My last PDF sample of the NIST container assembly received a lot of great feedback so I decided to create another one. I kept the same goals in mind. I wanted to publish a clean, accurate, and visually appealing 3D PDF. The only difference is that this time I used a much larger assembly, 153 parts to be exact. I wanted my PDF to still have the classic 2D drawing feel while having a modern 3D spin on it.
In total the assembly overview is 3 pages. By using multiple pages to outline the assembly I can easily print the PDF if I need to. The first page has three side by side viewports for fast, clear, and easy viewing. It also includes a large title block at the bottom containing all the critical information. The title block is designed to look exactly like a 2D drawing. The second page of the PDF gets even better. Often times with large assemblies the bill of materials is a sheet all by itself so that’s exactly what I did. The bill of materials has its own page of the PDF.
Users can even scroll through the bill of materials to view the entire list. The scroll bar is located on the right hand side. The third page of the PDF is my favorite; it contains a full size viewport with an interactive top-level bill of materials. The page is designed to show off the benefits of using 3D PDF's for assemblies. Any sub-assembly can be quickly selected from the bill of materials and it will automatically highlight in the viewing area.
Notice how I overlapped the bill of materials on top of my viewport. This strategy of overlapping the BOM table is a great way to show off your assemblies. The BOM table is even transparent allowing the model to still be seen when behind it.
This was a new strategy that I tried and could not be happier with the results. You can even overlap text and PDF text areas. This makes for a visually appealing PDF while saving valuable “paper space” in the process. I created a quick test template and published it to show how easy overlapping items really is. It’s as simple as placing text fields and BOM placeholders directly over your viewport.
Feel free to check out the attached Assembly 3D PDF and look around. I also attached the 3D PDF's for the individual sub assemblies. I look forward hearing all the great feedback.