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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Comparative Roundup - Revit to 3D PDF

Here on Revit Add-ons we feature a number of different and popular roundup-type articles. There's our weekly roundups of what's new and updated on the Autodesk App Store, and our monthly What's Hot roundups.

Also, when developers or vendors offer several add-in products, we sometimes cover them in collective roundups, like this one about StrucSoft Solutions' offerings.

This is our first comparative roundup where we lay out the different options that are available to you for solving common problems and needs. By having the products' information side-by-side, including pricing and star ratings, it is hoped that these comparative reviews will make your decision-making process easier.

By the way, there are a number of free indirect methods for creating 3D PDF files from Revit, including:

However, if you or your staff create a lot of 3D PDFs, or you simply want the convenience of a 1-click solution, there are several commercial options available.

Note: Not included in this roundup are some broader-based applications that offer Revit to 3D PDF as a small component of their overall solution, such as task schedulers.

The Add-ins

3D PDF Converter by 3DA Systems
3D PDF Converter for Autodesk® Revit® 2017 also compatible with 64 Bit version of Revit 2016, '15 Architecture, MEP and Structure | Trial | 9.90 USD/M |  99.00 USD/Y 

About This Version: Version 9.0.1, 10/12/2016
★★ (8 ratings)

3DPDF Exporter for Revit by ProtoTech Solutions
3DPDF Exporter For Autodesk® Revit® exports your model to secured and encrypted 3D PDF file | Trial |  149.00 USD 
About This Version: Version 2.4.0.0 , 10/20/2016
★★ (4 ratings)


3D PDF Maker for Autodesk Revit
3D PDF Maker for Autodesk® Revit® allows to create interactive 3D PDF documents connecting to Revit or by processing the .dwf, .dwg, U3D and PDF files exported from Revit | Trial |  780.67 USD 

About This Version: Version 2.0.0.16, 11/3/2016
 (0 ratings)

ExportMaster for Autodesk Revit - 3DPDF by TransMagic
ExportMaster for Autodesk® Revit® - 3DPDF® exports your Revit models to 3DPDF format (.pdf file). You can set translation options while exporting model to 3DPDF | Trial |  199.00 USD/Y 

About This Version: Version 1.0.0.3, 9/30/2016
 (0 ratings)

Intelligent 3D PDF Exporter for Revit by Intratech
Our Intelligent 3D PDF® for Revit is an add-in software module for Revit. It allows Revit users to convert 2D sheets and selected model(s) with neighboring objects into single 3D PDF | Trial | Pricing no known at press time

About This Version: Not known at press time
 (N/A)

SimLab 3D PDF Exporter for Revit
OS: Win32 and 64
Export Autodesk® Revit® files into 3D PDF files within Revit | Trial |  199.00 USD 

About This Version: Version 6.0.0, 11/4/2016
 (0 ratings)

SOFiSTiK 3D-PDF Export
SOFiSTiK 3D-PDF Export extends the functionalities of Autodesk® Revit® through the generation of standard PDF documents with embedded 3D graphics |  25.00 USD/Y 

About This Version: Version 2017-1.0, 7/12/2016
 (0 ratings)

Tetra4D Converter by Tech Soft 3D
Tetra4D Converter is the world’s leading solution for converting native 3D CAD data into rich, interactive 3D PDF documents, including full support for precise solid geometry and Product Manufacturing Information | Trial |  498.00 USD 

About This Version: Version 2016
 (N/A)

Analysis and Recommendations

3D PDF Converter by 3DA Systems is probably the most mature of the Revit add-ins listed, and 3DA Systems offers an attractive 9.00 USD/M subscription, while SOFiSTiK 3D-PDF Export is the low cost leader at just 25.00 USD/Y.

3DPDF Exporter for Revit by ProtoTech Solutions has the highest rating, but ratings are pretty scarce overall. At 149.00 USD, it's mid-priced.

Tetra4D Converter and 3D PDF Maker for Autodesk Revit, at 498.00 USD and 780.67 USD respectively, seem to effectively be priced out of the market. According to their website, Tech Soft 3D, maker of Tetra4D Coverter, is Adobe's exclusive provider of 3D PDF technology. Their product also supports many different software applications in addition to Revit, and has many different output formats in addition to 3D PDF. These factors probably explain the premium pricing. Still, for Revit to PDF, one could by Bluebeam CAD Revu for 329.00 USD plus 65.00 USD/Y maintenance. That's less than either of these offerings, and Bluebeam offers a lot of other PDF-related features in addition to Revit to 3D PDF.

So, in terms of add-ins, we would start with trial versions of SOFiSTiK 3D-PDF Export and/or 3D PDF Converter by 3DA Systems, do some testing, and go from there. If we didn't like either of these, we'd next evaluate 3DPDF Exporter for Revit by ProtoTech Solutions.

Here on Revit Add-ons, we're big fans of Bluebeam CAD Revu though. Pricing starts low relative to Adobe Acrobat Pro and there are deep quantity discounts. In fact, the 50 seat per-license price approaches the mean price of the above add-ins, ~199.00 USD. Considering all that Bluebeam ofers, that's a great value for medium size firms. So, if we had our druthers, we'd go with Bluebeam.

If forced to make the best of a free option, we'd go the i-model route. While this may seem counter-intuitive to longtime AutoCAD/Autodesk users, while Autodesk was investing in their propriety DWF and DWFx formats, Bentley Systems focused their efforts on PDF and 3D PDF. Their i-model format has drawn high praise, and their Bentley View is solid, offering robust viewing and printing capabilities.
  1. Use the free i-model plugin for Revit to publish from Revit to an i-model
  2. Use the free Bentley View to print the i-model to 3D PDF

3D PDFs are a great way to democratize BIM models by publishing them to the ubiquitous PDF file format, allowing anyone to view and navigate within them with the free Adobe Reader. And we hope this comparative roundup helps you to choose a Revit to 3D PDF solution that will best work for you.

Did we miss any Revit to PDF add-ins? If so, please, let us know!

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