And you thought 50 grams was freethinking? Meet the Zaunkoenig M1K, the first carbon fibre gaming mouse that weighs just 23 grams.
There’s been a push to make gaming mice as light as possible, with some manufacturers even exposing the internal components because the chassis itself had too much weight. But German manufacturers Zaunkoenig have taken an entirely different approach, turning to carbon fibre to create a mouse (with no mousewheel!) that weighs just 23 grams.
Why so light? It’s because, according to the makers “peak performance in a mouse is as little weight as possible”. “And each feature that you add slightly increases utility for some, but decreases performance for everyone,” they wrote on their official blog.
The creation of a carbon fibre mouse is pretty fascinating, and absolutely worth a full read. The whole mouse starts with a master pattern that’s CNC milled from a single epoxy block. After some smoothing of the surface, over 12 layers of mould sealer are applied to make the surface nice and glossy, with some extra release agent layers to stop the carbon fibre from bonding to the master pattern. The master mould is then baked for over 30 hours in an oven, creating the mould that makes the top of the M1K:
The whole thing then has to be stored in a freezer — the makers said they had to cram their carbon fibre prepreg roll next to a chunk of deer meat in their household freezer — for at least an hour. From there, the prepregs can be cut out to create the top carbon fibre shell and draped into the mould, which is the laminating process.
After working quickly (because the carbon fibre prepregs are tacky after they’ve defrosted) a thin release film is applied and the whole mould is put into a nylon bag. A vacuum pump is used to seal the bag, because any leakage in the bag will result in a loss of pressure, ruining the whole part. The whole bag is then put into the oven again while being attached to the pump for the curing process, after which point the mouse can be CNC milled.
If you haven’t worked it out by this point, making a carbon fibre mouse is exponentially more difficult than the plastic that makes up the majority of gaming mice. So it’s no surprise that if you wanted to grab a M1K, it’ll cost you a lot.
The M1K is only available through Kickstarter — the campaign was funded in two minutes — and the cheapest tier that’ll get you a 23g mouse will set you back €169, or north of $270. It’s very obviously a niche, specialist item, and the creators have made absolutely no bones about the fact that most people buying a M1K are very particular in their needs, and they’ll probably have a second mouse on their desktop for more general usage. (Shipping will cost an extra €10.)
Only 333 carbon fibre mice will be made for the initial run, so it’s a collector’s item as well. The mouse feet are made by Hyperglide, the company that’s been making teflon and custom mouse feet for decades, and the screws for the mouse are located in a separate spot so you can take apart the chassis without having to replace the mouse feet.
The main buttons are built using Japanese Omron switches, instead of the cheaper Chinese versions, and the firmware is an open-source creation that allows for angle snapping, LOD adjustments or CPI changes without having to install any software. It’ll also ship with zero lag switch debouncing, allowing the M1K to have a super low latency without the risk of accidental double clicks. You can even run the mouse at a staggering 8000Hz, although you’ll have to overclock your Windows mouse drivers to get such an absurd result.
More specs and details about the production process can be found on the official Kickstarter page. The official blog also has an amazing breakdown of the creation process which is well worth a lunchtime read. Obviously, this isn’t going to be a mouse for most people (or most gamers). But I love that there’s a mechanism for such a niche need, and that two people are passionate enough to work their way through the complicated manufacturing process into something that a few hundred gamers around the world can own.