After testing 3Dconnexion’s new CadMouse for a substantial time, I started to get comfortable with it. Previously I had noted that the way I hold the mouse and which fingers I prefer to use where, etc. has made me quite picky about mice. The 3 button experience was difficult for me to start off with.

The #1 reason I didn’t just push it aside was panning. With the middle button panning separate from the scroll wheel, the effort to push down on the scroll wheel continuously is substantially minimized. I could tell that this would be a benefit if I could get the hang of it, and it did pay off.

Now that I am back in school, my non-office schedule doesn’t offer a lot of time for design work, and I haven’t used a ‘regular’ mouse for CAD lately. I wanted to see if the benefit of the 3Dconnexion CadMouse was real, or merely perceived. So during a recent machine review that I was performing, I had to bounce back and forth between workstations, and occasionally work from my dedicated workstation, which only had a ‘regular’ mouse; A perfect opportunity.

What a difference

Not having the CadMouse suddenly was like waking up late for work. Everything is confused and disorganized; you just bump into everything until you power through and get moving. I kept hitting the right-mouse button to pan, and after realizing it, have to pick my panning finger up higher and force the scroll wheel push in order to pan. Screw that!

Then, as you might expect, I got used to having a couple of functions at my fingertips (on the 4-quadrant function button), such as AutoCAD’s magic paintbrush. Not on the regular mouse…grrrr.

3DConnexion CADMouse Radial Menu in Autodesk Inventor

The reality is that the smooth action and cool radial shortcut menu are genuine benefits in day to day CAD work, and I wanted mine back within an hour.

There’s still more on that CadMouse

I still haven’t dedicated myself to learn to take advantage of the side buttons, the zoon-in/zoom-out buttons. Sure, they can be configured to do other things, but I wanted to lean to use them as they had been envisioned. Besides, the CadMouse can do cool stuff in non-CAD applications like Microsoft Excel, wherein it zooms to the top of the page, and to the lowest entry on a page. I like that because I have some ugly-long spreadsheets.


Don’t get me wrong. I am a professional and can use anything if that’s what I have to do to get the job done. I still use a nice mouse from ‘that other company’ because, well, I paid for it and I have numerous CAD and engineering stations that I use simultaneously. However, I will continue to use my CadMouse as the primary pointing device in my daily CAD work.

Chris Rock once said, “Just cause you can steer a car with your feet, don’t make it a good ________ idea.” Skimming 30 bucks to get a cheaper off-the-shelf mouse is like that. A decent mouse is not less than $50 USD, and is something that you hope will be of sufficient quality to last you long enough to get your money out of it. I’d rather step up and pay the extra for a clearly well-designed CAD tool that I will use more than any other. That’s a good investment.

3D Connexion CADMouse