How to make an Ergonomic USB Mouse (Ergo Mouse) - made from Styrofoam

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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!

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Hey Jude, don't make it bad, take a bad mouse and make it better... Haha thanks for the tutorial, Jude (:
Hey Jude (author)  coralinecastell1 year ago
DeeRilee1 year ago
This is wonderful!!!!

While I was looking through this I had the thought..."wouldn't a Ergo Mouse made of wood look FANASTIC!!!"

Though a shaped, polished & stained wooden mouse would not have the same "grippy" feel to it....some 'checkering' (fine engraved lines such as is seen on some gun stocks & pistol grips) might do the trick.

I voted for you! Wonderful instrucable!
I agree, definitely one of the best Instructables I've seen!

There are a number of wooden mice out there, ( although many are extremely expensive, and of course not as satisfying as a home-made version.
Hey Jude (author)  Fodaro1 year ago
Please let me know if you do have a go at making your own. It is strangely satisfying sanding Sugru!

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!

Good luck & thanks again =)
Hey Jude (author)  Fodaro1 year ago
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.
Hey Jude (author)  DeeRilee1 year ago
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!)
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??
& thanks for the vote =D
lpinho1 year ago
Simply fantastic. A similar mouse costs around 100 €, 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).

Thank for sharing Jude (What vote do you prefer, we seem to have 3 possible votes...)
Hey Jude (author)  lpinho1 year ago
Hi Ipinho,
Glad you see the savings - and indeed the L/R Hand issue is a big one! Especially in Design!

I'd request an Epilogue Vote if I may. Thanks =)

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??

Good luck!
Hey Jude (author)  Hey Jude1 year ago
Have not serached extensively, but in the US(?) you would get something like this:
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.
Hey Jude (author)  Midwest Maverick1 year ago
Oh - and a personal favourite was this one I just did in Berlin: - GO ASURA!!!
Hey Jude (author)  Midwest Maverick1 year ago
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.
Sparticles1 year ago
This is great.
Finally I've seen how those foams and fillers are used in a simple way.
Very interesting.
Hey Jude (author)  Sparticles1 year ago
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
ValentinoM made it!8 days ago

thank for this great project! it was a great inspiration. Take a look at what I did

Hey Jude (author)  ValentinoM2 days ago
Nice work - that looks awesome!!
agis681 year ago
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.
Anyway is very nice instructable worths the voting and a winning position

Hey Jude (author)  agis681 year ago
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.

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.

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.


PS - If yourself or anyone else is interested, you may want to Google 'Over-Moulding' or 'Twin-Shot Moulding' to learn more, e.g.
(or minus the 'U' if you are in the US).

Great instructable! I cast my vote in the Epilog contest!!
thank you i said on previous message it worths every penny you spend it cause here we have an industrial design by scratch

take care, be winner
nerd74731 year ago
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
Hey Jude (author)  redfoxtrystman1 year ago
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.

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:
This is brilliant, really, wonderful job!!
Hey Jude (author)  lindarose921 year ago
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!:
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.
Hey Jude (author)  AJMansfield1 year ago
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.
I guess the trick of the tutorial, was to allow people to design something that does not give them cramps, as you point out.
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.
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