Author Topic: DIY ergonomic trackball  (Read 8316 times)

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Offline TomNav

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DIY ergonomic trackball
« on: Thu, 30 April 2015, 09:07:14 »
Hi all,

I am new to this forum. I discovered geekhack soon after I first read about the ErgoDox when I was investigating ergonomic options for keyboards. I have a kind of RSI in my right thumb and this can turn my computer time into a painful experience.
So here I am, I ordered my ErgoDox via Massdrop last week, waiting to see if it can improve my typing experience, and I am now looking for an ergonomic option for my mouse. I am a Mac person so I have been using the so called "Magic Mouse" for years but my thumb doesn't like it anymore. I bought a Logitech M570 which is much better, but my thumb is still not fully happy. I borrowed my girlfriend's Kensington Expert for a while, and my thumb really liked it, but my hand didn't: it's not comfortable, massive ball, reaching the buttons is not easy, etc. I have been looking for a Logitech Cordless Optical Trackman... but it is discontinued and the auctions on Ebay get stupidly high for a trackball, and I am not convinced this would be the ultimate solution to my thumb problem as the thumb is still required to fully operate the mouse. The MS Trackball Explorer is also an option but it's the same problem for an even older mouse. Basically, I am struggling to find something available on the market that would suit my needs.
I have decided to try to make my own trackball but I am not a programmer and I have no knowledge of electronics. So I decided to go for a simple option: using the Kensington Expert electronics as a base. My plan is to get rid of the original trackball case, remove the microswitches from the board, solder some wires to the board to be able to place my four click buttons wherever I want as well as the ball, design a new case (a thumb-free option) and put everything back together. I saw some projects using arcade push buttons and thought I might try to replace the microswitches with some Cherry MX switches (+ keycaps) but I am not sure if this can be done.
So after this long story, here are my questions:
Can I replace a mouse microswitch with a Cherry MX switch? And if yes how? As I understand it, a microswitch has 3 pins (Com, NC, NO) and a Cherry MX has 2 pins, is that right?

Thanks for your input.

Offline berserkfan

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 30 April 2015, 11:54:10 »
Why don't you make things easier for yourself by replacing the mouse switches with lighter mouse switches of the same kind?
Most of the modding can be done on your own once you break through the psychological barriers.

Offline kurplop

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 30 April 2015, 13:42:18 »
If you want to take advantage of the ExpertMouse's chording you will need to replace the arcade button switches with 3 pin switches.

When I did something similar to what you are attempting, I was able to gut the arcade buttons and replace  the stock switches with EM's switches. In the end I used a Slimblade instead which didn't require the 3 pins but the modified switches feel great and I am still using them today.

If you have thumb issues you should probably avoid a thumb trackball.  The EM is a great trackball, it just needs to be properly oriented to the hand. I think your efforts to modify it will be worth it.

If you haven't read my "ErgoDox and Trackball Tray" thread, you should.

Offline TomNav

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 30 April 2015, 15:55:35 »
Hi berserkfan

The main reason is that it is not a matter of how hard the switches are. First I have to avoid using my thumb and second, I don't like the Kensington Expert hand position nor the 4 buttons around the ball. I used the Kensington Expert for a month and it didn't hurt my thumb but I couldn't get to the point where you don't have to think about where this bloody right click is... or the left click... or any other clicks. And I don't like the hand position: kind of suspended.

I would like a device:
- operated with the four fingers, the thumb resting doing nothing on the side
- with a trackball so I don't have to grip the mouse (it hurts) and drag it across the desk, thus preventing more RSI
- with more than just the standard right and left click buttons
- with the palm resting like on the Logitech Trackman Wheel, Cordless Optical Trackman or MS Tackball Explorer...

I did some research on what is available on the market... and they are not many options in the end.

> Logitech M570 or Trackman Wheel: I really like the palm position, I have used the Trackman Wheel for years at work but the ball is operated by the thumb and it is not an option for me anymore.
> Logitech Trackman Marble: it has only two buttons and being an ambidextrous mouse makes it a poor right or left handed option.
> Logitech Cordless Optical Trackman: I never had a chance to try this one. The palm position is close to the Trackman Wheel, I think the ball position is good, but three buttons are exclusively operated with the thumb and if I don't use these three buttons, there are not many buttons left.
> Microsoft Trackball Explorer: same problem, although there are two buttons to the right of the ball instead of one for the previous trackball, so probably a better option but...
> Kensington Expert (and other similar trackballs): as explained, I don't like the ergonomics.

So I came to the conclusion that I had to came up a DIY improved solution.

Offline Sc0tTy

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 01 May 2015, 05:06:49 »
IMHO trackballs are nice, but ergonomically speaking you can do a lot better with Pen & Touch input.

You should really check out this topic, recently started on GH: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=70338.msg1717330#msg1717330
1x Truly Ergonomic Keyboard 229
2x Kinesis Freestyle V3-VIP
2x Bamboo Pen & Touch (Mouse replacement)
1x Herman Miller Aeron

Offline TomNav

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 01 May 2015, 05:29:03 »
Hi Kurplop,

It was your wooden Ergodox and trackball tray masterpiece that made me think that something could be done in the first place, but I didn't read the thread at that time, just saw the photos. Now I’ve started reading your various threads and posts, I’m even more impressed with your work. Congrats for your achievements!

Back to making a DIY trackball from an existing one, I think the Kensington Expert’s chording is good for my project: 6 commands with 4 buttons - even though I think they could have gone further making it 8 commands with 4 buttons using combo clicks with front and back buttons on both sides. I am going to look into getting some arcade buttons and trying your option. Did you take some photos of how you fitted the 3-pin switches into the arcade buttons? Maybe you already posted them on the forum but I haven’t found them yet.
I’m not familiar with the Slimblade but now you mention it… it could be an option since I wouldn’t have to keep half the ball out as the scroll function is operated with the ball. Interesting!! Do you think it would be possible with the Slimblade to replace the microswitches with keyboard switches? I would like to stick to the keyboard switch+keycap idea in order to keep the buttons small and close together.

Offline berserkfan

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 01 May 2015, 06:20:55 »
I am working on a solution where I take the Kensington Expert trackball assembly out, attach it to a piece of plywood, and mount it on a keypad. Then I will change some of the switches on the keypad to light 40g springs.

To TomNav: I don't understand why it is seemingly so difficult to give the Kensington mouse more chording commands. They had an earlier version of the expert mouse that had a heck lot of chording commands but I don't remember the name anymore.
Most of the modding can be done on your own once you break through the psychological barriers.

Offline kurplop

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 01 May 2015, 18:53:42 »
My Flicker page          http://flic.kr/s/aHsjFazJhh         details some of processes I went through. You may find it helpful. In it, I show how I attached the EM's Omron switches to the Sanwa arcade buttons to give me 3 pin functions. I later used a Slimblade which only needs 2 pins but the modified switches feel less sloppy than stock buttons so I kept the mod and am still using it today. You can attach Cherry MX switches in a similar fashion but you can buy them already modified here.   http://www.focusattack.com/buttons/

On my latest project, the Alumaplop, https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=67467.0 I did a much cleaner mod with Cherry ML switches. They are able to fit in the button housing and reduce the overall height needed which was necessary for height restriction with the design.

If you haven't bought a trackball, I would recommend the Slimblade over the Expert Mouse although I like them both. The Slimblade's internal components are more compact, the scrolling mechanics are smoother and you don't have to mess with the 3 pin switches.

I would also suggest that you do a simple mock up of the design  before you build the real thing. 

Keep us posted. This is exciting stuff!

Offline TomNav

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 02 May 2015, 17:23:57 »
Sc0tTy:
I saw this option and read that it's pretty good for many people with RSI but never tried. I just discovered my girlfriend has one used as a dust collector at the moment so I might try it from tomorrow. The only trouble I foresee with this option is introducing it at work. I don't have my own computer but I share several with my colleagues. Introducing such a device would require some changes in my beloved colleagues' practice as well as in our software cofiguration and it fear it would a losing battle. And I'm not convinced it would be practical. Trackball is what we currently have, so I will try to stick to the trackball idea at least for work. But thanks, I will look into this for myself.

berserkfan:
The old Kensington must have been one of these: K64213 Expert Mouse Pro, K64214 Turbo Mouse Pro, K64245 Expert Mouse Pro Wireless, K64240 Turbo Mouse Pro Wireless... with 6 extra buttons!!! I'm sure this is what they call progress. Keep us posted with your project.

Kurplop:
Thanks for all the comments, links, photos, etc. I should have both an Expert and a Slimblade coming my way soon, so I will probably use the Slimblade+Cherry switches for my project and might use the Expert+arcade buttons for another upcoming project (the girlfriend's one). I'm going to beg/borrow/steal my friend's kids' Play-Doh to work on a mock up like you suggested. Will keep you posted.


Offline TomNav

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #9 on: Tue, 05 May 2015, 17:51:56 »
Very first photos of my very first mock up for my almost thumb-less operated trackball... Thumb can be used but should not necessary to fully operate the trackball.
considering its shape, it could be called "Big-foot" or "Five-toe trackball".
This is the idea I have in mind... now I need to transform the idea into something real.
99578-0
99580-1
99582-2
99584-3
« Last Edit: Tue, 05 May 2015, 17:55:03 by TomNav »

Offline kurplop

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 07 May 2015, 07:00:25 »
I love the look of the Bigfoot. It looks as if the paleontology community finally has proof that Fred Flintstone really existed now that they found the fossil of his right foot (complete with toenails). The design really gives new meaning to the phrase - using the ball of your foot.

It looks comfortable to set the hand in but I wonder about in actual use. My first concern is the amount of ball exposure available for long continuous moves. I once modified a Marble Mouse, and as high as I set it in a mount, it was still handicapped by its limited range compared to its original exposure . Also will you be able to use the scrolling function with it. The EM scroll ring may not fit and the SB should have a reference ring to allow a controlled rotation of the ball.

It also looks like you may need to depend on the thumb too much for lateral moves as well. I have similar thumb problems and have a lot of discomfort with controlled lateral moves. Because of my specific hand issues, I like having the option of moving my entire hand to   manipulate the ball, the "fits like a glove" design may not be ideal for that. I would also tent it a bit to reduce wrist pronation.

The biggest issue I would have with it is the amount of wrist extension necessary. The picture has your wrist in a neutral position and as long as your in posture is as shown in the picture it should be fine but when sitting upright you  may benefit by having a negative tilt.

Beware of my observations!  Some of them are based on my needs and may not apply to you at all. Their purpose is merely to bring to your attention possible issues you could encounter.

Keep up the good work.

Offline Axollott

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 08 May 2015, 01:09:02 »
I have an Anker ergonomic vertical Mouse i got for cheap at amazon, had to modify it with a guide someone else made here, changed the microswitches for lighter omrons, i still don´t really love it but there are aspects of the design you could incomporate to your trackball. First the angle of the position of the hand, try to make it more vertical, you hands likes to be in a position similar to the one it naturally gets when your hands are hanging on the side of your body. Second, your idea for the cherry mx switches i totally support, i would really love to see a mouse with em, seem much gentler on the fingers than microswitches. you also need to avoid under all circumstances the raising of individual fingers above relaxed hand position, fingers like to flex down, but not up. You need to find a design that avoids the bending of the wrist, specially sideways, in this aspect the Anker vertical mouse shines, the position in which your hand grabs the body totally blocks any possibility for wrist bending. Good luck brother, i will be checking this thread to see your advances. You seem to have a nice first mock up.  :thumb:

Offline jacobolus

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 08 May 2015, 03:36:06 »
First the angle of the position of the hand, try to make it more vertical, you hands likes to be in a position similar to the one it naturally gets when your hands are hanging on the side of your body. [...] You need to find a design that avoids the bending of the wrist, specially sideways
Agree 100% with these. Personally my preference is to not have a support structure to rest my palm on, but instead just bring the mouse/trackball/trackpad close in to my body and have my hand “floating” in the air above it. If I need to rest some part of my arm on the table or an armrest or my lap, I can do that while not actively typing / mousing. All these devices would be much nicer if they were designed to be used with the hand a 30–90° angle, rather than with the palm facing straight down. (With a trackpad, I recommend propping the center-facing side up a bit, just as a split keyboard should be substantially tented).

Quote
you also need to avoid under all circumstances the raising of individual fingers above relaxed hand position, fingers like to flex down, but not up.
I’m not sure I agree with this. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with extending the fingers most of the way flat, as long as you’re not holding them in a fully extended position continuously and as long as you don’t need to extend your wrist or move your whole hand too much to get your fingers high enough.
« Last Edit: Fri, 08 May 2015, 03:41:47 by jacobolus »

Offline Axollott

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 08 May 2015, 04:26:19 »
First the angle of the position of the hand, try to make it more vertical, you hands likes to be in a position similar to the one it naturally gets when your hands are hanging on the side of your body. [...] You need to find a design that avoids the bending of the wrist, specially sideways
Agree 100% with these. Personally my preference is to not have a support structure to rest my palm on, but instead just bring the mouse/trackball/trackpad close in to my body and have my hand “floating” in the air above it. If I need to rest some part of my arm on the table or an armrest or my lap, I can do that while not actively typing / mousing. All these devices would be much nicer if they were designed to be used with the hand a 30–90° angle, rather than with the palm facing straight down. (With a trackpad, I recommend propping the center-facing side up a bit, just as a split keyboard should be substantially tented).

Quote
you also need to avoid under all circumstances the raising of individual fingers above relaxed hand position, fingers like to flex down, but not up.
I’m not sure I agree with this. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with extending the fingers most of the way flat, as long as you’re not holding them in a fully extended position continuously and as long as you don’t need to extend your wrist or move your whole hand too much to get your fingers high enough.
I think I didn't explained myself properly in that part. My English has been degrading with the years away from school  this is what I mean: 

It is still today common in classical piano training for the students to get counseled by their instructors to try to strengthen and elongate the ring finger so they can raise it (extend it) so they can isolate it more easily, with this having painful consequences on their muscles. Pianists have been known from developing terrible pains and RSI due to training and practice but there was a lady called Dorothy Taubman who I like to call the pianist whisperer for the lulz who discovered it wasn't really the piano arrangement, or its ergonomics, or the repetitive movement but the anatomically inadequate techniques propagated during centuries. One of the things she discovered to cause great pain was that finger isolation/extension.

Someone uploaded a documentary about the lady to YouTube, its divided in 4 parts. I'm on the phone so I'm afraid that the ram management will close Tapatalk and delete all I have written if I go search for it on the YT app but you should be able to find it easily, she gives really interesting insight on hand operation technique. I'm sure at least some of her comments can inspire you with the design. I have learned a lot from that woman.


Edit: here it is http://youtu.be/suwdLaYBaAs
« Last Edit: Fri, 08 May 2015, 04:39:23 by Axollott »

Offline jacobolus

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 08 May 2015, 04:50:50 »
It is still today common in classical piano training for the students to get counseled by their instructors to try to strengthen and elongate the ring finger so they can raise it (extend it) so they can isolate it more easily, with this having painful consequences on their muscles. Pianists have been known from developing terrible pains and RSI due to training and practice
I can certainly believe this is a bad idea, though I’ve never really tried it myself.

Quote
but there was a lady called Dorothy Taubman who I like to call the pianist whisperer for the lulz who discovered it wasn't really the piano arrangement, or its ergonomics, or the repetitive movement but the anatomically inadequate techniques propagated during centuries. One of the things she discovered to cause great pain was that finger isolation/extension.

Someone uploaded a documentary about the lady to YouTube, its divided in 4 parts. I'm on the phone so I'm afraid that the ram management will close Tapatalk and delete all I have written if I go search for it on the YT app but you should be able to find it easily, she gives really interesting insight on hand operation technique. I'm sure at least some of her comments can inspire you with the design. I have learned a lot from that woman.

There were some discussions about piano technique on Geekhack a few months ago, and I spent a few days doing a bunch of research about it and asking serious pianist friends who have some background in hand anatomy. My general conclusion was that Taubman and her still-practicing disciple Edna Golandsky have some useful advice for rehabilitating pianists who have poor technique and/or are suffering from RSI, but their theories are also filled with quite a bit of bad advice for professional pianists and statements about their own hand motions which are very obviously false. If you google for them, there are some quite well elaborated critiques online which detail the problems of Taubman/Golandsky’s claims.

(Of course, their pedagogy is still much better than all the teachers who encourage students to use stupid technique which causes pain and leads to RSI.)
« Last Edit: Fri, 08 May 2015, 05:02:51 by jacobolus »

Offline TomNav

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 08 May 2015, 09:09:26 »
Thanks guys, that's a lot of advice and ideas!!
I listed the main points.

- Reducing pronation: I agree, I need to reduce hand pronation. I realized that my hand was far too flat sitting on Bigfoot. But I won't go as far as a vertical mouse position, maybe a 30 to 45° rotation will be enough for me. I've been working with the Logitech Trackman Wheel for year, and the angle my hand sits on it doesn't hurt and is comfy. I have to stick to the trackball concept as at work I have to control several screens with one device - at some point I had 12 screens controlled with one mouse - otherwise I could have gone for a Hand Shoe mouse which I think would be a great design for my medical limitations, although I think they are a bit frugal on buttons and there is only a third button for big-handed dudes: only the L size has a third button and I'm M size. Why such a discrimination for smaller hands???

- Ball exposure: I already dug into the palm rest in order to move the ball away from the keys and give more ball exposure. My experience with the Kensington Expert is that I only use the front half of the ball with my finger tips and up to my second phalanges so I should be OK if the ball is not fully exposed.

- Scrolling/lateral movements: I haven't received the Slimblade nor the Kensington expert I will sacrifice for this project yet. I think I will end up using the Slimblade. I need to scavenge the ball, housing and ring and put it in place into the mock up to check if the scrolling option will be practical. I need to make sure that the ball is fully operable without the thumb and that I will only use the thumb occasionally, otherwise I will change the thumb rest design so the thumb can reach the ball.

- Palm rest/"fit like a glove" design: I see what the problem might be, I just like the idea of the hand resting on a palm rest, but you're right, if the ball operation requires a bit of hand movement, having the palm rubbing against the palm rest will be a problem... I will test that as well

- Wrist extension: I think increasing hand pronation will help with keeping a neutral wrist position. I primarily use my mouse sitting behind my desk... but I might add leg supports for tilting in case I start using it standing up to keep the right wrist angle. But I'm not there yet.

- Finger extension: Yes the idea is to have the hand the closest to the rest position when reaching the keys. Right now they are very slightly extended (mainly index and little fingers) but I will make some adjustments after I properly fit the ball, housing and ring in the mock up.

- Cherry MX vs microswitches or any other switches : I'm very new to the mechanical keyboard business so I can't really say what I prefer or not. It was for practical reasons that I initially thought of Cherry MX:
> plate mounted option so I can design a mousecase to clip them on,
> it's much easier to buy a keycap to put on top than design a button for microswitches,
> it's of a smaller size compared to Kurplop's arcade button+microswitch...
... but I was wondering if the actuator travel length of a Cherry MX could be too much (i.e 4mm) for a mouse button compared to a microswitch (approx. 1.5mm) and if the Cherry ML (i.e. 3mm) might be a better option (1mm less but has no plate-mounted option...).
 

Offline Axollott

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 08 May 2015, 18:07:20 »
Just consider that the total travel of the keyboard switches is different to the  actuation point. It,s 2 mm for the MX switches. You don't need to press it all the way for the switch to send the signal.

Offline Axollott

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 08 May 2015, 19:06:45 »
Quote
There were some discussions about piano technique on Geekhack a few months ago, and I spent a few days doing a bunch of research about it and asking serious pianist friends who have some background in hand anatomy. My general conclusion was that Taubman and her still-practicing disciple Edna Golandsky have some useful advice for rehabilitating pianists who have poor technique and/or are suffering from RSI, but their theories are also filled with quite a bit of bad advice for professional pianists and statements about their own hand motions which are very obviously false. If you google for them, there are some quite well elaborated critiques online which detail the problems of Taubman/Golandsky’s claims.

(Of course, their pedagogy is still much better than all the teachers who encourage students to use stupid technique which causes pain and leads to RSI.)

TBH i hadn't seen the critiques but like in most cases, it´s good to take only the reasonable part of people's opinions, i still haven't found anyone in any topic i can 100% agree with, we all have biases or auto sabotaging neurochemistry that doesn't allow us to see things totally objectively. That said, i'm interested in reading a further post about what you have found to be accurate and beneficial typing/mousing techniques and instruments. Only if you want and have the time of course.
I have personally experienced pain due to bad laptop typing technique and prolonged mousing with a small Anywhere MX mouse ( I do think most mouses available are detrimental to health) but i'm still waiting for another Mionix Naos 7000 Massdrop since i have heard wonders about it, i do think all mouses need a taller profile which i don´t recall seeing it recently, maybe in the new Master MX, and a angle like the Mionix or the logitech G502 that let you open your hand position a lil bit more. I may have to try some Kensington Trackballs too. Right now the Anker mouse is doing the job but the sensor dpi is too high in the lowest setting which i have to adjust in the OS mouse setting to a very low value. I got no clue if it has some kind of acceleration and i have found it´s more comfortable to hold by just placing the whole hand on top of it instead of grabbing it like grabbing someone else s hand like they advice you to do. In order to place the hand in the way i like it would be better if the mouse was shorter but atm i solve the problem by making myself higher (i use a standing only desk which i´m still deciding it's final height)

Offline Axollott

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 12 May 2015, 16:38:22 »
dude jacobolus i´ve been stumping with several of your posts and you really seem to know about ergonomics, you should make a Youtube video or guide me to the appropriate links/videos/books   :thumb:

Offline TomNav

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 28 May 2015, 16:51:51 »
Eventually received my Cherry Mx switches...
Now I can start testing the hand position and the 4 buttons
2 photos of the mock up with the electronic and buttons put in place...
The buttons have moved already since I took the photos...
Will let you know when and if I get something that works well.

Offline zorglups

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 10 January 2017, 15:35:38 »
Did you finish your home trackball?

Online tp4tissue

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #21 on: Fri, 13 January 2017, 21:04:57 »
That's no good at all.

It needs to be tented much higher.. 50 degrees.

Offline TomNav

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #22 on: Wed, 25 January 2017, 09:12:55 »
Did you finish your home trackball?

Hi,

No, I abandoned the project for two reasons:
1 - I don't have my own computer at work (shared hardware) and the introduction of such a device was problematic.
2 - I bought a HandShoe mouse and it does the trick for me.

Offline TomNav

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 25 January 2017, 09:25:07 »
That's no good at all.

It needs to be tented much higher.. 50 degrees.

It does not need to be tented to 50 deg but you maybe need to have a mouse tented at 50deg... there is no unique solution, all depends on your needs and problems.


My DIY project matched my RSI problem and my work environment. I have to avoid using my thumb. The tenting angle was about 40 deg for the last version and more than enough... for me. Since then I have purchased a HandShoe mouse and I really like it even if I think a higher angle would be better... for me.

Offline natas206

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #24 on: Thu, 26 January 2017, 12:49:58 »
That's no good at all.

It needs to be tented much higher.. 50 degrees.

It does not need to be tented to 50 deg but you maybe need to have a mouse tented at 50deg... there is no unique solution, all depends on your needs and problems.


My DIY project matched my RSI problem and my work environment. I have to avoid using my thumb. The tenting angle was about 40 deg for the last version and more than enough... for me. Since then I have purchased a HandShoe mouse and I really like it even if I think a higher angle would be better... for me.

Don't worry, tp4tissue likes to pretend what works for him is what will work for everyone else on the planet and anything else that differs from his opinion or preference is absolutely wrong. I say keep up the good work!

Personally I have a Kensington Expert Mouse Pro (the one with the cool scroll wheel) that I've wedged some cardboard between to provided a nice tent, and use a leather palm pad in the front. Works absolute wonders for me. I really would like to see a larger size tented trackball on the market, but I'm sure it's such a tiny niche market its not worth it for Kengington or Logitech and the likes. 

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Re: DIY ergonomic trackball
« Reply #25 on: Thu, 26 January 2017, 15:04:40 »
That's no good at all.

It needs to be tented much higher.. 50 degrees.

It does not need to be tented to 50 deg but you maybe need to have a mouse tented at 50deg... there is no unique solution, all depends on your needs and problems.


My DIY project matched my RSI problem and my work environment. I have to avoid using my thumb. The tenting angle was about 40 deg for the last version and more than enough... for me. Since then I have purchased a HandShoe mouse and I really like it even if I think a higher angle would be better... for me.


The neutral angle of the wrist is 70 degrees..

It's good that you have no problems with your wrist,   but given continuous use,  EVENTUALLY it'll happen..



At 40 degrees, the tenting angle is still a problem, because you're still rotating inwards to make some motions..

whereas 50 degrees and above, it prevents almost all steep rotation.. keeping the wrist fairly close to neutral