A simple 4 or 8 way build it yourself joystick.

Hacking a [insert console name here] but don't see a "[insert console name here] Hacking" forum? Come on in and post your [insert console name here] questions and build logs!

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:28 am

A simple 4 or 8 way build it yourself joystick.

Post by Galane » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:43 am

This is a 3D rendering and model (in DXF) of a joystick I built when I was a teenager. Somewhere around 25 years ago. I had four microswitches salvaged from old televisions, some scrap wood and a broken piece of plexiglass plus various screws and other bits and bobs.

I first cut a piece of thin plywood for the base. Unlike the model, it was a bit wider so it was rectangular. The next thing I did was cut four pieces from a strip of roughly 1/4" thick scrap wood which had been cut off the edge of a board. The piece of wood which became the handle was already the right size, about 1" square by 5" to 6" long.

I glued the four strips of wood near the base of the handle, arranged as shown in the rendering. That gave me the positions the microswitches had to be. The switches were screwed to four blocks of wood which were themselves screwed to the plywood base from underneath.

What to do for a pivot gave me the most trouble. I found a large wood screw with a spherical head from a snap type cabinet latch. For a pivot bearing I put a cup washer (used under countersunk head screws when you don't want or can't countersink the hole) under the ball and a fender washer with a small center hole above the ball. Three holes were drilled through the fender washer so it could be held to the base, trapping the ball head between it and the cup washer.

The extra nifty bit was the hole in the base under the cup washer. A flat blade screwdriver inserted through it could be used to turn the ball headed screw to adjust the action of the stick. I set it so the slightest movement of the stick would trip a switch. It was way faster than any commercially produced 2600 compatible stick and more durable thanks to robust construction and the heavy duty microswitches instead of weedy little metal snap domes.

To keep the handle from rotating I drove a long screw into one side of the handle and a long screw on either side of it into the base. That was the crudest part of the whole rig. Took some work on those screws with a file so they wouldn't hang up, but with the stick set to maximum sensitivity that anti rotation screw didn't have to move much.

For the case I cut pieces of a broken plastic horse trailer window and super glued them together. After some sanding to round corners on the case and handle, I sprayed the case light metallic blue and the handle a dark metallic blue.

The only pieces I had to buy was a pair of momentary pushbutton switches (wired in parallel), some multi wire cable and a DE-9 female connector and shell.

I used the stick with my TI-99/4A and my homebuilt 2600 to TI stick adapter. For that I took apart my pair of TI Wired Remote Finger Pinchers and mapped out the diodes inside. I then duplicated that inside a DB-25 shell with a male connector with insert pins. The connector was wide enough I could make two 9 pin ports by super gluing a trapezoid shaped piece of wood in the middle. I could have used a pair of DE-9's but that cost more money and I'd have also needed more wire. I had about 4" of cable to a male DE-9 to connect to the TI. Of course I carefully trimmed the case on my TI beside the joystick port to install screw posts to secure the 2600 stick adapter.

With my homebuilt joystick I could get up to some insane speeds on Hunt the Wumpus. :)

The stick, along with all my TI gear, is long gone, but I still remember every detail of how I built that joystick. So now I pass along the info to you to experiment upon.
(141.97 KiB) Downloaded 417 times
joystick.jpg (36.24 KiB) Viewed 6133 times

Posts: 1000
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:22 am
PSN Username: Haunted360
360 GamerTag: Haunted 360
Location: Australia

Re: A simple 4 or 8 way build it yourself joystick.

Post by Haunted360 » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:01 am

Very cool.

Did you use Lightwave 3D To make that by any chance?

Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:28 am

Re: A simple 4 or 8 way build it yourself joystick.

Post by Galane » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:37 pm

Caligari trueSpace is what I used.

Post Reply