Ergo Mouse

Step-by-Step Instructions

This tutorial shows how to break open a USB Mouse and modify the electronics to reposition them anywhere you like, to your ergonomic satisfaction! It is more advanced than earlier tutorials and builds on techniques such as working with Plastic (ABS). It has a dedicated section of Foam Techniques if you are new to this and also some Basic Electronic tips as well.

The goal of the project is to demonstrate a way to create working prototypes that help the designer/user to fully explore the form/function aspects of a product. Much of these skills can be applied to other projects and combines with other materials. Although not a substitue for CAD or proper Electronic design, findings through quick ‘skecth-modelling’ like this will result in a better design brief, so that more complex processes build on a solid foundation.



A quick overview of the main parts of the tutorial.


Examination of components of a typical wireless and corded USB Mouse.





PCB Tracking

Use a small LED-light to shine through the PCB to see the tracks.





Cut Through

Cutting the PCB to separate the Jog Wheel from the Optical Sensor.





Scratch Off PCB Coating

How to prepare the PCB tracking to be soldered onto.





Solder On Wires

Tricks for how to solder onto a PCB tack.





Modify Plastic Shell

How to cut, slice, saw – and nibble your case to the right shape.





Tethered Test

All functional parts of the mouse on wires [tethers] – for free positioning.




Assemble Electronics

Using some of the case for functions.





Evaluate Form and Function

Reviewing the design and how you intend it to function.





Create Form

Foam sculpting using various tools – and how to make improvised tools.





Build Function Into Form

After the function – how to give appropriate form.






Prepare for the electronics.





Fit Details

Using some ABS plastic to define certain details.






Glue-Gun to fix two halves together.





First Surface Filler

First (water-based) filler layer.





Sanding Back

Defining the basic form.





Second Surface Filler

Car Body Filler for strength.





Final Finish

Could be painted once finished.





Parametric Curves

Discussion about design intent and feature curves.





Exterior Finish

Sugru used to create a ‘skin’ (optional).