Rendering CAD files as PDFs without losing all the layers with Adlib 5.1

By Roger Beharry Lall | January 9, 2014

7 minute read

Rendering CAD files as PDFs without losing all the layers with Adlib 5.1

If you’ve ever been involved with architectural, construction or engineering designs, you know how frustrating it can be to share CAD files with your colleagues and contacts.

CAD files are large and complex and have a lot of layers. They also require costly file viewers and authoring applications to view and modify their content. Inherent in any design process is the need for collaboration to reach the right design solution. For example, large industrial projects require different contractors to coordinate their designs to ensure that they fit together in the final assembly and architects need their customers to review and approve their designs before proceeding with the project. How many times have you sent someone a CAD file to review, and they’ve responded with the dreaded words, “I can’t open the file.”?

Simply sharing the original CAD drawing file is typically not the best solution.  This approach is full of problems:

  • There are many CAD software packages in use (AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, SolidWorks), and reviewers may not have access to the software or even the expertise to use it. Additional licenses for software can be costly, especially if the user only needs to view the file, not author it
  • When sharing files externally, users have no control over the content in the files, and cannot ensure the information remains true to its original intended version
  • The size of CAD files makes it difficult or impossible to share, especially via email
  • There are often issues protecting intellectual property contained in the CAD file

Rendering your CAD files as PDFs eliminates those headaches. Anyone can view a PDF on their desktop, laptop, or mobile device without the need for costly software.  However, the “print-to-PDF” free application just won’t cut it for complex CAD drawings, especially when you want to maintain each of the design layers. To do that, you need something more advanced.

We recently launched Adlib 5.1, which includes a number of new features. One of the highlights is our updated CAD Module, which now supports a number of new file types like CATIA (see the full list of newly supported file types below).

Formats

Extension

Version

AutoCAD Interchange

DXF

2013

AutoCAD Native Drawing

DWG

 

2013

AutoDesk Inventor

DWG, IAM, IDW, IPT

2014

Bentley Microstation

DGN

CATIA V4 2D

MODEL, DLV, EXP

4.15 to 4.24

CATIA V5 2D

CATDRAWING

R10 to R23 (V5-6R2013)

CATIA V6 2D

3DXML

R2010x to R2013

Pro/Engineer / Wildfire

DRW

2000i to Creo 2.0

SolidWorks 2D

SLDDRW

2004-2013

Unigraphics NX

PRT

NX to NX8.5

By supporting CAD conversion to PDF, CAD can now become part of your standard Advance Rendering process. Our rendering software integrates seamlessly with your standard document workflows, giving you the ability to merge your CAD drawings with Microsoft Word files, RFPs, and other documents, creating a more efficient business process.   

Learn more about our CAD module here.

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