You need CAD software, a CNC milling machine (you can rent time on it), a lot of spare time and even more persistence.
I don’t like plastic. Instead, I like nature and that’s why I have developed and now produce wooden mice. They are beautiful, pleasant to hold in your hand and make your hand less sweaty.
I managed to obtain a decent result only after five years of work in my spare time. For already more than 4 years I have been using mice of my own production. During this time, I had to develop new electronic stuff twice to keep up with the times and not lag behind progress.
Everything started with handicrafts. In these models, I used stuff from conventional mice.
These experiments resulted in the understanding of the impossibility of making a normally working mouse using manual technologies. It also became obvious that I would have to develop my own electronics to suit my housing without trying to adapt it to the borrowed stuff. The maximum that one can produce with handicraft technologies is a single capricious specimen that will be worse than a conventional plastic mouse. This did not satisfy me and I got down to serious work.
After plasticine experiments, prototypes were made on a 3D printer. First, to test ergonomics. Then, after correction, to test the ability to assemble the structure.
After testing the structure, I got down to the most serious part. I chose the design in which the mouse buttons and housing made a whole. This is, at first sight, an easy solution in plastic but an extremely complicated engineering task when you use wood. Button press force must be standard, while the wooden part must sustainably and safely return to its original place. Let’s add here the factors of the anisotropicity of wood, the influence of humidity changes on the dimensions of parts and the different density of wood species. There is no engineering software capable of calculating such structure. That’s why I had to search for the solution experimentally. It took approximately a year, but I managed to find the solution. In terms of clicking, my mouse is not different from a conventional one.
Photos of incorrect solutions to the clicking problem.
During this time, the housing has undergone many changes. They are not superficially visible but improve the structure seriously. This is a photo of 8 generations (in fact, there were many more of them).
This is the process of housing milling with the milling machine.
Simultaneously, I worked on the electronics. It would be stupid to simply copy standard models, a unique mouse required unique functionality. I like to listen to music during work and phone calls make me change the volume. That’s why my mouse allows me to do this in a very convenient and easy way. You only need to press the right button (left one for left-handers) and rotate the wheel. Wheel up to turn up music, wheel down to turn it down. This function is integrated into the electronics of the mouse, that’s why it works on any computer and doesn’t require installation of drivers and doesn’t interfere with other programs.
Photo of 8 generations of electronic stuff (in fact, there were many more of them).
I made a wire mouse because of its higher durability and because I didn’t want to place another electromagnetic radiation source on my desk. At the same time, I wanted to avoid the problem of a tangling and inconvenient cable. That’s why I came up with the idea and ordered a cable with special characteristics of stiffness and manageability. On the one hand, the cable is soft. On the other hand, it can be conveniently positioned on the desk.
It absolutely doesn’t bother you during work.
The long development time allowed me many experiments with mouse coating. I didn’t want to use chemical-based varnishes and make a mouse surface similar to plastic. I wanted to preserve the sensation of live wood in hand. On the other hand, I had to ensure extremely resistant coating because the mouse is used under the most rigorous conditions. It is constantly in hand, it is influenced by friction, sweat and skin fat. After long experiments, I managed to develop the coating technology. I applied a flax oil based composition and carnauba wax. The coating technology is very time-consuming because of the necessity of intermediate dryings and takes from two weeks to one month depending on wood species. The result is a durable and beautiful coating that develops individual features after long-term usage of the mouse – it darkens in places with increased contact with human hand. This does not take from its beauty but rather decorates it and adds individuality.
This is the photo of the mouse that has been used for more than 4 year in everyday office work. The coating is not renewed intentionally. The mouse is wiped with conventional wipes for consumer electronics, which has a bad influence on the coating. It’s better to use special wipes for wood with a natural coating.
Step 9: Wooden Mice by Alest Rukov
At the end, I want to show you photos of different mouse models. They differ only by wood species. Several red wood types and black wood (Ebony) were used.