By Andy Davis
Autodesk Navisworks Freedom
The tool of choice for reviewing AutoCAD Plant 3D models is Navisworks. You can import a Plant 3D model into Autodesk Navisworks Simulate or Manage, publish to an NWD file and then distribute to all project stakeholders for review. The published file can be viewed and marked up using Autodesk Navisworks Manage or Simulate. However, both of these tools are licensed.
If a project stakeholder does not have a licensed copy of Autodesk Navisworks Manage or Simulate, they can view a published NWD file in Autodesk Navisworks Freedom. Autodesk Navisworks Freedom is a free viewer for NWD files, available for download from Autodesk. It provides the functionality to view geometry and all published Plant properties and also take measurements but does not provide any markup capability.
An alternative to using a Navisworks file is to use DWG Trueview to view an AutoCAD drawing file. However, to use DWG Trueview, you must first export your AutoCAD Plant 3D model to native AutoCAD format using the Export to AutoCAD function from the Plant Project Manager window. Export to AutoCAD creates a 3D solid model file without any Plant properties.
Autodesk Design Review
Another free option is Autodesk Design Review. This provides comprehensive markup and measurement capability. However, you first need to export your AutoCAD Plant 3D model to DWFx format. Unlike the exported AutoCAD drawing, the exported DWFx file will contain all of the Plant properties from your model.
Autodesk A360 Viewer
If you prefer a web-based option, Autodesk A360 Viewer is a free online viewer for over 50 file types, including dwg. You can simply upload your AutoCAD Plant 3D model to A360 and view it in your web browser.