As you know I love Kickstarter and occasionally post about projects I find there. Yesterday I stumbled across a project called the Cosmonaut where the inventors argue that writing on a capacitive screen is more like using a large permanent marker (Sharpie) than it is like using a pen, so styli should be shaped accordingly. I agree completely, however there’s just one problem; someone already made such a stylus. I’ve wanted one of those for a while, but the insane combined product+shipping cost is just too much. This Kickstarter project is a lot cheaper so it does serve a puspose though. Aside from that, it also gave me an idea, and $4 worth of parts later I have what I wanted.

The idea I got from the Kickstarter project was pretty simple; get a large permanent marker, rip out the internals and fit my Griffin stylus in there. I swung by the on-campus book store after my final lecture of the day and picked up one for$4 that had a nice metal housing and could be easily disassembled. I took it apart and threw away the ink cartridge and the tip before washing the parts. I then took my Dremel and cut the (metal) end part and widened the resulting hole with a grinding bit so it would fit the diameter of my Griffin stylus. I had to remove the pocket clip from the stylus to make the diameter the same for the entire length of the stylus, but I wasn’t using that part anyways.

Next up I needed to fill in the internal chamber of the marker a bit as the stylus was a bit shorter than the marker. For this I used poster tack, a product that IMHO is at least as useful as duct tape if not more (at least for me). This not only adjusts how deep the stylus goes, but also holds it securely in place and allows me to remove it if I want. With the stylus in place I found some black vinyl decal paper (basically large, removable tape meant as an alternative to paint for cars) and some heat shrink tubing and covered the marker in the former while capping off the ends with the latter.

The result is a stylus that is more comfortable to hold and better symbolizes what it means to write on a capacitive screen. With Notify‘s magnified writing mode it doesn’t matter if you have to write things big anyways as the scaled down text is more detailed and precise than many pens.

All in all I’m satisfied with the result and for $4 (+ the original stylus) I think it’s the better choice compared to the AluPen and Cosmonaut. The AluPen is simply too expensive and the latter might not even make it to market (and not for months if it does) while this took me all of 10 minutes to throw together.