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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 specific format CDXFB. The list of supported 3D formats is continuously expanding; the current version is available here.

This conversion can be performed using one of the following options:

  • CAD Exchanger CLI - a command line conversion utility which can be installed on a server (Linux, Windows or MacOS). Recommended as the most easy to install and use, and if the usage is limited to reading 3D files and thumbnails generation, and the files are stored locally.
  • CAD Exchanger Cloud API - REST API to work with 3D files stored in public clouds. Available under pay-as-you-go licensing model this option is recommended for SaaS applications when files are stored in public clouds.
  • CAD Exchanger SDK - a set of C#, Java, C++ libraries. Recommended when application requires creation or modification of 3D models, or applying compute-intensive algorithms written in one of the above programming languages. SDK provides much broader functionality than CLI or Cloud (refer to User’s Guide).

Here is an example of using CLI on a Windows server:

ExchangerConv.exe -i "C:\3dmodels\input\conrod.jt" -e "C:\3dmodels\output\conrod.cdxfb"

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

scenegraph.cdxfb
41acb025-dafb-4b8a-b13c-abc081a07a04
61860a1d-2c3f-4e44-9588-6db949cd87bf

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

  • Exploration of the product structure (hierarchy of assemblies and parts)
  • Visualization in WebGL (three.js) viewport