11 Replies Latest reply on Dec 12, 2012 8:30 PM by Chris Dordoni

    Problems creating 3D .pdf

    Ryan Jaja

      The problem is that most of them come out invisible. The file itself gets created along with the interface but there is no 3d model to be seen. Unless the part is created in solidworks or based on an imported .igs file.

      The model im trying to show is usually either a point cloud or a mesh. .igs works well enough but only if the file size is very small otherwise importing the .igs just crashes solidworks. Does anyone have any advice?

       

      Ive been trying to create 3d .pdf files to use as an update on jobs for our customers since they dont have anything fancy to open complex models and I like the idea of a small file size to just email through.

        • Re: Problems creating 3D .pdf
          Ian Worrall

          Why not encourage your customers to install eDrawings?

            • Re: Problems creating 3D .pdf
              Ryan Jaja

              You know what customers can be like. Also it would be a much nicer solution for them to be able to just open a view it straight from their email. Also in the future we are considering using it as part of our final report that goes to them. That would include something like a colour map showing were the part is in and out of spec and by how much. This 3d view of the part would be provided along with tables and data on the part.

            • Re: Problems creating 3D .pdf
              Chris Dordoni

              Hi Ryan,

               

              What version of SolidWorks are you using? 32bit or 64bit?

               

              How much ram is in your computer?

               

              If I understand you correctly, you have imported a mesh into SolidWorks, and then you are saving as a 3d pdf file?

               

              How many polygons or triangles are in the mesh?

               

              Chris

                • Re: Problems creating 3D .pdf
                  Ryan Jaja

                  64bit, 12gb ram. I dont have access to the files right now but the file sizes are fairly humongous.

                   

                  Would the amount of data really be likely to make a difference?

                    • Re: Problems creating 3D .pdf
                      Chris Dordoni

                      Try a smaller file as a test.

                       

                      I just tried making a 3d pdf from versions 2011 SP5, 2012 SP5, & 2013 SP1 with a small mesh imported as an stl, and ended up with an empty file.

                       

                      You indicate that you can make 3d pdf from objects created in SolidWorks, so my suspicion is that imported meshes are simply not transferred.

                       

                      If that is the case, there are other options.

                       

                      The first thing you need if your mesh has millions polys or triangles is a decimation tool. You could use the free Meshlab to do this http://meshlab.sourceforge.net/ Getting it down to 500,000 - 1,000,000 will usually give you a fairly detailed and still responsive 3d pdf. I have made some 3d pdfs with about 2,000,000 triangles, and they are slow to load and manipulate.

                       

                      After you have it decimated you can use something like http://www.simlab-soft.com/3d-products/simlab-composer-main.aspx to make the 3d pdf. Simlab's application is inexpensive and works well. It can be done with Meshlab and LaTEX, there are instructions on the Meshlab site, but it is somewhat involved.

                        • Re: Problems creating 3D .pdf
                          Ryan Jaja

                          Yep, smaller file sizes are great.

                           

                          Some jobs are just too far off for decimation. We do have tools for that which we have applied but still not small enough without keeping required detail. For example, a train drivers cabin. (i suppose its called a cabin)

                           

                          So what is it about iges files that make them the only ones saveable as .pdf? Is there any other file type that is able to be saved as 3d pdf?

                            • Re: Problems creating 3D .pdf
                              Chris Dordoni

                              Since it appears that it is not possible to save a 3d pdf from an imported mesh, you must have some kind of nurbs surface, either created in SolidWorks or imported. Some programs can convert meshes to IGS but, as you have seen, does not work when the files get large.

                               

                              The bottom line is that SolidWorks will not make a 3d pdf from a mesh, so you need to look at another way to do this. If you have Scan to 3d available in your SolidWorks license, you may be able to convert your point cloud or mesh to a nurbs surface. If you don't have Scan to 3d, you will need to find another application, such as Simlab that will save a 3d pdf from a mesh, or Meshlab, to convert a point cloud to a mesh, and then use Simlab or LaTEX to create the 3d pdf.

                                • Re: Problems creating 3D .pdf
                                  Ryan Jaja

                                  I think you are right Chris.

                                  One thing about it i dont quite understand is the way ive been doing it is:

                                   

                                  -Export mesh from polyworks as .igs

                                  -Import .igs in solidworks

                                  -Comes in as a collection of surfaces in the tree (as long as the file is small enough)

                                   

                                  Does this mean that all .igs files will come in as surfaces and that just being saved as .igs is enough to convert whatever is in the mesh to surfaces?

                                    • Re: Problems creating 3D .pdf
                                      Chris Dordoni

                                      Each polygon or triangle is being converted to a nurbs surface. (That is my educated guess anyway) So SolidWorks will recognize it as nurbs objects. The problem is there are probably millions of them from the scan file. CAD applications in general are not set up to handle this many separate objects effectively.

                                       

                                      Essentially you are using the wrong tool for the job.

                                       

                                      If you have Scan to 3d in your SolidWorks license, you might try importing the point cloud or mesh in a format Scan to 3D accepts. I don't have Scan to 3D in my license so I can't tell you specifically what formats it would use. However, I do know that IGS will not be an acceptable format.

                                       

                                      If you do not have Scan to 3D, you could try one of the other options I have mentioned previously.

                                        • Re: Problems creating 3D .pdf
                                          Ryan Jaja

                                          What about this?...

                                           

                                          I have a 20.5Mb .igs that i can import into solidworks which can be saved as a 21.7Mb .sldprt. (With 38 surfaces). Saving this file as a 3d pdf causes crashes on multiple pcs. (All i7 with upwards of 8gb ram)

                                           

                                          Am I simply asking too much of solidworks?

                                            • Re: Problems creating 3D .pdf
                                              Chris Dordoni

                                              Hi Ryan,

                                               

                                              Did you save this 20.5mb IGS file from Polyworks as well?

                                               

                                              Some tesselation (meshing) settings are actually controlled by the display settings instead of being a Save option. This depends on the type of file that is being saved. 3D PDF may use this display setting as well.

                                               

                                              Go to the Tools menu, then choose "Options ...". Go to the Document Properties tab and select "Image Quality".

                                               

                                              There are two sliders, one for shaded and one for wireframe resolution. Note the current position. Then move both sliders to the "low" end of the range. Also click the "Optimize edge length box" so that it is checked if it is not already.

                                               

                                              Then click "OK" to exit the dialog box.

                                               

                                              Now try to save the 3d PDF again. If the file saves now, you can go back and move the slider toward "high", until you can get an acceptable balance between file size and quality.

                                               

                                              Once you are done experimenting with saving the 3d PDF file at different settings, move the sliders and "Optimize" back to the original position.

                                               

                                              If changing the display settings does not help in saving the 3d PDF, I think you could try contacting your SolidWorks reseller to see if they might help you with some different options for your SolidWorks license. I am not familiar with everything that is available, and its possible there is something that SolidWorks sells that will work.

                                               

                                              Alternatively, you could try the Simlab software.