Last week on the SOLIDWORKS Tech Blog there was an interesting post on a PDF Import Add-In for DraftSight. My use of DraftSight is reasonable limited these days. With our main use of DraftSight being for nesting dxf exported out of SOLIDWORKS. Yes, we still export dxf (and manually nest) for importing into our CAM program – Enroute. This looks to be the case until I can find an acceptable Add-In to SOLIDWORKS which can not only do the job properly but can be made to talk to our CNC. SWOOD looks to be close to our requirements (but that’s a whole other story for another time) I also still produce “Floor Plans” for Marketing. People still like Floor Plans, so I’m told!Although we do receive drawings in pdf I don’t ever recall having the desperate “need” to have a pdf made into a editable drawing format. I’m fortunate that most of the time if I require a drawing (especially vehicle plans) that it is available via the manufacturer. More importantly these days manufactures are also becoming far more willing to supply the 3D model. With all that said I have a couple of thought to where having the ability to convert a pdf into a editable drawing format maybe of use for our requirements.
The PDF Import for DraftSight Add-In is available from the Graebert website (the developer of DraftSight for Dassualt Systémes) There is a 30day free trial! Which is a generous time to evaluate to see if you can’t live without the product, or if it doesn’t suit your requirements.
It’s a reasonable straight forward process to download and install the Add In
Once installed you will find the the Add-In under Insert>PDF ImportWhen you select the PDF Import for the first time, you are required to jump through a few hoops to have it activated. Despite having “Registered” my DraftSight account (numerous times in the past) it still insisted that I, in fact, didn’t have an Account and that I was required to register for a “new” Account. A fairly minor process and when completed automatically takes you back to the PDF Import screen. The process then is very straight forward. It is then a simple case of selecting the Browse button, navigating to and selecting the required pdf drawing file. If the file has multiple pages then these are all “Previewed”. This allows the ability to select either a single page or multiple pages to insert. There is no option to deselect the “Insert as Block”. You do have the option of when and where the file is to inserted. The same can be said about the ability to Scale.
To start I choose a PDF drawing which had been generated out of SOLIDWORKS. Which inserted into DraftSight and displayed without issue. Although I only initially inserted only a single page by going back to the Insert>PDF Import the last file is still displayed. (and the path to the file is still available) It is simple to then insert additional pages if required (or to Browse to a new file). The page(s) are Inserted as a block which can then be broken by the use of the EXPLODE command (or Modify>Explode). Once exploded the file can then be treated as a “normal” drawing format. Edited, added too and saved in your required dwg or dxf format. All the PDF drawing files I tried Inserted without a problem. However not all would “explode” and be usable. I had a series of drawings (from a supply which would have been generated from a 3D program) these would insert and display correctly but when exploded they appeared to have some sort of conflict with “Model” and “Sheet”. When exploded the drawing boarder “Sheet” would explode but the remainder of the drawing “Model” would be deleted! ….. Very Strange and I would think defeats the purpose of inserting the pdf file.
PDF Import is not limited to just drawings. It appears to import all PDF files. An area that I see, I would most likely make the most use of, is the ability to import text. I imported the “What’s New” in SOLIDWORKS document. When the page was exploded the text looked to break into paragraphs and/ or sentences. DraftSight would then edit them as it does with any text (created in DraftSight) The PDF Import Add-In for DraftSight is reasonably priced and although it (or the files it Imports) may not always be 100% usable, it looks to be a handy tool to have available directly within DraftSight,
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