What can a 3D mouse do for me?
Posted on August 18, 2015 by Synergis Applications Consultant Dave Breiner
Years ago, more than I would like to count, when I was starting out using Inventor, I went a Synergis event where someone there was using a 3D mouse. They demonstrated some of its functionality and I was immediately blown away. I went back to work and asked my boss if I could buy a few for my modelers to try out. Of course I confiscated one to try out, and to this day, you can not pry it out of my hands. I have to think hard which F buttons to use for zoom, rotating, and orbit on those unfortunate occasions that I am without my 3D mouse.
To being with, it dramatically increased the speed of my work. Being able to manipulate a part with one hand while using my other to select the necessary commands took a little time to get used to but quickly increased my efficiency. It proved even more valuable working with assemblies. While one hand is selecting constraint options, the other can rotate the model to present the face needed for a selection.
A 3D mouse does not replace your regular mouse, it works in conjunction with it. Typically used in your non-dominant hand to manipulate the part/model while using your regular mouse to point and click.
Mice come in all shapes, sizes, and complexity. Some look like you could fly a space shuttle with it and others are simple and effective.
There are many offerings in the market, Belkin, 3D Connexion, Razor, and Logitech to name a few. Each type of mouse has its advantages, it is up to you to choose something that fits your needs and with which you are comfortable. Prices can range from $50.00 to over $300.00. If you are new to using a 3D mouse, it may be wise to choose something small and easy to use until you are more comfortable with the process. Each mouse has a good selection of options to help in the use, training, and programming if needed. The most important option for a new user is the speed selection. You can dial down the speed of the mouse until you become comfortable with its use. Every movement has a customizable setting to help adjust to your individual preferences.
For those that love keyboard shortcuts, there are mice designed for that individual that loves shortcuts and can be programmed into the device to run the shortcuts when a particular button is selected, all at your fingertips.
3D mice are not limited to Inventor. Many programs are able to use the functionality found in a 3D mouse. Most of the Atuodesk products can be manipulated with a 3D mouse; however, I would refrain from using it with AutoCAD. 2D drawings are not usually meant to be rotated on the occasions, while in model space and have forgotten and rotated a drawing.
I don’t know of many people who did not become true converts once they began using a 3D mouse. It truly makes your modeling life easier. I believe that you will wonder how you ever worked without one!
Dave Breiner joined Synergis in 2013 as a Solutions Engineer on our Manufacturing team with an amazing amount of experience. Coming directly from being a CAD Manager with SPX/Ecolaire, Dave is well versed in implementing and using Autodesk software having transitioned the department from 2D to 3D modeling by developing a 3D modeling program, implementing modeling standards, and creating automated models using iLogic programming. Dave began his career with SPX as a preliminary designer of steam condensers before being promoted to Manager of Drafting. Prior to this, Dave was with Bethlehem Steel for over 20 years, performing many tasks including millwright, rigger and fitter. During this time he also completed his degree in Engineering Design.