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  • Writer's pictureLars Christensen

SpacePilot PRO and 12 days later

It is time to do a re-review of the SpacePilot PRO. When it was announced the 16th of this month I had only had a few hours with this almost futuristic device. 3Dconnexion makes a quality product, that was already clear for me when I last year purchased the $100 Space Navigator, from the packaging to the product itself it just feels right, the new SpacePilot PRO is no exception. I did a little head scratch at first in regards to how I would like to set up the SpacePilot PRO. I use a Logitech MX Mouse what is a top of the line mouse, that in itself have 5 programmable buttons. The dilemma is that with the introduction of the “S” key in Solidworks, and custom “right” mouse button in Mastercam ~read here~ I really do not use many programmable buttons or hot-keys. Then I remembered the reason in the 1st place I had purchased the SpaceNavigator and the MX Mouse, I had started feeling the 1st sign of the wear and tear all this clicking we do, especially with a $15 Dell mouse. So with a SpacePilot PRO on my left with all these cool functions I decided that the Spacepilot PRO should do the work and the mouse only purpose should be to point. Thinking that maybe out there is a CAD guy with a terrible crumbled mouse hand. So with “Left” mouse click on programmable button number 1 and “Right” mouse click on button number 3 (seemed most comfortable) I fired up Mastercam, I need to point out the Controller cap can not only rotate you part but with a forward and backward motion, it will also zoom in and out. I was surprised how fast my brain got use to this setup, and I actually kinda liked it, but it wasn’t near perfect by no means, the programmable button will not work when trying to highlight something by holding down the left mouse button while windowing, and though to my surprise if you minimize Mastercam or Solidworks and work in a Excel Spreadsheet the programable left mouse button on the SpacePilot PRO still works, but the rhythm of double clicking with you left pinky is quit hard working in the Windows environment. After 3 days working like this I decided that my condition is not that bad, so I made a setup that utilized the SpacePolit PRO and MX Mouse more as intended. There is a button that can turn on or off the rotation function on the controller cap, something I found very useful when working with 2D Geometry in Mastercam. Also need to note that there are views missing when using it in Mastercam, but supposedly that is a Mastercam issue check out this link. How to fix Mastercam views for SpacePilot PRO On the Solidworks side there was also some issues discovered, personally I did not do much Solidworks this past week, but Jeff Mirisola did 2 great blog post on the SpacePilot PRO. The 2nd one is about the SpacePilot PRO continues to loose its programmable key mapping, what quickly makes it a very expensive Space~Navigator (THIS NEED FIXING) check out Jeff Mirisola’s writing. 3Dconnexion’s Newest offering Dear SolidWorks & 3Dconnexion

The workstation I am using for Solidworks and Mastercam are not connected to the internet, so I did not really have a change get an opinion about some of the online features but Alex R. Ruiz also known as the Solidworks geek, wrote what I thought was the best review on the SpacePilot PRO and in that pointed out that the LCD Screen do not notify you with email or twitter updates, something that I think we where some that had got the impression it would, check out Alex R. Ruiz’s writing. Review: 3Dconnexion SpacePilot PRO 3D Mouse

I find the buttons on the SpacePilot PRO a little hard to press, and the “Fit” key is a little out of reach for my small hand. I am not sure I get the four vertical molded lines on the controller cap, it seems like they are 30 to 50 degrees off for my fingers to rest on them for at comfortable grip, actually thinking about it I did have the Space~Navigator slightly turned because of this Overall I still think this is a great product(Solidworks need fixing), at $499 and as a single parent the money would probably go to my daughters dance classes, but if I had a company and I was determent to be using the equipment the professional uses, then the SpacePilot PRO should be in the budget for sure.

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