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Sunday, November 08, 2015

Batch Converting Files in AutoCAD - A Very Handy Tool

Earlier this week, I was faced with saving a handful of AutoCAD files from the 2015 to a 2000 version for use in a laser mill.

Naturally, the most direct way is to open the file in AutoCAD, and save back as a 2000 version.  But there's a handful of files, so it's going to take a little bit of time to save the files one a time.

Converting files one at a time.  This is a common look for
the person stuck with that task. 
But there's a utility here to help us out with that.

It's called DWG Convert, and lets you batch convert AutoCAD files to an older version of your choosing.

To get to the tool, go to the Application Icon (the big "A" as I like to call it) and choose Save As.

On the flyout, look for the DWG Convert icon.

The DWG Convvert Icon.
Choosing this icon, you'll be greeted by the DWG Convert dialog box. And there are options to choose from.

The different areas of the DWG Convert dialog

The sections listed by the blue icons are:

1) The list of files to convert (these haven't been added yet).
2) Icons to add files to be converted.  From left to right, they are:
Add files to convert

  • Add files to convert
  • Create list of files to convert
  • Open a list of files you've previously created
  • Append files to an existing list
  • Save to list

3) This section provides a list of selection setups to choose from

4) Finally, the Conversion Setup icon allows you to modify an existing setup, or create one of your
     own.  This is the one we're going with right now.

Clicking on the Configuration Setup button shows a new dialog box.

The Conversion Setups dialog box.
Here, you can create a new setup, as well as rename, modify, or delete existing setups.

In my case, I chose to create a new setup.  Since I'm converting to 2010, I used Convert to 2000 (in place) and selected new.  This creates a new setup based on the existing one I chose.

Changing different options for the conversion.

Now modifications can be made to the setup.  These include, how the files are handled (such as a zip file, or folder of files) which format to convert to, as well as several actions to perform on the files, such as purging and error correcting.

It's listed quite nicely in the Autodesk Help System here, so I won't try to recreate that particular wheel in this post.

Accepting the settings, I'll return to the previous dialog box, and add the files I want to convert.

Adding files to convert.

Once the files are added to the list, all that's left to do is click Convert, and let DWG Convert do its thing.

The conversion in progress.  The list can be seen in the background.
After a short span of time, depending on size, and how many files you're converting, it will all be done.

All done!
You can now get the files from the location you saved them to, and they're ready to do what you need!

So when you need to batch convert a bunch of files, here's a tool to keep in mind!

Photo Credits:

photo credit: 2 a.m. Tedium via photopin (license)

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Show Sick Constraints in Autodesk Inventor - A Newer Trick That's Worth It!

To borrow a phrase from Fiddler on the Roof, "Our old ways were once new, weren't they?"

And I'm reacquainting myself with building, changing, and modifying assemblies in my new capacity.  That means changing geometry after parts have been assembled.

And that means dealing with sick constraints!

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
But sometimes you need a heaping pile of cure.
I had to change a hole into a slot in order to give a part a easier to adjust.

Note! For this post, the top nut and washer have their visibility turned off to make the slot easier to see.  But it is there!

One of these holes has to become a slot
Creating the slot is easy enough.
However there were threaded rods and nuts that were constrained to the now removed holes, and naturally, those constraints lost association.

Locating these in the browser is usually easy enough.

The sick constraints in the browser.

But then I remembered that there's a tool that will make glyphs visible on screen to show me where my problem constraints were.

It's called Show Sick Constraints, and it was actually introduced in Inventor 2014.

Clicking this tool shows glyphs for the sick constraints right in the modeling window.  By right clicking on these, the options to change the constraints become available

The glyphs shown.  Note one washer/nut combination is invisible
Choosing the Edit option, the lost constraint becomes visible.  It's represented by the red arrow.

Right click on Edit

By clicking it, I can re-associate the missing constraint to the new geometry represented by the slot. It's just like when the constraint was added in the first place.

Replacing the constraint.  The nut and washer are invisible.
This makes it easier to select the desired geometry.

When compared to fixing constraints by the "right click in the browser" method, I found this to go by quickly.  I wasn't checking the browser, and using tools like "Isolate Components and "Find in Browser" nearly as often.  And while those are great tools, "Showing Sick" made the process smoother with a minimal amount of "mouse mileage".

The constraints restored!  The glyphs can now be hidden if desired with
the "Hide All" tool net to "Show Sick"
It's a nice tool that helped me quite a bit in this particular situation, I'd suggest you take a look and add it to your repertoire of tools!

Photo Credits

photo credit: photo credit: Conefluence! via photopin (license)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Lesson in Technology - The Activated Roller Belt

My learning experience in material handling continues and continues.... and continues some more.  Many times faster than I can absorb it.

Learning.  It can be a bit like this!
One newly acquired bit of knowledge I thought I would share is something called the "Activated Roller Belt" made by Intralox.

This fascinating bit of technology has a conveyor chain, like you might expect on a conveyor line, but in addition to that, it has small rollers embedded in the belt at an angle to the belts direction of travel. 

By activating these rollers in a controlled manner, the direction of travel for anything on the belt can be changed.  This is accomplished without gates or any other (apparent) physical force. 

Instead of trying to describe it, I was able to find a video showing it in action.  It's an interesting little watch.

I hope you enjoy a sharing my little bit of insight into the material handling world!

Photo Credits:

photo credit: punch via photopin (license)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Using the Refresh tool from Autodesk Vault

There's no better experience than real experience.  Especially when it comes to the nuances of things.

Some things you can learn by reading, others, like riveting, you must get out there and do!
One of the tools I've been using quite a bit in the last month is Refresh from Vault, particularly when I'm renaming or moving a file.

And I've found I do this a lot.  File names, which go part and parcel with our part numbers are always being tweaked in Vault.

With regard to moving files?  I have found that sometimes, I get in a hurry and hit that save button before I realize where I've saved to!

Fortunately, Vault's rename feature makes renaming files easy.  And it's just as easy to drag files from one folder to another in Vault  But there's always one rub.

I have the assembly containing the files open in Inventor at the same time.

Now I could always close Inventor, rename the assembly, and reopen the file, but that takes those few, precious, minutes I don't always have.

I could always wait to do it at the end of the day, just before I leave, but who am I kidding!  I'll never remember at the end of the day!

These don't often work for me...

I'll just keep repeating the remember/forget/repeat process in an engineering version of Groundhog Day!

But here's how you can use Refresh from Vault to quickly update files after a rename or move.

After files have been changed in Vault via Move or Rename, switch to your Vault browser in Inventor.  You may need to refresh the browser to make sure it's up to date.

You'll see a red symbol next to the files that need to be updated.

Files that need refreshing after a move or rename operation
All that's required is to right click on the file you need to update and choose, you may have guessed it, Refresh!

Right click to rename the files

Once that happens, the files will update!  If you've moved files, the locations will be updated, checking the files into the correct location in Vault, and the renamed files will be updated.

Files have been refreshed! 

It's a nice trick that saves a few minutes, makes my day a little smoother, but most of all, makes sure I do something that needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and makes sure it doesn't get "saved for a later that never comes".

Photo Credits:

photo credit: Riveting team working on the cockpit shell of a B-25 [i.e. C-47] bomber at the plant of North American Aviation, Inc., Inglewood [i.e. Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach], Calif.   (LOC) via photopin (license)

photo credit: Russell Building: Interior Design Studio via photopin (license)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Getting Your Autodesk Inventor Threads to Stay on by Default


A couple of notes before you read the whole blog!

  • My tests were conducted with Autodesk Inventor 2015, the version I'm currently using at work. Other versions may behave differently!
  • If you're comfortable editing your registry, follow the instructions at Being Inventive here, and you won't need to follow the steps I describe.  

If you choose to read on... Welcome!

Thread solo! 
Relearning design engineering has been an eye opening experience, and there's no doubt it will continue to be.

I had forgotten, in the mad world of hustling drawings, every little thing you can do to make your life a little easier helps.  Something a little faster or a little more accurate can save you a lot of time.

One setting that got me on a drawing was the default thread behavior in Inventor.  It's unchecked by default, which means that threads won't display in a drawing.

It's not a big deal to check the box and turn it on.  The trick is remember into to check the box!

What would really be desirable, is to set it once, and have it stick that way.

Fortunately, there is a way!  Here are the steps.

The first thing to do is start a base view just like you would any view.

But before you place anything, make sure to check the "Thread Feature" option to turn on the hidden lines that represent threads.

This part is important.  Make sure to check the box before placing the view!

Check this box BEFORE placing the view.

Once the box is checked, place the view.  The threads will not only show, but the threads will "persist" and display by default the next time you place a view..

There are my threads!

There is a small downside though.  You'll have to do it for each file type.  That means doing this procedure for parts, sheet metal, assemblies, etc.

It's not difficult, it just takes a little bit of time.

Also, if you want Autodesk to change it, don't shake your fist in the air.  Let them know at the Autodesk Idea Station here!

I've placed my vote!

Photo Credits:

photo credit: The Backup Band via photopin (license)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Never, Ever, Stop Learning

This week's post isn't an Inventor related post, at least not directly.  The new job has been keeping me hopping.  But I do have a post in the works.  I'm hoping for something next week!

This particular weekend was consumed by attending a 15 hour avionics and electricity course with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).

An example of a harness I learned to make! 
It was exhausting, but on so many levels, amazing and inspiring.

If you've read back to my post a few months ago, you know that electricity has intimidated me in the past.

In fact, it still does in some ways.

But there I was, on October 10th, 2015, facing electricity again.  And just like in my last class, I took a deep breath and told myself; "You can learn this!"

And.. I did!   How?

The instructor was amazing.  He had worked on aircraft for years, and had that rare gift of making the topic interesting, and easy to understand.

The examples contained both theory, and hands on exercises that reinforced the theory by application in the real world.

So I listened, I practiced stripping and crimping coax cable.

That making taking this.

A journey starts with a single step.

And turning it into this!

The end of one, small journey. 

I studied a chart that sized wires based on voltage, amperage, and wire length.

With a little work, I can interpret this chart now!
(From FAA AC43.13)
Finally, at the end of day two, I was given the following pile of components and a schematic

  • Power (AA battery)
  • Circuit Protection ( a fuse)
  • Switch
  • Light which was turned on by the switch
  • Dimmer
  • A light controlled by the dimmer
  • An aluminum chassis to mount it all in

I took a few minutes, to look at the schematic and components.   I had to use those components to make the schematic reality.

I traced schematics, I cut and stripped wire, I soldered wires to connections and crimped on round connectors.

Finally, it was time to test.

I flipped the switch... and the light turned on!

I twisted the dimmer... and the light dimmed and brightened.

I had actually done it!  Me, the man who hated electricity built a circuit that worked the first time!

It even looked reasonably clean!

So in the end, so what?  I soldered a grip of wires and components together.  There is no doubt that there are those of you out there who can outdo my work in your sleep.

Two words.....  Confidence.  Inspiration.

Not mine.  Yours.  Ponder that a moment, if you will.

The business types, the ones in the fancy offices and neatly pressed suits sometimes wag their fingers at me and say "there always has to be a call to action".

So here is your call to action.

Never stop learning.

I'll say it again.

Never.  Stop.  Learning.

Try.  Fail.  Even fail epically.

Ignore the peanut gallery mocking you from the safety of their couch.

Why? They're safe on the couch.  They aren't out there trying.

Go out there, and do what scares you a little.

Maybe learn a new software package, or learn how to run a 3D printer.  Learn how to change the oil on your car if that excites you!

It might be tough, it might be intimidating.  But if it inspires you, it's going to pay off.

It's worth it.

Now, go find it!

Photo Credits:

photo credit: Hello My Name Is a Student of Life via photopin (license)

Monday, October 05, 2015

An Application Engineer's Tale of Returning to Design

Last week, I accepted a job working as a design engineer again.

The engineer print.  It's been a while, my friend.
This meant leaving the world of being an applications engineer, or "AE", where my job functions included the support, training, and implementation of software such as Autodesk Inventor, AutoCAD, and Autodesk Vault.

Now, my function is to create designs for material handling equipment using those very same tools.  Conveyor lines, in a word or two.

My first steps to "learning the ropes" was helping another engineer create drawings for his project.

And I while I can't say that I was surprised at any one change in particular.  The experiences I saw were for the most part, what I expected. Yet, I still found myself reflecting on what I saw during week one.

Here are a few.

I have a desktop, not a laptop!

Well, this is different!
If there was a surprise, this was probably the one.

I've been running Inventor on laptops for over ten years.  I've gotten accustomed to just flipping open my laptop at home and running Inventor.  Now, when I leave work, I'm done with CAD until the next morning.

That also means that creating Inventor videos for InventorTales is on pause for the moment.  I don't currently have the gear.  But I am hoping to be able to do that again soon.  :)

Change is hard... For a reason.

Changing is one thing.  Making the right changes?  Another thing entirely. 
As an AE, running my own system, I could turn on a dime.  If I wanted to change how I maintained templates, for example, I just did it.

I could take a couple of hours to reinstall software if I needed to.  It just took a little planning.

Now, I'm exposed to the deeper ramifications to changing things.  How does this affect your fellow engineers? Will this "simple" change cause confusion on the shop floor that will cause delays and mistakes?

Change often requires the careful thought of a chess master, not the lightning fast reactions of a table tennis player.

Just because change is hard, it doesn't mean good people are unwilling to make changes.

One thing about change.  You can't avoid it.
My new coworkers have started asking me questions in Inventor.  I've gotten a couple of "how to's", and I'm more than happy to help.   If a new tool or process in Inventor makes sense, they're willing to adopt it.

Which brings me to my final point...

Know your product! 

Remember, tools are what make your product. Good tools should make a better product faster.
As an application engineer, my product was software, and the processes that surrounded it.  Software like Inventor and Vault, and their services were the product.

Now....  Surprise!  Material handling equipment is the product.  Software exists as a vehicle to get that equipment built.  It's a tool, just like the laser mill for cutting steel, and the router for cutting plastic.

No matter how cool the tool is, how pretty it works, if it doesn't help get the product made, then it's just a cool parlor trick.

In Conclusion?

First of all, there is no conclusion.  This story is still getting written and it will get written for some time to come.  I hope to be an asset to my new employer helping them make a better product, and I hope to learn a new set of skills myself.

In one week, I've only taken the very first steps.  I hope in the following weeks to keep taking those steps, and to share them with you out in the 'Verse.

Stay tuned!

Photo Credits

photo credit: Rolleiflex TLR on Rollei blueprint at Rollei/DHW factory Braunschweig Germany via photopin (license)

photo credit: Choose Your Direction Sign House Gainesville via photopin (license)

photo credit: Changes #2 (lock) via photopin (license)

photo credit: A Worker at Linread via photopin (license)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The (Bald) Eagle has Landed

I think I'm quite ready for another adventure."
Bilbo Baggins - Return of the King

Time to find out what's over that hill. 
This week is a short post to announce that I'm joining Can Lines Engineering as a Mechanical Engineer.

I'm looking forward to getting back into a design and manufacturing again.

I'm sure it's going to be a new adventure full of new challenges and learning experiences.

I'm hoping to "relaunch" InventorTales as a part of this, and share new tips and new experiences.

Stay tuned!

Photo Credit

photo credit: Nick via photopin (license)

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Visit to Westec 2015!

I've had some time on my hands while I've been on the job market, so I decided to take a drive to the Los Angeles Convention Center and spend a short time at Westec 2015.  

A little tech in action
There was some pretty cool technology there!   

The first machine I saw was a waterjet machine made by Flow Waterjet.  It's been a little while since I've had any interation with one, but the most interesting thing I learned was that the taper (caused by the waterjet spreading out as it cuts through the material) has been eliminated by automatically tapering the head.

I also made a trip to see if there were any 3D printing companies there.  I did find the 3D Systems booth.  Most of the things I have seen before.  But it's always an amazing technology to see.  There's a certain Zen I find watching the machine build,   And the things have gotten much more amazing since I last saw it in the early 2000s. 

And seeing how it's a show for machine tools, I had to see a few more "traditional" CNC machines.  I only call it traditional because they're probably the oldest technology there, but event that technology evolves constantly.  

I was able to get a pretty good video at the Datron booth of a machine running toolpaths.  I wish I had gotten there when it was cutting the part instead of repeating the path over a finished part, but I'm sure aluminum billet gets expensive after a while.  Not to mention cleanup!  

Finally, I did swing by the Autodesk booth where they were showing Autodesk Inventor HSM and HSM Works.   As a long time CAD jockey, I can say that it's strange to see Solidworks running in an Autodesk booth!   But this is life in the modern era.  Autodesk is a Solidworks supplier after all. 

The Autodesk booth was like this all day! 
They were making parts on a Haas CNC machine, and they were getting a lot of attention.  I could barely get room to get the video! 

I was really amazed at how crowded the show was.  It was a zoo!  Which is great for the vendors.  I'm glad they're busy.  It took me nearly 45 minutes and repeated flybys of the SolidCAM booth before I was able to talk to a friend for 10 minutes.

But all in all, it was a good show.  I just wish I'd been able to grab a few more pictures and videos! 

And by the way, if you ever have a chance to swing by a trade show in your industry, I encourage you to do it!  You don't have to spend all day, you don't have to become the "turtle person" who is weighed down by twelve bags full of t-shirts, pens, and squeezy stress balls.

But see what's out there, and see what you thought was state of the art, may have past into history while you were hunched over your desk in the cubicle farm.

Technology will march on!  And it won't wait for you to make sure you packed a lunch. 

Monday, September 07, 2015

When is it the Right Time to Buy the Right Tool?

Recently I had the experience of changing my own front brake pads again on my runabout, the 2007 PT Cruiser.

A typical caliper for disc brakes. 

In the last couple of years, my schedule has been busy enough where it's been easier to take it to the shop, and pay someone else to do it.  But I decided to do it myself this particular day, because I missed that certain Zen I get when I work with my hands.  

The steps to change brake pads isn't a hard one.  It's a matter of jacking up the car, taking a tire off, removing the caliper, swapping the brake pads, and reversing the steps.

You can find the basic steps here. 

But there's always one step that makes it a little tricky.  

The calipers, which press the pads against the rotor to slow the car, are extended because the old pads are worn down.

One of my old pads vs the new.  You can say I got my money's worth! 

That means that getting the new pads to fit around the rotors, which means compressing the caliper piston, which means using a tool, improvised or otherwise. 

Many years ago, when I was a broke college student and would spend hours working on my own car, I would wrangle a the calipers open using a combination wrench or a screwdriver as a pry bar.  This usually included a lot of grumbling as I balanced the caliper in my hand an tried to get leverage with whatever improvised tool I was using.

One day, I was having one of those "garage conversations" with an old mechanic laughing about opening calipers.  He reached into his toolbox and said "buy one of these".  And showed me a caliper opener.

I bought one that same day.

Although there different styles for this tool, the one I purchased nearly twenty years ago uses a screw and scissor mechanism.  Not unlike the scissor jacks included with most modern cars.

The piston compressing tool ready for action
By twisting the screw, the scissors open, and the caliper piston compresses.

It has reduced both the time, and aggravation of getting the calipers open.

You may have guessed that the moral of my story is "have the right tool for the job".  As a matter of fact, I've written a post on a very similar vein before.

But that's not always part of it.  Many times, there always a "better tool".  But in order to enjoy the savings of the tool, you have to spend the money on the tool.

I'm sure there are a few of you who are thinking, "that tool is a waste of money, an improvised pry bar will work just fine!"

Are they wrong?  I don't think they are.  It's a choice they've made based on their own unique experience.

The other question?  Is there enough benefit to having that tool to justify the investment?  

That's the big question that has to be answered.  Depending on your tool, ROI calculators may be available, but do they tell the entire story.

Some other things that might be worth considering.

  • How often will you use the tool?  Are you going to use the tool every day?  Every few months?  Or "Who knows when the next time will be?"  The more use you get out of the tool, the better off you'll be. 
  • How much time does it save? If it's saving you 5 minutes every 2 years, and costs thousands of dollars, it's not as wise of an investment as something that costs a few hundred dollars and saves thirty minutes every few weeks. 
  • How much frustration does it save you? Are you, or one of your coworkers cursing a blue streak while trying to "make it work"?  Someone who's frustrated can make other costly mistakes.  That frustration can even seep into other projects. 
  • There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it twice! In other words, how much does it cost *not* to have the right tool? Are you scrapping parts because it takes more than one try to do what the right tool could do once?  Scrap costs money too. 
The right tool can turn a frustrating job into a "cakewalk",  But at the same time, buying a tool "to have it" can get expensive quickly. 

Whether it's a caliper opener costing 15 US Dollars, a CNC machine costing 100,000 US Dollars, or a CAD Program costing 10,000 US Dollars, it's not always a simple decision.  

From the wrench to the CNC machine in the background, every tool has to
make more than it cost to make its purchase worth while.
Image courtesy KRF Machine
That's where consideration, analysis, and a large dose of experience have to combined to decide when the time is right to make that investment. 

Photo Credits:

photo credit: Primed Caliper via photopin (license)

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

My Test Drive of a 3Dconnexion CadMouse

The last few weeks I've had an opportunity to test drive the new CadMouse from 3Dconnexion.

The guest of honor for this post. 
Color me impressed.   Very impressed. Here's why.

Initial Impressions

Naturally, I had to inspect the mouse when I first freed it from it's packaging.  The feel is nice and solid, and it fits comfortably in my hand.

It was much bigger than my current go to mouse, a Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX.  Which I am a big fan of, incidentally.

My CadMouse on the left, my Anywhere MX mouse on the right. 

As I inspected the buttons, I quickly noticed there are three mouse buttons, plus a wheel, plus a gesture button.  On top of that, there are two additional buttons on the side.

  1. Side buttons
  2. Left button
  3. Middle button
  4. Right button
  5. Scroll wheel
  6. Gesture Button

Each button has its purpose. And you can control that purpose
The Test Drive

Installing  the driver, was pretty easy.  Having my laptop recently go back for repairs, I had to reinstall my drivers. But after a quick download, a few clicks and a little waiting over a cup of coffee, and it's ready to go.

Next it's time for the rubber to meet the road.  Drive it!

I purposefully ran without my usual SpacePilot Pro.  I didn't want to use it as a crutch and skew my opinion of the CadMouse.

So in I dove into Autodesk Inventor with the CadMouse alone.

The first thing I fell in love with was the wheel.  As much as I love my Anywhere mouse, I hate the scroll wheel for panning.  It's great for non-CAD applications.  But for double clicking to "Zoom Extents" in Inventor with the Anywhere mouse?  Forget it.  I programmed the menu button to duplicate the middle mouse so I could zoom and pan with that.

The CadMouse on the other hand, works beautifully for scrolling and panning. That alone is a big winner for me. It's designed for CAD users, nuff said.

The rest of the buttons are smooth, and work nicely.  I customized the extra middle mouse button as the "F4" key, so I can use that as a shortcut to access my orbit tools.

The Gesture button is a nice tool.  It places commands on a "Heads Up Menu" that you can customize.  I haven't had a chance to really customize it, but I see it as a great way supplement the commands on Inventor's marking menus.

The gesture menu in Autodesk Inventor.  And it can be customized.

The "Side Buttons" are set to Zoom in and Out by default.  I've changed them to Undo and Redo.  Since those are tools I use often.  I'm content to scroll with the mouse wheel.

And as for that optional mouse pad.  It's not a necessity to use it with the mouse.  The CadMouse works great on the surfaces I've used.  This includes tables made out of plastic laminate and my mahogany coffee table.

3Dconnexion also included the optional mouse pad.  The first thing I noticed about this is it's about the size of a small helipad at 350mm x 250mm (13.75 inches x  9.875 inches).

The mouse pad has plenty of room! 
While not required to use the CadMouse, the mouse pad makes the CadMouse just glide.  It's like having a great car on the urban freeway, versus having the right car on a wide open country road.

I do recommend the mouse pad for the desk at home, although it might be a little tough to travel with.

The "Drawbacks"

I really can't find much to say is "bad" about it.  I always feel I have to find "something" to have a proper review, but I'm really splitting hairs.  I had to try to find something.

The cord sometimes gets in my way. Due to the fact I'm very mobile and always have it connected to a laptop, I tend to have a lot of extra slack. Wireless might be nice, but in a few seconds, I can arrange the cord so it's not in my way.

And because it's corded.  No batteries to change!

.But that's a minor complaint, really.  If the cord is the best I can come up with, then I have a collection of nits I'd love for you to pick through.

At 100 US Dollars, it costs more than a many mice.  So sticker shock might be an issue.  But if much of your job is driving a CAD machine, this is an investment that will pay off quickly, especially with the ability to customize the buttons.

The Summary

The CadMouse is great.  That's all there is to it.  3Dconnexion put some thought into it, and it shows.  I've thoroughly enjoyed the time I've had with it so far, and I'm looking forward to getting some more time with it.

If you're in the market for a new mouse, I think you should seriously consider the CadMouse as an option.  You're doing yourself a disservice by not taking a look.

Next, I'll be customizing the buttons even further.  Not to mention connecting my SpacePilot again!