7 years ago I purchased my first 3Dconnexion 3D mouse, the Space Navigator, but what I set out to buy at the time was a professional programmable mouse for CAD. To my utter disbelief, as a relative NOOB in the industry, I couldn’t believe that such a product didn’t exist. The only programmable mice in existence at the time were designed for ‘Gamers’, some were adequate but others simply weren’t. Fast forward to today and 3Dconnexion have stepped up to the plate to deliver the world’s first 2D mouse, specifically designed with professional CAD users in mind. This means they deliver a device with 3Dconnexion build quality, 3 full sized buttons on the top of the device… which means no more awkward fumbles for the scroll wheel button just to pan around your drawings, and their signature CAD context sensitive programmable buttons. Those points alone were enough for me to get my geek on when I was first approached for feedback about the 3Dconnexion CadMouse.
You can now take a look at our review: 3Dconnexion CadMouse – Hands On Review
I’ve been using a CadMouse everyday for about a month now, as a result I have a few opinions…. but you will have to wait a little longer to read about those. So what do 3Dconnexion have to say about it? Well here is my cut down version of their press release and FAQ they made available earlier today:
3Dconnexion today announces the release of the 3Dconnexion CadMouse, the first mouse designed specifically for CAD professionals. By combining powerful, ergonomic hardware and smart, easy-to-use software, the 3Dconnexion CadMouse provides a level of performance ordinary mice just can’t match, inside and outside the CAD environment.
For more than 20 years, 3Dconnexion’s SpaceMouse product range has enabled a superior 3D navigation experience for CAD professionals. With a SpaceMouse in one hand taking care of 3D navigation, the “ordinary” mouse in the other hand is free to click and select. But over the years, 3Dconnexion saw firsthand how frustrated customers were with an ordinary mouse. They wanted something better—so we built it.
“We developed the 3Dconnexion CadMouse because CAD users asked us to.” says Antonio Pascucci, VP of products at 3Dconnexion. “We took the time to understand what they needed before developing a combination of smart hardware and software features.”
“With the introduction of the 3Dconnexion CadMouse, we are excited to be meeting the demands of CAD professionals across a broad range of industries and professions,” Pascucci says. “The icing on the cake is that CadMouse enables a new level of Two-Handed Power for our current customers. In other words, using a CadMouse together with a 3Dconnexion 3D mouse like the SpaceMouse Pro or SpaceNavigator makes it possible to interact with digital content in a way that wasn’t possible before.”
Discover why CadMouse’s features outperform and outclass an ordinary mouse:
- Dedicated, Full-Size Middle Mouse Button — Every CAD user knows how much they rely on the middle mouse button, but ordinary mice bury it under the scroll wheel. The CadMouse has a dedicated, full-size middle mouse button, so it’s no longer necessary to click the uncomfortable scroll wheel thousands of times per day.
- QuickZoom – Effortlessly zoom in and out of your models or drawings with a single click of a thumb button. Combine this feature with the 6-degrees-of-freedom navigation enabled by a 3Dconnexion 3D mouse for previously unseen levels of Two-Handed Power.
- Smart Scroll Wheel* – Automatic scroll wheel performance depending on the active application. Precise “click-to-click” zooming in CAD applications or speedy scrolling in browsers and documents. It’s a seamless experience that ordinary mice just can’t provide.
- Advanced Laser Sensor— With 8200dpi and a poll rate of up to 1000Hz (responsiveness of 1 millisecond) you’ll click exactly where you need to, when you need to. The CadMouse has the level of precision CAD professionals demand—and deserve.
- Gesture / Radial Menu Button – The CadMouse’s gesture button opens a context sensitive on-screen radial menu. Simply move the cursor left, right, up or down to activate the command.
- Optimally Shaped PTFE feet – Because 3Dconnexion specializes in CAD, we pay acute attention to details like how materials and geometry affect friction. It’s especially important when you consider that serious CAD users can be moving their mouse up to 1km per week. CadMouse has optimally shaped feet made from PTFE, a material with one of the lowest coefficients of friction against any solid, resulting in a near perfect equilibrium. The result? CadMouse moves exactly how you mean it to—every time.
* patent pending.
Pricing and availability
The 3Dconnexion CadMouse will be available at the end of February at a suggested retail price of USD $99 (excluding tax). Customers will be able to purchase the CadMouse from approved CAD and online resellers, as well as the 3Dconnexion online store.
Will there be a mouse mat?
3Dconnexion are also introducing the CadMouse Pad. A high-quality (rigid) mouse pad, specifically optimized for CadMouse. The suggested retail price will be USD $29 (excluding tax).
Does buying a CadMouse mean I don’t need a SpaceMouse anymore?
Absolutely not, especially for people who are serious about working with 3D content. Despite all the cool features of the 3Dconnexion CadMouse, nothing can replace the smooth and simultaneous 6-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) navigation that’s possible with a 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse.
In fact, the introduction of the 3Dconnexion CadMouse enables a new level of “Two Handed Power” that’s only possible by combining a SpaceMouse and CadMouse. For example, a user can QuickZoom to their point of interest with a single click of the CadMouse QuickZoom button and then undertake a detailed inspection thanks to the SpaceMouse’s natural and precise 6DoF navigation. An example of this is shown on the CadMouse web page.
Why is it important to have a dedicated middle mouse button and scroll wheel?
Most CAD applications rely heavily on the MMB so some CAD professionals are still using older 3-button mice (that have a dedicated MMB). However, these 3-button mice do not have a scroll wheel so they are inconvenient to use in office application or browsers.
Some users are turning to higher precision mice (including gaming mice) that can move the cursor across the screen without having to repeatedly pick it up and move it back into position. However, making this decision means sacrificing the dedicated middle mouse button, so users have to press the scroll wheel to activate the MMB which is far from ideal. When you consider that a serious CAD user can activate the MMB several thousand times per day, it’s easy to see how users find this a frustrating and uncomfortable experience.
The introduction of CadMouse with its dedicated MMB and Smart Scroll wheel provides a high performance, all-in-one solution that CAD users will immediately recognize and appreciate.
Does CadMouse use a different driver to 3Dconnexion’s SpaceMouse product range?
No, 3DxWare 10 is a unified driver solution that supports all 3Dconnexion’s products. In other words, users with a SpaceMouse and a CadMouse only need to install one driver and can customize and optimize each product via one clean, consistent interface.
What influenced the size and shape of the CadMouse?
Customer feedback indicated that the majority of users prefer a full size mouse and our ergonomic testing indicated that the full-size design worked well for all hand sizes. For this reason, and to accommodate the full size middle mouse button we designed CadMouse to support the users hand in a comfortable and natural position hour after hour.
Why isn’t the 3Dconnexion CadMouse wireless?
For a variety of reasons including security, IT management and performance (sensor precision, battery life) and because the majority of 3Dconnexion’s customers are accustomed to working with wired input devices, we felt it was sensible for CadMouse, the first product in this new category to be a wired device.
Is CadMouse suitable for use in the left hand?
No, CadMouse is designed for use in the right hand as this caters for the majority of users.
What operating systems does SpaceMouse Wireless support?
At time of launch, all features of the 3Dconnexion CadMouse will be supported on Microsoft Windows 8, Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
The product is optimized for applications running on Microsoft Windows as this operating system offers extensive support for 3-button mice. Users of other operating systems (e.g. OS X and Linux) may be able to take advantage of certain hardware features like the dedicated middle mouse button and advanced laser sensor but not the additional features including QuickZoom, Smart Scroll or the gesture button.
So what do you all think about this? Are you chomping at the bit to get one of these slippery desk rodents into the palm of your hand ASAP? I know that for a number of people, the end of February can’t come soon enough. Let us know in the comments.