Curly Maple Steam Punk Joystick

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Project by Kaytrim posted 11-03-2009 05:33 PM 3166 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This joystick was a long time in the making. Building the frame was easy enough but coming up with the right color and finish took longer.


The customer didn’t really like the standard transtint green because it was too bright. He also liked the cordovan color and thought that having the two colors on the case would be nice. I didn’t like the possible problem of the colors bleeding together in the corners. So on the test piece I mixed the two colors as a sample for him. You can see the differences in the two following pictures. He went with the custom blend.


While the finish color was a bit complicated nothing compared to the work involved with the electronics however. This involved time learning a new skill, programing PIC chips to control the LED lighting effects. There are 4 separate lighting effects each controlled by it’s own chip. The first one is one I have done many times, lighting up the buttons when they are pressed. A simple circuit using a logic chip did this job. The other three were a bit more complex and involved the programming. I drilled out the joystick shaft to run the wires for a RGB LED (Red, Green, Blue). This is controlled by a small chip the cycles through the spectrum in about 15 seconds. The next effect uses four green LEDs in the base. One of the LEDs is randomly chosen to flicker. Then after a random interval another LED is chosen. The final effect is embedded into the artwork and is best seen in a video I did for the customer. Here are two short videos showing the LED lighting effects

Thank you for taking the time to look over my most complex project to date. Michael

12 comments so far

View David65's profile


190 posts in 3286 days

#1 posted 11-03-2009 06:20 PM

WOW that’s pretty cool I like the work great job…

-- David '65

View Lisa Chan's profile

Lisa Chan

147 posts in 3151 days

#2 posted 11-03-2009 06:28 PM

I recognize the image… it’s been running around on the net for half a decade. I’m a gamer, and love this joystick. FUN!

-- Lisa Chan, custom cafts and yarn accessories,

View McLeanVA's profile


491 posts in 3435 days

#3 posted 11-03-2009 07:01 PM

While I’m not a gamer, I am a sucker for anything containing curly maple. Really cool piece. Cool videos as well. I bet your customer was more than pleased.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3335 days

#4 posted 11-03-2009 07:55 PM

Nicely done, and that finish really came out really well. Love the color too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View ohwoodeye's profile


1986 posts in 3154 days

#5 posted 11-03-2009 08:53 PM

Love the joystick. That color is awsome – really pops the grain. The picture freightens me a bit.

-- Directions are just the Manufacturer's opinion on how something should be assembled. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View Kaytrim's profile


63 posts in 3576 days

#6 posted 11-03-2009 09:00 PM

Thank you for the comments. This has been one of my favorite builds so far. I have another one that I’ll post later that is a bit less complex electonicly but again has curly maple with transtints.

The image is a bit disturbing but only mildly so. If it had some gore in it I would have rejected the image. The way I build these cases the end user can swap out the artwork in about an hour. The buttons are typically connected using quick disconnects. Then loosen the nuts and remove the joystick top. After that is done then the plexiglas and existing art can be removed and new artwork can be inserted.


View a1Jim's profile


117095 posts in 3578 days

#7 posted 11-03-2009 10:47 PM

A joyous creation good job

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View printman's profile


72 posts in 4074 days

#8 posted 11-03-2009 10:55 PM

This is exactly what I have been looking for. My friend and I are ordering the electronics now and I want to come up with my own design. would you share How do you attach the top panel with the graphics so you can interchange them?

-- St. Louis - just a cut away from finishing!

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3286 days

#9 posted 11-03-2009 11:47 PM

So cool….......and a great job.

-- John @

View Kaytrim's profile


63 posts in 3576 days

#10 posted 11-05-2009 10:31 PM


The graphics are held in place by the plexiglas which is in turn held in place with the buttons. The buttons have retaining nuts on them and that is all that is needed. I learned most of what it takes to construct one of these from and

I’d go to Slagcoin first. The site operator has really broken down the parts tools and process involved in creating one of these controllers.

TTFN, Michael

View AllorNoThumbs's profile


71 posts in 3282 days

#11 posted 11-08-2009 04:10 AM

Dude…that is too cool. anything that is steampunked has to be posted on instructables site.

-- enjoy your wood...

View Shawn Sealer's profile

Shawn Sealer

168 posts in 3115 days

#12 posted 11-23-2009 05:11 AM

Love it it’s a work of art

-- -Shawn

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