Flying simulated planes with a keyboard and mouse is certainly less than optimal, and purpose-built joysticks for this purpose can be expensive, so what is one to do if you’re on a budget? While there are a variety of choices, if you’re Redditor “Chrisoferjh” you make one out of a drawer. Yes, a literal drawer that you normally slide into and out of furniture to store paper, pens, clothes, and the like.
His rig adds a trio of 500 ohm linear potentiometers to the drawer, with the pitch potentiometer attached to a static section on top of sliding piece via a taped-on linkage system. This pushes the stick down when the drawer goes in and vice versa. Another potentiometer affixed to the front of the drawer moves the stick from side to side when rotated using a yoke made out of a plastic box. The third pot is the throttle, and there’s even a single button for landing gear control.
These makeshift input devices are connected to an “Arduino” Pro Micro, allowing it to interface with the Microsoft Flight Simulator on his PC using this Arduino Joystick Library. It’s a beautiful example of what can be done with a few scraps and ingenuity, but if you’d like to see something a bit more refined, Christoferjh also made a flight sim button box with LED feedback that looks quite useful.