As the founder of SAPPHIRESKATES, I have tested out many ways to use them. For most people, it's more than adequate to use any of the standard configurations with a single set as outlined in our install guide. But the fact is, with so many pieces of Sapphire passing through my workspace, I can't help but constantly fine-tune my setup (which is the reason I started this business in the first place).
I know that I am not alone in this pursuit. As with many hobbies these days, much of the enjoyment is in discovering and modding gear into it perfectly suits you. Despite SAPPHIRESKATES permanent durability, about 20% of our customers have made repeat purchases and likely feel the same way.
The appeal of SAPPHIRESKATES is in my opinion, 3 main things: extreme durability, consistently smooth glide, and universal compatibility. In the 7+ months of creating the product and using it, I can say that we've met this goal. But the product (as with any product) is not free from having any downsides. I believe that the main downside is: not as supportive as other skates due to lower surface area. This results in the experience of "dig" in which putting additional downward pressure increases friction due to the elastic deformation created on the surface.
Why would we even allow for this shortcoming in our product design? The reason is simply because firstly: product can perform well with even just 4 pieces, which is the preferred way of using it for many of our users. It has an added benefit of adding only 0.5g of weight total (compared to glass skates which can add over 2g of weight). Secondly, it comes down to simply cost. We don't want to make the cost of entry prohibitively expensive. We truly do have high material costs, but the even greater cost is the labor and time that goes into making the skates and achieving a good shape and high polish. The end result is that these are truly high-grade gemstones and mouse skates. In the gemstone world, most of the cost also comes from the cutting, polishing, and faceting. Consider that a set of blue sapphire is over 2 carats of pure sapphire. 2 carats of blue sapphire gemstones could easily run you $1500.
Not that any of that matters for gaming: you just want to pick from the options available to you. I would still argue that Sapphireskates are the most cost-effective type of mouse skates you can purchase, but I'll save that for another article.
My goal with this personal setup is to secure incremental improvements over having a single set, in terms of lowering static friction. The other goal is to reduce the incidence of dig. If you are thinking about how adding an additional set of Sapphireskates may benefit you, here's how I went about it:
My Mouse, Mousepad, and Keyboard Setup
My point of my setup is to be able to keep the keyboard on top of the mousepad and still have room for the mouse to move around. This is why you'll see the 40% keyboard on top of an Artisan Hien Mid. I know that this could have been achieved with a desk mat, but having the Hien allows me to easily conduct friction tests. That's because the Hien sits on top of a custom-cut piece of glass to provide a flat and stable base, in addition to allowing me to tilt it whenever I want to.
- Finalmouse Starlight-12 Phantom, Small
- Ruby SAPPHIRESKATES
- Clear Type 2 SAPPHIRESKATES
- HID-Labs Ghost Grip
- Artisan Hien Mid XL
- Custom 16.5"x19" glass panel
Keyboard (Custom Low Profile)
- Boardsource Technik-S
- Kailh Choc Low Profile Switches, Purpz 25G
- MBK Legend PBT Keycaps
- Tungsten Bars Keyboard Feet
First, I started with a standard setup. I used superglue to adhere the skates to the mouse for a slight reduction in height and also for a stronger adhesion. Superglue is included in our accessories kit, but standard superglue will work. The one I use is Scotch brand.
This configuration lets me pivot at the base of the mouse. It is stable and keeps all 5 skates firmly planted.
Now that I've superglued the skates on, I am fully committed. Warning: using superglue means that you cannot remove the skates from the mouse. Doing so will damage the mouse, and possibly the skates. But what usually ends up happening is that you'll have chunks of mouse permanently stuck to the skates if you attempt to remove it. This is the reason why our default adhesive is semi-permanent, so that you can experiment and use it on different mice. So please understand that using superglue is not a requirement for an ideal setup, just something you can do when you figured out your own optimal configuration.
Moving on, of course I want to keep messing with my setup. How would I go about adding another set of Ruby Sapphireskates? Well, the good thing is that this is something we had planned from the beginning: as you can see, two pieces of Sapphireskates fit perfectly in the channel of a Finalmouse. Thus, the placement for the 2nd set of Sapphireskates is quite clear in my mind.
After trying out this setup and fully cleaning the bottom of the skates and scraping off any excess glue (necessary), I was almost getting an ideal glide. But one thing that you should try to do is rub the mouse directly on the table while sitting on top of a paper towel. Press down with a bit of force. This really helped to remove that final bit of residue and also balanced out the skates so all the mouse feet were making contact.
This setup felt great. It had the benefits of being able to glide effortlessly past any debris, and even measured slightly lower static friction. Plus, it was more supportive. Of course, I wasn't done yet.
With the 3rd addition, I thought to try to widen the points of contact a bit. On a Finalmouse, the cutouts aren't sunken lower than the rest of the mouse so it gives more freedom of placement. (Note: even in mice with recessed channels, you can adjust for this by stacking adhesive. Plus, it tends to settle itself out on its own).
In addition to going wider at the bottom of the mouse, I added a few pieces in the middle of the top part. This offset shape actually is by design: the pieces that lie outside of the mouse channel form a pentagon shape, similar to an office chair. This shape reduces the "tippability" of an object. Consider if we had placed these extra skates on the far left and right side of the mouse instead. That would create a point of rotation for the mouse to turn over when doing horizontal movements.
The final addition? Type 2 Sapphireskates
I'll admit that adding more skates beyond what I already installed was getting a bit excessive. The mouse already felt great. There was reduced texture feel of the mousepad. Even adding the 3rd set had incremental benefits over the 2nd. Basically, this was already at the point of diminishing returns.
I added Type 2 Sapphireskates out of need. I had tested them on a spare mouse but wanted to conduct further testing on my main mouse. I had recalled Leon (our fabled first customer) posing this exact idea of having flatter sapphireskates in the center of the mouse. The idea here is that the round standard skates allow debris to simply "roll" away while the center skates provide stable contact and increase the surface area.
So how did this work out? Not well at first. The mouse was imbalanced and scraping. We are definitely not able to guarantee that this will work out for you either. On the other hand, we are confident that you can add any number of standard Sapphireskates and have a smooth glide. Type 2 requires more balance. We ensure that a set of 5 pieces is matched as precisely as possible of course, but not designed to be "added on" as with our standard shape.
But after a lot of cleaning and load-balancing by using the previously mentioned rubbing technique on a flat surface, things started to get better. Finally, I've reached a setup that has minimal texture feel, outstanding glide, zero dig, and effortlessly moves past any dust and debris. Is it my own endgame mouse setup? For now.