The Mega Claw – Joystick (4 of 9)

The joystick was a definite must.  We had talked about it and stumbled across Mary Flanagan’s giant joystick and it was final, we needed something epic. Just like her’s, ours is modeled after the Atari days of joysticks. It’s human sized and enough to be a project itself. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to use this to play games as well.

We started with a wooden model and it was too heavy. It had a lot of inertia and stressed out our joints (on the joystick and our back.)

We finally took another approach and made the joystick out of stacks of foam surrounding a pvc pipe. It would be modular, lighter and easier to transport.

To make it all swivel we used a universal joint.


Clearly we love skate bearings, but skate bearings were a little too short to fit into the 1/2in wood we used. So we designed a spacer.

Front View

Back View

Medium green button contains small white button

The button is a sparkfun arcade switch with a bent coat hanger as a spring. You can see the pink foam on the inside. Instead of painting the joystick we actually use contact paper to cover it.

We sanded the PVC down on an endcap and we got an instant button.
6 coats of paint in case you were wondering. We kept dropping the cap and denting it.

This is the U joint with the limit switches mounted on it. The switches are triggered before the joystick hits the edge.  The whole assembly is held in the center using bungee cords.


Table of contents

The Mega Claw – Intro (Splash)

The Mega Claw – Logistics (1 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Concepts and Experiments (2 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Claaaaw (3 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Joystick (4 of 9)

The Mega Claw – The Frame (5 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Electronics & Software (6 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Prizes (7 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Maker Faire (8 of 9)

The Mega Claw – Summary (9 of 9)

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