Tech Tips: Visual Collaboration with Aras Innovator

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Last year Aras was the first PLM vendor to provide embedded CAD to 3D PDF conversion capabilities.  It is now an inherent part of the Aras Innovator PLM for subscribers and enables users across the enterprise to view all formats of product data in a single, common user interface without buying additional software.  As a result, there is no need for a separate visualization tool 

One of the powerful 3D tools available in the Adobe Reader is the 3D measurement tool. Anyone with Adobe Reader XI can easily measure and markup rich engineering data saved in the 3D PDF file format.

We want to highlight some of the measure and markup features.

To measure a model, first activate the 3D window by clicking on the model. You should then see the 3D toolbar.  If the 3D toolbar is not visible, right-click in the 3D view and select "Tools"-­->"Show Toolbar" from the context menu:

Select the 3D measurement tool icon on the 3D toolbar to display the 3D measurement tool.

Snap Enable

The left side of the 3D measurement tool controls the snapping behavior when selecting 3D geometry.  Snapping behaviors allow you to select specific locations on 3D geometry.  For example, using 3D snapping you can accurately pick the endpoints of an edge or the silhouette curve of a curved surface.  It is important to develop a good understanding of what snaps behaviors are available in the Adobe Reader and how they work.

There are five different 3D snap behaviors, and each behavior is toggled on/off using a button on the 3D measurement tool under the heading "Snap Enables":

Selecting a snap enable icon toggles a snap behavior on/off. Toggling all of the snap behaviors off disables snapping.  It is important to note that you can have more than one snap behavior enabled at any given time.  You can tell which snap behaviors are active by the rectangular outline that is displayed around enabled snap behavior icons in the toolbar.  In the image above, all of the snap enables are active.

Measurement Types

The right side of the 3D measurement tool controls the type of measurement that is toggles it on/off.

There are four types of measurement that you can perform using the Adobe Reader:

3D Point To Point Measurement - Measures the distance between two positions on the 3D model. Click to set a start point, and then click another location to set an end point or edge.

3D Perpendicular Dimension - Measures the distance between two edges taken at a right angle to the starting edge.

3D Radial Dimension - Measures the radius at the location clicked.

3D Angle Measurement - Measures the angle between two edges.

Matching Snap Enables with Measurement Type

A good measurement strategy for the Adobe Reader is to match your snap enable settings with your selected measurement type.  For example, if you are measuring radial dimensions, you should set the 3D Snap to Radial Edges. Also, make sure that you deactivate any unnecessary snap behaviors.  You don't want to be snapping to linear edges when you are trying to do a radial measurement.

Editor’s Note:

Aras subscribers can get more in the Aras KnowledgeBase (Aras KB) located in the Subscriber Portal at