Hmm, the TS100 can't pump enough heat into the joints between the two PCBs (at least for the ground plane connections). Gonna have to bring out my old, less fancy but higher thermal mass iron.

I did a quick comparison of the sound of a few different models - the Microsoft Trackball Explorer, Elecom Huge, Ploopy and a quick test part

The Microsoft and Elecom ones have very low "stiction" at low speeds which is really nice. The Ploopy is great at high speeds but slightly frictiony at low speeds depending on direction. Hoping I can mod the design to fit silicon nitride bearings into it!

I designed some quick bearing mounts for the Ploopy trackball today - instead of roller bearings I wanted to use silicon nitride ball bearings. They don't rotate, they're just a low friction surface.

Rather than re-printing the entire massive top part of the trackball, I chose to just make them small "adapter" inserts that you can put into the bearing holders in the existing part.

Anyway, last night I printed the trackball bearing mounts and fitted them into the trackball. They needed a little bit of filing and drilling to get them to fit right, but they work well!

I used the trackball all day today and it's definitely a small improvement over the roller bearings. Unfortunately the snooker ball is too rough so there's about as much friction as before. It's nicer though because it's the same in all directions!

One of the mounts (the one closest to the camera) needed to be reshaped a bit to fit - the pocket is a slightly different shape. But I'm kinda shocked my first attempt works so well!

@gbrnt I repaired an industrial trackball once that used a tiny ball bearing assembly on a shaft as the idler spot. The bearing assembly was broken, tiny balls missing, just two ring dangling on a shaft. Got the bearing at a bearing place, Amazon did not exist yet.

@AskChip I'm having trouble visualising this. Why was the bearing assembly on a shaft?


@gbrnt The ball bearing assembly, that part that contains balls is an assembly. They put a shaft through the hole, mounted it, and the outside of the ball bearing assembly rode the ball as the idler wheel.

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