While many projects call for radio control, once you get beyond using your phone’s Bluetooth signaling, things tend to get pretty shoddy. Although this is fine for a demo, for something that looks professional, while showing off its electronic internals and requiring basic tools for assembly, look no further than this DIY Arduino RC Transmitter from Dejan at How To Mechatronics.
The device resembles a sort of see-through PlayStation controller, with dual analog joysticks, potentiometers, switches, and buttons, along with an MPU-6050 IMU to enable position-based control. An Arduino Pro Mini takes commands from these interfaces, and sends out the corresponding signals via the common nRF24L01 radio module. Everything is connected together with a custom breadboard, allowing for control in a limitless number of situations.
While you’ve probably seen all of this done in one project or another, what sets this build apart is just how many options you have, and the nicely finished acrylic top and bottom pieces in the same shape as the PCB. You might assume these are manufactured using a laser cutter or CNC router, they’re actually manufactured by hand, using the PCB as a pattern. Though one might argue that ordering PCBs counts as advanced manufacturing, it’s evidence that you can produce very good results, even without the use of “fancy” tools.