If you have ever found yourself getting tired hands/wrists while using a computer Mouse (sometimes it even leads to RSI - Repetitive Strain Injury), or you wished you could just open up that mouse and re-arrange all the functional components just the way you wanted, so it felt great to use - then this is the Instructable for you!

I've been a Design Engineer for a few years now and thought I should share some of the tricks I learned and developed along the way (I also blog on Design Modelling and run workshops): In this Instructable you can learn how to take apart your mouse - saw the circuit-board in half, and segregate the functional parts with a little soldering. You will then be guided through how to sculpt a small chunk of foam into a shape that feels good (is 'ergonomic') to you - and fix the click/scroll wheel just as you want them. Finally there are a few tricks to making the Mouse look and feel cool to use (that is not red paint you can see, but silicone rubber!)

I hope this Instructable is useful for anyone wanting to become more fluent in other modelling techniques and is especially useful if you are starting-out in Product / Industrial Design. This is about you controlling the materials to get the design you want, and is a great precursor to CAD work, where you might not be able to 'feel' the true experience of a highly ergonomic item like this. Of course, the process could be applied to a variety of projects - electronic or otherwise (though I would not recommend mains electricity, unless you are trained to do so).

So, if you are ready - let's take a look at how we will do this....

And if you like this - please consider voting, as it would enable me to build my skills and tools to do more of these sorts of projects for free. Do let me know if you have a go at this and have any further questions, as you can see from a previous Instructable - Solder Buddy, I really enjoy seeing how you get on!


Step 1: So You Know What You Are in For...

I will give detailed instructions of how to work through the Instructable, covering the main areas (see images below).

• How to take apart an existing battery-powered Wireless USB Mouse (Wired can be used as an alternative).

• How to cut a PCB in half, safely. (It's not magic, but it is cool).

• How to re-wire the functional parts (Left/Right Click Buttons, Optical Sensor, DPI Switch) on 'flying leads'.

• How to sculpt 'Blue Foam' (styrofoam) into a shape that (ergonomically) fits your hand.

• How to fit the functional parts to this shape.

• How to cover the Mouse in various fillers to achieve a professional finish.

• How to spray paint to finish - or optional extra - using a silicone rubber material called Sugru.
I also get into a bit of discussion about Form vs Function and how your design reflects these considerations. Regardless of whether you intend to use these skills professionally or for fun - you will become more aware and critical of some of the ways products look the way they do. Enjoy being the creator of something unique - even if it's a modest as a Mouse!
Hey Jude, don't make it bad, take a bad mouse and make it better... Haha thanks for the tutorial, Jude (:
This is wonderful!!!! <br> <br>While I was looking through this I had the thought...&quot;wouldn't a Ergo Mouse made of wood look FANASTIC!!!&quot; <br> <br>Though a shaped, polished &amp; stained wooden mouse would not have the same &quot;grippy&quot; feel to it....some 'checkering' (fine engraved lines such as is seen on some gun stocks &amp; pistol grips) might do the trick. <br> <br>I voted for you! Wonderful instrucable!
I agree, definitely one of the best Instructables I've seen! <br> <br>There are a number of wooden mice out there, (http://www.designbuzz.com/10-wooden-computer-mouse-designs-adorn-workstation/) although many are extremely expensive, and of course not as satisfying as a home-made version.
Please let me know if you do have a go at making your own. It is strangely satisfying sanding Sugru! <br> <br>I wonder if anyone will do a gamer's control, like a PS3 handset? Though this would be pretty expensive! Sadly i'm no gamer, so have no idea were to start, but it'd be cool to see this I'ble applied to something totally different! <br> <br>Good luck &amp; thanks again =)
Nice link - although I was not looking to 'adorn' my workstation, this is still pretty clever to get the 'click' in wood. Thanks for the post - useful for something else I'm working on.
This would be awesome. Perhaps you could use Balsa wood for your first attempt, as it is easier to made modifications to and then you could take measuremenst and replace the Balsa-form, with a nicely worked bit of Hardwood (though I know Balsa is too - but you get my point!) <br>Not sure if you have access to a CNC, but you could even take the Balsa measurements into CAD and then create two halves.... or perhaps I'm getting carried away, but it's a cook idea. Please post any attempts, as I'm sure people will help out on Instructables who know more about wood-carving, etc?? <br>&amp; thanks for the vote =D
Simply fantastic. A similar mouse costs around 100 &euro;, this way we can build a left hand and right hand mouse saving a few bucks. (Although I don't know the price of some of the materials used). <br> <br>Thank for sharing Jude (What vote do you prefer, we seem to have 3 possible votes...)
Hi Ipinho, <br>Glad you see the savings - and indeed the L/R Hand issue is a big one! Especially in Design! <br> <br>I'd request an Epilogue Vote if I may. Thanks =) <br> <br>The Styrofoam will be cheap if you can get offcuts on Ebay, though I got a massive sheet on Amazon for ~$30 which will last forever! The USB MOuse was about $7 and yes I have a lot of tools to hand, so this is perhaps teh real expense if you do not have a home workshop - though you may have a Hackspace near you?? <br> <br>Good luck!
Have not serached extensively, but in the US(?) you would get something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Craft-Styrofoam-Foam-Sheets-Pack/dp/B0072IPXDW/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1372413034&amp;sr=8-11&amp;keywords=styrofoam+sheets
Epic ible. Very well done, and what a cool project. Must say my favorite part is when the rasping syncs with the music in the 9a Foam Sculpting vid.
Oh - and a personal favourite was this one I just did in Berlin: http://youtu.be/-0h5nvo3luE - GO ASURA!!!
Thanks a lot - I have a collection of weird music I use for videos like this. It's taken ages to find stuff that is legal (Creative Commons) or that friends have kindly made for my projects. It felt like more hassle at first (I contacted Ninja Tune Records, but couldn't afford Mr Scruff!!) but it's actually been cool to find a new way to get CC music into my stuff.
This is great. <br>Finally I've seen how those foams and fillers are used in a simple way. <br>Very interesting.
Thanks for the comment. I hope it gives some examples of doing stuff with foam, that is more functional. Please let me know if you have a go at it or anything like it =D
<p>Hey this is totally pure skill!<br><br>Although I didn't make your mouse but right now I have modified my mom's abandoned computer mouse into a gaming mouse with 7 buttons(although it will be more of a editing/modelling mouse ^^;)<br><br>Though it looks old, I plan to spray paint it, as it is indeed more economical and easier to work with. Will it be still safe to touch for daily use? </p>
<p>Hi Marc,<br>My guess would be to use a non-toxic paint (i'm sure you figured this out), but I can appreciate it's quite complex - as you are needing to paint a plastic as well, which is not easy with water-based paints. What you might consider doing is either using a primer and then a water-based paint, or using a enamel/spray pint, but finishing with a few good layers of a non-toxic varnish. &quot;Liquitex&quot; seem to be a good name in this line of paints:<br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Liquitex-Professional-Soluvar-Varnish-Aerosol/dp/B002648RS0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461856619&sr=8-1&keywords=not+toxic+paint+varnish">http://www.amazon.com/Liquitex-Professional-Soluva...</a><br>Hope it helps.<br>Jude<br>PS - Do upload a picture - ideally before and after!</p>
<p>Well I decided to use the spray paint, that's the only thing I can hold these days ^^; </p><p><br>Also, I didn't took a pic when I made this(I built it before I saw this instructable), so well I can provide a pic that looks similar to this, with the same brand: HP<br><br>So here you go, sorry I'm late, really-really late, I have only done it during last week of summer ^^;</p>
<p>Hey Marc,</p><p>Looks like a good start - have you put two USB controls in one Mouse? How's that work? (I Know I've accidentally used a wired and a bluetooth mouse at once - so I realise computers can take dual input...but I'm curious to know what you are controlling). Hope the paint works/ed.</p><p>Cheers,<br>Jude</p>
<p>The other cord is actually goes to the main keyboard chip I salvage in the junk, I fit it far back in the housing and glue gun there. The chip has &quot;pins&quot; or &quot;gold fingers&quot; where I soldered wires to connect the switch and turn them into button inputs.<br><br>Well I didn't care much what key stroke went to each button, but what makes it work is with the use of AutoHotKey. It enables me to assign my key configuration for my work. Like for say shortcuts for Photoshop, then another set of shortcuts for Google Sketchup, and even for League of Legends! That's the purpose of having extra buttons there. :))</p>
<p>Hey Marc,</p><p>Thanks for the reply. Sounds pretty clever. Since this project, I also learned that Arduino Leonardo emulates keyboards very well. Possibly a bit large for this application, but worth knowing about if you wanted to add even more functionality....Perhaps even a Left and Right mouse for gaming would be cool?</p>
<p>That would bring out every gamer's skills from within, that is if you can master having 2 hands on 2 mouses coordinating together haha.<br><br>I say it would be cool, but I haven't much explored yet. I don't even have much experience with arduinos either(although I have one here at home). But thanks for taking a look at my work though, pretty much appreciated.</p>
This is a great tutorial! Well explained, and unique. I do wonder how much the total price of tools and materials came to in the end though.. But I would vote and I hope you continue making tutorials
<p>thank for this great project! it was a great inspiration. Take a look at what I did https://www.instructables.com/id/Carbon-mouse/</p>
Nice work - that looks awesome!!
as work is really interest but very expensive you have to admit it. Only 4packs of sugru costs about 9USD (the pack of 8 mini packs has 18USD) the materials the time rise the cost in high levels considering you can buy a wireless mouse on ebay for 4-5 bugs. <br>Anyway is very nice instructable worths the voting and a winning position <br> <br>thanx
Hi agis68, I have to admit that if this were just about making computer mouse, this is a tiny bit on the expensive side and I'd have to agree with you!! However, I would politely suggest that I did mention in the later steps that one could spray paint this - for a more economical finish. <br> <br>Coming from a Industrial Design profession, I can say that if you wanted to create a simulated Silicone 'Skin' (like the ones you find on Power Drills, etc. on the grips) that Sugru is far cheaper than paying for a casting process (or even 'Connex' 3D Printing media), to mimic what you might call and 'Over-Mould' in Rubber/Silicone - for a prototype stage - which is what this tutorial is all about; getting a cheap and quick concept. <br> <br>I'm glad that you see the merit in the learning in this, though I do hope Sugru manages to become cheaper as the company expands. Thank you again for your thoughtful comment and vote, it's greatly appreciated. <br> <br>Jude <br> <br>PS - If yourself or anyone else is interested, you may want to Google 'Over-Moulding' or 'Twin-Shot Moulding' to learn more, e.g. http://www.simtec-silicone.com/two-shot-lsr-expertise-and-experience/ <br>(or minus the 'U' if you are in the US). <br>
https://www.instructables.com/id/Home-Made-Sugru-1/ <br> <br>Great instructable! I cast my vote in the Epilog contest!!
thank you man....as i said on previous message it worths every penny you spend it cause here we have an industrial design by scratch <br> <br> <br>take care, be winner
wow very cool
Best walk through I have seen. I would love to do this and might try some day. Gave you a vote and fallow to. Keep the cool thing coming
Thanks for the follow and vote - really hoping to get some new stuff to try on projects like this. It's always intense trying new stuff out. <br> <br>A big inspiration for me is Brendan Dawes - a very fearless creator of stuff (even if he's not actually sure what it is all about). Check it out: http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=0d460da078b3a98329818b1be&amp;id=6050818305&amp;e=11365917c4
This is brilliant, really, wonderful job!!
Thanks! I actually just saw your awesome Connect 4 cardboard game (brings back many memories)....and was slightly temped to plug my cardboard project, but at least I can do this on my instructable - not yours, haha! Here you go!: <br> <br>https://www.instructables.com/id/Design-Modelling-your-own-Raspberry-Pi-case-out-/
Thank you so much! :D And yes, I had seen that project of yours before and it's great, you are really talented!
While that may seem like a good idea, that will give you horrible hand cramps with any more than very light use.
Hi AJ, I've been using it for a while and I have to say quite like it - but then I would, wouldn't I - Haha! Anyway, it seems there is a pretty well-established industry around prevention of what is know as Repetetive Strain Injury or RSI. There is a link here showing all sorts of stuff that you can buy. http://www.posturite.co.uk/mice-keyboard-devices/ergonomic-mice.html <br>I guess the trick of the tutorial, was to allow people to design something that does not give them cramps, as you point out. <br>One final thing is that this sort of mouse can be quite expensive and is no where near as tailored as you might be able to make it. <br>Either way, I hope we get a few good results and people have fun making it. I guess the proof will be in the making. =D

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a Product Design Engineer, currently living in the UK. I have been fortunate to have lived, studied and worked in Hong Kong, Norway ... More »
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