Free CAD for Vex

This CAD package for Vex is really neat!

i have a small problem when i went to instiall the VEX parts i realized i dont have an ldraw.ini file… can you help me on as to what file i edit?

It’s a big package with a lot of stuff in it, so it’s easy to get a little mixed up. The file you want is MLCAD.INI rather than ldraw.ini. It should be in the /apps/mlcad directory.

Some people do not find the ini file after installing and have then had problems. There is a full copy of the ini file at which you can copy into your mlcad directory and then modify for Vex.

Some people have also had problems with the ldraw installer, apparently due to incomplete download. Please make sure your installer is 47.3 MB in the file properties and re-download if it is not.

It might be the case that the ini file exists and works only if the ldraw installer works.

Ok just a little tidbit of info… if you’re running on win. XP like me, the .ini file will be a configuration file and it will not say .ini anywhere…

Sorry for any confusion I created with that. The visibility of file extensions is an option you can choose to enable/disable in your file explorer. By default it is disabled but I always enable it…

Also, if you’re modifying the file, look for the existing [scan order] section and change it rather than adding a new one.

Just got things working. This is exactly what I’ve been trying to get, I used to have both SolidWorks and Inventor but found them too large and complex to have my team use…

The only thing I’m not too happy was the complexity of the install

Is there anywhere that i can get a full vex kit in Inventor form? - I know that the vex resourse page has a few models, but not the whole thing…

im also looking for an inventor version. i try to make my own, but i am just not very good at it.

I was given a stripped down zip file for LDRAW with the version 1.0 parts, but I haven’t updated it with the 2.0 parts. That was only 7 MB and it wasn’t an actual installer. Are you looking for something like that?

I don’t know any Inventor, but the Vex Curriculum site has some parts in Inventor format.

I downloaded everything according to the directions. I got the vex heading in the parts tree and did the scan parts in the file menu. I don’t see any parts and no “+” next to the vex heading in the parts tree. I have the vex parts folder unzipped and in the c:\ldraw directory as I understood the directions (I think I got it right).

I originally had the vexparts file in the PARTS folder but got it out of there so I’m pretty sure I have it where it’s supposed to go.

Any idea what I might be doing wrong?? Am I missing a step?

wow that looks cool and its free i like free:D

Absolutely amazing work…thanks :slight_smile:

on step 3 it says

  1. Get the file and unzip it into the LDRAW install directory (as a sibling of Parts).

where is that?

sure this is long after the quote but sure…
it is looking for the file you installed ldraw.exe or where the original ldraw is browse until you found the file!

base path:

Invalid path (no Parts and/or P dir found)!
and it wont let me open the thing. any idea what i should do?

I got that too and had to change the path to C:\ldraw (I think) and then it worked.

In MLCAD, go to the “Other Parts” tree and open up the subtree for “V”. If the Vex parts are in there, then your MLCAD configuration didn’t work somehow. Follow the original steps again to check your configuration. If the parts are NOT in there then your directory is misplaced or your MLCAD.ini configuration is not correct.

Assuming you installed LDRAW into C:\LDRAW, then you should have a folder called C:\LDRAW\VexParts with all the parts in it. Check to make sure there’s a subparts directory inside VexParts - if it’s not there it would explain your symptom because that’s where all the actual part definitions are. If you installed somewhere else send me a private message so we can debug in more detail.

If you have all that, the next place to look is in the MLCAD.ini file. Check to make sure you typed in the SCAN_ORDER line correctly:

1 = SHOW VexParts

(My directions may have been incorrect for this. I just noticed my ini file has TWO sections for SCAN_ORDER. It works even though it seems one should be a duplicate. You might want to consolidate yours and make sure you use a unique number for it.)

If none of this helped, send me a private message so we can do this in more detail.

The default install directory is C:\LDRAW. If you put it somewhere else, you can find it by searching for ldraw.exe and the folder it’s in is the install directory for step 3.


To date, about 200 people have downloaded the 2.0 parts. That’s really cool too!

Is anyone ready to publish a robot model? If so, send what you’ve got to webmaster AT hobbyvex DOT org (convert AT & DOT to make a legal email address) and I’ll happily post it on

is there a free mac compatible vesion with the parts?