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Atom 3D Using Laptop Trackpad

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ivan Winters, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. Ivan Winters

    Ivan Winters New Member

    I am enjoying this forum.

    I am using Atom 3D 6 months Free Licence through cnccookbook website.

    I tried Freecad before looking at Alibre. Found the Freecad learning curve very steep, unintuitive interface and the tutorials badly written.
    So far have found the interface much easier and the tutorials make sense.
    Most of the threads on this forum are for users of the more expensive professional versions of Alibre. I can understand and respect that and enjoy reading them.
    A question specifically for Atom 3D users. The Tutorial shows various zoom, select, rotate etc options using a conventional mouse. But I like I suspect many 3D users use a laptop with a trackpad. Could we have some explanations of the operations using a trackpad instead of a mouse.

    Keep up the good work, colleagues
  2. DavidJ

    DavidJ Alibre Super User Staff Member

    You'll struggle with a trackpad in Atom3D. Much easier if you plug in a mouse.
  3. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

    I have never worked, or known any other CAD/3D user that uses a PC or Laptop without either a mouse or Connexion Space Navigator 3D. Using a trackpad is ok for on-the-go web browsing and text editing, but if you want to do any serious (or even casual) 3D CAD (or any graphics based editing) you need to get a mouse (I suggest 3 button with a scrollwheel).
  4. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Ivan, welcome to the forum!

    Just trust us on this - don't use a trackpad for design work. You will, at best, be 20% as efficient. There's just too much precise clicking and mouse interaction to have to bother with the actual View Rotate, View Zoom, and View Pan commands. You need to be able to do this on the fly, and to do that you need a mouse. A mouse should be considered required.

    Also, btw, you'll find that the majority of topics discussed for Alibre Design do relate directly to Alibre Atom3D. Some things like sheet metal discussions won't apply, but often design-related "how would I go about..." do apply directly to identical workflows and dialogs in Alibre Atom3D, so don't let that stop you.

  5. oldfox

    oldfox Alibre Super User

    Welcome Ivan.

    I never used the trackpad on a laptop. Just sprung for a mouse instead.
    Presently I use a Logitech M510 mouse. It has 7 programmable buttons, a scroll wheel and it's wireless. Not to mention that it is very reasonably
    priced at Walmart. Mouses (mice??) are really a very personal thing. Look around, ask around, feel around until you find one that fits your hand.
    They come in different size ranges. (small hands, large hands etc.)

    Enjoy Alibre.
  6. idslk

    idslk Alibre Super User

    Hello Ivan,

    in the time until you buy a mouse (like the other colleagues said - you will...), you can read the help and try it with one finger on the left trackpad button while the other finger moves the cursor with the trackpad...(using keyboard shortcuts to switch between zoom, pan and rotate...)
  7. Ivan Winters

    Ivan Winters New Member

    I quite understand that forum threads referring to Alibre Design also contain materials and concepts that I can also use on Atom 3D. As I said on the thread header I 'enjoy reading them' and learning from them.

    Thanks for the really friendly, helpful, prompt replies.
  8. BrysonWhiteDesign

    BrysonWhiteDesign New Member

    I have the same question as Ivan. I have quite successfully used Autodesk Fusion 360 for freelance work for the last five years on a Macbook Pro using the trackpad exclusively. It is definitely different than using a mouse with a desktop computer, but it is nice to have the flexibility to use the laptop anywhere instead of just at a table. On the Mac, it's simply two finger pinch for zoom, two finger slide to pan, and shift+two finger slide for rotate. Of course, the Mac trackpad is very precise, so it may not work as well on a PC that usually has a far less precise trackpad.

    It would be nice to either have this same functionality for Alibre on a PC, or to have Alibre accessible on a Mac.
  9. DavidJ

    DavidJ Alibre Super User Staff Member

    A lot of trackpad functionality depends on your hardware and drivers, not on Alibre. On Windows laptops, the functionality of trackpad varies quite a bit. One thing that generally isn't supported is use of L+R buttons together (for rotate).

    Though not officially supported, quite a few people use Alibre on Mac hardware - but that does require Windows.
  10. OTE_TheMissile

    OTE_TheMissile Alibre Super User

    When I had a seat of Alibre on my old HP Pavilion laptop (meeeeeeemoriiiiiies), I bought a little $20 travel mouse with a retractable USB cable & kept it in my laptop bag. Ergonomics were crap but it was lightyears ahead of trying to use the trackpad, and for a whopping $20. Well worth the money at the time.
  11. I too began using Atom3D with a laptop and trackpad. It was kind of awful, but I didn't want a mouse. I bought a Logitech M570 trackball, and like it waaayyyy better than a mouse. I am always lugging my laptop from shop to office to living room, and trying to find a good surface for a mouse would have been a pain.

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