Open 3D PDF?

Hi all,

Have a client who sent me a 3D PDF - mesh model of terrain and buildings from some land-planning agency. Rhino will not open it - I get an error message with “Null reference”. (V6 and WIP)

My ancient version of Acrobat Pro can open it and I see the 3D, but it won’t export in anything usable for Rhino.

Before asking the client to send me the data in some other format, is there any way to get this data into Rhino? Online/standalone translator (Simlab composer?), Rhino add-on, or ?

OK, I was able to convert it to a DXF with the trial version of Simlab composer (21 days), but anyone have any cheaper (than $200) long-term solution for this?

Thx, --Mitch

hi @Helvetosaur i dont have a 3d pdf lying around currently so no guarantee that will work, but it works on regular pdfs. i also dont know if that works on windows, but just give it a try and you have a mac either from what i remember.

change the suffix from .pdf to .zip it will change the file to a zip then extract that zip and skim through the data, maybe you are lucky and it contains the model in a standard 3d file, that may depend on how it was produced also.

if that does not work maybe post a sample

Thanks - doesn’t work unfortunately… either with Windows native unzipper or something like WinRAR.


sorry then… but give it a try on a mac to be sure, or pm me the file if its rather confidential.

OK, I’ll fire up my Mac at some point today and test…

3D PDFs store the data in U3D format. This utilises a super efficient compression algo that leads to incredibly small file sizes compared to the likes of DWG etc.

I looked at this a few years ago, and was able to import a 3D PDF through and old version of Adobe Acrobat Pro. They used to have a 3D plugin available for download, but this is discontinued now. The list of 3d packages that can import U3D, is short:

Hmm… MeshLab. But can it open the PDF directly? Probably not…