Finally a small break from the armour collection to give you a D.I.Y. gamepad!(in my case designed for party games)
This product is as close to building from scratch as you can get I think.
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Step 1: Tools & Materials
Ok so I wanted to build something like this but didn't want to spend anything on parts basically. All in I paid a grand total of 0.75 euro for some bolts, everything else I had readily available.
Drillbit(same diameter as bolts)
Screwdriver(one that matches the screws on your keyboard)
Square / straight edge
Pencil / marker
Cigar box or something similar(my father in law smokes cigars so no shortage of these)
8 X clothespin(the ones with the spring in the middle, preferably wooden)
8 X round headed bolt and matching nuts
Felttip pen(or a similar tube)
Some plugs(I used UTP plugs from old network connectors, you could also use something like usb)
Cables to go with the plugs
Step 2: Making the Switches
So since I didn't want to buy any electronics(and the closest shop is 30min away) I made my own switches. This is a great way to make a switch anytime you need it within a minute.
Take a clothespin, 2 thumbtacks and 2 small pieces of wire,
take apart the clothespin,
push the thumbtacks through the inside of each halve at the "open" side (see picture 2),
take some of the insulation off the wire and wrap the exposed bit around the tumbtack,
take your pliers and bend the thumbtack pin flat.
Thats how you make a quick and dirty switch!
Step 3: Make Your Design
My design called for a set of 4X2 buttons, so I simply devided the cigar box into 4 equal rectangles. Next I found the center of each and devided the height of each rectange by 3 so the crosses marked the center for the buttons(see picture 5).
Optionally you can transfer the rectangle lines onto the inside of the cigar box, this will help to figure out the spacing for your switches. If you chose to add plugs instead of just a cable coming from your controller you'll want to pick the spot you want the plugs to be placed, most likely top center.
(I ended up cutting the clothespins a bit shorter to help fit them all in the box)
Step 4: Drilling and Cutting
So now you can drill all the marked holes, do so!
Next you need to figure out how big the spacers need to be (these will make sure the buttons go straight down and wont rattle around). Take one of the switches, jam a nut in the back end so it stays "down". Place this beneath one of the holes, put a bolt through the hole and mark the height of the bolt(picture 3). Take the nut out of the switch and repeat the proces, except the marking, now the height difference between the box and the mark is the height your spacers need to be(picture 4).
Cut the top off the felttip pen(unless you have a small tube laying around) and remove the insides. Now cut 8 rings / tubes the size of the height difference explained before.
Next I cut out the hole for the plugs with a knife, you could drill some guide holes but I found the cigar box wood was soft enough to just use a knife.
Step 5: Putting It All Together
So all the components of your gamepad are ready, lets put it together!
Place two switches within their rectangle so that the thumbtacks are directly beneath the holes (picture 1). Mark where the switches go and glue them in place.
Next glue in the spacers, I found this easiest when I put the bolt in slid the spacer over it and glued it on while keeping the bolt straight(picture 3 and 4.
Once all the gluing is done you can get on with the soldering. I glued the plugs in place after checking every pin with a multimeter to make sure there weren't any solder crossovers between the pins.
Now that your gamepad is completed you can make however many players you want wielding them.
To use them you need a way to connect them to your pc or your game wont be doing much, for that go to the next step;)
Step 6: Prepping the Keyboard
So you have all the controllers you want / need but you need to connect them to your pc, this is where the keyboard comes in.
Take all the screws out and the silicone sheet with the divets. You'll notice that a keyboard is simply 2 layers of conductive material pressed together when a button is pushed.
Here comes the clever bit, you can use some thumbtacks to connect wires to these conductive spots, this in turn allows you to take any switch and use it as a keyboard button!
To get this system to work take some of your thumbtacks and cover the "plate" part with nailpolish (pictures 1, 2, 3 and 4).To keep the thumbtacks from touching other lines on the same plastic layer you should paint the inside aswell. This insulates the thumbtack, however be sure the pin is clear of any nailpolish.
Now push the thumbtack through the conductive spot with the insulated(nail polish covered) side facing the other layer. I found that placing a notepad beneath helped to puncture the plastic layer. Do the other side aswell so the thumbtacks face each other like in pictures 9 and 10. Now you can attach wires and when you touch these wires together your pc should register it as a keystroke!
Take your UTP / USB cable and cut it in half, strip the wires and connect them to the thumbtacks. You can glue the cables in place or add plugs to the side of the keyboard.
Now start your engine of choice and get to coding your game! you can just use keystroke inputs for each button;)
Participated in the
Epilog Challenge VI