Xbox Flexure Joystick Puts You In The Pilot’s Seat

With the recent release of Microsoft Flight Simulator on the Xbox Series X|S there’s never been a better time to get a flight stick for the console, and as you might imagine, there are a number of third party manufacturers who would love to sell you one. But where’s the fun in that?

If you’ve got a fairly well tuned 3D printer, you can print out and assemble this joystick by [Akaki Kuumeri] that snaps right onto the Xbox’s controller. Brilliantly designed to leverage the ability of 3D printers to produce compliant mechanisms, or flextures, you don’t even need any springs or fasteners to complete assembly.

The flexture gimbal works without traditional springs.

The free version of Thingiverse only lets you move the controller’s right analog stick, but if you’re willing to drop $30 USD on the complete version, the joystick includes additional levers that connect to the controller’s face and shoulder buttons for more immersive control. There’s even a throttle that snaps onto the left side of the controller, though it’s optional if you’d rather save the print time.

If you want to learn more about the idea behind the joystick, [Akaki] is all too happy to walk you through the finer parts of the design in the video below. But the short version is the use of a flextures in the base of the joystick opened up the space he needed to run the mechanical linkages for all the other buttons.

This isn’t the first time [Akaki] has used 3D printed parts to adapt a console controller for flight simulator use. A simplified version of this concept used ball-and-socket joints to move the Xbox’s analog sticks, and he even turned a PlayStation DualShock into an impressive flight yoke you could clamp to your desk.

Continue reading “Xbox Flexure Joystick Puts You In The Pilot’s Seat”

AH-1 Cobra Tap Handle Pours On The Fun

Ayn Rand said, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” As far as we’re concerned those are words to live by, and something that’s exemplified by most of the posts on this site. She also said some really suspect stuff about the disabled and Native Americans and reality, but you’ve got to take the good with the bad and all that.

We don’t know how much Rand [Will Weber] has read, but we’re willing to bet he’d agree about overdoing it. He recently documented a very cool 3D printed tap handle that’s designed to look like the B8 flight stick from an AH-1 Cobra helicopter. But this is no static piece of plastic, in the video after the break, he demonstrates how each button on the flight stick triggers a different weapons sound effect.

The 3D print is separated up into a number of sections so that the stick can be assembled in pieces. Not only does this make it an easier print, it also allows for the installation of the electronics.

For the Arduino aficionados out there, we have some bad news. Rather than putting in a general purpose microcontroller, [Will] went the easy route and used an Adafruit Audio FX Mini Sound Board. These boards have their own onboard storage for the audio files and don’t require a microcontroller to function. It makes it super easy to add sound effects or even music to your projects; just pair it with a power supply, a couple of buttons, and a speaker.

The finish work on the printed parts looks excellent. We can only imagine how much fun [Will] had sanding inside all the little nooks and crannies to get such a smooth final result. While some might complain about the idea of a tap handle needing to be recharged occasionally, we think the satisfaction of firing off a few rockets every time you grab a glass is more than worth it.

While this isn’t the first unique tap handle we’ve covered here at Hackaday, it’s certainly the most flight-ready. Continue reading “AH-1 Cobra Tap Handle Pours On The Fun”

Salvaged Flight Stick Controls A/V System, Triggers “Emergency Party System”


After seeing a writeup online that demonstrated how to build an “Emergency Party Button”, [spikec] knew that he had to have one of his own. He happened to have a USAF B-8 stick grip from an A-10A aircraft laying around, and figured it would be perfect for controlling the A/V system in his basement.

The control stick was mounted to the top of a cheap cigar humidor, and crammed full of any electronic component he could get his hands on. It contains not one, but two Arduinos. The first is tasked with reading the flight stick’s inputs and the IR control of his various appliances, while another triggers the overhead lighting in his bar along with the X10 controlled Emergency Party System. He contemplated combining all of the functionality into one device, but splitting the tasks in two was easier for this self-declared electronics novice.

The various buttons on the control stick can be used to power all of his A/V appliances on and off, control volume levels, and select which songs stream from his digital jukebox. If the action ever starts to wind down, a quick turn of his “arming” key and the flick of a switch sends his basement into full-on party mode, which includes more lighting and lasers than any one person should be allowed to own.

[spikec] says that his wife’s eyes were rolling like “uncaged gyros” when he unveiled his controller for the first time – a sign of a job well done. Don’t take our word for it though, check out a video of his control stick and Emergency Party System in action after the jump.

Continue reading “Salvaged Flight Stick Controls A/V System, Triggers “Emergency Party System””