No way to get AutoCAD for community FRC Team's Mentor

Hello I’m a mentor in FRC 7520 (previously mentor 4001) in Canada, we are a community team which is running in non-profit mode and based on a garage, a backyard and basement. I just realised our mentors cannot get AutoCAD or Inventor licenses because we are not teachers at government-management school or university anymore. The website for downloading AutoCAD literally has no selection for FRC team mentor but rather let us uploading student ID or government-issued teacher proofs. I emailed AutoDesk and they reply us with this website. What should we do?

According to the documentation on this page about educational license eligibility Who is eligible for an individual educational license? | Account Management | Autodesk Knowledge Network you would qualify under the " Autodesk-sponsored competition mentor or competitor" clause, for which FRC is listed on this page Design Competitions and Events | Autodesk

Further, on the sign-up page assuming you don’t already have an account, under options you have a selection under “Educational role” for “Design Competition Mentor”, while you’re not directly aligned with an educational institution, you’d likely still select High School/Secondary since that is what FRC covers.

Not sure what verification is necessary beyond that, but good luck.

No I’m not new to CAD, been playing with frc CAD for 8 years. I have accounts already. Now on download page it only says verification required. I don’t know how to get the page 1
in my account except start another new account (I already have 13 Autodesk accounts…they fails during licensing for past years for different reasons. Some have business license connect to, with company cloud things so cannot use here.

This would be a good time to dump Autodesk and switch to Solidworks or better yet, OnShape.


Yes for 3D, but 2D still, AutoCAD so far is still the king

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You’d be surprised. Onshape has extremely good Sketch tools, and they’re easy to export to .dxf and .dwg. I use AutoCAD and Onshape both, and when I want to do something quick I’m definitely using Onshape. The only time I really bother with AutoCAD is when I’m laser cutting something, and even then a lot of the time I’m importing something from Onshape.

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Mentors can get Autodesk educational licenses under the Autodesk’s sponsorship of First. Autodesk has recently changed it verification procedure that apparently uses a third party. It has been discussed in this thread, but I have not seen an resolution.

Just tried to update my autodesk version and ran into the issues mentioned in the other thread. Looking at the screenshots, I’m pretty sure I’m not eligible, since I’m on a community based team and am not technically associated with an “accredited academic institution”. Actually, strictly reading Onshape’s sign-up page agreements, I’m not even sure I qualify for that educational license. But, the free level (public-only) for personal projects looks like it will work just fine.

… sigh.

EDIT: Took a bunch of clicking, but @ExploitSage’s post helped confirm that indeed we should be eligible to use educational versions of their products. However, still get stuck at “Name of educational Institution”.


Mathworks, Autodesk… used to be really really good about giving out educational versions of their SW to get folks hooked, which IMO is a slam-dunk way of getting more commercial licenses purchased when the educated end up working for companies. But those free versions have been chipped away at over the past few years.

I totally get it, it’s expensive to make good software, and these tools aren’t cheap to maintain. It’s a business decision, and I don’t necessarily blame the companies for tightening the grip. But, it does send a particular message about where educational priority really is.

I’ll continue to take the path of least resistance, whatever that ends up being.

Though I don’t use OnShape, if I were starting from a point where no one on the team had CAD software, OnShape would probably be the way to go. From what I know it is almost as feature rich in 2D as AudoCAD. But it’s ease of use and setup may make up for the workarounds you’ll use in 2D.

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Autodesk says mentors are eligible here. I think it more a finding a way to get the third party verification up to speed. I have my licenses from the First sponsorship, but I renewed before the new verification procedure. We are running the Vault server under my license so I hope that does not change.

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The Onshape for Education signup takes less time and effort than I spent reading this thread and writing this post.


IMO, none of the 2D features of AutoCAD are necessary (or even useful) for FRC. Really rich drawings are mandatory if you’re running a production line, but FRC robots are effectively engineering prototypes. If the drawings are communicating the necessary physical features of a part then you should be good to go. Unless you’re 971, none of your parts are so complex that SW or Onshape can’t easily handle the drawings.


I may be in the minority here, and I’d understand if my post gets disregarded as useless, but about half this thread has changed into pushing Onshape onto Gary. Although I can’t offer any information regarding educational licensing for Autodesk, it seems that Gary is atleast somewhat aware of the other options out there (such as Onshape, Solidworks). He could always look at those options with his own leisure.

I’ve been using Inventor for years and just picked up Fusion 360 for the past couple of months. I do agree somewhat that for FRC use 2D isn’t as useful (unless you’re drawing electrical schematics). Nonetheless, AutoCAD is a great product. I wish you the best of luck, Gary. As tagged before, inventor_phild is a good contact point for this issue.

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i’ve been always using onshape on tablet since the pre released(a beta tester acutally), it is amazing, i do love it. But still it is TOO FUTURE, the world is not there yet, i know it can handle 90% FRC, with more stable environment. But thing is we are trying to teach students, let them be ready for college/uni or industry. They are still on AutoCAD, thats why we cannot throw traditional away yet. I can see Autodesk is trying to push world into cloud(AutoCAD is not available in FRC page as u can see, they are trying to let FRC leading the future). But we still need AutoCAD, it’s not just a tool, it’s an engineer standard, just like we all know “power impact screw driver” works, we still need them know how to use a rachet wrench.

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thanks i just checked thread, seems like lots ppl already got problem waaay before me. Hope to see some reaction from AU official instead of SheerID, as FRC is not sponsored by SheerID.

A little off topic. Autocad and Inventor are two very different Autodesk products. Inventor probably makes the most sense for machine design. IE working in 3D. I find I am still faster developing 2D drawings in Autocad. (IE like electrical drawings. 2D drawings of 3D parts is easy in Inventor) I have never learned or used the Autocad 3D features. It is probably easier to switch back and forth between Inventor and Solid Works than Inventor and Autocad.

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