Saturday, September 19, 2009

DIY iphone/ipod touch stylus

Ok, sure, there are a bunch of articles on the topic of making a stylus for your touch-screen devices. So what justifies this one?

Good question. I wanted to see for myself if these things actually work. Answer: YES.

Now, most people don't need a stylus to get the most out of their iPhones. I find it useful for sketching, doodling, and thumbnailing animation. I also have fingers of great girth. So if you have your reasons for wanting one, but don't feel like spending $15 on a fancy stylus that comes in pretty packaging, read on.

To compare, I have two types of home-made styluses. The first one is made from an exacto-knife which cost about 4 bucks at Walgreens. Just screw off the blade portion of the knife and use the base--done. What you need to make sure of is that it is a metal handle, since the iPhone/Touch is sensitive to the electricity transfered from directly touching the device with our skin. Also, check to see that you get a flat, smooth end so it does not scratch your screen protector. You need a little more than 1/4'' of thickness for the device to recognize the contact.

The other stylus is made from things you probably have around the house. I took a standard ball-point pen and removed the tip and ink. The other end I sanded smooth (optional) and covered with a piece of tinfoil about 2'' up the sides from the bottom. A piece of tape will hold it in place, and you can rub the covered tip and edges on a piece of paper to smooth out the foil. Voila, a nice, light weight stylus. In the end, I am surprised at how well they work.

This concludes part 2 of my series of useful things you can make with tinfoil and 60 seconds of your time.

Take a second and let me know if you found this helpful.


Bill Robinson said...

I am soooo trying this. Have you downloaded the autodesk sketchbook app? It's pretty sweet.

David Suroviec said...

So which one do you prefer?

Unknown said...

@Bill I just went and downloaded the free version of sketchbook to try it out. I like the simple, intuitive controls, and it has a good feel.

@Dave Which one do I prefer? It's a toss up, really. I like how the Xacto stylus looks, and it doesn't have tinfoil that can get caught in your pockets. But it is a little heavier than the Bic stylus. The Bic is nicely weighted, but I'll probably need to change the tinfoil every now and then. Right now I lean slightly toward the Xacto stylus, very slightly. But I'd be curious to hear what you guys think.

LeftClicker said...

Wow, thanks for saving me the $15 of buying a Pogo stylus! I was in desperate need of an iPhone stylus, and now I know how to make one anywhere! Thanks for the great tip and great blog!

GMB said...

Here is another way of making a stylus.

Sarah said...

you saved me money! i love you!