IBM 6094-051 Spaceball

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22 Mar 2021, 20:55

I bought it for ~£20 (I think) last year and I'm finally getting around to playing with it again. The most I've done with it is gotten it to handshake with Windows 10 over serial and made it beep. The device itself seems to be a rebrand of a Labtec (later 3DConnexion) Spaceball 4000. I'm going to eventually make some cross-platform software to see what else I can do with it beyond spaceball things like turn it into an actual pointing device (for whatever reason, because I can).

IBM's announcement: ... subtype=CA
Sound of the beeper: ... all-beeper

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23 Mar 2021, 01:55

This thing was made in 1999. There is no excuse to not have been aware of...

Them. Indeed.
Them. Indeed.
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24 Mar 2021, 00:23

I was looking at those recently, do you like the ergonomics?
I've got a SpaceExplorer with the modern puck shape and 90deg spaced homing bumps.

More recently I got a cadman for 10€ and I'm really not a fan of the grip, the flat sides provide no real grip to pull upwards and it's just too large. I considered printing a new shell for it but the sensor assembly is quite bulky

I found this linux program supporting various modes, it used an older uinput interface incompatible with my kernel so I adapted it to the newer one and added a scrolling-only mode as FreeCAD/blender have their own built-in drivers.
(Sidenote: According to the FreeCAD touchpad mouse model viewport scroll zoom shouldn't interfere, but it does. I'll post in the forum and ask for suggested solutions, ideally a corrected model, a scroll toggle or similar.)

I just put my changes on github if you're interested:
There's some additional changes needed for absolute mode so those aren't functional.

depletedvespene wrote:
23 Mar 2021, 01:55
This thing was made in 1999. There is no excuse to not have been aware of...

The original device actually came out just a year after the movie, perhaps they'd already decided on the name. A more detailed timeline
Rama & Musée Bolo, CC BY-SA 2.0 FR < ... fr/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons

It'd be a great match for the 3278 with a similar scoop and 4x2 key cluster, I'm tempted to make a clone with beamspring switches :)

More high-res pictures of switches, keypad pcb and peripherals: ... Space_Ball

There's a bunch of other hardware projects, perhaps more practical: ... xperiment/ ... ouse_keys/ ... ip_render/ ... #msg570338
Full keyboard, wireless:

More pics and teardowns:
4000 page, internal pics:
HR pic of sensor assembly: ... sembly.JPG
Teardown of a modern device: ... e-teardown

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20 Nov 2022, 23:17

sharktastica wrote:
22 Mar 2021, 20:55
The device itself seems to be a rebrand of a Labtec (later 3DConnexion) Spaceball 4000.
Believe it or not but the device existed even before labtec -- the original company (I forget the name) has been bought out like over 4 times. Because Logitec purchased labtec they also got the 3DConnexion assets and operate it as a division now.

There was a bit of controversy on the 3DConnexion forums as people were asking for support on newer version of windows, but the 3DConnexion employees insisted you couldn't run the devices on newer version of windows and demanded you just buy their latest products -- then one of the users got pissed and provided a work-around to get it working on newer versions. I forget the thread but anyone can probably find it with a bit of googlefu :P


21 Jan 2023, 16:24

I notice the top section of the Spaceball is detachable. Can it be flipped around for use with the left hand?

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