanical part is similar to the one in instructable mention earlier.

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Step 1: Parts

Parts needed:
- screw M3 or M4 with 2 washers, spacer and nut
- Spring
- 4 switches (push buttons)
- Piece of PCB board
- connector

Step 2: First Design

I used some spare parts for micro servo. But it turned out that those parts are not as useful as I thought. When I turned screw around it center line, servo parts weren’t aligned with push buttons. I did try to solder in some wires to act like stoppers. This solution did not work out well.
There was another problem with spring. I was trying to use spring from old discarded pen. When I shortened the spring, it went over the washers and nuts and the handling of screw as the stick was not smooth.

Because I was making last minute changes in design, I forget to take any pictures of how joystick looked like in this step. I apologize for that.

Step 3: Improvements

Basically I had two problems. First one chronologically was the spring and the second one was part that should push on switches. I came over some solutions that worked out well for me.

When I was looking for solutions I came across rubber washers. I think those are from CD unit in PC for reducing vibrations.
The rubber washer saved me. Handling of the stick is now superb.

Pushing part:
I was in need for circular part. So I did some measurements and I realized, that last hole in servo part was perfect. I did make some holes to 4 mm acryl glass and then I cut out part I needed. This solution worked out well as I find out that I can now detect not 4 but 8 directions.

Step 4: Wired It Up

When I was finished with mechanical staff, it was time to solder in switches and wired it up. I will be using joystick with microcontroller with internal pull-up resistors so I made one side of every switch wired together and another as output signal. In the end I can still reverse logic or add pull-up resistors.

Step 5: Test

I have some extra time so I tested joystick. It works great!

Test video:

Step 6: Finished Product

I am happy with what I have created.

Step 7: Upgrades

Test, schematic
Housing, knob



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    11 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    i wanted to you use the thumb joystick cuz it looked cool but it had a lot of procedures
    your instructable provides the same function with simple characteristics
    very very innovative
    its great !!!!!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    well, you saved some time for me, so I don't have to make a similiar Instructable (I made a small joystick for my mini tetris, and they requested how i made the joystick part. Now, i only have to link this to the comments :-) If you want you can check my solution, too!)

    3 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction
    This is mine :)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    On Joysticks (origionally in WWI it was "Joyce Stick" after an RAF officer surnamed "Joyce") I have found that if you are using the joystick to control a vehical (say a wheel chair) you want the switches to be at the corners of the joystick, right forward on the right side, left forward on the left side, but right reverse on the LEFT side and left reverse on the RIGHT side. Thus when you push the stick forward you go forward, when you pull the stick back you go back, when you push the stick 45* to the right you turn to the right and when you push the stick 90* to the right you turn to the right WITHOUT GOING FORWARD. Nice trick.

    P.S. Since English is your second language, a "whole" is a complete, a "hole" is a void or empty space.

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry about the misinformation last night, I was quite tired and not quite sharp as I should be.
    On wheel chair joysticks you want the buttons on the LEFT to control the RIGHT wheel and vice versa. You will need an intermediate logic box between the joystick and the motor control "H" bridges to turn the 9 posable joystick outputs into 8 posable motions: forward, reverse, right and left turns forward and reverse and pivot clockwise and counter clockwise.
    Clockwise would be left wheel forward, right wheel reverse.