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Preparing a 3D file

3D models to be visualized with the help of the Web Toolkit must first be prepared. This preparation includes conversion of the original 3D file into a special format optimized for the web. The list of 3D formats that can be displayed with Web Toolkit is continuously expanding; the current version is available here.

The special Web Toolkit-friendly format has two types of files: CDXWEB and CDXBIMWEB. The latter type is geared towards storing the data from BIM formats (e.g. IFC or Autodesk Revit). The former one is for all other formats (mechanical CAD, 3D mesh formats, etc.). In this documentation we refer to both these formats as CDXWEB unless there is an important distinction, in which case we point it out specifically. Prior to Web Toolkit 3.20 CDXFB format was used to transfer data between the server and the client. If you have pre-converted data with .cdxfb extension, it will still load going forward. But in order to use the new CDXWEB formats please consider upgrading to CAD Exchanger SDK 3.20 or later.

The conversion to one of the CDXWEB variants is performed using CAD Exchanger SDK - a set of C++, C#, Java, and Python libraries. SDK can also be used to develop applications featuring creation or modification of 3D models, and running compute-intensive algorithms written in one of the above programming languages.

‍See Prepare JT file for Web Toolkit step of the tutorial to learn about various ways to generate CDXWEB from 3D model.

Here is an example of using CDXWEB Converter tool on a Windows server:

CDXWEBConverter -i "C:\3dmodels\input\conrod.jt" -e "C:\3dmodels\output\conrod.cdxweb"

Conversion of the original 3D file into CDXWEB creates a hierarchy of subfolders containing specific files. For instance, the above example will generate a folder conrod.cdxweb with the following files:


When converting to CDXWEB, CAD Exchanger uses GUIDs to identify elements and file names. Many of these GUIDs are generated on the fly. Therefore consequent runs of this conversion will produce different resulting files.

The created CDXWEB subfolder contains multiple files containing different partitions of the 3D model (product structure, 3D geometry, graphical attributes, PMI, etc). Splitting into multiple files allows to consume only required contents and thus to speed up transfer over network and to decrease the memory footprint of the client application.

Refer to Optimizing CDXWEB file contents section for details on how to exclude various details from the CDXWEB file if you are never going to use them. Once the input 3D file has been prepared in the form of CDXWEB files, their contents can be used by the Web Toolkit for:

  • Exploration of the product structure (hierarchy of assemblies and parts)
  • Visualization in WebGL