February 11, 2020
Keywords: 3D measuring, dimensions, distance, radius, height, area, volume, bounding box, measuring units, precision
This tutorial will guide you on how to measure a 3D model. ABViewer enables to make measurements in every 3D file it supports, including: STEP, IGES, STL, SLDPRT, X_T, X_B, SAT, OBJ, BREP, 3D DWG/DXF.
We will start with getting the general information. In order to do this, it is necessary to activate the Structure panel (Viewer 3D -> Panels -> Structure). The panel is floating, i.e. it is possible to move it, attach it to any side of the main window, and resize.
The Structure panel is divided into two panes. The upper one shows the file content as a tree structure. The lower one shows its properties, including overall dimensions, volume, area, and center of mass.
To know the properties of a separate object or a group of objects, select it in the tree structure or click on it in the drawing area. This panel is also used to control the visibility of objects. Remove a check mark next to the name of any object and it will be hidden.
Another way to get the overall dimensions of the 3D model is to use the Bounding box tool (Viewer 3D -> Visual Styles -> Bounding Box).
Now let's move on to more detailed information. ABViewer offers three measuring tools: Distance, Edge, and Area.
The Distance tool has two measuring modes: Between points and Between edges.
With the first mode activated, you can get the distance between two points and height between two parallel surfaces.
With the second mode activated - the distance between two circle centers and between two parallel edges.
The Edge tool measures the length of an edge and the radius of a circle or a circular arc.
The Area tool is used to measure the area of a selected part.
The results of measurements are displayed in the Measure panel and added above the 3D model. The dimension text can be moved – click on it and then click on the place where you want it to be. If you want to delete it, press the Delete key.
Measuring Units and Precision
To change the measuring units, call the Options dialog box (File -> Options -> Measure). Here you need to set the original units of the 3D model (units in which it was created) and the units in which you want the measurement results to be displayed.
On the same Measure tab, it is possible to select how precise you want the measurements to be.
Saving of Measurements
ABViewer enables to save the 3D model with the measurements you made as a PDF or raster file (File -> Save as). Or save all the measurements in a separate file and load them when necessary. To do this, open the Measure window and click on the Save button.
A new XML file with the measurements will be created in the same folder where the 3D file is located. If you want it to be created in another folder, click on the dropdown button, select Save to, and specify the file path.
The next time you open this 3D file, click the Load button in the Measure window and the measurements will be loaded.
If you changed the file path, click on the dropdown button and select Load from. Thus, you can save time and don’t measure the same 3D model twice.