Is this the recommended input device for Solidworks?


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Spaceball 5000 from

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Pete Newbie

I do not think you could say any particular device is recommended, and the spaceball is certainly only one of the needed inputs for Solidworks. Keyboard for instance.

I tried it at the MDDI show and it is neat (but attrosciously expensive), but I still prefer either my Dell laptop with its trackpad and mouse keys or an optical mouse with at least 3 mouse keys. I actually prefer the Perfit mouse because it has a separate zoom button on the thumb, and a rocker button below the thumb for 2 more clicks and you can get both left and right handed versions in various hand sizes.

Not that the Perfit is 'perfect'. I ripped it apart and added foam pads under each mouse key to stiffen them up so they don't click as easy.

Different Strokes - Bo

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Bo Clawson

I wouldn't use the word recommended. 3DConnexion is a Solution Partner. See the SW website for that information. I have two and really like them. The current crop of drivers do a lot more than the originals from several years back which means the driver software is being actively developed and improved with time. So the investment I have is becoming more useful, not obsolete like most computer hardware. This might help justify the high initial cost.

I use both the 3003 and the 4000FLX.

dlevy wrote:

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If you go to the subscription services part of the website and then go to special offers you'll find that there is a 45 day free trial available for 3DConnexions Cadman controller. If you like it you can buy it for $299, which is $100 off regular price. I just signed up because I get tired of all the mouse movement and think this will really be of benefit. Besides, if I don't like it I can just send it back at no charge.

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Jeff N

I have never actually had my hands on any of those fancy 3D input devices. To me they look way to "clumsy" and price was just too scary for me to actually take the risk. I have always used a standard wheel mouse and button combos. I use the wheel for zooming, a combo of the wheel and the ctrl button for panning (SW default behavior). And, I use several mapped keys for other functions such as "A" for Zoom to Fit (zoomAll), "W" for Zoom to Area (Window), "B" for Undo View Change (Back), etc. I have always been strong headed in the belief that no other input device could possibly BE anymore productive than the wheel mouse.

That was, up until a few days ago. I took the opportunity to test drive a

3DConnexion CadMan controller free for 45 days as offered from the SW Partner - Special Offer I received in my email. It came the other day so I have been trying to use it ever since.

So far, my opinion is pretty much the same as it was before trying it. It IS clumsy to use and it is not nearly as efficient and productive as using my mouse/button combos. Now, I have only been using this thing a few days and I realize that there will be a learning curve, so at this point I am still trying to keep an open mind.

It does do a few "neat" things that it can do the my mouse won't do, but so far I still feel like it is just a fancy toy. I think it would be more useful of very large assemblies. But for most parts and average size assemblies, I think productivity is lost. It does not work very well with drawings either.

Just my 2 cents.

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Seth Renigar

Wow! Thanks Jeff. Mine is on the way.

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Besides the obvious keyboard and mouse, I have two extra input devices that I use with Solidworks. I have a Logitech Magellan spacemouse and a Microsoft Strategic Commander. I like them both and use them both, but for my money you can't beat the SC for productivity. The SC is sold as a gamer's input device, but it works very well for SWX. Basically, it's a one handed keyboard. There are three modes (which I use for Parts, Assy, and Drawings) and 24 key combinations within each mode. It doesn't switch modes automatically like the spacemouse, but it's ergonomic design makes this a non-issue. It's very easy to program with various macro strings and I'd be happy to share my profiles with anyone who wants them. I feel that the SC and a mouse are the best combination and the closest yet to a neural connection to the computer. The spacemouse is handy when I want to take a slow stroll around a design. I like to roll the model around and get a real good feel for how the design will work. My particular spacemouse has terrible ergonomics, so I don't use the buttons at all. I find the mouse to be a faster rotation device, and more precise. That is, if I want to spin my model around and zoom in on a feature, I can smoke the spacemouse simply using my regular mouse and SC.

There's my two cents. I know some people think the SC is a toy since it's designed for gamers, but that's being awfully short sighted. Even if they're right, I bought my spacemouse new from (2 years ago) for $7. Yes, seven dollars. And it's a quality device, not some flimsy piece of crap. I don't know if you'll find them new anymore... maybe I got mine on clearance. Check eBay. Buy one and give it a try. If you don't like it then you're only out a minor chunk of change.

"dlevy" wrote in message news:Zj5%b.9226$

Reply to
Mickey Reilley

Seth Renigar wrote on 26.02.2004 17:29 Uhr

Hi Seth,

I had exactly the same perception as you, and did exactly the same as you are - the demo test. The one thing I would strongly recommend is that you switch and try the Spaceball5000 and not the CadMan. IMHO the cadman is exactly what you say - clumsy and disappointing. Ergonomically it is a nightmare. But the Spaceball is another feeling altogether (not ergonomically perfect, but much much closer). I have the 4000 and would not give it up for anything. If you get the spaceball, really test the button settings as well, it makes a big difference to comfort and productivity.

Good luck


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