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Using 3DConnexion Spacemouse with Linux

Uh… 3DConnexion Spacemouse Wireless?

If you’re like me and spend any amount of time in the 3D world, whether it’s for game design, game development, motion graphics, 3D animation, or CAD, you’ve probably felt a bit limited and slow when it comes to navigating the 3D viewport. In some programs, you even have to grab different tools or hold hotkey combos to get the movement you want (zoom, pan, fly, rotate, etc). A company called 3DConnexion has made a fantastic effort to fix all that. For this driver install, I’m using a 3DConnexion Spacemouse Wireless.

If you’re on a Mac or a Windows machine, it’s as easy as heading over to their site and installing one of their official drivers. It even comes with a little training program to help you get the hang of the basics.

Unforuntately, 3Dconnextion dropped linux support some time ago. They technically have a Linux driver available on their official site, but it doesn’t work. However, I found the solution:

Setup

There is an excellent 3rd party driver available online called SpaceNav and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened.

Installation is quick and easy. Just download the zipped file with the extension of your choice, extract it wherever you want, and execute the file named ‘configure’, then run ‘make’, and make ‘make install’, and if you want the changes to be permanent and start the driver everytime you boot, then just run ./setup-init. All these instructions are in a handy file named README! After a reboot, Blender should be up and running with your 3DConnexion Spacemouse.

Inside Blender

Once you’re in Blender, you can hit one of the shoulder buttons (the long, skinny buttons on the side) and it will bring up a settings menu for your 3D mouse. From there, you can tweak everything to your liking, including naviation speed, inverting axes, and include some a navigation guide when you fly around.

That’s it! All done. Enjoy flying around the 3D world with your fancy spacemouse!

Side Note:

This is currently not working with the daily build of Blender 2.8 as of March 25, 2019. It works fine on 2.79, though.

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