Design Software

What software do you guys use to design your robot? (you know what I mean right?) I mean to build/draw the “sketch” basically.


The most common is Inventor; probably because that is what FIRST gives us.

A smaller group uses (the much superior imo) Solidworks. Teams have just recently been able to get it for free (besides individual teams who asked for it), so hopefully more start using it.

An even smaller group uses AutoCad; Team 60 comes to mind, but I know there are more (179 when Tytus was on it?).

When I did all of the drafting, I used a very unique style that I have become known for among my team. I use both Inventor and AutoCAD at the same time. Most will be asking, Why? The answer is simple. AutoCAD is vastly superior for geometry and crunching numbers. Inventor is vastly superior for 3-D modeling. Together I can have the best of both worlds. So, I figure all of my dimensions in AutoCAD and then import them into Inventor for the assembly phase. I consider this the two-sword style of drafting. So far, I am the only one I know to use this so it might not work so well for everyone. Let me know if anyone knows of someone else that uses this style.


some use solid works

Dry erase board. :smiley: Nobody last year knew how to do anything with any of the software mentioned. Hopefully that’ll change this season.

The teams I’ve been on all start the season with the intention of using Inventor or Solidworks.

2 weeks later we’re all sketching stuff out by hand on white boards.

The big advantages of CAD software are kind of lost in FIRST, where the emphasis is on quickly producing one off parts. If FIRST were on a longer time scale and robots had to compete year after year (the game was the same year to year), I think there would be much more benefit from using Inventor or Solidworks. As is, I don’t think most teams really utilize it and probably never will.



For quick sketches (ideas) I use Visio. All of our detailed CAD is done by our students who use Inventor.


269 uses both Inventor and Solidworks.

I don’t know if 171 uses anything yet, but hopefully I can push Inventor onto them. :yikes:

Inventor and brown paper. Inventor for detailed drawings and parts, brown paper for covering work surfaces, drawing on, making lists on, and doing calculations.

Solidworks, all the way.