Is a 3d mouse popular among solid modeling users?

I've occasionally seen a 3d mouse (such as the SpaceNavigator) alongside a CAD workstation. Are they that useful and worth the cost?

8 Answers

Well, I've been asking myself the same question for a long time, so I investigated a little bit and asked some questions around. What I found is some mixed opinions, but mostly positive ones. I read somewhere that it improves productivity by 15-20% (don’t know if it’s all true), but it certainly reduces mouse clicks and mouse travel.

I believe that it would probably depend on your ability to adapt to a new workflow. Some people just don’t like to change the way they have been working all their life, (old habits die hard I guess)

My personal opinion: I bought a space navigator a few weeks ago and I´m definitely loving it! I had to change my way of doing things, but after a few days I felt really comfortable and I’m having a lot of fun while I’m working. (I’ve been working 3D CAD software for 6 years now)

The new versions of 3D CAD software have a lot of direct manipulation tools, right click and shortcut menus right there on the model space, so you don’t need to go up to the toolbar every time. This makes keyboard shortcuts not that useful anymore, and you can keep your left hand in the 3D mouse all the time.

If you are willing to change the way you do things, I would say Go for it!!

Hope I helped out!!

LoL'ss@Meca you should be a sales man for 3dconnexion
but I would totally agree with Meca as I use one in School
and my work flow rate is a lot better and more easier than @ home just now.

Definitely, Very helpful tool..

I might as well amputate my left arm if I didn't have one ;)
Once you get the jist of a 3d mouse you feel something's missing without it, that'll be because I've been using one for the past ten years.

I cannot live without my spaceball! I find it to be twice as efficient when modeling since I am using two hands instead of one. If you count how many clicks and movements of the mouse you utilize to create a model and roughly divide that by two, you will figure out that in an hours worth of design, you will have achieved what it takes you to do in two hours. Hope that helps.


Depends if you like key shortcuts over tool button mouse clicks. If your hand is always on the keyboard then it's slow to move back and forth to the spaceball. In SW 3D movement with the mouse is pretty good with just the wheel and center button. I find the spaceball better in Catia where mouse movement is not as good.