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3D Hobby Shops BigStix Extended Transmitter Sticks Review

BIGSTIX are replacement control stick tops for your RC transmitter. Jason Moore explores their use as an assistive technology to help those with less then optimal dexterity, or anyone who wants more control.

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Introduction

The contents of the “Starter set”
The contents of the “Starter set”
Material:Machined Aluminum
Overall Length:Depends on configuration
Fits:Futaba, Hitec, JR, Spektrum, possibly others.
Manufacturer:3D Hobby Shop

I first saw BIGSTIX at my local field, on a new flyer's radio. This gentleman has severe arthritis in his hands, and just can’t grip the stock transmitters stick tops. He brought his trainer out to the field along with his radio, and I flew the maiden / trim flight on his trainer, using his radio outfitted with BIGSTIX. Having family members who teach the handicapped, I regularly become the guy who ‘gets’ to modify toys and computer hardware to adapt to these users' needs. I instantly saw the potential benefit of these BIGSTIX as an assist device for those flyers who find it difficult to grip stock transmitter stick tops.

In the process, I also found out how much these BIGSTIX help an average flyer, like myself, with no physical restriction to blame for any poor flights.

In The Package:

BIGSTIX are currently sold in 2 flavors -- a set threaded for Futaba / Hitec radios, and a set threaded for JR / Spektrum radios.

The “starter set” comes with 8 pieces:

  • 2 threaded ends that screw onto your transmitters control gimbals, and give you a length just over 1 inch,
  • 2 extensions that add another inch or so of length,
  • 2 sets of stick ends...both smooth-top, and “crown-top” ends are included.

Sets of 1” extensions are also available to further increase the overall length.

I found that, with 2 extensions, the sticks were long enough to grip full-palm, like a joystick.

Quality

The machine work on these aluminum BIGSTIX is excellent. All threads were cut cleanly, and mating surfaces matched up well. The “crown” style stick tops offer positive grip, without biting into your thumbs. Also, the BIGSTIX, and their extensions are hollow to reduce weight on your transmitter's gimbal. Even with 2 extra extensions, my transmitter was still able to center the gimbal quickly and positively without adjusting the stick tension in the radio.

Now, I’m a finger / thumb “pinch” flyer, and I found that using the included extension (making the sticks themselves just over 2” in total length) was perfect for me. The added length increased the precision around center-stick, allowing me to dial out some of the exponential I had on elevator and aileron. I also noticed my fingers weren’t as fatigued after a long flight, or extended sim flying.

Who would benefit from these?

Well, honestly, anyone -- whether the pilot has a difficult time grabbing the stock, short transmitter sticks, or would like a little more fine control over their transmitter sticks. I know the added length seriously helped my precision, and "smoothed" out my flying by a significant amount.

Fliers who may benefit from these as an assistive technology would include those with:

  • Arthritis
  • Minor tremors
  • Numbness
  • Injuries to the hands
  • A pilot desiring finer precision
  • Or anyone who would like longer sticks

At the field

I managed to get 3 other fliers at the field to fly with these stick tops on their radios. The overall response was quite impressive. One flyer even went as far as to offer me money to buy them on the spot.

Some of the comments I received were, “I feel more connected to the plane”.. “These really make it easy to make small corrections in flight” .. “My fingers aren’t going numb after a couple minutes anymore” .. “Id give these 5 stars” .. “2 (less stressed) thumbs up!”

Any negatives?

I had to cut out openings in the top layer of foam inside my transmitter case to allow room for the added stick length, but even with the sticks in place, my radio still fit in its case!

About the only thing I would change would be to split the bottom of the BIGSTIX so it could be used as a jam nut to secure the BIGSTIX to the transmitter stud like the factory stick tops do. This, however is not a show stopping issue.

Conclusion

I really dig these sticks...They feel nice, and have honestly done a significant job of smoothing out my aerobatics. Ive been flying with them for almost a month, and about the only drawback I've seen is needing to explain what they are to other flyers at the field who comment about how big the sticks are on my radio. Ive also seen firsthand just how helpful these BIGSTIX can be for a fellow flier, to allow him to overcome his arthritis and continue to enjoy the hobby.

For the money, BIGSTIX are definitely worth a try!

Discussion

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Old May 26, 2006, 06:09 PM
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UserName Here's Avatar
Southwest of St.Louis, MO, USA
Joined May 2006
142 Posts
This is pretty cool, I always adjust my sticks as far out as they can go, these not only are longer, but wider, would make it much easier to have smooth, stable flight! Great review Jason! I will have to get me a set of these!

Great Job!



-John
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Old May 26, 2006, 11:43 PM
Firebreather
Mendnwngs's Avatar
Napa, California, United States
Joined Jul 2004
330 Posts
Thanks for the kind words about my review.. Im really having a hard time expressing how much i like these things without sounding like a fanboy. Give 'em a shot. Im sure youll find them as useful as I have

-Jason
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Old May 27, 2006, 12:05 AM
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ekotil's Avatar
Athens, Texas, United States
Joined Jul 2004
1,669 Posts
BigStix

Got 'em on three Optic 6's, they will not be coming off! I also fly finger-thumb and the grip,the feel, and the touch is much improved. No more panicking searching for sticks after a transmitter adjustment. Thats one less excuse for less than stellar landings. Thanks Ben.
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Old Jun 02, 2006, 03:58 PM
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Ramones, The's Avatar
United States, NY
Joined Nov 2005
180 Posts
Thanks for the review, I just rodered a pair. I too fly finger style and looking foward to signing for the package !
Thanks
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Old Sep 21, 2010, 03:50 PM
Suspended Account
Rhode Island USA
Joined Aug 2010
5,350 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramones, The View Post
Thanks for the review, I just rodered a pair. I too fly finger style and looking foward to signing for the package !
Thanks
Does anyone know where to get geometric versions of these stick handles? Like an octagon or a square.
Thanks
VP
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Old Sep 21, 2010, 04:34 PM
Registered User
Sandy Springs, GA
Joined Jul 2008
510 Posts
Does anyone know where to get these since 3D Hobby Shops no longer carries them?

Bruce
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Old Apr 25, 2011, 06:54 PM
Registered User
United States, VA, Warrenton
Joined Apr 2001
1,148 Posts
Darn, I was just looking for another set of these and find this thread indicating they are no longer carried. Anyone know why? I think they're awesome! Anyone know of a good equivalent?

~Dan
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