Saturday, June 29, 2013


Did Thomas Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence on his iPad using a plain old stylus? Did Jane Austen compose her novels with her fingers on her Nexus's screen? Of course not! Cheap styli for use with touchscreen devices are a dime a dozen, but they lack elegance. My solution: the iPlume.

Making your own stylus for a tablet with a capacitive screen is absurdly easy. You want a soft (so you don't scratch your screen), conductive tip such as a bit of kitchen sponge and a conductor which connects that tip to you. The form doesn't really matter. It could be an armored gauntlet, a door key with a sponge stuffed through the hole, or a bit of ScotchBrite held with a set of metal tongs. I used a quill.

Though one can use a sponge, I didn't. I got a bunch of dirt-cheap styli off of Amazon (took a few weeks to get here from China, but the cost me pennies each) and pulled off the conductive rubber ends. The black rubber struck me as classier than ScotchBrite yellow. I prepped the quill by snipping off the tip to a point where it was a little narrower than the rubber end. I wrapped some brass wire around the shaft of the feather as a conductor, stretched the cup-shaped rubber tip over the end, and used a few drops of superglue to secure everything in place. Works absurdly well.


  1. Think you've got Christmas presents for all the relatives solved, with the custom drives and styluses! Now what for the technophobes?