Trackballs can be a god-send if you suffer from Repetitive Stress Injury or just lack of desk space. You can read more about them here and why we like them so much. A concern that some have is the smoothness of a trackball versus a traditional mouse. Trackballs can feel scratch at first, but that isn’t something a little bit of lube can’t solve.
Lube it up!
Prior to lubing, it’s good to understand how the trackball mouse works. The rotation of the trackball simulates the movement of a normal mouse. The optical sensor, located on the side of mice on thumb-balls and on the top of mice on finger-ball mice. then holds the ball to help reflect the movement of the trackball. It at this point that we can begin to lube up the trackball.
The first thing to do is to pop the trackball out of the mouse. In the case of my ELECOM Thumb-ball, it is located on the bottom. I use the butt of a pen and press it towards to trackball to pop it out. Set the ball aside and take a look at where the trackball was sitting. You should be able to see the the optical laser that the mouse uses. Make sure this laser is clean and that the lube doesn’t get on there. If lube gets on it, get some distilled rubbing alcohol and apply it on there with a Q-Tip to prevent scratching the laser, while still cleaning up the laser.
Slip N’ Slide
The lube that we will be using will be DuPont Teflon Non-Stick Lubricant. This lubricant goes on wet, and drys as a thin filament. The application process is also quite easy. Grab a couple Q-tips and then spray the lubricant on to it. Make sure to wear gloves and hold the Q-tip a foot or two away from you. Spray the fuzzy part of the Q-Tip with the lubricant. Now, grab the mouse and coat the sides of where the trackball would sit, and then cover everything EXCEPT the optical laser. Let it sit for five to ten minutes to dry and then pop the trackball back in.
Note: You can also lube the actual ball of the trackball up, but you would NOT use the DuPont lubricant. Instead, you’d use… yourself! Well– specifically the oils on your face. To lube the ball itself, rub the ball in a circular motion around the bridge of your nose and cheek for ten seconds. That will make the ball a little extra slippery which can help when moving the mouse around.
The overall process of lubing both the actual trackball and the holding unit is not difficult at all. I’d say it is absolutely worth it, especially for the fluidity that you will receive from it. If you’re interested in learning more about trackballs, definitely check out the post we wrote about trackballs.