CAD use for IQ

I am in Vex IQ and after seeing some discussion about using CAD before building in this thread: Excessive Robot Tipping, I had some questions that deserved a new thread.
So for some background, I do have everything one would need to build a whole robot from scratch, (and have about 3 times) but I am not sure if I should start using a CAD before building. What do you guys think?

  • Create a CAD before building
  • Keep on building

0 voters

If you picked Create a CAD before building, what CAD software do you think would be good for making an IQ CAD?

  • Fusion 360
  • Inventor
  • Robot Mesh Studio
  • SnapCAD
  • Other (please reply what you think)

0 voters

If you also have any idea where to find a library of IQ parts for a CAD software, that would be very much appreciated.

The library of IQ parts can be found here:

The are STEP files which could be used in any CAD software.

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Personally, I use and would suggest using Onshape because although Fusion 360 and Inventor are both good programs (as tons of other people will tell you), they lag really badly on my computer and Onshape is online, doesn’t create lag, and allows me to work on projects with others at the same time.

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Do you have enough familiarity with building that you can go beyond the “Tinkerbot”? Then you should certainly do design work prior to building a robot, especially this season were we all seem to have extra time on our hands! In my world (my company fabricates Wastwater Treatment and Air Pollution Control Equipment), nothing is built without drawings. Even an R&D project starts with at least some sketches. So if you’re interested in your long-term education (or earning the Design/Excellence Awards) follow the engineering process, which includes design. It doesn’t have to be CAD: I’m old enough to have used a drafting board and T-square, it just hast to be planned. Our company is transitioning from Inventor to SolidWorks because Inventor just doesn’t have the features that we need with regard to handling multibody solids (weldments) made from sheet metal parts. But that’s not to say that Inventor isn’t a good entry-level program to learn…it’s just not real popular in our industry. Fortunately, as a student, you have many options, and most of the leading CAD packages are available for free for students.

On VEX Team VIRUS, we recommend our elementary IQ students use SnapCAD as a basic introduction to CAD. Many (most?) 3rd grade kids just don’t have the concentration needed for more advanced CAD. However, I’m fully convinced that any enthusiastic middle-school student can learn to use even the high-end CAD systems like Solidworks and OnShape.

Here’s a document that has information and links to the various CAD software: CAD for VEX Robotics (2).pdf (300.8 KB) Although geared to VRC, the IQ parts are all available from vexrobotics.com and once you have opened a .step file in your chosen CAD package, they will be saved in the native format, and you will quickly build a library of parts. Since IQ uses nice round holes instead of the square VRC holes, the parts-libraries that have various mating features added are not so important in IQ.

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I personally use Robot Mesh Studio V5 mimic, but that is only because it is the only cad program that runs on my school chromebook. I have tried onshape, but was quickly confused and so I decided to just use what I am familiar with. You would use the Vex IQ mimic instead of V5 mimic. I wouldn’t suggest it as there are better programs out there, but it is always an option. One thing I might add to this is that the library is incomplete.

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I Also want to add that I would be running whatever CAD software on a not-great laptop. What program do you guys think would work best on it?

I would use snapCAD or Fusion. parts library is on https://www.vexrobotics.com/vexiq/resources/cad-snapcad

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I mean you’re using IQ, and pieces just pop apart, so CAD isnt very important, you could probably build just as quickly. You guys also cant modify iq pieces either.

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That is kind of what I had in mind. I can probably make changes to a robot just about as fast if not faster building then CADding.

One feature I’ve wanted to change in the public CAD files for EDR/V5 structural parts is to switch the fillets in the corners of the square holes to an outer-scribed circle. Then it becomes really easy to mate round objects to the square holes in CAD.

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That’s one option. Several years ago, I added small inscribed circular features into all the VEX structure holes, and I gave team 7479 permission to use my parts in this library; https://www.mediafire.com/file/3v7rf1xkqs7kh75/Team_7479_Solidworks_Library.zip/file

I also have these parts in “3d Content Central” for SolidWorks users. The circular feature I added is just a bit larger than the square hole, so it is almost unnoticeable in the model, but gives enough surface to do a concentric mate. But if the .step files were modified, then the feature would be available to all CAD users, not just Solidworks users.

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I’m an Inventor user. How does one get models out of SnapCAD, especially models that are NOT in the published CAD files. i.e. the XL Turntable kit.

Any help exporting SnapCAD files to STEP would be appreciated.

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The “Download All VEX IQ CAD” ZIP file on the CAD Downloads page includes STEP files of all 2020-2021 VIQC-legal elements.

STEP files can be imported CAD software like Inventor.

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