Every now and again you come across something that completely changes how you work as an engineer. The SpaceMouse Enterprise was one of experiences for me over two years ago.
I use Solidworks so this review is based upon that experience alone. I purchased this device using my own money and the views here are my own.
A 3D mouse allows you to easily manipulate CAD models with 6 degrees of freedom. This allows a very smooth interaction with 3D models as well as 2D drawing creation. Many different types of modeling software support the 3D mice and you can check the manufacturers website for the current listings.
Twelve programmable buttons are located underneath a context dependent screen that allows you to save your most used shortcuts within easy reach. The 3DxWare software allows you to easily change what each button does within different program areas. In Solidworks, for example, you can have different button functions in tasks like assemblies, parts, and drawings. I prefer to have the 'measure' functionality on the same button in every window for constant access, button 8 if you are curious. In assemblies and parts I heavily use the 'normal to' function so that is another function close by at button 9. The other buttons change depending on what type of work I am doing but they are always set to my most used software features. Anything that I rarely use gets stranded over on buttons 4-6 or 10-12 as I find those buttons hard to reach without looking down at the mouse or bumping the knob with my hand as I push them.
I highly recommend that you turn down the default speed to around 25%, or even less, when you first start using this device. I have seen many people try these and dislike them because the model just spins wildly out of control with the slightest movement of the knob. Especially when you are just getting started I would recommend starting at a low speed and slowly increasing the speed as you grow accustomed to your new tool.
In addition to lowering the speed you will want to decide whether or not you prefer to reverse the movement of the model in relation to how you move the control knob. I ended up mirroring all of the controls and it feels like I am flying around within the modeling space.
You will probably be able to tell very quickly which way you need to have that set as one way will just instantly make more sense to you in how the model reacts to your input.
My experience was pretty good from the first day. My modeling speed has definitely increased. I don't know that I would say it doubled, but it definitely seems like things take twice as long if I don't use the mouse nowadays. I still have the speed set at around ~40% and have no idea what maniac would use this thing at full speed.
This mouse has increased my modeling and drafting speed tremendously.
I am an enormous fan of keyboard shortcuts so the context sensitive programmable buttons are a great addition.
I only occasionally have to move my hand over to the actual keyboard when modeling.
Looks nice sitting on your desk. It definitely is a conversation starter.
Nice layout of standard buttons directly under where your hand sits when using the mouse including: escape, tab, enter, space, shift, control, and alt.
Very easy to manipulate your model to get the view you want.
I do wish the buttons on the right side of the mouse were easier to reach. I find it inconvenient and unnatural when I have to reach around the control knob to try and push anything on the right side. I would have preferred if the buttons were all on the left hand side so that I could reach them with my left hand without moving it over the knob.
It is expensive.
Difficult to reach the buttons on the right side of control knob.
Hard to go back to not having one after you get used to it.
I recommend the SpaceMouse Enterprise from 3DConnexion for anyone who does 3D design on a regular basis. In fact, I like it enough that I replaced my first one after it got stolen.
Manufacturers website: https://3dconnexion.com/us/product/spacemouse-enterprise/