Skip to main content
Skip table of contents

CAD Publisher Tutorial: Create a Pipeline

his tutorial is designed to help you understand how to create a simple pipeline. We will step through each field and describe exactly what type of information is required.

Simple Scenario

We want to create a simple ACT3D publisher pipeline that converts files to ACT3D and Step with the following processes:

  • Watch the folder, C:\CAD, and its subfolders.
  • Publish SpinFire ACT3D files.
  • Convert the files to STEP format


  • The original CAD file has sufficient read/write permissions.
  • The local copy of the newly created file is removed from the local drive.
  • The newly created file is written to the C:\out folder.


1. Create the pipeline shell.
  1. Click Create New.
  2. Enter a meaningful Pipeline name and Description.
  3. Enter the maximum number of jobs that can run concurrently (i.e., the number of files processed simultaneously). Four is the default value.
  4. The endpoints are not changeable.
  5. Select the job priority. Oldest Job First is the default. 
    The job priority can be changed in the Job Explorer.
  6. Click Save changes.
2. Add a trigger.

In our simple scenario, the CAD files are located on the local drive; select the Directory Watcher trigger.

  1. Drag the Directory Watcher trigger into the trigger section of the pipeline.
  2. Enter a trigger name.
    Note: The trigger name is used as a prefix for all action dynamic fields. I like the dynamic fields to be somewhat concise so I'll keep the trigger name short, calling it "dw."
  3. Enter the Watched directory. (In this scenario, it will be C:\CAD.)
  4. Enter the include files and/or click Included CAD File Extensions and make a selection. For simplicity, expand the file extensions list and click the Toggle All button.
  5. There are no Exclude files so this field remains blank.
  6. Select the Watch sub-directories checkbox.
  7. Select the Add existing files checkbox.
  8. Click Save changes.

3. Create the ACT3D file.

Now, to convert the CAD file to an ACT3D file:

  1. Drag the CAD to SpinFire action to the Actions list.
  2. Enter an Action name.
  3. Enter the CAD filepath. This is the location and name of the CAD file to be converted. Use the dynamic property, "%dw.dw_changed_file%."
  4. Enter the Target filepath. This is the path and name of the file to be generated.

    We'll use the folder, "C:\Out\," as the location for the ACT3D file. We also want to create the ACT3D file in a subfolder location relative to its source. We'll use the original CAD file name as part of the ACT3D filename.

    To do this, we combine some text with a couple of dynamic properties to build the path and file name. 

    To get the relative path of the original CAD file we use the dynamic property, "%dw.relative_path%."

    Also, we want to use just the file name and extension so we use the dynamic property, "%dw.dw_filename_extension%."

    We also need to provide the ACT3D extension for our final ACT3D file name.

    We want to concatenate all our elements of "C:\out\" + %dw.relative_path%" + "\" + "%dw.dw_filename_extension%" + ".ACT3D."

    For example, if our original file is found at "C:\CAD\NX\Test1\ORing.prt," the dynamic properties appear as follows:

    Dynamic PropertyValue

    And our final text looks like this:


    Enter "C:\out\%dw.relative_path%\%dw.dw_filename_extension%.ACT3D."
    (Note that the folder separators ("\") need to be inserted to make a valid path.)

  5. Leave the Exist file handling as Overwrite.
  6. Click Conversion options and make your selections.
  7. Click Save changes.
4. Create the Thumbnail Image

We need to create a PNG file of the CAD Files

  1. Drag the CAD to PNG image action to the Actions list.
  2. Enter an Action name.
  3. The Input Filename is the CAD file so enter the dynamic property, %dw.dw_changed_file%.
  4. For the Output filename, let's again create the PNG file in the c:\out folder but with the relative folder structure.

     Enter c:\out\%dw.relative_path%\%dw.dw_filename_extension%.PNG into this field.
  5. Leave the Existing file handling to Overwrite.
  6. Click Save changes.
5. Convert to a STEP File

Finally, we'll convert the original CAD file to the STEP CAD file format.

  1. Drag the CAD2CAD Conversion action to the Actions list.
  2. Enter an Action name.
  3. The Input Filename is the CAD file to be converted so enter the dynamic property, %dw.dw_changed_file%.
  4. We'll skip the Default output directory and Default output filename fields.
  5. Set the Existing file handling field to Overwrite.
  6. Check the STEP check box.
  7. In the Custom output filepath field, enter c:\out\%dw.relative_path%\%dw.dw_filename_extension%.STEP.
    This will output the file in the relative path under the c:\out folder using the original CAD file name with the STEP extension.
  8. Click Save Changes.

JavaScript errors detected

Please note, these errors can depend on your browser setup.

If this problem persists, please contact our support.