vex cad tutorial

i’m probably going to get autocad soon (it’s so expensive!!) and would like to know if there’s any tutorials that teach you how to load parts, attach them together (that includes screws) then simulate a few things and try out the feature that shows stress (i think, makes the parts all multicolored. I know what it’s called, on the tip of my tounge just can’t remember at the moment.). Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Errr… To the best of my knowledge Autocad is a 2D CAD program aimed at building construction type things.

You need a 3D CAD program such as SolidWorkds, Autodesk Inventor or ProEngineer. These programs will all allow you to construct a Vex robot in 3D space using the CAD files that are freely available on the Vex site.

And if you want to put more effort forward you could use 3D Studio Max to make all the parts look completely real and animated but I seriously doubt you want/need that.

Cody Smith,

ah, about 2d/3d. I am getting a 3d version im just not to sure what it actualy is because of how im getting it. I need to learn cad quite quickly, although i’ll only be using 10 percent of all the features, i’ll mostly be loading parts from the vex cad library. Then making a few of our concepts for the team. So i really need a good tutorial.

AutoCad is a 2D/3D program that can be used to build basically anything that another program, like solidworks, can make. However it is rather difficult to create 3D objects in autocad. Personally I would go with either Inventor or Solidworks. ProE is good also, but not as user friendly.


Since your a student, you can get a student edition of autodesk inventor for free. Just go to this site: You do need a school email address though, you can’t use a hotmail one or anything like that. The easiest way is to get a teacher to sign up.

thanks very much for that, Will sign up now.

The VEX classroom kit contains a very good program the ‘Autodesk VEX Robotics Curriculum’. You can also buy it separately from VEX. Teaches Inventor but you can cross relate the course to Solidworks.

As you are in New Zealand ask your school about the STAR course in CAD (Solidworks) that AUT offers. It is a four day course (you get off school) and you get 5 NCEA level 3 credits for it.

RAR put students through the course every year so we can recommend it.

… and you can get a FREE copy of solidworks student edition just by asking.

yea, I have the VEX Robotics Curriculum although i didn’t find it very useful at the time as i only had a 30 day trial of AutoCAD although I suppose I should go back and look at it again. I’ll try follow up on the AUT thing, but not sure our school will know anything about it.

Then it is Up To You, to inform them… :wink:

(Google Search Time… using: “STAR course” AUT )

This Link looks relevant… STAR/Work Experience/Gateway.

I can’t find anything about STAR, other then the Ministry of education site.
The only other info was from the long bay college, which just shows that there IS a course. I searched the AUT website and got no results. But I reckon our school is too sports orientated to star this but since I’ve got close connection to Principal might as well give it a try. There was talk about a CAD course earlier this year for robotics but that has seemed to fade away. And i’m unable to buy the student version of cad and just teach myself (i am a student, but not a uni and you need to be studying at uni to be able to buy).

Ok, thanks very very much for the I’ve just downloaded Autodesk Inventor Pro, and the Autodesk VEX Robotics Curriculum is actualy quite helpful. Thanks all for your help. I just have one final request, Could anyone make a 18X18 chassi using the hologomic (i can’t spell it and i think that’s what it’s called, it’s the one with the four diagonal wheels) design. That would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all,


I currently have $10,000 dollars worth of autodesk products on my computer right now because I am a student and I downloaded it all for free. The only things that I cannot do is produce products with my models. The models are tagged as an educational version and output drawings are tagged as educational. So as long as your not turning a profit with the educational software your fine but if you are you can get in a LOT of trouble.

The only programs you cannot download are 3ds max and mya which are 30 day trials only.

AutoCad can do 2d and 3d but I dislike autocad, its old school but it still does everthing the new software programs like inventor do. I spent 3 hours modeling something in autocad that took me 30 minutes in inventor!!!

Inventor can render complex animations, open inventor studio under the applications menu. I can render images that look very real as well as video animations. I animated a piston once but it was top quality very realistic video which took 45 minutes to render 2 seconds of video!!!

Here are some renderings and models that I created on my own in inventor 2009 and inventor studio educational versions.
By robofreak at 2009-07-20
By robofreak at 2009-07-18

Nice! Wish i could model like that :stuck_out_tongue: I have 3 weeks, less actualy to design 2 robots ready for our first bootcamp. It’s just I need that chassi, I think that I can build everything else but I really need that chassi. And i’m not sure i really want to render my robots, because no one else in my team has any kind of CAD at all. So i’ll just have to take photos of it or take a video of my just panning around it.

Assembling a robot chassis should not be hard. Learning how to model parts and use ever feature to model them better is harder than just assembling the parts in 3d.

Rendering the robots is actually a very easy task, simply orbit around your final robot design until you find a view that you like. Then click applications and then inventor studio if your using inventor (that’s really all i use) when it loads up it won’t change the model just the toolbar’s will change. Then click render image and from there is straightforward just specify the resolution, output file location, and a few other point and click settings and then hit render. The time it takes to render an image is dependent on how high you set the resolution and some other settings. I once rendered a single image that took half an hour!!! It was an extremely high resolution rendering that I could zoom in on parts of to see them in closeup!

If you try to work with the program a lot a few days should be all you need to become good at basic modeling and assembling. You will want to model to because you might need to customize a part or something like that.

I took a class on this stuff at my high school, my teacher intentionally held me back though. I learned the curriculum in half the year and then started jumping into the material of the later classes so he sent me on wild goose chases modeling pointless stuff like the golden pimp scooter in my above post ha ha ha ha…

Actualy, the photo in this link:
Shows that it shoultdn’t be that hard. Taking a class at your high school, wish I could do that. But living in NZ, in a sports orientated school… Although we do have quite a good robotics team. After every comp, the next one would have more designs based on our robots. Homeschools robot was a perfect copy of ours, when we hosted a comp they came and took photos. Then added a pimp as line tracker and won the Programming award at dallas. It just sucks we weren’t recognised at all, I think that we ended up programming 2 other teams robots in the nationals as well. But oh well, you can’t get everything. Back on topic, i’ll try model a few things over the next couple of days. I only have 1 real problem but we have no idea how to do it out of cad as well.

I suggest starting small… Like really small… just to get used to it… I learned via the Real World Design Challenge, since all entrants get a free student copy of PRO/Engineer + their tutorials on how to build stuff… And (depending on the competition) you could learn things like using air foil coordinates to produce a wing for an air plane (this year’s competition). If your are interested… Fortunately and Unfortunately I go to the same school as the winners of the competition (so our team had no chance) but it is a good way to learn the basics of things like Inventor or PRO/Engineer

Yea well two days after I got Inventor Pro i’d done this:
It’s not very good but it’s a start. The model is visualy correct, but if you noticed (which you should have) that there are no screws it’s because I don’t know how to put them in so that the program recognises that they are holding two peices of metal together, I need to learn how to do that so I can make proper models and use the stress simulation (just because it’s cool).

They are “pretty darn good”, I think that the Average Person could understand what part goes where, and get the pieces to the correct places…

Good Job (so far)!!!

Thanks… I didn’t think they were that good. I had other team members saying they were good, but they’re nothing compared to the real thing. If you know where I got that exact chassi from, you get a cookie. This only took 6-8 hours (two days, mucking around for most of the time). The proper thing, much much more (I think). But in the end, it’s worth it.