The future looks very bright for 3D PDF

What a great three months! Over the past three months I have received an education in 3D PDF due to trade shows that I have attended.  The first show that I attended, Global Product Data Interoperability Summit (GPDIS) 2015, was an excellent show where I got to meet many 3D PDF Consortium members for the first time.  The sessions were very informative and give me a good indication that 3D PDF is being well received in the technical community. In the last few days of October and early November, I attended the PLM Road Map 2015 for the Aerospace & Defense Industry Featuring 3D CIC.  A wide range of speakers gave excellent presentations on the Digital Thread, PLM, MBD, MBE, and Technical Data Packages.  The presentation that was most meaningful for me was given by Joed Dougherty of The Boeing Company.  To find out how Boeing has embraced 3D PDF, see the entire presentation in the Presentations section of our website, or click here. At the third trade show in as many months, I found out how well 3D PDF is being received at the Department of Defense (DoD), among all defense-related organizations and specifically, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).  I found out that the DLA has been testing 3D PDF as a Technical Data Package (TDP) delivery mechanism and is currently on a path in that direction.  Part of the explanation for the acceptance is a report written by LMI.  I was also excited to discuss the 3D PDF consortium with Brigadier General Allan Day, the head of DLA-Aviation.  He was especially pleased to see tha 3D PDF Consortium members have developed applications that can convert 3D PDF files to STL and vice...

3D PDF for Product and Building Information

During years 2009-2014, while working as civilian employee for NAVFAC, the Naval Facilities component of the Navy, I worked on a research project that explored methods to integrate shore facility CAD models with ship CAD models in order to visualize how the two would interface in a virtual environment. Historically, all of the shore facilities had been designed using AutoCAD 2D drawing conventions while the ships were being modeled using current 3D B-Rep solid modeling technologies.  A group within NAVFAC began to use AutoCAD 3D to model shore facilities and both the shore facilities and ships were translated into X3D, most recent version of what was formerly VRML. While exploring various methodologies for integrating the data into a common visualization environment, I attended a MIL-D-31000 seminar which featured discussions on MBD and MBE technologies.  During the meeting, I was introduced to 3D PDF and explored how it might be used to meet some of my research objectives. Needless to say, I was impressed with its capabilities and soon found myself exploring how it might be used as a tool for the inspection of facilities, report generation, and many other downstream uses.  After creating some use cases, I realized the value of being able to tap the wealth of information contained in the CAD models and releasing it to the many organizations within the enterprise that could become more efficient if they could access it quickly.  I found 3D PDF to be well-suited for this task.  We performed studies that included Model Based Definition (MBD) models, used for product development, as well as Building Information Models (BIM), used by the...

MBE: What’s it all about?

Chances are you have heard talk around the water cooler about MBE, and thought – what’s up with that? This is the first in a series of blogs that will answer that question. What is MBE? The acronym MBE gets people confused. It sometimes refers to model-based engineering, which deals with design practices. More frequently it is coming to mean model-based enterprise, a term which was arguably coined by the U.S. Department of Defense. Here’s the way their website defines the model-based enterprise: “Model Based Enterprise (MBE) is a digital tapestry which has been optimized around a core set of annotated product models enabling rapid, seamless, and affordable deployment of products from concept to disposal.” A key phrase in this definition is “a core set of annotated product models.” These annotated product models are often referred to as model-based definition, or MBD, which simply means that all of the information needed to properly manufacture a product is contained within that 3D model set. A common misconception about MBE is that it is a “binary condition,” meaning that either the organization has achieved it, or it hasn’t. It is much more accurate to think of MBE as being similar to what the term product lifecycle management, or PLM, has come to mean. It is a business strategy for achieving higher levels of profitability through continuous process improvement. A company that is implementing a model-based enterprise strategy will be striving to accomplish the following: Through MBD practices, fully detail the 3D model(s) of the product(s) with all of the necessary product manufacturing information (PMI) needed to make the product. Eliminate the...

3D PDF Implementor Forum (3DPDF-IF) Launched

Login for•um a place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged. This past week marked a big step for the 3D PDF Consortium as we launched the 3D PDF Implementor Forum. In case you are not familiar with an Implementor Forum, it is basically a group of software vendors that work together to develop tests for assessing the accuracy and interoperability of neutral format CAD files. Other ISO standard CAD formats such as STEP (ISO 10303) and JT (ISO 14306) have similar forums in the CAx-IF and JT-IF organizations. The goal of the 3DPDF-IF is to ensure the quality and usability of 3D PDF in engineering workflows through cooperative testing. It is a neutral environment, where vendors can test their 3D PDF files to determine both the accuracy of their data translation as well as their conformance to the PDF standards (PDF, PDF/E and PRC will be supported for testing). Vendors are encouraged to bring prototype code and to use the 3DPDF-IF as part of their quality testing process. Vendors who participate in the 3DPDF-IF can use the forum to accelerate their development and testing cycles by leveraging the collective knowledge and resources of the forum. I think that it is important to also spend a minute to note what the 3DPDF-IF is not. While it is a great development and test environment, it is not a certification program. The forum does not certify, grade or rank the different members solutions. The forum is committed to ensuring the quality and interoperability of all its members solutions. All the test results are confidential...

How to set the center of rotation when viewing a 3D PDF file

When navigating a 3D PDF, there may be times when you want to change the center of rotation for the Rotate tool.  For example, when navigating around an assembly, you may want to isolate and rotate around a particular part or face.  There are a couple of ways to do this in the Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat, but it is not always intuitive. The easiest way to change the center of rotation is to select a part in the 3D Window or in the model tree, then right click and select Part Options -> Zoom to Part: This centers the camera on the centroid of the selected part. An alternative to this is to use the Camera Properties dialog for finer control when setting the the center of rotation. You can activate the Camera Properties dialog by either selecting the button on the 3D Toolbar: Or by right clicking in the 3D window, then selecting Tools -> Camera Properties: The Camera Properties dialog box will appear: The Alignment section of the dialog box allows you to easily set the center of rotation.  You can select a Part, Face or 3 points to define your center of rotation.  Check the Camera and Target button and your center of rotation will be changed....