3D Mouse With 3D Printed Flexures And PCB Coils

3D mice with six degrees of freedom (6DOF) motion are highly valued by professional CAD users. However, the entry-level versions typically cost upwards of $150 and are produced by a single manufacturer. [Colton Baldridge] has created the OS3M Mouse — an open source alternative using PCB coils and 3D printed flexures.

The primary challenges in creating a 6DOF input device, similar to the 3Dconnexion Space Mouse, lie in developing a mechanical coupling that enables full range motion, and electronics capable of precisely and consistently measuring this motion. After several iterations of printed flexure combinations and trip down the finite element analysis (FEA) rabbit hole, [Colton] had a working single-piece mechanical solution.

To measure the knob’s movement accurately, [Colton] employs inductive sensing. Inductance to Digital Converters (LDCs) assess the inductive alterations across three pairs of PCB coils, each having an opposing metal disk mounted on the knob. This setup allows [Colton] to use a Stewart platform‘s kinematic model calculate the  knob’s relative position. The calculation are done on an STM32 which also acts USB HID send the position data to a computer. For the demo [Colton] created a simple C++ app to translate the position data to Solidworks API calls.

7 thoughts on “3D Mouse With 3D Printed Flexures And PCB Coils

    1. Dude, you are like the second person I know that uses one of those, I have like 3 because I got them cheap on eBay.
      It’s a bit sad though that development stopped on their software. But so far it still seems to be working ok.

      1. Well you are only the second person Ive known that has one as well.

        Bought mine direct from them years ago. I started with a Spaceball 5000. Switched to a Puck and hated it. So when I ran across Spacecontrol I jumped ship. If 3dconnex would go back to the ball Id give them a shot again, but until then, or until it dies Ill stick with it.

  1. Colton Baldridge is very creative:
    – names it OS3M ‘awesome’ mouse
    – uses three dimes as targets
    – figures out PCB induction coils
    – figures out Stewart platform kinematics equations
    -programs it

  2. I like projects like these as it uses a few known concepts and puts an interesting spin on it. I’ve never seen an inductive sensor being used as a steward platform. It might even be a potential solution for a project I had forgotten I had.

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