A few months back, the good folks at 3D Connexion sent me a SpaceMouse Wireless Kit. I’ve been using the kit every day for some time now, and I love it. The kit comes with both a SpaceMouse and a CadMouse.
Many years back, I had a full sized SpaceMouse permanently connected to my CAD workstation, the new SpaceMouse Wireless is a fantastic upgrade, and being wireless makes it easy to take with me.
I figure that by now most people would be familiar with the SpaceMouse, but if not, they are devices that allows users to navigate around 3D models really smoothly, and coupled to the navigation is the ability to run commands via buttons. The SpaceMouse is essentially a joystick for CAD. Below is a quick GIF showing how easy it is to navigate around a model, and a brief view of the radial menu too, I’ve included a link to a full demo below.
Then there is the CadMouse. There was a lot of hype about this device when it launched, and I was initially sceptical, thinking that perhaps 3D Connexion were trying to re-invent the wheel, but I was wrong!
3D Connexion nailed it. The CadMouse is packed full of features;
- It’s rechargeable, and the USB port is accessible, meaning that you can charge the mouse while working. The battery last weeks.
- It’s a Bluetooth device, meaning it doesn’t need a receiver, although it will communicate via the 3D Connexion universal receiver if needed.
- It’s a 3 button mouse, but practically all of the buttons are programmable, meaning that there are 5 configurable buttons. The middle is used as a launchpad for the radial menus (by default).
- The Configurations can be set up per environment, for example an Assembly vs a Part, or Drawing file.
- The software that comes with the devices is called 3DxWare, which is really easy to use and allows you to customise your experience, to suit your workflow.
Below are the radial menu’s from my Assembly setup, I have additional menu’s and behaviours set up for my other environments.
Key to the CadMouse though, is that we spend a lot of time in other programs, like Chrome or Outlook, and the software allows you to customise the button behaviour in other programs too, making work far more efficient.
So could I live without my SpaceMouse Wireless Kit?
The short answer is no, in Inventor, I’m faster with the combination of the 2 devices, and in other programs I’m more efficient with the CadMouse, as I have customised the radial menus to suit my workflows.
One of my favourite features, is that both the SpaceMouse and the CadMouse come with their own hard shell cases. In my line of work I travel a lot and I need all of my tools be be robust, the hard shell cases certainly help protect the devices during my travels.
Included in the SpaceMouse Wireless Kit:
- SpaceMouse Wireless with carry case
- CadMouse Wireless with carry case
- CadMouse Pad Compact
- 3Dconnexion Universal Receiver
- Micro-USB Cable
Important note: 3D Connexion have not paid me to write this review, but they did loan me this kit, as part of their Application Engineer Program. The first and last images in this blog post are borrowed from 3D Connexion’s website.