Some of us are truly inspired to modify things into our own renditions of how we see it fit. Admittedly, the steampunk and post-apocalyptic culture are both in; they are not a reality right now, but people are inclined to think that way. As far as I view the “inevitable” that is to come upon us, there could be a massive war in near or far future.
Even if we don’t make it to see that day, at least who ever will find our collection of “unusual” items, will definitely appreciate it with a big nod of approval. Previously, I posted a collection of fully functional steampunk bikes and it was well received. This time, I wanted to give you something from the unexplored gadgets section.
So, here’s to all the guys who are into modded computer hardware. The charm of these computer mouse mods is all the details and work that went into it. You, too, can do this with just about any amount of spare parts lying in your garage. Not only do these mice work, but they have an awesome jaw dropping vibe as well.
Unklian’s Steampunk Computer Mouse
Some people, who are not familiar with Unklian’s work, need to know that he has a history of modifying hardware with the help of recycled items.
This mouse has a very realistic visual appeal; you can see that in some of the close shots. The interesting part is that Unklian used household items for the mouse’s bodywork modification. In addition, he used parts of a broken windshield to give the illusion of a burning furnace.
He found pieces of windshield scattered around on the street outside his house. He painted it all black and installed a red LED underneath. So, whenever the mouse’s light was enabled or configured to turn on and off at defined intervals, it looked like as if a small deposit of actual coals was burning to “power up” the entire mechanism.
The most impressive part of this entire creation is that Unklian didn’t spend a lot of cash to finish the project.
He only spent an awful amount of time into carefully finalizing the details. Most of the deconstructed mouse parts were available at eBay for as low as a few cents. He just made this steampunk mouse from his own imagination. You have to give him credit for that. It is a truly evocative piece, which you too can create by getting yourself involved in this subversive genre.
Jake Hildebrandt’s The Bug Mouse
Jacob Hildebrandt’s ‘The Bug’ has garnered an awful number of glowing reviews over the last few months. The mouse caught attention on the internet for obvious reasons such as the details and conception design that went into making it a stark reality.
Yes, this mouse works and no, it is not for sale. You can, however, look at the photos to take some rough notes at your side for your personal project.
As for Jake, he is busy creating other steampunk mods for the sake of internet public’s demands. This bizarrely mysterious steampunk mouse was the result of an imaginary account of ‘Professor William C. Ravenscroft’s Telecalculograph’, an unordinary object with a secret working mechanism. The “internet scientists” are still looking into the unrealistic origins of the Telecalculograph as I write this piece about ‘The Bug’ mouse.
Just like Unklian, Jacob Hildebrandt didn’t have to chuck out a wad of cash to create this beauty. The parts are handmade and polished to give it a coppery look. The mouse works via a USB cable if you are concerned about its wellbeing. Jacob used scrap metal and a whole variety of other parts from scrap computer mice to finish his work.
He also had to use a few household accessories for final details. If you plan on creating this mouse, you should know that it feels heavy. The extra parts and the addition of metal accounts for unwanted weight. I don’t mind using a heavy mouse, but if you are into lightweight stuff, you can probably substitute metal for aluminum.
The mouse only cost Jacob Hildebrandt about $5 – $10, but it definitely needed a lot of time. It is truly an inspirational work of art for computer hardware modders out there.
The Paradox Mouse by Daniel Pon
For the record, Daniel Pon already demonstrated his talent for creating steampunk machines. Last time when I wrote an article about Steampunk/ Post-Apocalyptic Motorcycles, it also featured Pon’s ‘Paradox’ bike. Apparently, he created a computer mouse based on the same title as that of his earlier bike rig. I was truly impressed with how must time and effort he put into creating this little fella with “actual pieces of a mouse skeleton”!!!
While working on this mod, he also used bullet casings to add to the overall realistic feeling of a truly magnificent product. He used recyclable material, unwanted household items and probably a few dead mice to pull it all off.
If you are an animal rights activist, you should know that he didn’t actually “murder” a live mouse for his experiments. He used dead ones, so that people could rest their conscience by knowing that the real life mouse community was not harassed or tricked into putting up with whatever Daniel had planned for it. that being said, I’d wear a pair of sanitary gloves to use this mouse.
Out of concern for my personal hygiene and the possibility of any bacterial infection, I wouldn’t want to rest my palms or fingers on the entire dead mouse’s skeletal structure that goes all the way from the front and to the back of this steampunk mouse. I know Daniel Pon sterilized all the parts before using them for the actual build, but still, safety comes first.
In some of the close-up shots, you can also see that Pon used actual typewriter keys in place of the right and left click buttons. As usual, the cost factor was kept to a bare minimum because Pon used scrap parts that were easily available to him.
It means you can also create your own mouse, and the best part is that it will have its own original look. Just make sure that you don’t end up killing your neighbor’s dog, cat or whatever you have set your eyes on.
The KGB Steampunk Mouse by Ivan Mavrovic
I don’t know why Ivan named it the KGB mouse because it does not look similar to KGB weaponry, or accessories for that matter. On the contrary, it does have a different look. You can see that the spring loaded left and right click buttons were carefully installed. The mechanism does not appear to have a supporting structure, but it works flawlessly.
Maybe this is an undercover KGB mouse and it probably transforms into something else whenever an opportunity presents itself. By all accounts of steampunk standards, the mouse makes it in terms of its simplicity.
Ivan felt that he needed to use a lot of round motif spare parts to take it to the next level. He also said that a lot of careful planning went into the electric circuitry for this mouse. I have no doubts about it because the photos bespeak volumes about his hard work.
Now you don’t have to be discouraged by reading all of the interesting stuff about the KGB mouse. Ivan used recyclable material and thoroughly relied on his imagination for this project. So, nothing’s impossible, my dear internet friends.
Brad’s Steampunk Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Most of the gamer community knows Brad by his moniker: C4rdNinj4 (CardNinja). He likes next gen computer hardware, but he loves doing his own mods more than anything. The following is his tribute to the steampunk culture.
I am personally impressed with his skills as far as his keyboard goes. It is fully functional, and retains the post-apocalyptic/ steampunk overlay without affecting the performance.
The mouse on the other hand could have used some additional details. Brad’s idea of making a steampunk mouse and keyboard incorporated the use of LEDs, and additional work that went into recreating each individual key.
As you can see that Brad used an ordinary Saitec keyboard; nothing fancy and nothing too expensive. He took off all the keys, and made some implements. It was a step-by-step approach. The final phase was to apply a cloth layer on the silver palm rest area. Same goes for the mouse. Brad shared a couple of images which highlight the various developmental phases of his steampunk mouse & keyboard mod.
What really moved me was the fact that he also worked on the environmental details.
The bottles are old school and give a very Victorian-esque vibe. He also put in an ink feather pen in one of the bottles, and covered the rest with vintage corks. This shows inspiration and dedication on Brad’s part to not only rig a mouse and keyboard, but also reshape his room’s dynamics to make it all look like an embodiment of the same culture.
Brad also reconstructed his computer chassis to pull it all off. Although from this angle, the photo shows that cable modding and wiring could have used some extra work, the chassis looks cool.
Jake Hildebrandt’s Bug Mk. III
The Bug Mk. III is another one of Jacob’s finest creation within the realms of steampunk/post-apocalyptic genre. This mouse has better looks as compared to Jake’s original Bug mod. The Mk. III is lighter, tougher and in some way, it looks way better.
The Bug Mk. III is a USB mouse and incorporates same metallic design as its original predecessor. The palm rest area is made of transparent plastic, with the addition of several holes in it. However, the interesting thing about The Bug Mk. III mod is how its rear end lights up when the red LED glows inside. You get the notion of a mini steam powered engine working somewhere inside the mouse’s tiny body.
Just like the original Bug mouse, Jake relied on salvaging items that were easily available. He didn’t bust his wallet or went out of the way to make anything work. All it took was a bit of an elbow grease, some imagination, and couple of carefully placed parts in order for things to work.
Jake stresses that the positioning of the parts was crucial for the mouse to perform. For instance, the LED uses a clockwork mechanism. Although, you don’t need to wind the key that is plugged into the LED’s mechanism, the key always turns slowly whenever the mouse is moved.
It gives the impression as if the entire mouse is running on a reserve power, and it’s slowly consumed whenever the mouse is slid on its mousepad. This is definitely something that you should look into for future reference.
The Boiler Room Mouse
Andy Miller’s Boiler Room mouse depicts a robotic head. The left and right click keys were taken from a busted typewriter. They mimic the all-seeing-machine-god eye impression, there is a lick of black paint polish in there and some aesthetics to add to the heraldic design.
This mouse breathes recycled goodness, which also means that you can scramble “unwanted” items in your room, or house, and create something entirely original and daunting at the same time.
Alex Neretin’s Rhombus Maximus
Neretin’s Rhombus Maximus steampunk mouse displays copper tubing and some major brass work.
He also added a walnut base at the bottom of the mouse’s body to give it a genuine rusty look. However, what really stands apart is the way those mechanics work inside the mouse’s skeletal body.
Whenever you slide the mouse, the gears located at the rear end rotate to the tune of movements. Also, he used vintage typewriter keys to replace the conventional left and right click buttons of the mouse.
Alex further complimented the design with the help of a USB flash drive. Doesn’t it add nostalgia to his project? I mean the mini compass on the USB flash drive somehow relates to the idea of data storage “pointing” you to where you need to go.
The Bright Side of Death – Ivan Mavrovic’s Sheep Skull Mouse!
Would you look at Ivan’s Sheep Skull Mouse? Yes, that is a real sheep’s skull and the mouse is an absolute piece of flawless workmanship. I don’t know how Ivan procured a live, or dead sheep for that matter but he has put the skull to good use. The mouse has a mingy skull with appropriate crack shaped cuts made at the right angles and at the right places. It is Ivan’s way of demonstrating how you can reconstruct the steampunk genre into something mind-blowing.
Obviously, I don’t think that this kind of mouse can be easily made at home. The main element is the skull, which is not easy to obtain. If you are thinking of going for a road kill, then don’t do it because with the absence of right tools and preventive gear, you may end up being sick.
Also, if the skull or whatever bone you have considered using for the project, is not preserved properly, it will stink like hell in your room. Instead of appreciating your efforts, your own family members will probably question your mental state.
Anyhow, ‘The Bright Side of Death’ relies heavily on a skull as a primary piece. Other elements had to welded in place because each one of them belongs to a yard sale accessory that Ivan bought for this project. So, there you have it. Some of the best and coolest steampunk computer mice in the world. If you are up for it, why not create something of your own and share it with the rest of the community through the comments section below?
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