One of the coolest things about PDF’s lately, is the ability to churn out high-quality documents with a 3D model embedded directly inside. Not an image, but an actual 3-dimensional model you can pan, zoom and rotate all about. Ya getting that tingly feeling?

If you do have shivers in your geeky,3d-modeling spine about putting 3D directly into PDF’s to communicate design, Quadrispace’s may give you new reasons to look at possibly the most cost-cutting document type you can add to your workflow.

It’s called Document3D, and they have a Personal Edition that’s absolutely FREE.

The Free Personal Edition allows you to:

  • Create Technical Illustrations
  • Import 3D Models such as SolidWorks, STL, DWG, STEP, Parasolids, more
  • Markup 3D views

It’s purely for communicating your design. You won’t be able to animate, create illustrations, inspect models or publish vector and high-res graphics.

But for SolidWorks users…
For $95 you can purchase the optional 3D PDF Module that allows you to import a SolidWorks model, author with text, tables and 3d, and then publish an interactive 3D PDF. That is where your probably wondering about the…

Difference between Document3D and Adobe Acrobat3D

The process is simple: import your 3D model, add text, tables and buttons around it, now publish it. No programming is necessary, no other software is needed. Just one integrated program. Ease of creation is not the only benefit. With our solution, you can easily update entire documents when 3D changes occur, you are able to publish to other standard formats and we make it a simple task to add parts lists and step-by-step procedures to your document. Brian Roberts, President of Quadrispace – NovEdge Interview, Aug. 08

Features – With Acrobat you get a lot of features – some you may use, some you may not. With Document3D you get features that, from watching others use it, will be easily understood by the common engineer. It’s very similar to how you would create a Word document with some images or a put a Powerpoint together. However, from what I could find, you don’t have the level of security and collaboration you would with the Acrobat line. At this point, it may come down to…

Price – Quadrispace has a good play here because they are offering a feature rich 3D document creation app for $95 US, hundreds below Acrobats starting point of $299 US. That’s 3 for the price of one when the accounting goggles are on.

I like all the features in Acrobat3D and I’m familiar with them, but Quadrispace has ‘Ease of use’ written all over it. If you’re use to the Ribbon bar interfaces of the Microsoft Office Products, you’ll be able to navigate your way through some very quick document creation.

What’s cool is that it takes out a step in the 3D document creation process. With Quadrispace you start with embedding objects (models, text, tables) into the document.

I don’t like the way the PDF created with Quadrispace looks as much as an document generated with Acrobat. That may be my preference. I don’t prefer the ribbon bar at all, becuase it makes my workflow more difficult and leaves me searching for what I want to do. I’m also not excited about it being saved as a .QSD (Quadrispace format) drawing. I want to create a PDF. Granted, I can ‘Publish’ a PDF or output to a web page, but the .QSD format is a disconnect for me and another step, another file added to the workflow.

If those are issues for you or if you need more security, some more collaboration features, an ability to create forms and merge files together you may want to compare Quadrispace features with the Adobe Acrobat Features, and stack those against your needs and budget.

Download it for free and try it out.

Have you used it? What are your thoughts? More affordable? Just the right amount of features?


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.