GNU's Not Unix

My Trackball

Beige trackball with two buttons on the side and the emacs logo on the ball.

This is the trackball I use at home. It is a beige CST2145-5W-RC laser trackball made in 2017. CST sold their line of trackballs to Pi Engineering in 2019, and they discontinued all except the black case color.

I had a custom cue ball made with the emacs logo by someone on Etsy. It was a drop in replacement since CST trackballs are 2.25" across.

Side Buttons

Trackball with switch tester resting on the side to test button placement. Half built switch casing connected to trackball next to a soldering iron.
I built the back/forward buttons on the side using a cherry mechanical keyboard switch tester. The switch tester was ~$10, and made of aluminum. I cut it into three parts and ended up using the other pieces for different trackballs a few years later. The wire is from an old 3.5mm audio cable, and I just soldered it to the switches and attached it to the switch jacks on the front of the trackball.

Work Trackballs

Back of black CST at work with buttons on the side, and a sticker that says 'Don't copy that floppy'.

At work I use a black L-Trac trackball made in 2020. It came with a backlit blue ball, but I disabled the LEDs with a firmware patch and replaced the ball. I made back and forward buttons for it with the same switch tester, but the buttons are facing up on this one. The Logitech Ergo M575 next to it is connected to my docked laptop.

Black L-Trac trackball next to Logitech Ergo M575. Top view of both trackballs.

Custom Rollers

Beige CST with ball bearings installed.

I installed ball bearings in both of my CSTs. The stock rollers are fairly smooth, but the ball bearings stay smooth with heavier balls. The guy who makes them has two sizes, and the normal size raises the ball slightly higher than the stock rollers, which causes issues with tracking on multi colored pool balls, but works fine with the stock balls. He sent me a low profile kit to test, and that worked perfectly with all of the balls I've tried. I'm using one of the larger rollers along with two of the stock CST rollers in my trackball at work, and that keeps it in the right range for the sensor while still rolling smoother than stock.

Black CST with one ball bearing. Black CST with one ball bearing. Bag with one of the stock CST rollers, and two of the ball bearings. Beige CST trackball with low profile ball bearings installed.

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