When you find yourself doing a lot of work in 3D modelling, you occasionally wish for something more capable than the humble two-dimensional mouse. A space mouse is a great tool in this regard, and [Salim Benbouziyane] was inspired to build his own.
[Salim] started his work with research, by watching a teardown of a Connexion Space Navigator 3D mouse. This informed him of the basic functionality and the workings inside. The commercial product appears to use an optical sensor setup, but [Salim] decided to go with a magnetic sensor setup instead due to the parts he had on hand. Namely, a 3-axis magnetometer which seemed perfect for the task.
The build uses a motion platform mounted on six springs which translates and rotates in three dimensions as required. The magnetometer is mounted on the platform above a stationary set of neodymium magnets. Thus, when the platform, and thus sensor, moves, the magnetometer’s output can be used to determine the motion of the platform and translate that into useful viewport commands for CAD software. A RP2040 is charged with reading the magnetometer and acting as a USB HID device. It’s all wrapped up in a neat 3D-printed housing.
For now, it’s a little simpler in its operation than a full 6 DOF Spacemouse, but it nonetheless has helped [Salim]’s workflow improve. A good peripheral like this can be a real boon on the desktop; we’ve seen a few DIY projects in this realm for just that reason. Video after the break.
[Thanks to CH for the tip!]