Our Kickstarter has ended
Thanks to everyone who backed us and made the Zaunkoenig M1K a reality. :) If you missed out on our Kickstarter but still want to get a mouse from Zaunkoenig, please go to our website: zaunkoenig.co
What follows is our original Kickstarter page for the Zaunkoenig M1K:
The König among lightweight gaming mice
Many traditional gaming mice claim to be lightweight and cutting edge, but in reality are just a chunk of cheap plastic. Adding holes into the shell doesnt change the fact that its still cheap plastic. Traditional gaming mouse companies like to cover this up with their marketing speak, but this is just putting lipstick on a pig.
Several years ago we decided to do something about this and started Zaunkoenig. Our first product, the Zaunkoenig M1K, is the world’s first carbon fiber gaming mouse. The combination of cutting edge materials and radical production methods result in a gaming mouse with a fighting weight of just 23 grams. Every other gaming mouse weighs more than twice as much. Most gaming mice even weigh three or four times as much. See for yourself:
The importance of low weight
At 23 grams accelerating and stopping the Zaunkoenig M1K feels almost instantaneous. Put another way: the M1K is really good for aiming. We achieve this low weight not only by using carbon fiber, but also by removing mouse features that do nothing for your aim: RGB lighting, sniper buttons, side buttons and the mouse wheel.
What gamers say about the Zaunkoenig M1K
Huddled, known for his world records in KovaaK's FPS Aim Trainer: «This mouse is kind of insane, these were my scores within the first 20-30 minutes of plugging the mouse in and I haven't been playing kovaak's too much lately. It is a ton of fun to use and I'm looking forward to see what other scores I can get with it.»
Matt Kelly, competitive gamer with a background in professional Quake/CoD: «A mouse should be used for aiming – not to offer extra binds, and certainly not for your push-to-talk key. Zaunkoenig have created a mouse that is objectively better at what matters, aiming.»
Menismyforte, Youtube mouse reviewer: «Everything is just so awesome I can't describe how much I like it, it's such a weird experience. It seems like a simple concept but the execution is just incredible.»
qsxcv, OCN legend: «This mouse is 4 grams heavier than the g502's wheel and they call it lightweight? Ridiculous. 0/10 would not buy.»
Check out the Youtube reviews of our current prototypes:
Menismyforte: «I myself was a doubter when I first saw it. I surprisingly found that I got some amazing results when I was actually playing with this mouse ingame. I also found that my judgement in the area of ‹there is such a thing as too light› was way off.»
BT: «I love that they [Zaunkoenig] are really pushing the boundaries of performance that we can get out of a mouse. It is truly inspiring to say the least.»
Beardedbob: «It was pretty good on latency this thing. It has beaten everything and is now king of the latency test.»
There will be 333 Zaunkoenig M1K on Kickstarter
At Zaunkoenig we use the same production methods that are used to make a hyper car: we laminate the carbon fiber into the mold by hand, vacuum the mold, and bake it under high pressure. Whereas a normal plastic mouse shell from a traditional gaming mouse is made in mere seconds, the carbon fiber top shell of the Zaunkoenig M1K takes hours to make. And we do it ourselves, in Germany. Because the production of the carbon fiber shell is so complex, we can only offer a very limited amount of Zaunkoenig M1Ks on Kickstartarter: 333. Making carbon fiber parts is craftsmanship.
3D printed fractal honeycomb bottom shell
The bottom shell of the Zaunkoenig M1K features a fractal honeycomb pattern which is only achievable through 3D printing. It weighs an astonishingly low 6.0 grams. The below picture shows a multicolored bottom shell featuring black, green and yellow ABS. Multicolored bottom shells are only available when you pledge the Founders Edition of the M1K (other pledges are limited to either black, blue or yellow).
For the Founders Edition you can specify up to four colors for one bottom plate. Here are some examples:
Hyperglide makes the mouse feet of the M1K. Hyperglide is famous for their rounded edges on their mouse feet, which they seem to be pulling off better than anyone else. Without rounded edges mouse feet will scratch on your mouse pad.
Oh and by the way: we didnt put the mouse feet over the screw holes, so you can open up the M1K without destroying your mouse feet:
Custom hardware and software
The printed circuit boards (PCBs) in todays gaming mice are usually bigger, heavier and uglier than they need to be. Also, they are usually full of low quality components and run poor firmware (debouncing, anyone?). This is how a bare PCB without components soldered onto it looks like:
Our PCBs are soldered in a German factory. We use an expensive micro controller unit (MCU) that makes it possible for you to install a custom firmware. And instead of the cheaper Chinese Omron switches with their inflated bazillion click ratings (lipstick all over again) we use Japanese Omrons (D2F-01F) which feature a more complex design and gold contacts. This is how the PCB of the Zaunkoenig M1K looks like once all the components are soldered onto it:
We didnt stop at custom hardware. The firmware of the M1K is based upon the firmware of overclock.net user qsxcv. It offers extremely low latencies and is open-source. You can change CPI, Angle Snapping or LOD without having to install software on your PC. This is not only convenient, but more importantly crucial for pro gamers that are usually not allowed to install software on competition PCs.
The Zaunkoenig M1K is probably the first gaming mouse that uses zero lag switch debouncing: our clicks have very low latency and still accidental double clicks are not a problem. Traditional gaming mouse companies artificially delay mouse clicks by up to 40 milliseconds to prevent accidental double clicks. Some mouse companies are even happy when their gaming mice accidentally double click: it means they can sell you one more mouse.
This is how the M1K clicks sound like (and also: what a blue bottom shell looks like):
Overclock to 8,000 Hertz
High refresh rate gaming monitors are becoming more and more common. We think a 500 Hertz mouse is the equivalent to a 60 Hertz monitor: outdated. Thats why internally the Zaunkoenig M1K runs with 8,000 Hertz. When you are willing to overclock your Windows driver you can actually use the Zaunkoenig M1K with 8,000 Hertz in Windows.
Using the Zaunkoenig M1K at 8,000 Hertz as opposed to 1,000 Hertz reduces input lag by 0.4375 milliseconds on average; compared to 500 Hertz mice, the Zaunkoenig M1K will be quicker by 0.9375 milliseconds on average. We worked hard to not only save every gram of weight on the M1K, but reduce every millisecond of latency as well.
Traditional gaming mouse companies usually use cables that are way too stiff and heavy. This is due to using very few and thick copper wires which are cheaper for them to produce. Making matters even worse, most traditional gaming mouse cables use a cheap plastic jacket made out of PVC. Some traditional gaming mouse companies then go the extra mile and encompass their creation with a nylon braid, for that extra bit of stiffness. You end up with something that feels more like a lightning rod than a mouse cable.
To make the cable of the Zaunkoenig M1K flexible yet robust, we started at the core of the cable: the copper conductors. We use very fine copper wires, instead of thick ones. Whereas a normal gaming mouse cable has 28 copper wires inside of it, the cable of the M1K has 76 copper wires. For the jacket we went with the modern material polyurethane, which pulls off the feat of being flexible yet robust at the same time. We use gold plated crimp terminals from Molex to connect the cable with the PCB:
Made in Germany
All of the soldering is done in a German factory. We make the cable ourselves. We print the bottom shell ourselves. We make the carbon fiber shell ourselves. Even the nine Torx screws inside every Zaunkoenig M1K are made in Germany. To summarize: there is no Chinese mouse factory that can delay our Kickstarter.
We already have molds for producing the carbon fiber top shell. What we will use the Kickstarter funds for is to make more of these molds, so we can produce larger quantities. We do not need injection molds, since we print the bottom shell.
The Zaunkoenig M1K is a pure Fingertip Grip mouse
We think Fingertip Grip is the best mouse grip. The Zaunkoenig M1K is the first gaming mouse that is designed purely for Fingertip Grip. The Zaunkoenig M1K is not compatible with Claw Grip and Palm Grip. For optimal performance you have to design a thing to be just one thing. Just imagine an off-road vehicle that is also designed to be a racing car. A gaming mouse that works with Palm Grip and Fingertip Grip is not optimal for either of those grips.
Who the Zaunkoenig M1K is not for
We did not set out to make a mouse that is okay for many, but to make a mouse that is the best for a small group of people. To anyone who is not sure two mouse buttons are enough for the game he/she is playing: this is such a weird question for the both of us, since we never used the wheel in twenty years of gaming. Patrick has played in the German national team for StarCraft: Brood War and didnt use the wheel once. Dominik soloqued his way to «Global Elite» in CS:GO without missing the wheel once. In our opinion there are enough keys on the keyboard. You just have to use them efficiently.
We get it though: if you are used to jumping with the wheel for example it can be hard to relearn that. Changing your hotkeys is not something you can get used to over night. So is it worth it to relearn hotkeys just to use a lighter mouse? Well: Just think about the last time you switched from a heavier to a lighter gaming mouse. Have you tried going back to the heavier mouse after a few weeks? Usually this results in: «Wow, this is so heavy, how did I even play with that?» Now imagine how your current mouse will feel like after you have tried 23 grams.
Specifications: Zaunkoenig M1K
- Product name: M1K
- Number of buttons: two (left button, right button)
- Weight: 23 g
- Height: 30 mm
- Length: 79 mm
- Width: 60 mm
- MCU: Microchip ATmega32U2
- Firmware: Open-source
- Sensor: PixArt 3360
- Maximum CPI: Enough
- Default CPI: 800 (changeable in increments of 100)
- Maximum IPS: Enough
- USB rate: 1,000 Hertz (overclockable to 8,000 Hertz)
- Switches: Omron D2F-01F (Made in Japan)
- Switch latency: 0 (press and release)
- Cable diameter: 2.5 mm
- Top shell: Aerograde carbon fiber
- Bottom shell: 3D printed fractal honeycomb ABS
- Screws: Torx (9 × T6)
- Mouse feet: 4 Hyperglide PTFE with rounded edges (Ø = 7 mm; height = 0.65 mm)
- September–October 2019: Kickstarter Campaign
- October–November 2019: Certification, tooling
- November–February 2019: Production
- March 2020: Shipping
Zaunkoenig is two brothers: Dominik and Patrick
Dominiks focus is engineering and manufacturing. He is responsible for the carbon fiber top shell and the 3D printed bottom part. Looking at cheap ABS mice with holes all over the place makes him cringe.
Patricks focus is on the cable and PCB. He has a bit of marketing experience under his belt and is able to detect marketing bullshit from great distances. He hates lipstick.
Shipping and fulfillment
For now we need backers from countries with additional VAT/taxes applicable to pay the VAT/tax themselves upon delivery. We are currently in exchange with fulfillment centers, reviewing different possible shipping solutions as we ideally would want backers to have zero bad surprises of exorbitant surcharges at customs. At this stage international shipping is (due to the customs situation and if we manage to effectively integrate the use of fulfillment centers) hard for us to calculate accurately worldwide. That is why we feel obligated to communicate upfront that as of right now we cannot promise to find a better solution for our backers than what we are currently offering in the reward tiers. Rest assured though that we are working on a more seamless backer-friendly solution concerning VAT/taxes outside the EU and will keep you posted in our updates.
Unlocked stretch goal at €35.000
Our stretch goal includes the following three things:
1.1 All backers who pledged for an M1K will get one bare PCB (though not with your name in gold on it; that is still exclusive for the Founders Edition). A bare PCB is the PCB of the mouse, but without anything soldered onto it. If you solder components on it, this PCB will be a fully working mouse PCB. You can also just add it to your keychain though (involves much less skill).
1.2 Additionally everyone who pledged for an M1K can now specify two more colors for his bottom plate (for this we will send out a survey after the Kickstarter campaign): Orange and White. Previously these colors were limited to the Founders Edition.
1.3 To make the Founders Edition a little more juicy we will add to it a completely soldered PCB. You can use this PCB for modding projects or as a backup.
Risks and challenges
Making hardware is tricky. We surely dont know all the tricks. So we might run into unforeseen problems. We have been developing the Zaunkoenig M1K for seven years though, so by now we have run into a lot of these unforeseen problems already. There cant be many more left. :P And because we produce everything where we live, in Germany, we can fix problems very quickly.
International shipping (and local customs/VAT in particular) is a topic we lack experience. Customs/import duties/taxes outside of the EU: we would have loved to make it more convenient for our backers, but it's not viable for us with no real experience in international shipping to calculate so many different taxes into one and the same price.
Environmental commitmentsVisit our Environmental Resources Center to learn how Kickstarter encourages sustainable practices.
- (30 days)