“We find ourselves in a CAD environment where $80,000 engineers who run $7,000 software suites on $6,000 workstations struggle to visualize designs (worth untold amounts of money) using a $45 mouse.”
So says CAD expert Robert Green in a new whitepaper on CAD organizational management. This disparity of spend highlights a serious problem faced by CAD professionals:
With so much money spent on displaying CAD models, companies haven’t invested accordingly in tools that help them effectively and intuitively manipulate these 3D models.
The Problem CAD Firms Face Today
On the software side, we’re limited. Various software suites have well-designed buttons and slider bars to smoothly toggle between features and functions. But you still have to click, select menu items and drag models with a normal computer mouse. That means a lot of mouse and muscle movement. In fact, some estimate that hardcore CAD pros move their mouse up to 1 kilometer per day.
This has been the norm for a long time. And navigating CAD software with just a regular mouse causes serious issues like:
- Excessive mouse movements and clicks, which lead to painful and potentially career-ending repetitive strain injuries and chronic hand, arm and wrist discomfort.
- Repetitive movements that cause slowdowns and extra labor, reducing company profitability.
- A design disconnect when you try to manipulate a 3D model with a mouse built for 2D work.
But it doesn’t have to be this way, says Green.
A Solution For Pain, Strain and Lack of CAD Productivity
Green suggests a solution: 3D mice. 3D mice are CAD input devices that you use in your non-dominant hand, while clicking and selecting with a regular mouse in your dominant hand. Gentle manipulation of the 3D mouse’s controller cap allows you to simultaneously pan, zoom and rotate your CAD model, while using the regular mouse to click menu items and draw. Some 3Dconnexion 3D mice feature additional buttons such as keyboard modifiers (Ctrl, Alt, Shift, Esc), standard view keys (e.g. top, left, front) and dedicated function keys for your favorite application shortcuts.
This two-handed workstyle distributes the workload across both hands, so it’s more comfortable. It’s also more intuitive, giving you a closer, more natural connection to your model. This doesn’t just result in more enjoyable design sessions; it raises productivity by 21% on average.
There’s one more major benefit, says Green: these combined advantages can, he calculates, save your firm millions. That’s the projected ROI on 3D mice for large enterprises. And small companies, Green finds, can also save boatloads of cash by implementing them.
Put simply, these devices offer the highest ROI for the least capital outlay.