Can you use any program for the CAD awards?

Quick question for you guys:
The kids on my team used SolidWorks at school and were plnning to step up the CAD level on the team for next year, but in the preparations for 2009 we heard a rumor that the submission for the CAD awards has to be in Inventor or Pro/E (i.e. you can’t use SolidWorks).

Is this true or just a silly rumor?


Seeing as the whole award is sponsored by Autodesk, and Autodesk gives the software for free specifically to FIRST teams, I would imagine that inventor is the only usable program.

However, from what I have heard, Solidworks is not all that different from inventor, it just takes some getting used to.

EDIT: You could always do your work in solidworks, and convert your parts to STEP format and transfer them to inventor, but it would probably be easier to just start learning inventor.

For the Autodesk awards, you can only use Autodesk software.

But if you use SolidWorks, they offer their own robot CAD design competitions. I’m sure Marie can get you more information on any of the SolidWorks contests if you send her a PM.

Of course, no one can say what the 2009 rules would be, but I would suggest reading the 2008 award requirements at

You will see that there is no “CAD” award, there is an Autodesk Visualization Award (AVA) and an Autodesk Inventor Award. The AVA must be made with Autodesk 3ds Max (although you could import Solidworks or Pro/E models into 3ds Max), and the Autodesk Inventor award must be made in Inventor (hence the name of the award).

However, if you do an awsome CAD model of your robot in Pro/E or SolidWorks, that can help you to win other awards such as the Delphi “Driving Tomorrow’s Technology” award, General Motors Industrial Design award, Imagery award, Judges’ award, Motorola Quality award, or the Xerox Creativity award. Of course, in these cases, your robot has to live up to your CAD design.