After completing my custom keyboard, I was constantly annoyed with seeing my ugly plastic mouse sitting next to it, so I knew a new project was inevitable. I decided to make a custom matching mouse! At first I felt this project was beyond my abilities, since I had to make actual moving and working parts, but after hours of staring at a dissembled mouse and my boxes and jars of random found objects, I developed a plan of attack. The mouse I started with was a generic 5 button mouse with scroll wheel. The two main left/right buttons were the largest obstacles for I couldn’t find anything that would both look and function well. My first though was to use the two sides of a bottom jawbone of some rodent I had lying around, but they ended up being too small and fragile for constant use. I then decided I will just carve some pieces out of wood. After this, I made a mount using brass tubing and brass I-beam shaped pieces. To match the keyboard, I decided to add vintage typewriter keys to each of the finger points on the main 4 buttons of this mouse. I used Alchemy symbols to replace the original letters in the keys. These symbols may or may not have been chosen for a specific significance in this project.
The 3rd and 4th buttons are on the sides of the mouse. I used thin brass sheets cut in a small strip that attaches to the brass rod used to mount the main keys. At the end of the brass strip, I made a mount to add more Vintage Typewriter keys.
The brass strip and key mount can be seen in this construction picture here. It is on the left of the picture.
You can see the side buttons on the bottom of the mouse in the picture below.
I then took apart the internal gears of a clock and used a dremel to cut the center of it out so it was large enough to slide over the scroll wheel. I did this with two gears and found a 3rd that actually slipped on the side perfectly. I then cut a thin strip of brass to wrap around the center of the scroll wheel. The scroll wheel is perfectly functional and also acts as a 5th button if you press down on it!
After the buttons were completed, the rest was easy since it all has to do with decoration! One late sleepless night, I had the ironic idea of using a mouse skull in the piece. Luckily I had a whole rodent skeleton sitting in a box. I bought this years ago with the idea of articulating it as if it would be a fun puzzle to do on a rainy day. Well many rainy days went by and it was never put together, but the head and a couple other pieces now reside in my new mouse!
There are 2 LEDs on this mouse, 1 was near the laser which gives the mouse a slight glow at all times, and a 2nd LED used to light the back of the mouse whenever it was moved. I extended the wires on the 2nd LED and then dremeled a hole into the bottom of the skull and stuffed it in there. The mouse was then placed on a big gear which I glued to the circuit board of the mouse, covering most of the internals. Now, whenever you move the mouse, the whole skull lights up! Creeeeepy!
The next two pictures show the resting state of the mouse with just the bottom LED active and the activated state with the 2nd LED on.
To protect the skull and to give the mouse a shape that will contour to your hand, I decided to make a rib cage. I used brass I-beam shaped pieces that you can get at a hobby store and meticulously bent these to form a cage. I then JB welded it all together and painted any exposing epoxy with brass colored paint. I then took the vertebrates and tail bones from the same rodent and lined the center beam with it. I had to soak the bone in warm water for 5 minutes to soften the tendons which allowed me to bend it to its final shape.
I also added a couple 9mm bullet shells at the back of the mouse for added detail. I love how they say ‘Luger’ on them.
Some other decorative aspects I used were the rodent’s shoulder blades for the front of the mouse. There was an open area here which needed to be covered to look complete and these pieces had the correct shape. You can see them in the following picture as well as how the left/right keys can flip all the way open revealing the micro-switches.
After the mouse was complete, there was one more thing I wanted to make. A custom mouse pad!
The mouse pad was made of scrap Victorian wooden trim, brass trims and rivets, and mini wood corbels from a hobby shop.
The mouse and mousepad took about 22 hours spread over a week and a half. Strangely, except for the brass trims, tubing, and screws, all the parts I used were found in my house! Costs including the mouse was about 40-50 dollars and the only tools I used were a bench grinder, a dremel, coping saw, and a lot of JB weld. Unfortunately, I am unable to reproduce this mouse for sale since it contains so many unique parts.
Now I just need to make a custom computer case and I would finally have a completely modified system!