It should not come as a surprise that the CAD industry like the game industry or others, is working to model a custom mouse for CAD drafters with the aim to increase productivity and reduce the downsides of using, say an ordinary mouse for your CAD projects.
Though CAD users have long been opting for some gaming or hybrid mice, the Cadmouse and 3D mice have been out there both primarily dedicated to the CAD industry and happened to satisfy most of the users that gave them a shot.
Let’s have a talk about the CadMouse and the likes.
Best Mice for CAD
Middle dedicated button
What is the best mouse for CAD work?
We can sort out one feature after the other and highlight the ones we should pay attention to while hunting for the best mouse for CAD work.
First thing first, Drafters are often categorized in 2D and 3D groups, just to say that one of the major information to consider is whether the CAD user is into 2D, 3D or both.
CAD 3D designers would definitely need a mouse that allows them to smoothly navigate in three dimension, which is a single most important detail a 2D drafter would care less about if at all.
Mouse grip and DPI
The type of grip of the mouse is not important, but for any CAD users with small hands, you would want to consider the size of the mouse you opt for. In term of DPI, I don’t believe much attention should be given to it, since most of the mice you will find on the market today have an acceptable DPI.
With the above being said, it is important to mention that having a mouse with adjustable DPI can help you adjust the sensitivity of your mouse to your likeness. The 3D mouse features an adjustable sensitivity, and this feature will be crucial while navigating around your 3D objects.
The middle dedicated button
The middle dedicated button is one cool feature the CadMouse comes with.
Any CAD designer will know that the mouse scroll wheel helps pan and zoom at the same time, press and hold to pan, scroll to zoom. But it is often hard to press and hold without scrolling. The CadMouse has a center dedicated button for panning.
Extra buttons (easily customize your mouse)
How much do we love extra features and able to spend extra bucks on them and barely use them to their full potential! Here Extra buttons can easily cut your operating time by two if used properly. But using an extra button is most time a tedious habit to build. Nevertheless, I will recommend trying a mouse with extra buttons and judging the whole experience for yourself.
One of the common and may be the most used way of using a mouse with extra buttons as a CAD designer, is to set these extra buttons to activate your most used commands. For example, as an architect, one of the most used command being the LINE command, you would want to be able with the less friction possible to activate that command. Setting one of your extra buttons to do just that can do the trick.
Secondary mouse (Recommended as extra for 3D CAD users)
Navigation in Three-Dimension
Navigating in 3D while working on a 3D project is the only task you will be sure of doing at least a couple of thousand times in an hour if I am not exaggerating. That is the major issue you would want to care for while looking for a tool that will ease this process as you focus on the more important: designing.
3DConnexion is the pioneer in creating mice for 3D CAD navigation. And that is not all, if you would absolutely make use of this tools, one thing you need to be aware of is, the SpaceNagivator 3D mouse is used best when combined with another mouse, it is not to replace your conventional computer mouse.
The Next combination will be advised.
Usually, the 3D mouse sits on the left side of your desk and should be handled with your left hand (if you happen to be right handed like me) and the ordinary mouse sits on the right side. The 3D mouse shown above is solely used for 3D navigation and other tasks can be handled using your ordinary mouse.
On the image above, you can see how both a 3D mouse (the spacemouse) and an ordinary mouse are combined to provide a better environment for three dimension computer-aided design projects.
The best CAD Mice reviewed
The 3Dconnexion CadMouse
The CadMouse is a laser wired mouse that features an incredible 8200 dpi.
If you hate clicking the mouse scroll wheel, you will enjoy its middle dedicated button that happened to just be more comfortable clicking that the scroll wheel.
The CadMouse has an easy-access button near the scroll wheel which you can program to activate your most loved and used commands.
This mouse also has 2 thumb buttons which usually serve to zoom in and out with just a click, you might as well need to program them to help you have a better life while designing.
The mouse itself is not so over the top impressive but the software associated with it really sets it apart.
Whether using SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk AutoCAD, ofAutodesk 3ds Max, CREO 3 or other CAD software, this mouse will at first be a little tricky to set to your need, but once set, you will enjoy it.
The 3D Mouse (SpaceNavigator)
If you are on a low budget, the SpaceNavigator may not be for you and one thing to understand is that this mouse does not replace your ordinary mouse, it complements it.
This is a nice tool for 3D CAD designer, it helps navigate your drawing space in all possible dimensions. It features and advanced 6 degrees-of-freedom optical sensor, meaning, you can use it to go up and down, left and right, front and back.
You can use this mouse to Simultaneously pan, zoom and rotate 3D models which is not possible with a conventional mouse.
This 3D mouse makes it much easier to control 3D models and scenes
This is the go-to mouse for 3D designers, CAD engineers. If you are looking for a more sophisticated version of this mouse, I will suggest you check the SpacePilot Pro out, a CAD dedicated mouse which is a more advanced version of the SpaceNavigator.
The Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball
The Logitech M570 Wireless trackball made to the list because of its ratio quality-price. It is far the cheapest on the list and it delivers.
The weird old school trackball it has helps you move your cursor around without moving your hand.
It is a wireless mouse that helps you take the burden of a wire off your shoulders. While purchasing this mouse, make sure you select the appropriate hand, the picture on the left shows the right-hand version of the mouse.
It features 4 customizable buttons.
The M570 is also built ergonomically and feels more natural in your hand, you would quickly notice how different the experience is while using this mouse.
The advantage of this “thumb-ball” design is that former mouse-users do not have to adapt to a different position
If you are one of the old school trackball users, you will be amazed by what this mouse bring to the table.
Logitech Trackman Wheel Optical
The Logitech Trackman is an advanced version of the Logitech M570. The reason why this mouse made it to the list is its good build quality, scroll wheel included and its programmable buttons.
The ball is positioned to be controlled with your thumb. Just as its counterpart the M570, the learning curve is pretty steep. But once you get used to it, you will find it close to impossible to do without it.
So far, this mouse comes only for right-handed people.
This mouse will make the perfect CAD mouse, as long as the shape does not hurt you while working for long hours.
There’s no reason to believe that one specific mouse is the best fit for all. Finding the best one always comes with a little bit of research.
Remember that with these types of mice, you will often need to take the ball out for maintenance purposes (cleaning the ball).
The Belkin is more than just a mouse. The first thing to know about the Belkin n52te is that you will need the appropriate driver to have the mouse work properly on your computer.
This mouse is basically a hybrid device. All the keys can be programmed to do anything your need them to do.
It features 3 different key-modes, allowing you to program the buttons up to three different customizable set of keys and be able to switch from one configuration to the others. If you are working with more than a CAD software, you can have a different button configuration for up to three CAD software.
Using this device for your CAD work, you can virtually program all your keyboard shortcuts on the Belkin. The hand rest will help reduce fatigue while working for long hours.
Just like the SpaceNavigator, this mouse is best used when added to your ordinary mouse. It is definitely not a replacemen for your ordinary mouse.
Hippus HandShoe M2WB Mouse
The only reason why the Hippus HandShoe M2WB Mouse was added to this list is its ability to cut down the strains inflicted to your hand by a lot.
If you have enough patience to adjust your habit to using the HanShoe mouse, it will be rewarding after some time. This mouse is one of the few that is indicated for people working long hours using their computer mouse.
As a CAD drafter, if you are rather in the need of something that will help you work long hours without feeling it in your wrist and hand, this is a mouse for you. This mouse is available in 3 sizes. It is a palm grip mouse, meaning it is designed for your hand to totally rest on the mouse from your wrist to the end of your ring finger.
Apart from its ergonomic features, this mouse is an ordinary three-button mouse.
The basic need of CAD software being a mouse with 3 buttons (the right and left button plus the scroll wheel), remember the later will always be the least requirement to get working with any CAD software. Whether you are an advanced user or a beginner remember to always scan your needs before opting for a mouse in order to make sure the mouse you select will satisfy your need.