Ink Drop Soup – The SpongePen

29 11 2011

Neither delicious nor nutritious

After wading through a mountain of Black Friday advertisements last Thursday, I found one lone deal that I would consider purchasing: a touchscreen stylus pen for about $5.

Unfortunately, to get to this prize I would have to find myself in Best Buy, which, from what I’d heard, promised to be a nightmarish tableau of depraved zombies trying to dismember one another over ownership of low-priced televisions. No deal was worth leaving the house on Black Friday. Instead, I turned to the internet and discovered that it was possible to make my own stylus that would function with a capacitive touchscreen. What’s that you say? Why not just BUY a stylus on the internet, where I don’t have to put life and limb on the line for lowlow prices? Because that is too easy and doesn’t involve getting little bits of sponge everywhere when trying to cut a suitable shape.

Step one: acquire lens flare

First you need a pen with a conductive metal body. My mom let me use this one! It’s a commemorative pen for Fantasy Diamond’s 50th anniversary. I’ve also heard that the Zebra Telescoping Pen works well for this purpose.

What's that? A bird? A fungus? A sea cucumber? No! IT IS A SPONGE

Take out the refill. Take a bit of sponge and secure it in the end. I’m lazy, so I just kinda tucked it in and hope it will stay there. Instructions I’ve read online seem to involve things like glue, Q-tip sticks, and other sensible means of adhesion. Alternately, you can ditch the pen body entirely and just use a sponge as your stylus. Don’t believe me? Go pick up a Scotch-Brite sponge and use it on your capacitive touchscreen. Your world has now been opened. You’re welcome.

Alternately, you can use fancier (and harder to obtain) materials like conductive foam, or conductive yarn/thread. But those things don’t look half as bizarre as a sponge, so why bother using them?

Ta-da! Oh jeez I really need to put on a new screen protector; this one is shot.

Making a functional stylus is deceptively easy. You’re thinking there has to be a catch. There’s got to be something more, some secret step. NOPE. Metal pen body (technically optional) + sponge (or you could also just use the metal pen body, but that’s not as kind to your screen as a sponge) = capacitive stylus.

My knowledge came through an amalgamation of the following helpful guides:

Instructables – Make an iPad Stylus by Markerickson

iLearn Technology – Make your own iPad stylus for less than 10 cents!

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