Teaching remote - simulating building?

Hi all,
we’re a VEX Cortex shop (i’m not super experienced, but I got a couple years in) and I’m trying to figure out how to teach a robotics intro course remotely. Normally I’ve used the VEX curriculum and clawbots, modifying them as we go along each year. Anyone have a good resource on how to do labs to simulate putting together various parts? Is there such a thing?? A further complication is our kids have iPads, so either iOS or browser-based options would work. Thanks in advance!

depending on how old they are, this could be a great opportunity to introduce them to CAD software like Inventor or Fusion. thats where most teams go to design their competition bots in vrc (and beyond). i personally learned how to CAD in 7th grade- it’s not that bad of a learning curve- so it may be something worth looking into. students can get a free education license to pretty much all autodesk products


Is there any good CAD programs for iPad though?

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I would try fusion first as it is gaining quite a bit of popularity. If that doesn’t work you can try onshape, as it works with chromebooks I believe, so it should with ipads as well

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Where do you download onshape? My school has a strict blocking system and I’m not sure if it’s the same for others.

Onshape is available through an app on phones and tablets and through the browser on other devices.


is there snapacad for mac? if not is there an alternative

idk, i dont use a mac

SnapCAD isn’t available for macOS, but there are lots of compatible alternatives that are.

SnapCAD is basically just the LDraw editor MLCAD pointed at a library of IQ parts. LDraw is an open-source file format, and library of digital parts, originally designed for modeling LEGO structures in CAD. It enables a bunch of different editors to all speak the same language, so that a model created in one editor can be opened and modified in any other.

To use an LDraw editor to model VEX IQ structures, all you have to do is replace the default library of LEGO parts with a new library of VEX IQ parts. There are various LDraw editors available for macOS, probably the easiest to get started with will be Bricksmith. To get Bricksmith set up for IQ, do the following:

  1. Download and install Bricksmith from this page - the “application only” link is fine.
  2. Download the VEX IQ parts library from this page (use the link “parts package” near the top) and put it somewhere on your computer (e.g., your documents folder).
  3. Open Bricksmith, hit Command-comma to open the Bricksmith preferences window, and select the Parts tab.
  4. Under “LDraw Folder”, click “Choose” and navigate to wherever you put the parts library. Then hit “reload parts” and quit and relaunch Bricksmith.

That should be all you need to do to get Bricksmith working with IQ parts. The tutorial is a good place to get started.

Although Bricksmith is easy to set up, it’s not my favorite LDraw editor - that title currently belongs to LDCad. It doesn’t have a Mac build available, but if you’re somewhat familiar with the terminal and willing to do some setup, it runs great under Wine on macOS. I have some instructions for setting up LDCad to work with IQ parts on a Mac here.