Step #3: Metal Pen Stylus
The back end of many metal pens may be used as a stylus without any modification. The more metal there is in the pen, the more sensitive and more reliable it will be. When selecting a pen be careful to avoid shiny plastic that may look like metal. This is probably the most convenient stylus because it can function as both a pen and a stylus.
- Probably the most interesting material that can be used to activate a capacitive touch screen is a sponge. But a sponge is a bit too flexible to make an effective stylus as it is. To fix this, the easiest thing to do is to insert the sponge into a metal pen barrel or other metal tube. This gives it shape and makes it a lot easier to work with.
- Cut off a strip of sponge that is about 1/2 inch wide and about 3 inches long. Pinch the end of the sponge and twist it into the barrel until you have 1/2-1 inch sticking out the end. Make sure that the sponge is deep enough that it makes good contact with the metal housing. Then trim the tip of the sponge with a pair of scissors and round it off.
- The only problem with using a sponge as a stylus is that it will not work if it is completely dried out. The water in the sponge helps conduct the charge. So periodically you need to rewet the sponge. It doesn't need to be soaked, just moist enough that the sponge is flexible.
Step #6: Office Supply Stylus
- While most office supplies are either too small or too large (such as staplers and hole punches) to be conveniently used as a stylus, there are quite a few that work quite well. Some examples of metal office supplies that will work as a stylus are scissors with metal handles, a name tag clip, binder clamps, or an unbroken bunch of staples.
- The best way to figure out what will work is to just open up your office supply drawer and start trying different things out.
- Pretty much anything wrapped in foil can work as a stylus. A pencil or pen wrapped in foil is probably the simplest example. Just tear off a piece of foil that is about 3-4 inches long. Then roll it onto the pencil leaving about an inch of foil sticking out past the eraser.
- When it is rolled up, fold this extra bit of foil over the end. Then fold up any sharp ends. To finish smoothing the end, you may want to press it against a table on all sides to ensure that the end is flat and free of any sharp edges.
- The creased foil should hold itself in place, but if you use tape to secure the foil, make sure that there is enough exposed foil to make a good contact with your hand. If the stylus is not very responsive, you may wish to adjust the shape of the tip by either pressing it into a different shape or rerolling it.
- There are a lot of other materials that can be used to activate a capacitive touch screen. Here are just a few.
- The head of a bolt or screw; Nails with a wide head; Silverware; A zipper; A capacitor; A metal thumbtack; A rolled-up green leaf; Wet paper towel/napkin; A stack of quarters; A freshly cut twig or stem; A pocket knife; Large Keys; The back of a drill bit; Anti-static film; Anything porous that is wet; Anything metal that has the right shape.
- This is just a short list of some materials that will work. Feel free to try out whatever you have lying around. If you think of a particularly interesting material that works, leave a comment and share.