adobe acrobat 8There’s nothing more enjoyable that seeing what a piece of software can do… except for maybe not doing it and going out with friends, but since all my friends are behind a computer like me, I’ll try to break me some software. I’m continuing today from yesterdays Adobe Acrobat 3D overview where we took a quick look at what you might expect. Today, we’re gonna get dirty.

Importing a freakin big assembly

This is a native SolidWorks Assembly file (.sldasm) and it’s a big one.

Files Size: 20 MB
Number of Parts: 10858
Number of Unique parts: 828

Conversion Settings
Import: Large File (No surfaces) – PRC tessellation (Faceted)
CPU Usage during conversion: 11-51%
Memory Usage during conversion: 151 MB Max
Conversion Time: 1 minute 58 seconds
PDF Files Size: 92.6 MB

big file for acrobat

Importing a Large Assembly

These was a little bitsy file compared to the first one, but still pretty big. Here’s the run-down on the file.

Files Size: 6.8 MB
Number of Parts: 3983
Number of Unique parts: 251

Conversion Settings
Import: Large File (No surfaces) – PRC tessellation (Faceted)
CPU Usage during conversion: 15-50%
Memory Usage during conversion: 115 MB Max
Conversion Time: 1 minute 32 seconds

PDF Files Size: 36.6 MB

Importing a small assembly

This is a tiny little file. This should be quick and easy. yep.

Files Size: 1.93 MB
Number of Parts: 467
Number of Unique parts: 29

Conversion Settings
Import: Data Exchange (No surfaces) – PRC B-rep
CPU Usage during conversion: 25%
Memory Usage during conversion: 80 MB Max
Conversion Time: 11 seconds

PDF Files Size: 392 kb


The freakin large model crashed several times when trying to activate the 3D. It finally worked when i click and moved the mouse around really fast. That always works. This was fun I have to say. Once i got it going, I could move around it, change render mode and get info of of it. It was way easier to open this up and get measurements. It did end up crashing when I right clicked on the model though.

I could only get larger File conversion to work for… well, large files. I’m not sure what the limit is, but it seems like assemblies over 4.5 MB start to really affect performance and file size. This is when I started noticing the files size of the PDF exceeding the size of the model. You’ll need to use the PRC conversion setting if you want to be able to export data, so for larger files I’d go with the default or a more optimized conversion setting.


I ran some other mid-size model, around 5 MB, these had simlpier geometry and fewer parts. These files did import very well and created small PDF files (around 1 MB.) Saving out of SolidWorks as a 3D PDF still created a larger file over twice the size. So, I’m still sticking to my conclusion that you’re gonna get better file sizes with exporting from SolidWorks first and then importing, particularly with .step and .prt.

See Part 1 or Part 3 of this series


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.