Keyboard Scrollwheel Mod

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Two scrollwheels modded onto the keyboard, which are used with thumbs and custom keybinds for various actions like left/right up/down. Unlike most scroll wheels, these have a distinct tactile feedback and fall into place between movements, so doing one or more "clicks," is intuitive and repeatable. It also makes no noise.

The wires could be hidden away inside the case. This modder just didn't bother.

Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-20.jpg Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-21.jpg


An example usage of the scrollwheels for cursor movement:

Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-usage.gif

Ian Kelling: How I use them: I bind the default to left/right and up/down. With the addition of control+left/down/right/up, I can move my cursor around very quickly and intuitively in text areas. One swipe of the scrollwheels is about 1/3 of a second to do 16 clicks. Less clicks = less time. I bind each scroll wheel to various things with modifiers pressed, mostly regular scroll and regular scroll + control. I've been using it for over a year, and I love it. I think this mod could work for other keyboards. I'm also a big fan of the Kinesis Advantage keyboard I use, and highly recommend it for everyone.


Ian Kelling: Future improvements: Eventually, I want to replace the mouse hardware with a single usb chip, like teensy, so the primary keybindings can be set at the mouse level, not the OS.

This belkin mouse from amazon was used in this guide. It is no longer available, but I think it can be found easily, and probably on amazon.

This belkin mouse on amazon appears to be the same, but is actually a newer model, which will require several different instructions. I am currently working on doing this mod using this mouse, and will update the guide within the next few days.

The right one is has a piece of black plastic glued on, which is hard to see, and serves the same function as metal piece on top of the left one. It has tiny differences like the color of the pcb, but it is functionally equivalent.

Build Guide

Tools needed: wire cutters, soldering iron, a few feet of wire, a small piece of wood, a hand saw or jig saw to cut a small piece of the wood (alternate methods / materials could be used).

If the mouse wheel rubber feels slick, you can rub it with a bit of sand paper, 200+ grit and it will revert to a nice grippy feel.

The unmodified mouse:

Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-1.jpg Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-2.jpg

Unscrew under the pads, and open it up.

Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-3.jpg Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-4.jpg Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-5.jpg Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-7.jpg

Cut the front 2 buttons off at their connections.

Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-8.jpg

Slip the rubbery scroll wheel cover off, then the wheel part will come right off.

Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-9.jpg

Cut the circuit board with wire cutters.

Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-10.jpg Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-11.jpg

Solder wires to reconnect where the scroll wheel circuit went. In this picture, there are 5 wires, which includes the scroll wheel button. Ian Kelling: I found the scroll wheel button to require too much force and not be useful, so in a subsequent build, I only used 3 wires for just the scroll wheel.

Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-15.jpg Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-16.jpg Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-17.jpg

Cut the remaining front circuit board to a smaller size. Then, we reattach the wheel. It is a bit tricky. The best way seems to be in 2 steps. First get it like this, with the pin in the hole.

Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-12.jpg

Then gently slide on the rubbery part on the bottom, as shown in the picture. After that, rotate it a bit and slide more on, repeating until its totaly on.

Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-13.jpg

Glue it to a piece of mdf. The base edge of the mdf, which you can't see here, is sanded to an angle. In the picture, the wood was glued to the keyboard, then the rubber band and plastic piece was used to glue the scrollwheel to the wood. The reverse order was used in a subsequent build. Ian Kelling recommends using the reverse order. After it is glued to the wood, and dried, superglue it to the keyboard. You can just lean something on top of it like a stapler while it dries. When gluing to the keyboard, you barely need any superglue, because it will stick extremely strong, and if you ever need to take it off, it tends to take a small layer of paint/plastic with it. The angle and position on the keyboard, just guessing based on lining it up with your hand has worked well. Different builds turn out in a slightly different position, but I, Ian Kelling, don't notice any difference between them, so it seems there is a good range of placement, it doesn't have to be exact.

Keyboard-scrollwheel-mod-18.jpg

The usb mouse plugs into the 2 usb ports that are part of the kinesis keyboard.

The metal piece on top is just a safety pin cut in half and super glued at the ends. Add it as the last step. Just place it gently and allow it to dry.