Input devices

30 January 2013

Al Dean test drives two gaming mice that also offer precise control for CAD

Health and Safety managers will spend hours scrutinising the position of a CAD user’s office desk, adjusting the chair and positioning the monitor, but how much attention is paid to the device that is actually used the most — the mouse?

Below we look at two new “Gaming” mice, which also happen to be ideally suited to complex CAD work by offering impressive levels of customisation for operation and ergonomics.

Firstly, DPI switching enables the user to toggle between tracking speeds. I’ve found this invaluable: speeding things up for general computer work and then slowing things down for more precise CAD work.

Secondly, these devices typically have a greater level of adjustability in terms of ergonomics. Both of the devices have adjustable palm rests, with one of them even offering weight adjustment, alternative palm and finger rest positions and different options for grip.

TT Esports Level 10 M Mouse

Designed by BMW DesignWorks, the Level 10 M Mouse is quite a beast.

Built on an aluminium chassis, it offers DPI switching with a set of fully configurable presets, the usual three mouse buttons plus scroll wheel. It also features a host of back/forward buttons either side of the unit that can be fully customised.

To adjust, the palm rest can be raised and lowered (by 5mm) as well as tilted to find the best working position, with a single allen key included in the rather fancy packaging.

Those with small hands might find it to be a bit on the big side, but for those with large bear paws, it’ll prove up to the job. It’s a wired device, with a tangle free braided cable and enough LED lights to be mistaken for a Christmas decoration.
£83
ttesports.com


Mad Catz Cyborg RAT7

The RAT7 is one of the most configurable products I’ve come across.

It features a fully adjustable set of thumb and palm rests, supplied with rubberised alternatives as well. The device can be adjusted for weight in 30g increments by removing small weights in the unit.

In terms of customisation, it has the usual three buttons and scroll wheel, as well as a thumb activated back/forward buttons.

DPI settings can be preset, located just behind the scroll wheel, as well as a target button that momentarily down-samples the tracking speed when the user is doing precision work.

Again, the cable is braided resulting in no tangled cables if put into a bag. The same product is also available in a wireless configuration as the RAT9, if that’s your bag.
£67
madcatz.com

3Dconnexion spacemouse pro

No feature on input devices for CAD would be complete without a tip of the hat to 3Dconnexion.

The company’s 3D control devices are used in conjunction with a standard computer mouse, providing exact control when manoeuvring 3D models on screen.

3Dconnexion offers a comprehensive range, from the entry-level SpaceNavigator, right up to the high-end SpacePilot Pro.

All devices feature a controller cap that gives the user free control over a 3D model on screen. It can be twisted, turned and pulled to navigate around the model freely, while the 2D mouse is used in the other hand to work directly with the CAD geometry on screen.

The SpaceMouse Pro is one of the most popular for desktop CAD — a slick, comfortable unit which has a wealth of common keyboard modifiers (control, alt, shift, escape etc) as well as fully customisable short cut keys that work on a per application basis.
£249
3dconnexion.com         

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