9 Replies Latest reply on Apr 28, 2012 9:51 PM by Paul Baker

    Insert/Embed "3D Models" into Drawings

    Paul Baker

      Hi everyone,

       

      First of all thank you to anyone who can provide a response or advice upon this. I've been browsing the internet and these forums but can't seem to find an answer to my odd question. If this has already been addressed here or elsewhere, by all means call me blind and point me in the right direction

       

      I want to explore the possibility of embedding a 3D model file (such as .U3D) into a Solidworks Drawing (.SLDDRW) which will then be saved as a PDF, trick is I'd like to keep the 3D file's functionality (so user can still rotate, zoom, etc). Like I said, I know this might sound like an odd proposition. I currently use the "other method" of saving the drawings as a PDF and leaving a blank spot to insert a U3D file later.

       

      Reason I want to take this new approach however is that when our parts/products are updated it can obviously take a long time when it comes to the PDF side of things, especially regarding the U3D file. I'm aware that I can simply remove and insert new pages into an existing PDF when I need to make changes, this has been my approach so far, but when I recently discovered "Solidworks Task Scheduler" I've been hoping to speed the process up some more by using it to automatically update our PDF drawings on a daily/weekly recurrence. If our Drawings were "normal", ie: with no U3D Model, there wouldn't be a problem, but allowing our manufacturers to view the actual 3D Model of a part we've found has had advantages.

       

      So to my actual question, has anyone managed to achieve this? Would using an alternative to the type of 3D file used help? We'd prefer to keep to PDF's rather than e-Drawings for the obvious ease of use for everyone to view, but not biased towards the use of Adobe.

       

      I've tried inserting "U3D file's" and "PDF's only containing U3D model's" as an object into a drawing, but no success when later opening as a PDF. It more or less gets sent over as a picture of however it was interpreted by Solidworks - normally just text of the object's description/name/file path/etc. I am currently using Adobe Acrobat X Pro if this of relevance.

       

      Cheers,

      Paul

       

      Message was edited by: Paul Baker

       

      An acceptable alternative would be to set the Task Scheduler to convert part files into 3D PDF/U3D Files and have them inserted into the PDF drawings. For example the first page would contain 2D views, dimensions, BOM, etc, and the page after would be the 3D Model and repeated with following pages. Is there a way to do this that I haven't noticed?

        • Re: Insert/Embed "3D Models" into Drawings
          Matthew Lorono

          May I inquiry as to the reason you need to have the U3D file directly within the drawing space itself?  Also, when reading your post, I keep thinking about 3D PDF functionality. PDF (whether flat or 3D) allows you to attach files to your PDF right now.  It appears you had some difficulty with that.  However, have you tried to simply insert your model as a 3D PDF, which can be viewed within Acrobat Reader?

            • Re: Insert/Embed "3D Models" into Drawings
              Paul Baker

              Hi Matthew, thank you for your reply.

               

              I don't believe we're having any issues with the use of Acrobat Reader. What we currently do is save our Solidworks drawings as a PDF, then later add in a U3D Model via Acrobat Reader into a blank space we've intentionally left. I've attached a basic example so you can see. This method, while it works, often becomes rather time consuming when updating the PDF versions - particularly when it comes to inserting the U3D Models. This is the main reason behind my original question.

               

              We haven't had any issues creating our drawings or getting them to look how we want them to, what I'm exploring is whether there's a more efficient way to produce our drawings. When I discovered the Task Scheduler could export Solidworks drawings to PDF's on a recurrence, I was hoping it could be used for our application but still keep the U3D models. Obviously if I were to set the Task Scheduler to recurringly export our Solidworks Drawings (that didn't already contain U3D models) to PDF, and then have someone afterwards insert the U3D models using Acrobat Reader, they (the U3D models) would later be erased when the drawings were next automatically updated by the scheduler.

               

              I'm hoping it makes more sense now why I asked whether there's any way a U3D model (or any similar type of file useable in PDF's) could be inserted directly into a Solidworks drawing.

               

              If the Task Scheduler were able to automatically export our Solidworks drawings already containing U3D models to PDF then it would greatly increase our production output, not to mention make the work easier for staff who would now only ever need to edit the PDF versions on the odd occasion. The reason we are wanting to stick to use of PDF's is that not all our customers/manufacturers/etc have access to eDrawings.

               

              Thanks again for you reply.

               

              Paul

            • Re: Insert/Embed "3D Models" into Drawings
              Kelvin Lamport

              Have you considered using eDrawings?

                • Re: Insert/Embed "3D Models" into Drawings
                  Paul Baker

                  Hi Kelvin, thank you for your reply also.

                   

                  Yes we have. I personally would love to use it as it completely changes the amount of detail one can view and add to drawings. The only downside we've found is that some of our customers/manufacturers/etc. do not have access to it.

                   

                  I do not know much (if anything) about acquiring only the eDrawings software. Would it be viable for us to encourage our customers/manufacturers/etc. to obtain a copy? Unfortunately most of there views will be "If eDrawings costs money but I can get Adobe for free, why would I bother?".

                   

                  Paul

                    • Re: Insert/Embed "3D Models" into Drawings
                      Don Cheke

                      Great concept Paul.

                       

                      Sorry I don't have an answer, but I did want to mention that there is a free version of edrawings (http://www.edrawingsviewer.com/). I am not sure if the free version has the ability to measure, but if that is not important, then just sending the download link to your customers should suffice and they don't need to put out any extra cash to see the drawings/model in all their glory.

                        • Re: Insert/Embed "3D Models" into Drawings
                          Paul Baker

                          Hi Don,

                           

                          Oh is there? Thank you for making me aware of this! As I said, I do not know much about just obtaining eDrawings, I should have done some homework. Better yet, the Task Scheduler can also be used to recurringly create/update eDrawings, so that pretty much fulfills the objective I was aiming for in the first place.

                           

                          I'll have to raise this with our team and get some responses. One thing also worth noting is that a transition from PDF drawings to eDrawings would be very simple, even if you wanted to change all previous drawings as well. The Task Scheduler could be set to once off create eDrawings for every Solidworks drawing in the company's database and place them in their appropriate directories overnight.

                           

                          Thanks again for your input!

                           

                          Paul

                          • Re: Insert/Embed "3D Models" into Drawings

                            Yes, the free version of eDrawings has the ablity to measure if... it was authored (saved out ) with the professional eDrawings version. That is - you can send anyone an eDrawings from professional, and when they open it up in the free version, they will be able to measure - along with the ablity to mark it up etc.

                             

                            Regards

                             

                            Mark

                              • Re: Insert/Embed "3D Models" into Drawings
                                Paul Baker

                                Thanks Mark and Matthew for all of your replies on this matter, I apologise that I had not responded as of yet.

                                 

                                Currently I have the Task Scheduler converting all our Solidworks Drawings into eDrawings versions overnight which is achieving just what I was initally after. I also have it creating basic PDF versions as back up's.

                                 

                                I have found one issue however, some of our Solidworks drawings (those smaller in size) actually contain multiple sheets in the one file. When the Task Scheduler comes around to save them as eDrawing's files it only saves the active sheet of that drawing and not all sheets in the file.

                                 

                                If I manually save the drawing I can select to save all sheets which turns out correct, but I can't seem to find this option when using the Task Scheduler..?

                                 

                                Regards,

                                 

                                Paul