Introduction: How to Use Pepakura Viewer

About: React Developer

This tutorial describes Pepakura Viewer.

In case you are looking for Pepakura designer tutorial, head over here:

Updated: 2013/01/11 ... 5 hours of work so far :)

Step 1: Video on Youtube (HD 720p)

In case you prefer video to reading. I made this tutorial on my channel as well:

Step 2: What Is Pepakura

Pepakura (often referred to as "Pep") is a program that creates buildable papercraft models.
Pepakura Viewer is a free software, dedicated viewer that shows 3D models and patterns for papercraft created by other people in Pepakura Designerfrom Tamasoft.

Such a model can be unfolded to a flat template printable on paper, to be cut afterwards, folded and glued together. There are many features in the Viewer to help you show and print your creations and construct paper models.

Output format = saved files have extension .PDO

Useless you say ? Read on !
You can get .PDF to print from anywhere you want ;)

Step 3: Viewer or Designer ?

I had this problem too.
What is the difference, what do I need, how to use pepakura files ?

Pepakura Viewer = view files + print
Pepakura Designer =  design models + view them + export to other formats + print

Step 4: Download Pepakura Viewer

Go directly here:


Visit Pepakura website homepage where you can get this program.

1.] click "Download" from menu on the left.
2.] select Pepakura Viewer.
3.] at the bottom is located download button.

Size: 2.1 MB

Step 5: Basic Models = PRACTICE !

Yes, you need to start somehow :)
Try basic stuff before jumping into more complex models.

Pepakura offers some basic shapes which you can download and try out:


Go to Download Page and see section "Download Geometric Models (Free)".
Scroll down where you can get shapes like CUBE:
Download [cube.pdo] (4 kB)

Downloaded the cube ? You have 3 files already to work with !
Pepakura provides 2 examples in its own installation:

* dice.pdo
* giftbox.pdo

Open folder where you installed your pepakura viewer.
In case of default installation depending on your operating system go to:

c:\Program Files\tamasoftware\pepakura3en\viewer\sample\
c:\Program Files (x86)\tamasoftware\pepakura3en\viewer\sample\

Step 6: Open .PDO File

Now you want to work with files you have so:

* Open Pepakura Viewer.
* In top menu is tab "File" > select "Open" from it or just hit "Ctrl + O"
* Find the file that you want to work on and print later.

You will see 2 windows:
1.] on the left is 3D model you opened.
2.] on the right are 2D unfolded pieces that will appear on paper once printed.

Step 7: Armors & Weapons = Complex Models !

Step 8: Colors Used in 3D Model View

Settings > Other settings > Color

By default these 3 colors are what you need to work with:

RED - mountain edge
BLUE - valley edge
CYAN - single sided edge = basically such which is not glued to anything

Learn about types of lines and folds.

Step 9: .PDO File Convert to .PDF !

So you have this program with .PDO files on your drive and you want to print.
What now ?

A.] You can print it at home if you have printer, directly from Pepakura software.
B.] In case you do not have printer = you need .PDF to print it elsewhere.

Here you will learn how to convert .PDO to .PDF file !

1.] Install Adobe Reader to be able to open PDF files.
2.] Go to:

There you can download CutePDF and GPL Ghostscript both which you need to convert files.
CutePDF will be added into your printer settings and Ghostscript does some magic allowing it :)

1.] When you want to convert .PDO to .PDF all you need to do is PRINT as you usually would.
2.] Select CutePDF, print it = the proccess is fake so no printer needed !
3.] It asks you where to save .PDF converted file and that is all ladies and gentlemen ;)

Look at screenshots in this step !


Step 10: PRINT SETTINGS: Use Materials for Faces

There are several steps you need to do before real printing.
First to make your work easier later and second to avoid wasting paper and money.
Namely things like "flaps, edge ID, line thickness, colour, ..."

DO NOT ...USE MATERIALS FOR FACES ! ...  well, unless you want or need to :)
Several model makers use some color to fill in the model itself to give you and idea how it will look or use a some sort off pattern. In 3D who cares but once you want to print it you want to save INK !

If you work on model you are gonna paint, uncheck this option under:
View > Use material for Faces

And when you need a pattern or picture it makes sense you leave this option checked.
Have a look at screenshots !


View > Show Edge ID

1.] If you create something without pattern or picture on it use EDGE ID !
2.] When you work on model with surface printed in colour or with pattern do not use this !

What it does ?
This option adds numbers that indicate which parts you should glue together.
So it is faster to assemble and minimizes space for errors and gluing wrong similar pieces.

Step 12: PRINT SETTINGS: Blue + Red + Black EDGES ?

Did you ever printed Pepakura with COLOR printer and had there BLUE / RED lines ?
You want them gone and have BLACK lines or save your INK ?

I print all in black.
If it helps you assemble print in color it is up to you.

Here is how: Setting > Display setting of 3D model view

Step 13: Want to Print ? Check Your Printer First !

Have a look at these 3 options before you print !

1.] File > Pattern info
Here you will see how paper is to be printed (orientation): PAPER TYPE

2.] File > Print setting
Set how thick lines you want, smooth, numbers on pages, ...

3.] File > Printer setup
PRINT ! ... choose printer, paper orientation + paper SIZE ! *

* be careful about paper SIZE !

Standard for EUROPE = A4 ... 210 × 297 mm
Standard for USA = Letter ... 8.5 × 11 inches (215.9 mm × 279.4 mm)

Step 14: Learn More !

This was basic tutorial and introduction to Pepakura, what it is, using software and printing.
But you want more right ?

In order to SCALE your parts to fit your body you need Pepakura Designer !

Step 15: What Next ?