Japan-based tinkerer Akaki Kuumeri has designed and 3D printed a custom Flexure joystick for Xbox Controller, turning a regular controller into a flight stick of sort, for the purpose of playing fight simulators such as the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.
Leveraging on the wonder of compliant mechanism, flexure and through a series of linkages, Akaki turned a regular Xbox controller into a fully functional flight stick that offers full control of a virtual aircraft. If that’s not enough, he even came up with a throttle unit that controls the throttle, the rudders, and whatnot.
And yes, both contraptions attach to an Xbox controller, essentially turning the controller into a full-fledge flight controller (well, almost). Not sure if there’s noticeable latency since the inputs on the joystick are translated through linkages on the controller.
I imagined it is good for leisure flying and not so much for violent flying like a dog fight, for example.
Anyways… for the uninitiated, a compliant mechanism is described as “a flexible mechanism that achieves force and motion transmission through elastic body deformation” and therefore, negating the need for complicated joints like ball joints, for example.
Flexure, on the other hand, is basically a flexible element that allows for folds and/or movements without having actual joints.
Leveraging on both, it can achieve self-centering and at the same time, offers resistance and whatnot without the need for complex engineering joins and hinges. Durability, however, is not guaranteed.
The boon is, it allows you to build complex stuff with just 3D printing which was what Akaki Kuumeri did with this custom joystick.
Images: YouTube (Akaki Kuumeri).