Anyone who designs CAD models on the computer usually navigates through the virtual installation space with a mouse and keyboard. Alternatively, you can also use a 3D mouse, with the joystick of which you can rotate 3D objects as if you were really holding them in your hand.
Maker Salim Benbouziyane also wanted to try this input method because he was having trouble navigating Autodesk Fusion 360 CAD software. To do this, he quickly built himself a 3D mouse – according to his own statements without previous experience with such devices, but inspired by the products of the 3Dconnexion brand.
Benbouziyane uses the Adafruit TLV 493D three-axis magnetometer as a sensor to record the position of the joystick in three dimensions. This is attached to a small platform on a spring system that is visually reminiscent of a hexapod and reacts to six magnets opposite it. The QT Py RP2040 microcontroller processes the measured data and converts them into mouse and keyboard movements using the “TinyUSB Mouse and Keyboard” library.
In Fusion 360 you can then use it to rotate, tilt and move the camera. In addition, the 3D mouse has two buttons to reset the view or to scale the 3D model to the window section. To ensure that the input device is also recognized by the program, Benbouziyane uses the Fusion 360 Python interface and a script in which he defines functions that he then links to the device’s axes and buttons in the user interface.
Benbouziyane built the case in Fusion 360, 3D printed it and painted it. He makes the data available for download on his GitHub repository. Detailed instructions including the making of can be found on instructables.com. In the accompanying video, he also refers to projects by other makers who have also dealt with this topic.