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An alternative would be a free viewer, such as SolidView Lite. It can display STL files 'smooth', so they look like the original NURBS model.
If the model isn't huge, VX can output a VRML file (*.wrl) too, so if your customer would be more comfortable using a VRML viewer, you could perhaps set-up a viewer on your website so that they could simply visit your site to see the model pre-displayed in a viewer.
If the customer needs to examine the model in detail, you can't really get away from CAD or 3D viewers, otherwise a good alternative would be to make a short movie (Record VX animation as an AVI file).
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I got a copy of Acrobat 3D and never looked back, I can even drop spin around 3D models into quotes and spreadsheets but as a simple viewer is where it rules for me. All the customer needs to open the pdf is Acrobat Reader 8 or above and i'm betting 90% of the world has this installed. Other pluses are the file sizes are small compared to to original cad and it is quick to use just print the cad file to pdf and away you go.
The cost of A3D is an issue or it was at the time especially as it was a lot cheaper online from the states than the UK and as is the rip off way of things you could not buy from the US if you were in the UK.
Another thing is the quality of the models in Acrobat is visually excellent, much smother than in the program which created them.
I think you can still try it for free. It looks like A3D is now rolled into Acrobat 9 Pro Extended, but with a title like that cost is still bound to be an issue.
I suppose you could always look out for an earlier version on ebay they do crop up from time to time. One way or another you must get you hands on this as it will solve your problem.
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