3D PDF Sample: National Institute of standards and Technology (NIST) Test Assembly

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently conducted their 2017 MBE PMI validation and conformance test for CAD vendors. They previously ran the test in 2012 and 2015. NIST created a “test system to measure the conformance of computer aided design software to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standards for product manufacturing information (PMI), specifically geometric dimensioning and tolerancing” [1]. The test system includes a set of 11 models specifically designed to test the limits of Model-based definition software.

The test cases are designed to determine whether or not the CAD software correctly implements the PMI concepts of ASME Y 14.5-1994 and ASME Y 14.41-2003 [1]. “The most current versions of ASME Y14.5 (2009) and Y14.41 (2012) are not included as they have not yet been widely implemented in CAD software” [1]. Along with validating the implementation of standards, NIST’s key objective was to verify the semantic representation of PMI for downstream manufacturing purposes.

I personally was fortunate enough to manage and work very closely with the upcoming validation and conformance testing of SOLIDWORKS MBD 2017. I was in charge of upgrading the models and their product manufacturing information from SOLIDWORKS 2012 to SOLIDWORKS 2017. With all this being said, while we await the results I decided to assembly a few of the NIST test parts and create some 3D PDF’s using SOLIDWORKS MBD. Out of the 11 NIST test models 4 of the parts can be assembled together. The assembly consists of NIST test case models 7, 8, 9, and 10. The assembly can be seen below.


Figure 1: NIST Test case assembly


One of my goals in assembling and publishing a PDF with the NIST assembly was to ultimately learn about 3D PDF’s but also test its capabilities while doing so. To begin I created an assembly that contained fasteners, exploded views, multiple display states, and multiple configurations using the NIST parts.

After organizing my PMI and creating all the necessary 3D views it was time to build my custom PDF template. I created a template with the design in mind that I wanted to print my PDF with multiple sheets for clear and easy viewing. I created a single assembly PDF template that contained a primary viewport on one page and independent viewports on the following pages to display the multiple configurations of the assembly.

With this template I would be able to easily print the published PDF and view the multiple configurations side by side. I even created a PDF template for each individual part of the assembly. One template was built for a multiple configuration part and the other was a simple part template.

Once I had my templates all set and ready to go all that was left was to publish a 3D PDF of the NIST assembly using SOLIDWORKS MBD. It’s important to note the custom property placeholders and PDF text areas throughout my templates. With the use of these I can easily input information directly from my model into the PDF. I can even input my B.O.M tables. When publishing users are given the option to attach files directly to the PDF so I attached each individual part 3D PDF to the assembly 3D PDF. All the needed information was easily transferred in a matter of a few clicks from SOLIDWORKS into a single clean and easy to read PDF file. Once published, I filled in my notes directly within Adobe and the PDF was all set. I would say 3D PDF’s passed the test in my book!

Download the full interactive 3D PDF here.

Figure 6: Published 3D PDF of NIST assembly


Figure 7: Individual parts directly attached to assembly
Figure 8: Assembly Configuration A
Figure 9: Assembly Configuration B
Figure 10: Configuration comparison for NIST_07
Figure 11: Individual part 3D PDF

[1]lipman, Lubell, Hedberg, Feeney, Frechette,2017, “MBE PMI Validation and Conformance Testing Project.” From https://www.nist.gov/el/systems-integration-division-73400/mbe-pmi-validation-and-conformance-testing

Chris Pagliarini

Chris Pagliarini

Chris Pagliarini is a Product Portfolio Manager for SOLIDWORKS. Chris has been a dedicated SOLIDWORKS user for 8+ years with exposure in several areas from research, sheet metal design, Equipment packaging & enclosures, Model-based design, and aerospace & defense design. During his free time he enjoys exploring new technology, golfing, skiing, and fishing.