You can make your SketchUp model dance

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Review by kshipp posted 07-25-2008 05:47 AM 5291 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
You can make your SketchUp model dance You can make your SketchUp model dance No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I just got this a few days ago and I love it already. That being said I should probably start with a description before I get questions about how many horsepower this router has or why the sander has a blue light on it.

This is a navigation device that is used for 3D graphics programs. I have seen people at work use similar devices but they actually do CAD for a living. I only do SketchUp for fun but this device is amazing. When you move the knob it is exactly like you are moving the object on screen. You can pan left/right, pan up/down, tilt, twist, turn, zoom, and roll. It sounds really complicated and it does take a bit of getting used to but it is really as simple as manipulating an object in real life.

I used to spend a lot of my time in SketchUp changing from the movement tools to the drawing tools and back again. The SpaceNavigator allows you to move the model with your left hand while you do all the drawing operations with your right hand.

3Dconnexion has a very good video on their website that shows how the SpaceNavigator works with SketchUp. It also works with about 100 other programs including all CAD programs and even Google Earth.

The one I got has the PE designation and retails for $60. It is the same hardware as the SE but the PE is only licensed for personal use. The SE is $100 to use it for commercial purposes.

The images here are shameless stolen from which is where I bought mine but I have no other affiliation with them.

I would highly recommend the SpaceNavigator for SketchUp and probably many other programs but I haven’t tried it with any others.

-- Kyle Shipp,

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179 posts in 4579 days

8 comments so far

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4758 days

#1 posted 07-25-2008 01:36 PM

I have been using one of these for about a year now. it’s a cool device and it definitely takes some getting used to. It’s really handy for times when you want to drag a line and rotate/pan the model at the same time. If you like Google earth its also fun to use this to fly around the models that people upload onto it.


View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4914 days

#2 posted 07-25-2008 04:15 PM

Wow, that is cool. I think I’m going to have to get me one of those! Thanks for the write-up.

View PurpLev's profile


8574 posts in 4449 days

#3 posted 07-25-2008 04:47 PM

I am using Contour Shuttle Pro (since I have it for video editing) for years, and its been great – but this one looks more fitting to 3D space navigation in a more intuitive way.

Thanx for the review and bringing this to our attention!!! it’s definitely a good one, and at a very good price. definitely recommended for anyone working with Sketchup on a regular basis – you’d be amazed at how smoother and easier it is to manipulate your projects.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View woodnot's profile


50 posts in 4415 days

#4 posted 07-28-2008 07:00 AM

Thanks for the product review ! ! ! Very useful tool.

-- NW wood worker

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 4792 days

#5 posted 08-01-2008 05:48 AM

Wow… I bet it takes some getting used to; I only knew of the ones IBM used to sell with their high end workstations for several hundred dollars a piece. This is very accessible to the casual user!

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View dmann's profile


82 posts in 4607 days

#6 posted 08-01-2008 04:32 PM

Glad I checked the reviews section, I’ve been looking for something like this. Thanks for the review, this is definitely going on my wish list!

-- David / Durham, NC

View Mark D.'s profile

Mark D.

155 posts in 4569 days

#7 posted 11-04-2008 09:37 PM

This is indeed a great piece of equipment. I have two! I liked the first one so much, which is in use with my laptop for 3D work that I bought a second one that is a component of the CarPC I have been building(as seen below) which operates in an almost identical fashion to the BMW iDrive system.

P.S. I apologize for the low quality… my camera phone will only do so much…


-- Looking for free wood working plans? Visit us at

View Grumpy's profile


26493 posts in 4652 days

#8 posted 11-04-2008 11:08 PM

Interesting gadget.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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