CAD Questions

Hey All,
I just downloaded AutoCAD 2013 for Mac thinking i could use it to work out some preliminary designs for our bot this year. Im all to savvy with CAD programs nor do I have a lot of money, and was able to download this one for free. It says that the files that can be imported need to be in ACIS format (not sure if this is the only one it would take). To my knowledge the list of vex CAD files found on the VEX website are all in UNIX.

Does anyone know how/or have a website I could use to convert a UNIX file to an ACIS file? Or do you know of another CAD software program (that is also free) that more easily allow me to utilize the UNIX CAD files on the VEX website.

Thanks to all who respond in advance!

Granada Hills, CA

I think that all of the vex cad files are in STEP format, which is a widely used format. Also, you can get Inventor for free if you’re a student.

Thanks for the info, Do you happen to know how I would go about acquiring inventor and who I would go through? Is it through VEX? thanks

Inventor Professional for Students and Educators

You just have to create an autodesk account and provide some information like your name & age. Then autodesk will verify the account and you can download it for free. No commercial use though.

Last time I checked, Inventor isn’t available for Mac, so unless you have a PC or a virtual machine then you may not be able to use it.

I completely missed that. :frowning: Sorry, Inventor is only for Windows.

In case you do change to windows, this inventor library is by far the best I have used; it is more complete and professional than the one provided by Autodesk website.
Here you go:

Macs running Parallels or some other VM has successfully run Inventor for some folks.


So I have a class set of school computers that I can use for my robotics students. I was hoping to install autodesk invetor software (which you mentioned works with the VEX CAD STEP files) on them, but it seems like the laptops may be too outdated and not have the system requirements necessary to run the software. They do have some of the main system requirements like running windows 7, 64-bit operating system, 4 GB of RAM, and an Intel ® Core ™ i3 CPU…Anyways long story short does anyone know of an older version of CAD software (that could potentially work on these older/outdated laptops) I could download (safely and for free) that would allow for the VEX STEP files to be used in it? Thanks to anyone that could assist with this :slight_smile:

Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences

My system has the same specs (i3, 4gb ram, windows 7, 64-bit, and Intel HD Graphics integrated graphics card) and Autodesk Inventor 2013 and 2014 run fine. What exactly goes wrong when you try to run Inventor on your laptops?

Dude, it’s on the AutoDesk website for other versions of Inventor.