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Transparent USB Mouse

1 Jan 2011
Progress: Completed

This was what you'd call a field project – the only tool I had was my penknife.

I began with this acrylic box...

Plastic box used as starting point

...and this circuit which I ripped out of a Tesco USB mouse which was less than a fiver.

USB mouse circuit board

To start the corners were cut off the box to make the mouse buttons.

Button caps over mouse circuit

For the body, one side could be reused, the other would have to be glued into place.

Scoring the cut line on the plastic box lid

Transparent case as it will go together

To connect the pieces, springy U-shaped prongs were crafted.

Fork shaped plastic part to support button caps

Again, field project – the only glue I could find was this solvent weld meant for sealing drain pipes. Takes ages to dry and burns one's nose, but it would have to do.

Solvent Weld Cement, non-pressure

The glue formed a slightly opaque smudge which was disappointing. Here, holes for the cable and scroll wheel have been cut.

Cutouts added to transparent case

The base was cut out of the remaining acrylic. No incision was made for the optical sensor, it could see fine straight through it. The tabs at the front support the cable.

Base of the mouse

In order for the buttons to work, small tabs must be accurately placed to press the microswitches on the circuit board. Small adjustments were made by layering glue to adjust their height.

Underside of the transparent button caps

Teflon pads taken from the original mouse completed the build.

Assembled transparent USB mouse

Side view of the transparent USB mouse

Finished transparent mouse, in the dark, with LEDs glowing

Finished transparent mouse, in the dark, with LEDs glowing