Introduction to Papercraft - Part IV

Now I'm going to talk a little about the programs that you'll most likely need when handling with papercraft templates.
First, the most common that I thought everyone knew about but seems like I was wrong.

How to open .rar files?

Ok, you've found some nice models that you want to build and all, have everything prepared but when you download the model it comes in a .rar file that you don't know what to do with. It doesn't seems to be what you wanted. It's not an image, it's not something you know but for some reason that's what you got when you clicked on that "Download" button.
For those who don't know, .rar is a compressed archive. Instead of having to download page per page of a 10 page model, people will compress it and share only one file which contains all the pages of the model. Or they'll compress it before sharing to make the file more compact thus using less bandwidth. It's pretty much like a .zip file but with a different extension (they also have different compression algorithm).
Ok, now the important thing to know is how to open it. You have some options and the best ones are free. I recommend either 7-zip or WinRar. The first one is a freeware that have support to many compressed format including .rar, .zip, .lhz and others. The second one is the famous WinRar that also supports many compressed formats but is shareware though it's fully functional during AND AFTER trial period. Just download and install, no secret at all.

What about .pdo files? What are those?

So, instead of a .rar file you found a .pdo? Or rather, found a .pdo file inside the .rar?
No, this .pdo is not related to PHP language nor stands for Petroleum Development Oman. This type of archive is used by Pepakura

Hmmmm....and Pepakura is...?

Pepakura is, besides other, a program developed by Tamasoft that "can convert 3D models into paper models". It basically imports a supported 3D model and gives you the model totally flat in 2D almost ready to print and cut. Almost. I will explain why on future posts.
Go to Tamasoft home page to grab the program. You'll find two programs named Pepakura, one is Pepakura Designer and the other is Pepakura Viewer. I suggest that you grab Viewer because many of the .pdo files people share are locked archives that cannot be opened with Pepakura Designer. You may find .pdo files that are unlocked but Pepakura Viewer will be enough for you now.
Later I may talk more about Pepakura Designer, for now I think it's enough.

Can I convert a .pdo file to .pdf?

Why, yes! For those who don't know, .pdf stands for Portable Document Format and was developed by Adobe somewhere between 1993~1994 and you'll need Adobe Reader to open it.
To convert to .pdf you'll need a virtual printer such as CutePDF or Bullzip. Both are freeware and pretty similar in usage form though I prefer the latter because it also prints to image formats such as .bmp, .png and others.
How these works?
These installs in your computer and behave as printers so simply install them and try to print a document from a program like Word. When choosing your printer you'll find CutePDF printer or Bullzip Printer as an option. Choose it, change the preferences (such as paper size, quality and output format on Bullzip) and print it. I think they work on any program that supports printing so you can use this not only for Pepakura but for any other program.

Something else? Not that I remember.
So, if you guys have any question feel free to ask in the comments or send me an e-mail (shadowmoon87.blog at gmail) with your doubt.

Thank you for reading

Introduction to Papercraft - Part 3
Introduction to Papercraft - Part 2
Introduction to Papercraft - Part 1


  1. Wait, I'm trying to get pepakura that's NOT in "Zip file format". Is there a way to change the zip files? I'm asking, because they don't work with pepakura viewer. I don't think you mentioned that...

  2. @Anonymous

    I don't quite get what you mean when you say you're "trying to get pepakura that's not in zip file format".
    If it's inside a .zip file you could simply unzip it with 7zip, Winrar or even WinZip.
    If you're talking about the program itself than just download it from Tamasoft's site and run the .exe file to install it on your pc.

  3. I have a question:
    I want to convert .pdo to .pdf but sadly, I don´t have a printer and rely on a copyshop.
    There´s no way I´ll be allowed to install the pepakura viewer and CutePDF/Bullzip on one of their computers.
    They only work for .pdf.

    Is there another way to convert .pdo into .pdf?


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