How to Make Your Own Stylus Pen

There are a few stylus pens out there that are made for use on any of the apple touch devices.  Some work okay, others, not so good.

iPad Capacitive Stylus Pen

But the need for a decent stylus is crucial for those artists who use their devices to do artistic drawings or even technical detail sketches, like creating plan layouts for housing and for those women you have really long fingernails.

One stylus that seems to be popular is the Pogo Stylus.  Although it appears to do a satisfactory job, there are complaints that it is cheaply designed and the pocket clip breaks off early on.  Other stylus pens have received the thumbs down because you need to press down too hard for them to work, and if your primary reason for using the pen is to do drawings, it makes it really hard to keep pressure on the pen and draw at the same time.  But did you know that you can actually make your own stylus pen at home with the right materials?  All it takes is a cheap pen, even plastic will do, some wire (almost everyone has this) a small piece of conductive foam (used with many electronic parts) and a little tape, and you have your own stylus pen!

Here is something you probably didn’t know.  An Apple employee showed me this little tip… iPad’s, iPhones and iPod Touch screens are extremely hard to scratch!  I watched this employee take his keys out and scratch back and forth over the screen of his iPhone, which all of the employees use to take your orders and create your invoice from.  There was not a scratch on it.  He told me that all of the screens are made from a material that resists scratches.

Why am I telling you this?  Because the next thing I did was to take out a miniature  pen that I had, which has a smooth metal top (on the clip end) and tested it on the iPad.  It worked perfectly, as long as you tap the screen with the flat end (you could also write with it).  The pen side (with the ballpoint tucked inside) did not work, even though that end was made of metal also.  I also took a AAA battery which happened to be laying near me while I was experimenting with this, and tapped the screen with the flat end, it responded very well also, but when I tried it with the other end, I received no response whatsoever, just like with the pen.

It appears that there is some type of electrical signal that is transferred from your body, through the stylus or pen that is needed for recognition on the Apple devices.  I plan to do a little more experimenting with this, I will keep you posted on the results.  In the meantime, if you want to see how to create your own stylus pen, as mentioned above, watch this Video from Collins Lab, and Makezine.com.  For an all metal high quality stylus pen  without using ANY wire, check out the Second Video by Herman Wahsletn

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13 Comments •

Comments

  1. Leo Frilot

    I hand-make stylus pens that are dual functional with a flip of the wrist. My pens enable you to write with Parker(TM) type refills (ballpoint and gel) and also features a firm capactive silicon stylus on the cap. I use over 120 different woods and over 25 acrylics. Each one is hand-turned by lathe making them a one-of-a-kind item. Visit me at http://www.perfectwoodworks.com for more information.

    [Reply]

    TechieSnoop Reply:

    Hi Leo,

    Thanks for the comment, the pens on your site are a beautiful display of craftsmanship and great functionally! I encourage readers to check out the Perfect Wood Works website if they want some really special multifunction stylus pens, made of fine wood.

    [Reply]

    Leo Frilot Reply:

    Thanks for the kind words. My pens run between $30 & $35 each and are hand-turned. I stock the gold and chrome plated hardware. I can be reached through my website at http://www.perfectwoodworks.com if interested.

    [Reply]

  2. drew

    techie>> that’s untrue, I tried it, have you?

    [Reply]

    TechieSnoop Reply:

    Hi Drew,

    I did try the conductive foam, but used a metal pen part and it worked really well. I also used an all metal pen that had
    a smooth flat top and just used the top to make selections on my iPad and that worked pretty good as well, but my most favorite stylus pen was one that I purchased a couple months ago and I am in love with it, it is the amPen New Hybrid Stylus for iPad and it is WONDERFUL. It has a super soft mesh like tip and is Very responsive. I purchased it from Amazon for around $6.95, but it has since become so popular, that the price is now $8.95, but it is well worth it and should last for years to come! Check it out.

    P.S. I picked up two different stylus pens when I purchased the amPen. The other pen was about a dollar cheaper, but the mesh tip on the amPen gives this stylus a great feel and even better conductivity for a flawless contact method.

    [Reply]

  3. jilly

    Does the conductive foam ever stop working? I tried this using conductive foam pulled from a older device and it did not work.

    [Reply]

  4. Dazz

    I tried making a stylis with tinfoil and tape, and a ballpoint pen, and it didn’t work. I bet these stylis’s work though!

    [Reply]

  5. Adriana

    I haven’t tried this yet but I think I will and once I was desperate and used a carrot as a stylus:it worked though. The reason I found out that it would is cuz i was eating and i had my hands full and there was carrots by me so I picked one up and used it as a stylus and was amazed to see that it worked although I wouldn’t suggest it

    [Reply]

  6. Techie

    If you have an all metal pen, you can remove the ink cartridge and just use it like that. The contact with the metal and your hand makes it work quite nicely without any foam. Just be sure it is smooth metal as to not scratch your screen.

    [Reply]

    LeahGG Reply:

    just tried a crochet hook and a spoon. doesn’t work.

    [Reply]

    Kale Reply:

    Now how come when I try the conductive foam it doesn’t work? I have the capacitive digitizer iPad 1 I can’t get anything but my finger to work… Help me?

    [Reply]

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