Using CAD

I have a simple question: in your past experiences, how much of a difference do you believe making a robot in CAD first makes?

I think CAD is really useful because I usually don’t have access to building materials throughout the summer because I am on a school team and so I use CAD to design a robot and then when we get to school in like the middle of the season I have a blueprint of what I need to make and I also know what materials I’ll need. This way you can save on resources and time.


Utilizing CAD is extremely helpful in both getting ideas out there as well as planning your builds. It can cut down on time spent prototyping while building your official comp bot as well as tinker around with ideas in the case you aren’t available to parts (like now). For example, if you look at our forum post you can see how we utilized CAD to our advantage in getting out strong experimental robots as well as planning our finalized iterations.


At first, CAD might seem like a hassle and it definitely has a substantial learning curve, but if you have access to a computer capable of running the program, you’ll find digital building becomes much faster than physical building. I’d also argue that cadded robots are generally much cleaner. When you build something physically and there’s a clearance issue, teams tend to “robot sculpture” the area; cut away metal to fix the problem. With CAD, you can make another iteration with different spacing, and avoid those issues when it comes to assembly.


CAD gives you a degree of precision that you can’t attain with only building physically. One of the best advantages of CAD is being able to make objects constrain to ideal angles, or perfectly spacing things to be perfectly flush with one another. This translates to minimal friction and symmetry in the physical robot.

In general, CAD forces you to be more analytical in your design approach, and the first thing you put together is not necessarily what will be built. I found I have a tendency to “breakthrough” solutions and designs much more easily and quicker with CAD because of this.


3D sketch’s look good in a notebook too.

It’s harder to learn to draw than it is to CAD imo


CAD is an amazing tool that not only saves time and money, but also prepares you more for the real world. Being an avid user myself I love it.

Finalish Cad

Constilation CAD

Here are some of my best cad’s. (One being my mid season tower takeover bot, and the other my TP worlds bot.)


Would you mind sharing the file on these, or at least post renders of those bots?

CAD is a great tool to utilize if you have access. There really isn’t anything comparable to it for designing your robot. It may be hard to get used to but in the end it will save you time and make your builds more thought out. image image
It took our team less than a day’sworth of work to get this robot finished after we had a CAD of it for example, leaving us plenty of time to make it more efficient.


i think autodesk inventor is very useful to build the robot!
We have our cad structure presentation video on youtube
you can search 88821A design drawing to watch it

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Using CAD can be a very efficient way to test out ideas / spacing before building to make sure it works, so you won’t waste your build time on prototyping. Also, it allows you to work on the robot at home remotely.

The rendering of a CAD looks very good on design journals. The photo below is a rendering of a base I designed over spring break
Base Render


wow, that’s a really good design.

As someone who does a lot in CAD for my team as well as others, I strongly recommend you don’t make a full robot in CAD until at least the middle of the season. You can do small sub systems and such but not a full robot. You just need time to test things with the game elements and get together rough ideas. That is until you have been doing Vex for several years and are quite good at everything.

After about the mid season point, then put together everything you learned into a full robot to build or tweak.