A Better iPad Stylus

Handspring Visor Edge? I had the metallic silver model (and still do). It sports a blazing fast 33 MHz CPU and 8MB of RAM. I’ve kept it over the years because it still works … and because I think it’s a great design.  I especially loved the weight, shape, and feel of the little stylus.  That stylus happens to be metallic.

You see where I’m going here. Since the stylus is metal, all that I needed was some sort of conductive tip.

Here’s what I came up with. It works great as long as any part of my hand is touching the metal pen (which is hard not to do). It looks nice (I wouldn’t say it’s beautiful, but I think it looks better than most homemade styli). It’s compact and easy to tote around. And here’s the best part: the tip offers far more accuracy and draws a thinner line than commercial or homemade conductive styli that I’ve tried or seen demonstrated.

Here’s how I made it:

Here are the primary ingredients. Heavy-duty aluminum foil, tape (I used electrical tape, but you could use duct tape), and a rubber foot that I found in my shop.

About the rubber foot. This may be the hardest bit to find, but it’s something you should be able to pick up at a hardware store (or, at least, you can find something similar). I cut off part of the foot as seen in the photo above, then drilled a hole into the rubber that would tightly fit the metal stylus. Other materials will also work. I made an earlier model with a cheap wood plug using the same method. It worked well, but isn’t as flexible (meaning that you may have trouble with the wood cracking when you drill into it). Rubber works best. 

Now wrap the foil-wrapped rubber foot and stylus with a short piece of strong tape. Once you’ve done that, you’re done. The blue shrink tubing you see here isn’t really necessary. It’s just for looks. I took a short segment of blue shrink tube, stretched it out with pliers so it would fit over the stylus, cover the tape, and partially cover the foil-wrapped foot. Then I applied heat to seal it all up. And here is the completed stylus, ready for action.

So that’s all there is to it. It’s a bit more involved than most of the DIY capacitive stylus tutorials you’ll find on the web, but I think it’s worth the effort. It works great. It looks nice. It’s a great way to recycle a peice of old tech. I’ve been using it for a while and the aluminum is showing no signs of splitting. If it does split, it’s a relatively simple matter to rip off the tip and make a new one. If you don’t have an old Handspring Visor Edge in your closet and want to try this, would you believe that you can still buy a metal stylus