You know the feeling you get when you find a tool that makes you feel all gitty inside every time you use it, kinda like grabbing a 220v line? Have I got a new one for you today! A Space Navigator. It will make your toes curl every time you touch it. Besides, who doesn't like the name "Space Navigator"? And it goes right along with the Festool tools are Cylons theme. It might even beat out the Festool Tracksaw for toe curling action, maybe...
I started using Sketchup to do initial designs on some new projects around the shop. I've used a number of what I would consider "big boy" CAD/CAM software packages ( Ideas, Pro Engineer, Catia, Cadam, Solidworks, etc ) but Sketchup took some getting used to. One of the tools I used to use was what we called a SpaceBall, or a 3D mouse on my SGI workstation.
The 3D mice are vastly improved these days, and a good bit cheaper as well. As it turns out they work beautifully with Sketchup.
I found a deal on Ebay for a 3D Connexion Space Navigator and very impatiently waited for it to show up. A bounding Tornado burst through the office door carrying a very cold but nicely boxed piece of heavenly goodness.
It has 2 buttons which are user programmable, a nice blue light, and a soft rubber joystick.
I put it on the left of my keyboard so I can use my right hand for the mouse.
To use it, think of the joystick as the model so when you want the model to move up on the screen, pick the joystick up gently, same for left, right, etc. To zoom you pull it towards you. You can flip, rotate, and make yourself motion sick till your heart is content.
Now working with models is 10X faster for sure.
I can't recommend getting one of these enough, or even one of the bigger brothers which have a lot more buttons!