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How do you convert PDF files to .step files?
VectorWorks has this built-in to the program. However, I'm not sure if it's as good as a dedicated converter. It also depends how the PDF file originated. If it was created from the CAD application, it should have the vector data embedded in it, to allow conversion fairly easily and accurately. However if it was scanned, or created as a bitmap image, it's a bit harder. You'll need to use a bitmap tracing application. The free, open source multi-platform application Inkscape has a really good bitmap tracing algorithm, but there are other professional tools that can do it for you. This is harder and less accurate, and the resulting files won't necessarily be 'clean' CAD files. By this I mean that the lines may be made up of lots of little line segments, resulting in a large file that is much harder to use.
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It will also look as though the files are 'stitched together' rather than assembled from separate files, which makes the results harder to read. You'll need to use a bitmap tracing application. The free, open source multi-platform application Inkscape has a perfect bitmap tracing algorithm, but there are other professional tools that can do it for you. If you have to use a bitmap tracing application, you'll have to export PDF files manually, or at least do this at the beginning of the task. Another option is that a vector scanner can read the bitmap image, and produce a vector file which can then be read by your drawing program. You might then still have to trace this vector image into the CAD file yourself, however, which can make this process even more tedious. The software that I use for this is Sketchbook Pro on my Mac and the vector.
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