Buying a stylus pen for your iPad will set you back at least RM 50 (Ringgit Malaysia) here in Kuala Lumpur. There are more expensive ones which will cost hundreds of ringgit.
If you buy a stylus pen today, the chances are that it will not be your last.
Being a small device , the chances of misplacing it and losing it completely is alarmingly high.
The stylus rubber nib being the most fragile part of the device has the tendency to pop off its socket thus rendering it useless.
I have personally suffered two lost styluses and one broken one. And I said to myself enough is enough, I am not going to buy another one from now on.
May be I can build one up myself , using materials I can find lying around my home or my office.
“Is it possible?” I asked myself.
After a little research on the internet , I found that yes it is possible.
A stylus pen for iPad works on two principles.
1. The size of nib has to be a quarter inch (6 mm) wide or larger flat surface.
2. The nib and the body have to made of materials that can conduct static electricity from the nib to the user’s finger, a metal or conductive foam as suggested by some writers on the internet.
So I found myself two metal pins about 2 inch long with twin thin legs (the kind used to bind pieces of paper together), and a small piece of aluminium tape (the kind used to patch a hole in a metal can).
Armed with a pair scissors , I set about putting together a DIY stylus pen.
Here’s how I do it in four easy steps.
Step 2: Cut the aluminium tape into a size 2 3/4″ (inch) long x 3/4″ wide.
Step 3: Hold the pins steady and wrap the aluminium tape piece around the connected legs of the pins.
Step 4: Twist and swivel one of the pin heads at the neck to a preferred writing angle.
Using my newly constructed stylus pen on my ipad is pleasantly smooth and eloquent. It worked so wonderfully well that I felt in love with it at the first write.
I still have a little worry about my invention though. Will the unprotected steel stylus head scratch the surface of the iPad screen?
After scratching around a fair bit on the iPad by making digital sketches using Paper app, I stopped to look ,with a degree apprehension, at possible scratch marks on the iPad screen. Surprisingly I found none.
The iPad screen had withstood the onslaught of my steel head stylus pen.
For peace of mind, I am still looking for the right material to stick to the steel head of the stylus as the tip , so that it can be kinder to the iPad.
I haven’t found any suitable material just yet. Until then, I am happy to stick with the present state of my first-of- its kind invention.
1 July 2013: Update
What a difference 11 days make to the shape of my DIY stylus .
It has been 11 days since I wrote on this post , and after looking around high and low, I finally found the elusive material to stick to the steel head of the stylus-in the form a piece of conductive foam .
I cut the conductive foam into a small piece, 8mm x 8mm x 3mm thick, and stuck it to the steel head of the stylus with an epoxy glue. Like magic it worked.
Now I can take my tinkering to a new level.
Instead of sticking two pins together to form into a stylus, I take a pin and attach it to an old extensible steel ball pen (with the tip removed).
Next I do the same , this time attaching a pin to a pencil end.
The result gives me great looking styluses with a much sturdier hold in the shape of a pen and a pencil.