How to make a joystick grip - Helicopters, pocket watches, flight simulation, tools.

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How to make a joystick grip

Flying > Flightsim > Hardware

June 2006

Can I make my own joystick grip based on the real one?
Can I change it with the grip of my MS Force Feedback 2?
The FFB2 has eight buttons and a four way switch.
The real one has also eight buttons and two four way switches.

Well I can leave one four way switch and still have a good compromise.

Some more requirements for the project: Cheap, material easy to get, usual house tools only be needed.

Some cling film and florist foam cube.
So I had a quick, easy and good mold based on the idea of my friend Bernd.

I bought all the switches at You need to find your selection at your local supplier.

I got some help from a colleague who did the silicone rubber mold. The material used is TACOSIL 140 plus crosslinking agent 32 bought at

He also did the first casting, look at The material for the stick cast is "Resin" bought at It comes with the fitting crosslinking agent.

After a bit of thinking I found a cheap and easy way to add the top left and right switch to the grip without using machinery. Just a bit of standard commercial plastic handled with a saw and a file, glued with two component glue to the grip. No need for a turning tool or other expensive machinery sofar.

All the switches are on their place. Only one hole is missing - the mounting hole. Therefor I need to reassamble my MS Force Feedback 2.

Well, looks good to me. I now have to work on my joystick before I start with the wiring. Stay tuned...

I think that if you want to have your own grip of your favorite helicopter take the pictures and ask a pilot near you if you can make some pictures and a mold using this easy technique.

Yesterday I removed the grip from my FFB2, pretty easy as the parts are assembled with screws.
There is a little drawback as I can not use the rudder axis in the grip anymore. I will mount the poti somewhere else later on.
After drilling a suitable hole I could mount the new grip to the FFB2.
Only the wiring is left now.

Today I started with the wirring of the grip. It worked out fine so that I soldered the switches to the wires as well. Then I attached the grip to the housing. After that I had to solder the wires to the original joystick. I also added a poti so that the original z axis is not wasted. Everything works fine sofar. All buttons are working and I'm looking for some key assigments now.
For the extra poti I need a knob.
I will now test my new joystick.

What would I do different next time?

- I would use smaller switches.
- Less resin to save weight.

To be continued............

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