New Enhancements to Paperless Parts’ 3D Part Viewer Drive Greater Collaboration & Operational Efficiencies for Custom Part Manufacturers

September 12, 2022

New features include support for Product Manufacturing Information (PMI) data on Model-Based Definition files, faster load times, and centralized viewing and searching of new file types.

Paperless Parts, the leading estimating and quoting software for job shops and contract manufacturers, today announced significant enhancements to its 3D Part Viewer, a cloud-based, format-agnostic CAD file viewer.

The 3D Part Viewer improves manufacturers’ ability to quote faster and more consistently by extracting the geometry of the parts they’re quoting, highlighting manufacturability challenges, and, through Paperless Chat, driving collaboration with internal and external stakeholders, such as machinists, tool providers, raw material suppliers and finishers. Unlike with other viewing tools, Paperless Parts subscribers can invite all stakeholders to view, search and comment on both 2D files (PDF, DXF, emails, videos, Microsoft files, etc) and 3D files (all forms of CAD), eliminating the need for collaborators to purchase expensive CAD software licenses or maintain a vast array of format-specific viewers.

“Paperless Parts is designed to get everyone singing from the same sheet of music, and having a robust viewer that’s accessible to all parties is at the heart of that mission.”

“A lot of the inefficiency in manufacturing is caused by information asymmetry – designers are designing in 3D, their vendors are quoting based off of 2D PDF files and notes, and third-party suppliers are offering input via email. Putting together a holistic picture of a part from design to build is overwhelmingly manual, time consuming, and the different stakeholders aren’t able to look at technical data in the same way, which leads to compounding errors and inefficiency,” said Jason Ray, Co-founder and CEO of Paperless Parts. “Paperless Parts is designed to get everyone singing from the same sheet of music, and having a robust viewer that’s accessible to all parties is at the heart of that mission.”

By sharing files via Paperless Parts, customers can eliminate the need for expensive FTP point solutions and collaborate within their shop and with vendors, all in a secure environment with the ability to control access when sharing is no longer needed. This functionality is critical to protecting customer data and helps shops serving the defense and aerospace industries comply with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). The Paperless Parts Viewer also helps customers quickly identify manufacturability warnings such as tight corners, deep holes that require special tooling, and bend reliefs.

The latest feature enhancements to the Paperless Parts Viewer include:

  • Product Manufacturing Information (PMI) on Model-Based Definition files (MBD) in the Part Viewer: To date, accessing PMI has required additional subscriptions to CAD software, putting this critical information effectively behind a paywall. With Paperless Parts, users can now extract and display PMI – dimensions, tolerances, parallelisms, datums, text annotations – directly in their browser. Data is available from all files that can contain PMI, including STEP AP242, JT files, 3D PDFs, and native formats from platforms like SolidWorks, Catia, PTC Creo, and Siemens NX.
  • Individual face colors: Face colors are used by designers to annotate features or manufacturing requirements and can have a meaningful impact on the cost to produce a part. For example, individual faces can be colored to indicate surfaces that must be masked when applying a finish or powder coat, or faces that need to be cut with a specific operation, such as calling out features that require wire EDM vs a CNC mill. Viewing face colors in the Viewer allows estimators to quickly identify these nuances and price their quotes accordingly.
  • Support for etching: While Paperless Parts has identified etched surfaces in the past, new functionality collects them into a separate feature class in the geometric features panel of the Viewer. This grouping allows estimators to quickly view and interact with these etchings versus sifting through sets of features to find them.
  • Faster file interrogation: Paperless Parts’ proprietary interrogation method, which identifies Design for Manufacturability Warnings and extracts critical dimensions and attributes used to drive automation in the quoting process, is now on average 25% faster. This change impacts both milling and lathe interrogation times, as well as providing users quicker time to first render of the part.
  • Centralized viewing and search for related email and Microsoft Office files: One of the key challenges in manufacturing efficiency is that information is saved in multiple formats in Shared drive. Users of Paperless Parts can now save and view all related documents directly in the Viewer, including text and image content of emails and Office file formats, including .msg, .eml, .docx, .pptx, and .xlsx files. All of the text found in these documents is indexed and searchable as part of Paperless Parts’ global search functionality.

For more information or to request a demo of the Paperless Parts platform, please visit

About Paperless Parts

Purpose-built for the manufacturing industry, Paperless Parts is on a mission to help job shops and contract manufacturers win more business, improve efficiency, and streamline operations by automating steps in the quoting and estimating process. With the Paperless Parts platform, users can reduce the time it takes to build accurate quotes, share files securely, collaborate with customers and teammates more simply, and eliminate tedious, error prone manual data entry steps. Trusted by hundreds of customers across the United States, Paperless Parts has helped CNC machine shops, sheet metal fabricators, and additive manufacturing shops grow their business and compete more aggressively in a global market. If you’re looking to join a motivated team of hardworking creators and doers, visit the Paperless Parts Careers page today.

Danielle Goodman
Director of Marketing
[email protected]

What to see these new enhancements in action?