Do you love how your friend's Xbox controller vibrates every time he mercilessly shoots you in the face? If you wish you had this wonderful feedback feature on your PC, now you can!
This is a project that I did several years ago, but I photographed and documented it well enough that I can do a write-up here without any trouble. Excuse the photographer, he was young and reckless.
The simple idea behind this mouse mod is taking a small motor with an offset weight on its shaft, and mounting it in a PC mouse. These motors are easy to harvest from an old rumble-equipped Playstation or Xbox controller.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
You'll need some stuff for this project, but its all cheap, and the tools are simple.
- USB optical mouse
- Off-center weighted motor ( 5V )
- Thin metal or plastic sheet
- Bondo or body filler
- Spray paint
- Spray primer
- Heat-shrink tubing
- Sanding mask
- Tin snips
- Hot glue gun
- Sandpaper (80, 120, 220)
- Soldering iron
- Needle File
Step 2: Open and Drill
So the first thing we have to do is open up our mouse and find out where we can fit the motor without causing problems. If you're super lucky, you might be able to squeak the motor into the space without having to remove any outside material. Most likely though, you'll have to chop out a nice section to fit your motor.
We start by finding the spot on the outside of the mouse where we need to drill. Take a hole-saw bit thats a good 5mm ( 1/4 inch ) wider than the protruding motor head, and drill.
Plop the motor into place, and see how it looks so far.
Step 3: Covering Up the Hole
So now we have this gaping hole where our hand needs to go, and a heavy whirling motor smacking our palm 20 times a second. Great. We need to fix this.
I have a box of small aluminum containers typically used to hold screws and other small parts. I used to use the aluminum cases they came in for all manner of things, so I had a lot of these containers around, and I used one to make the metal cover over the hole. Some thin gauge sheet metal of any kind will work perfectly for this too.
Cut the sheet kind of flower-like so that it makes a rounded shape that will cover the motor without touching it. Once it lines up and is clear for the full rotation of the motor, hot-glue it in place.
Rough it up with sandpaper, as well as the surrounding mouse area.
Our next step is to cover it with Bondo and sand it into shape.
Step 4: Bondo!
The next, most wonderful step is coating the area with Bondo auto body filler, and sanding it down until it is smooth and more attractive.
First, we need to mix the filler paste with the hardener. After this, we have about 5 minutes to spread it in place. Follow the instructions listed on the container, they're very straightforward and quite specific as to the type of filler used, but almost always involve mixing a tube of hardening agent with a paste.
We smooth the Bondo in place, making sure to not leave any spots uncovered or not covered thick enough, since we would have to add more Bondo later to fix that.
Once complete it will look like the very blue picture below. Leave it to cure for the listed time on the packaging.
When its cured, we can start sanding. Be sure to wear a mask for this as the Bondo particles are smelly, nasty and unhealthy to inhale. Since this thing is curved, we can't use a sanding block. We will have to hold the paper in our hands and just use our fingers to sand. When sanding like this, we need to constantly move around the surface, or else our fingers will sand ruts into the Bondo.
As we go, keep cleaning off the dust and making sure that we aren't removing too much material in the wrong spots. Don't sand through to bare metal! I did this, and it turned out okay but if too much is removed it won't look good when completed.
When its sanded to our satisfaction, we can continue to the next step; Painting.
Step 5: Painting
Since Bondo is an ugly pink colour, we need to paint it something fancy. Whip out some general-purpose primer and spray the area with a couple thin coats. You shouldn't be able to see much of a difference between the Bondo and plastic portions of the mouse body. Let the primer cure for 24 hours, or follow the can's directions.
Next, spray with whatever color of paint you want. I used a glossy Krylon Fusion red spray paint, but anything will work. Use a paint that's made by the same company as your primer to prevent unwanted chemical reactions between different brand formulas.
Step 6: Wiring It Up
So after all this work, we still have to wire it all up! I incorporated a switch that lets me turn off the rumble feature when I'm not playing a game, which is a must, because it will drive you crazy without a switch.
Drill a hole in the right side of the mouse, and file it out so that we can fit the switch. Hot glue it in place.
The wiring circuit is very simple. Identify the 5V and GND wires on the mouse board, and solder the positive wire from your motor to the 5V wire on the board. Solder the GND wire of your motor to the switch.
Now, we need to figure out how to connect to the mouse buttons. Most mice buttons have 3 pins, but two are normally connected together or one is not connected at all. We need to use the two outer pins.
Solder a wire from our switch to one side of the button, then solder another wire to the opposite side. Solder that wire to the GND wire of the mouse.
Make sure that there aren't any shorts from 5V to GND, which could damage your USB port. Now, plug in the mouse and try clicking the mouse button. If the motor spins, then its working!
Put the motor in place and hot glue it, making sure that it isn't shorting out any of the circuits on the mouse.
If all is well, we can move to the next step.
Step 7: Putting It Back Together
If the paint has cured, we can put the mouse back together. The original screw holes are probably ruined now, so we will have to glue it shut. Put some hot glue around the edge of the top portion of the body and fit it down onto the mouse. Plug the mouse in and make sure that nothings wrong. If it works great, then awesome!
Go play a game and see how you like it. I didn't have any problems with the cursor being jittery, but if you do, you can add a resistor to the motor to slow it down a bit, or change the weight on the shaft to make it vibrate less.
I hope that this Instructable inspires someone to make a fun, quick mouse project.
Thanks for reading.