3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator SE

Posted by staff | Posted in Nintendo DS | Posted on 22-10-2010


  • Advanced 6 degrees-of-freedom optical sensor
  • Simultaneously pan, zoom and rotate 3D models
  • 2 programmable function keys
  • SpaceNavigator SE model includes commercial use license and full technical support
  • Ideal for 3D designers, CAD engineers, architects

Product Description

3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator SE

Comments posted (5)

Anyone doing 3D modeling, particularly in architecture, really has to have one of these devices if their software supports it.

The SpaceNavigator supports several products that I use on a daily basis: Graphisoft ArchiCAD, Abvent Artlantis Studio, Google SketchUp and Google Earth. [Right-handed user assumed here...] It is placed to the left of the keyboard, so that you have you right hand still on your mouse. It is not a selection device, but a navigation device.

Navigating in 3D in many 3D applications is a jerky process – smooth pan, rotate, etc followed by moving your mouse to a new position (causing a pause in the action) and start moving again.

With the SpaceNavigator, movement is fluid and (if you change the preferences to high speed) – fast (and fun)!

The SpaceNavigator can be set up to work in your model in either a fly-through mode or in ‘object’ mode. I prefer ‘object’ mode. If I am looking at a building, the movement of my hand on the SpaceNavigator is identical to if I was holding a physical model of that building in my hand. If I rotate away from me, the building rotates away. Push to the left, the building pans to the left. Lift on the knob, the building rises on the screen. Etc. Extremely intuitive and slightly immersive.

In ArchiCAD or Artlantis, I can work much faster than with mouse alone… and in perspective mode, so the views are more realistic. I can instantly get to the back side of the building, looking up at the fascia to deal with a rafter issue there, for example.

I’m a heavy user of keyboard shortcuts, and do not find that it interferes at all with that, as suggested by another reviewer. The device is immediately to the left of my Cap Lock key, so it is milliseconds to get my hand back over the keyboard.

With clients, there is almost no need to generate animations (movies) since you can move accurately and fluidly in OpenGL to walk through a building in real time. But, even for animations, the SpaceNavigator lets you quickly set up camera positions.

Google Earth is pretty fun with it, too – again, completely fluid navigation, vs the move, pause, jerk kind of navigation achieved with a mouse.

Note that this review is on the SE page, but applies to the PE model as well. The license is the only thing I hate about this thing. The SE and PE models are identical, differing only in their license details. The SE is for non-commercial work, the PE for commercial (for profit). You can ‘upgrade’ an SE to a PE on the manufacturer web site – although it is cheaper to buy a PE here at Amazon in the first place.
Rating: 5 / 5

1st make sure you read all other reviews. They all have pertinent information. I’m a mechanical product developer for the aerospace industry. Using Solidworks for 3D modeling and Mastercam for programming CNC machining centers, I find the Space Navigator priceless. I do own the Space Pilot, and the Space Traveller and the Space Navigator. All are worthy of their intended capability. So if you need to design/model intriquete parts where you need to explore inside cavities to confirm interaction of mating parts, this is the tool that does make it easier and faster than any other tool in the CAD industry. If you want to play with one for anything other serious CAD modeling, buy the cheapest one and get it out of your system. There’s no need for this device unless you’re needing 3D solid model control. As far as the differing prices, I’m equally satisfied with my $59 Navigator as I am with my $499 Space Pilot. If you need this tool and don’t need the customizable features, spend the $50+.
Rating: 5 / 5

I recently purchased the Space Navagater and was impressed by it’s sleek style and response BUT if you’re using it in Maya 3D it will grind even the most powerful CPU to a halt.I have a quad core G5 with 6 gigs of RAM. I work in Maya as a CG artist and instead of drivers this thing uses mel scripting to function and will choke your system full of callback info and become useless and unuseable after about 2 minutes of use. The company claims on the box it works well with Maya well it simply doesn’t. Someday when they write a good driver perhaps I will be back in business, BUT for now it is a paperweight at my workstation.
Rating: 2 / 5

I have used this SpaceNavigator SE for a few months now on 3D modelling programs such as Inventor 9 and Solidworks 2008. I find it very helpful, although I wish it had more than two buttons. It does take a while to become accustomed to manipulating it, but it is well worth it.

I did find that the rubber on the bottom does not stick well to my desk’s surface so I grabbed some spare silicone rubber sheet (McMaster-Carr part no. 86045K411) and trimmed it to match the bottom. It is really grippy. The fit and finish is very nice. The software is good and has enough adjustments to satisfy a picky user like myself. I wish more applications supported it though.

I am very happy I spent the money on it and would buy it again if I had to. It is also fun to watch coworkers use if for the first time as they fumble around. Most can’t keep a solid model on the screen for very long :)
Rating: 5 / 5

I was skeptical of this device at first, and probably did not need the so-called Standard Edition (but the price was acceptable either way).

I am a Mac user, and since 3DConnexion only released Mac Drivers for the SpaceNavigator a few months ago, the application support is rather sparse, but growing.

It works great in those apps that are currently supported, though support varies from app to app, and is dependent on how the application developer chose to use it.
Rating: 5 / 5

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