Import 3D PDF? (Solved with Simlab)


it is not possible to import 3D PDF data with Rhino, as far as I know.
Is there a plugin that does this?
Couldn’t find any…


Hi @Charles

It’s possible - under the right circumstances - to export from Adobe to various file formats, that Rhino can read:

HTH, Jakob

Hi @Jakob,

thank you.
I knew about this link, which is ~7 years old.
I’ll read again.

There is also Tetra4D, which is even more circumstances…
…very cumbersome, beginning with installing their test version.
I gave up with it.

Other ideas?


You can open the 3D PDF in Simlab Composer and use it to save the model out in another format that Rhino can open. The same may even be possible with the (cheaper) Simlab Rhino 3D PDF plugin. I’ll give it a go and report back when I’m back at my PC.

That said, I’m sure I’ve brought 3D PDF’s directly into Rhino in the past. The result is a mesh model, with not-very-nice triangulation. Are the PDF’s you’ve been given locked?

I’d steer clear of both Quadrispace (or whatever that became over time) and Tetra4D. Neither work very well with Rhino. They are set up to work with solids and don’t handle open surfaces very well in my experience. Lots of back face culling problems. I wasted a lot of time and money trying to get Quadrispace to work



Aha, Simlab!
We use Simlab’s PDF Exporter.
I was not aware that their Composer can load PDF.
Will try immediately.

Don’t know yet, will see.

Thanks for the hint!


It works very well with the Composer.
Problem solved.


Who changed the topic title?
And how?


Me. I’m a forum Admin.

Since you started the thread, you may be able to as well.
Do you see a pencil icon next to the title?
If you do you can change it.

When I find threads with a clean solution that others might find useful, I update them.

1 Like

Not all 3D PDF applications support Model Based Definition (MBD). Simlab does not support MBD at this time. There are a few other applications do, so its important to note the distinction if it is a requirement in your workflow.

If you have Acrobat Pro, and if the content is not locked by the creator of the PDF, then you can right click on an activated 3D view and select Export Data.

You can choose different file formats. Depends on the content which might be the best.

It really makes sense to tag topics as solved.

Very good.
Thank you.


Hi Jess,

‘Of course’ we haven’t, and our customers hasn’t as well.
But good to know.

Thanks for the hint,


What extra function(s) does ‘MBD’ provide?

I’m curious as well…

I don’t have direct experience with it, but its my understanding that it contains nurbs geometry instead of a tesselated version, and can contain information that would typically be supplied on a 2D drawing in addition to the 3D model.

Ideally it supplies all the information to make a part.

If you are interested, you can read about it on Anark’s website

I consider myself told!

I’d be surprised if 3D PDF supports NURBS. As for the dimensions bit, those can be added with the Simlab plugin at time of saving, or added to a 3D PDF after the fact with plain-old Acrobat Reader. You can also add in pre-defined views, including sectioning. The tools in Acrobat Reader are quite impressive in this respect, considering it’s a freebie. Picking points and adding annotation is a bit hit and miss because of the poor view manipulation and snapping controls though. It can take a few attempts to get it right, but it does work.

It does! And it has the most impressive compression I’ve ever seen.

Impressive! If you switch to wireframe view in a PDF NURBS model, what do you see?

That depends what I put into the file. It is similar to Rhino. If I save just the NURBS geometry then the model will be meshed after activating the 3D view. In Wireframe mode you’ll see the render mesh.

So - does it show the render mesh wires, or a Rhino-style wireframe display of the NURBS surface?