Here’s a quick screencast I did to show what a 3D PDF is – in last week’s Weekend Project Bre showed you how to make an awesome spud gun – in the special PDF we sent out (RSS 2.0 / iTunes) you could also interact with the spud gun model in 3D. MAKE worked with our pals at Alibre design to create the 3D PDF and the feedback has been incredible so we’re going to do more over the next few months… YouTube video of the 3D PDF is here, or just view the MP4 – Link.

Related:

  • Comments @ Radar – Link.
  • JD on EP, Today’s documents – Link.
  • 3D: Sketching in space; Potato gun in PDF – Link.

Get the 3D PDF:

  • MAKE on iTunes – Link.
  • Make a Spud Gun – Weekend Projects: A Make Magazine Video Podcast – Link.
  • Make a Spud Gun Instructions and 3D PDF – Link.

Special thanks:

  • 3D PDF provided by Alibre design, 3D mechanical design software for everyone — regardless of budget or CAD experience level – Link.

*When you download the PDF, make sure you have Adobe PDF reader 7+.

24 thoughts on “What is a 3D PDF? MAKE shows you! 3D PDF of Spud Gun

  1. ooooh, just like vrml, only takes even LONGER to load, and requires more obscure and costly tools to create.

    How is this a good thing?

  2. could be..

    but..
    -a lot of people have acrobat 7+
    -lots of tools will export 3d pdf soon (my guess)
    -pdfs are pretty common, vrml seemed to just not take off

    we’ve put stuff in second life, and now we’re trying this – we’ll see what happens.

  3. you can get the pdf via our rss 2.0 feed (linked in the post) – i’m really not sure what better way to send out 3d models that anyone can interact with – 3d pdf is in acrobat 7+ – millions of people, everyone exchanges pdfs now, seems like “a way” to do this.

    people like itunes too, they use it a lot – but we always make sure there are more ways than one (and one vendor) to get out the videos – we do mp4s and pdfs, all over rss 2.0 – just about anyone can get those.

    on thing is for sure, as new things come up – we’ll try those too.

  4. Thanks Phillip – – I wasn’t saying makezine was doing this, just a general rant on the state of the tech we have. It’s great that you have rss & whatnot, please don’t take my comments as a troll. :)

    Trying new things is great. … but there can be side-effects… for example, let’s just say I told people to go purchase these new drm protected cds from sony… tastes great, less filling!

    As a personal preference, I do not allow itunes on any of my machines. I will install quicktime & acrobat reader, but only after removing the spyware that comes with it (quicklaunch, auto update, etc, etc). It’s consumer accepted levels of evil, but still evil.

  5. it’s cool – i like to chatter about all this stuff (it’s why i’ll opt to put something out there and get feedback with our makers as opposed to spending a lot of time on something and it not working out)…

    as far as your example, i’d never tell folks to purchase drm’ed cds from sony – that’s crazy talk.

    but that being said, i’m aware what itunes and other apps do – i’m not sure it’s “evil”. but i’d prefer to be able to opt out of anything that sends info back without me knowing.

    as far as video/audio goes… we need to provide content (that’s our job) we need to offer up a way for folks who use itunes to get our stuff, and we do – a rss 2.0 feed, it works with anything, including itunes. we use mp4, we use pdfs and we have digital (html) versions of MAKE/paper versions (made from atoms). so overall, i think we do a good job. for audio, we offer up plain ole’ mp3s.

    for us, if itunes goes away, that’s not a problem, maybe folks will all use songbird, or something else. but there are millions of folks with itunes, they like it – they want MAKE on it, we should deliver cool stuff for them and ideally, not have a format that only one os, or media service can view (and we don’t).

  6. I work over at Adobe (not on Acrobat) and got to see the 3-D work pretty early on in development. I haven’t gotten into working with it at all, but it was definitely amazing to see 3-D OpenGL models pasted directly into a PDF from World of Warcraft. One second, an orc is running towards the screen, the next, he’s frozen in time and 360 degree rotatable inside the pretty frame and text caption.

    I’m excited to see it being used. Acrobat 8 should be released soon, and has some great new stuff.

  7. I agree that it’s important to make your content as accessible as possible, and support the tools that the masses use. And that’s what you do – – no problems there. :)

    My point about DRM’d sony CDs – – that’s a case where it’s clearly evil. But what happens when makezine gets pressured into using adobe’s DRM in PDF files? What about a seemly benign plugin you write about in the blog, which turns out to ch0wn PCs?

    — here’s where I rant about PDFs. Stop reading if you don’t care. —

    I think the issue I had with this post was mostly due to the ‘closed’ nature of pdfs, pointed at a ‘closed’ vendor tool, to show off some feature. Yes, 3d is cool.

    However, I strongly dislike PDF files for their lack of function. In the world of linux and windows (where I dwell most of the time) the reader support is very poor. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had acroread trigger a browser crash in IE or firefox, or I’ve had it completely lock up on me outside of the browser because I was offline and it couldn’t reach a flipping update server.

    On linux, it’s even worse — acrobat still doesn’t have an amd64 native reader, and it’s still many revs behind the other OSs. For _years_ it was stuck on version 5.0, complete with all of the exploits & bugs. They just updated it a few months ago to version 7.0

    I hate having to crack pdfs because some stupid parts vender clicked the wrong check box, so I can’t copy and paste a part number into google to purchase stuff.

    I also suspect we’ll start seeing PDF bound multi-platform worms/exploits thundering around… you can already embed webbugs in PDFs, and no clear way to disable them.

    HTML just works. If I have an option to view a html page or PDF, I’ll choose html every single time. If a website has a non-flash version… you guessed it..

    What happens when adobe auto-updates everyone’s pdf readers to an ‘eval’ version, forcing people to pay $20 to have it function again? It’s their right to do this, and it would be a smart business move. Regardless of them selecting this option – – they still have this power. We’ve seen the same thing happen with winamp, opera, and many other chunks of software. As it sits today, I can’t write PDF ‘fancy’ files without spending $449. Oh, unless I want to do 3d. Then it’s an _extra_ $995.

    The freePDF readers don’t work very well at all. I suspect it would choke on a 3d pdf. :)

    And WHY oh WHY do people insist on taking excel spreedsheets, printing them out and then scanning them into a 10 meg PDF file… which really just has an uncompressed unsearchable TIFF inside of it?

    I know this rant is getting rather off topic, sorry about that.. I think my point, is that makezine/oreilly should be careful about what tech they push towards the masses, as some of that tech may have really nasty legal or technology side-effects.

    And now for the low shot, followed by a complement:

    Ya’ll sell t-shirts which proudly state: “If You Can’t Open It, You Don’t Own It”. I can’t stress how important that is to the future of tech. I think this post didn’t follow that basic concept….

    However, your open source mp3 player is a GREAT example of some open tech which needs much more adoption. :)

  8. 3ricj, philliptorrone:
    Evince the pdf viewer that comes with the gnome desktop doesn’t choke on the 3d pdf files. It displays a picture of the spud gun that can’t be rotated. The clicky bits (Explode, Implode, Reset) don’t do anything.

    For general information, Blender3D (www.blender.org) the free open source modeling software for windows and *nix imports lots of 3D formats including DXF and VRML 1.0. How well it does this I don’t know.

    Ubuntu 6.06 LTS
    Gnome 2.14.3
    Evince 0.5.2 using poppler 0.5.1

  9. this is a good conversation – i wish more folks talked about all this.

    >>My point about DRM’d sony CDs – – that’s a case where it’s clearly evil. But what happens when makezine gets pressured into using adobe’s DRM in PDF files?

    gets pressured? wha? who would pressure us? we have a digital edition of MAKE right now, it’s not a DRM’ed PDF (like most e-versions of magazines and books) – we could have went with zinio, but didn’t – our digital edition is HTML, provided by texterity a LAMP shop, all you need is a log/pass -and- you can share it -and- you save it as PDF (non-DRMed). we spent a lot of time on figuring out would work out best, i think we did pretty good.

    that said, a lot of makers ask for PDF only versions of MAKE and versions for mobile phones, they don’t even care if they’re DRM’ed… so the only pressure i’ve personally got was from our readers.

    >>What about a seemly benign plugin you write about in the blog, which turns out to ch0wn PCs?

    wait, what plugin? our makers are smart, we try to be – i don’t see us doing anything like that. heck we’d be the first to help people to remove a wonky plugin with a how-to. if and when i post about something like that – then- spank me, you know i’ll gladly reply and/or correct something too :)

    >>what-if-scenarios with PDF…

    yah, if any of those things happen, i’ll be upset and we won’t use PDFs, or talk with adobe, or something else – just like we don’t use windows media audio/video right now, or .LIT (microsoft’s ebook format). but i’m not opposed to these formats if they change them to be a little more friendly…

    >>The freePDF readers don’t work very well at all. I suspect it would choke on a 3d pdf. :)

    they’ll display the image, but not the 3D parts. that’s OK, the 3D stuff is an extra feature, certainly not mission critical like the article itself, and by mission critical i mean the how-to to make a potato cannon.

    >>Ya’ll sell t-shirts which proudly state: “If You Can’t Open It, You Don’t Own It”. I can’t stress how important that is to the future of tech. I think this post didn’t follow that basic concept….

    i think we do the best we can, to ignore PDF support in itunes to deliver parts of the magazine so our readers can get them wouldn’t help us or anyone. we have html versions, print versions and PDF versions, on our hardware kits we do our best to have them all open source – we really really really try our best, i think more than anyone else.

    >>However, your open source mp3 player is a GREAT example of some open tech which needs much more adoption. :)

    i hope people buy them as opposed to ipods this holiday season. please spread the word.

    >>For general information, Blender3D (www.blender.org) the free open source modeling software for windows and *nix imports lots of 3D formats including DXF and VRML 1.0. How well it does this I don’t know.
    Ubuntu 6.06 LTS
    Gnome 2.14.3
    Evince 0.5.2 using poppler 0.5.1

    yup, we’ve posted about blender lots of times here.

    most folks have acrobat reader 7 so they can get our 3D PDF now, if someone wants to model the spud gun and send it to us, i’ll post it. we’d just need to show folks how to open with blender, etc. it’s also not a document like 3D PDFs, so the user experience is a lot different, but i’m certainly not opposed to more file formats for download.

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