The comfortable feeling you get when you place your mouse on a mouse pad makes it significant in your computer setup. This accessory brightens up your table while aiding the wrist during the vigorous movement of the mouse. Hence, the question of what are mouse pads made of?
Mouse pads are made with different materials. Some of the most common materials are aluminum, fabric, plastic, rubber, neoprene, leather, glass, wood, and stainless steel.
Whether a casual user, office user, or gamer, a mouse pad can last up to 10 years without needing replacement. However, knowing what type of mouse pad will suit your need best depends on the material it is made of.
This article breaks down the types of mouse pads and materials used in making these mouse pads.
What Are the Types of Mouse Pads?
The material used in making the mouse pad depends mainly on its type. There are two main types of mouse pads available for you; the soft mouse pad and the hard mouse pad.
Type #1: Soft Mouse Pad
From its name, we can deduce that the surface of this type of mouse pad is smooth and soft for long working sessions. It reduces strain and fatigue on the wrist, which makes it a viable option for times when long work time is required. It is made with light and soft materials such as fabrics, rubber, neoprene, and leather. However, its major drawback is that it is usually tiny in size and gets deformed with continuous usage.
Type #2: Hard Mouse Pad
It is the opposite of the soft mouse pad, which has complex and hard surfaces. Materials used to make this mouse pad include glass, stainless steel, aluminum, and wood. It is also used for long working sessions and is perfect for gamers. Its size is another reason for its usage. It is usually more prominent in size than a soft mouse pad, with some able to accommodate both your keyboard and mouse, and you will still have plenty of space left to navigate your mouse.
It is important to note that most mouse pad is not made of just one material. It is usually made with several materials of different properties to give the desired feel. Examples of this may include one made with both glass and fabric (it gets the softness from the fabrics and the smoothness from the glass).
How Are Mouse Pads Made?
To further understand what the mouse pad is made of, we will need to look more in-depth at its production process. The manufacturing process is straightforward.
So in six simple steps, we will show you how different materials are converted into mouse pads. It will further reassure you on how additional material adds to the dependability and strength of a mouse pad.
Step #1: Choice of Material
It is the first step in the production process. In selecting the material or materials, the manufacturer decides the function they want the mouse pad to serve. After the material is selected, the preparation process begins. The preparation for most materials is the cleaning and drying before production.
Step #2: Measuring and Cutting the Material
Most manufacturers usually make mouse pads in different sizes because of other use cases and costs. For this reason, measuring and cutting the selected material is necessary. Some manufacturers use machines to cut the material for accuracy and speed, while others do so manually for finesse. The mouse pad’s shape (square, circular, oval, or free shape) is also concluded at this stage.
Step #3: Adding a Base
After the desired material is measured and cut, the next step is to create a base for the mouse pad. The thickness of the chosen material is small and cannot be used directly as a mouse pad for this reason. For this, padding is attached to the base of the material. The most commonly used material for this padding is rubber.
The desired base used in making a mouse pad depends on its type. Rubber is mainly the base material used because it combines the requirement needed by both. The reason is that rubber allows for the folding and pressing of the mouse pad without any permanent warp.
Step #4: Printing a Design
The production process is not complete without printing the design. For the material used for the hard mouse pad, the printing is done before the measuring, cutting, and measuring stage. While the mouse pad is functional at this stage, it is done to enhance its beauty. Soft mouse pad also sometimes use plastic to design the surface to improve resilience and reduces the chances of wear and tear.
Step #5: Quality Check
The final stage of making the mouse pad is checking its quality. Testing tensile strength, fatigue resistance, and water resistance are some of the basic tests on your mouse pad to ensure that it meets both aesthetic and functional requirements.
Summarily, we have been able to look at the materials used in making the mouse pad, its different types, and how it is made. We can conclude that mouse pads can be made with anything from an old magazine to a shoebox carton, as far as it does the primary function of aiding the easy movement of the mouse.
Frequently Asked Questions
The lifespan of mouse pads depends on many factors, such as your usage, materials used in manufacturing, the quality of the mouse pad, the price range, and environmental conditions. While a soft mouse pad lasts about two to three years, the hard one lasts between five and six years.
While some premium mouse pads are said to be made with leather, glass, and sometimes wood, the material we advise will be based on its usage. These materials serve special purpose applications such as gaming but are not ideal for regular use.