Home made Joystick

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Many of you will remember the 5 minute yoke, well here is another home made effort for those of us who still fly by mouse.

You will need

  • A smooth surfaced (plastic?) hollow ball with just a little larger diameter than your computer mouse's length.
  • A wooden dowel about 50mm thick.
  • Another dowel which fits comfortably into your hand, or any other object you want which will form the handle.
  • Three Lengths of floor board. I prefer them long enough for me to be able to rest my elbow for stability.
  • A material which will set hard e.g. plaster of paris, filling foam (like cavity wall insulation) or similar.
  • Some superglue or wood glue.

Method

Lower half-sphere with mouse inside.
Base unit.
Joystick.

Sizes: I have deliberately not included any measurements because they will depend on the size of your mouse etc.

  1. Carefully cut the ball into 2 equal halves.
  2. Make sure one half-sphere fits around your mouse without touching, then drill a hole in the centre with a slightly larger diameter than your thin dowel. If the gaps between your mouse and the half-sphere are too great, you can line or pack out the inside of the half-sphere with insulation tape.
    Note: If your mouse is wired you will need to make a hole on one edge to allow the wire through.
  3. In the other half-sphere, drill a hole a little larger than your thin dowel's diameter, then drill a hole exactly the same diameter as the dowel in the centre of the bottom of your large dowel/handle.
  4. Assemble your base, making sure there will be enough room between the upper surface of the lower half-sphere and the bottom of the uppermost flat surface of the base, to allow some movement of the smaller dowel when it is protruding from the lower surface of the upper half-sphere. The base needs to be wide enough to allow plenty of movement in all directions during use.
  5. Drill a hole in your base, large enough for the upper half-sphere to swivel in all directions, but not large enough for it to pass through.
  6. Ascertain how much the smaller dowel needs to be shortened, make allowance for both the bottom of the dowel having to connect with and move the lower half-sphere (yet still clear the top of your mouse), and the other end needing to be pushed into your handle. Cut it to the required length.
  7. Put some glue into the hole you drilled in the bottom of your handle, then push in the smaller dowel.
  8. Allow that glue to dry.
  9. Affix some small nails near the bottom of your handle to act as anchors inside the filler, then place your handle centrally in the upper half-sphere and fill with setting material (plaster or foam etc).
    Optional: If you wish to tidy things up a bit, you could trim off some of the upper half-sphere to lessen the amount of filler needed, but be careful not to remove too much, because this might allow the edge to rub/catch in the hole.
  10. Allow time for the filler to set.

Operation

After you have used your mouse to do the necessary set up for your flight (If you are fortunate enough to have a spare mouse, you can take the necessary actions with the other one provided you have a spare USB slot):

  1. Place lower half-sphere over your computer mouse, making sure the end of your mouse which normally faces away from you is now facing towards you.
  2. Place your handle so the upper half-sphere sits centrally in the hole in your base unit, making sure the lower end of the small dowel goes through the hole in the top of the lower half-sphere.
  3. Make sure your handle is centred, then press 5 on your numpad to centre all your aircrafts control surfaces.

Start your flight.

Note

It may be necessary to go into your computer's system preferences to slow down the speed of your mouse's actions, but that is optional. You may just get used to it without adjustment.

Have fun.