Not long ago, I was given a novel problem to solve. A friend’s mouse had a flat tire. That is, the scroll wheel originally had a bit of rubber glued to it in order to provide better traction, but that bit of rubber had stretched out and come off. Could I fix the scroll wheel?
Why not just get a new mouse? I wondered the same thing, but apparently every mouse on the market has some sort of drawback or other.
So, being the kind friend and resourceful fellow that I am, I rummaged around until I found something of a suitable width and texture: a miniature timing belt.
There was a small problem. The mouse’s scroll wheel was made of that obnoxious plastic that Krazy Glue turns white, but doesn’t stick to. I was able to attach the belt using some double-sided tape.
It looked perfect, but do no more than breathe on it and the belt would come right back off. If only there were some way to fuse the two parts together into one seamless part.
As it turns out, there was a way to do that, and coincidentally, it was something I’d been meaning to try for a while. I would make a mold of the part and then cast a model of it.
So I broke out the casting kit. The first thing to do would be to prepare the silicone for the mold, then pour it over the original. Several hours later…
… there was a negative image of the scroll wheel, ready to be filled with whatever substance I chose. In this case, it would be a resin, since that’s what came with the casting kit. This was a two part mix, like an epoxy, and set up very quickly. It took a couple of tries to get it right.
Eventually, I worked out the details of the process and was rewarded with an acceptable duplicate of the original scroll wheel.
Yes, that was a lot of effort to go to in order to fix a single piece of arguably disposable hardware. The real value is that I learned a new technique, and more importantly, helped someone out.