I learned how to 3D print stuff just for trackball bearings

As I wait for replacement parts I thought I’d post a quick update on the state of CST trackball bearing replacement kits. In short: new 3D printed kits are in the works. This has absorbed a lot of my time and put me behind schedule with the new guitar pedal prototypes.

Right now, on eBay, is the last of the hand-machined brass kits. These have great bearings in them and work just fine, but they are very not-fun to make. I started charging more for them just to make it worth the time I spend wearing a respirator in the garage, but people wanted them so I kept making them. Even so, I think they’re too expensive. I started thinking: what if the little adaptor bushing spacer thing was 3D printed?


  • Can offset the height so the trackball will no longer be 0.2mm high
  • Pretty
  • Can be the exact diameter and shape of the bearing holder slot
  • Easier to assemble – I can sell them cheaper!

So, I bought a used printer off eBay, which immediately needed new bearings, new fans, and a lot of modification. The first thing I learned is that printing tiny parts with exact dimensions is more of a craft than a science. But I’m using prototype bearings now and they are very cute.

So, after much trial and error, new bearing kits should be ready soon, in quantity, at reasonable prices. Of course, I’ve been saying this every day for a month now, but I’m almost there!

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