Resources to learn CAD by yourself

One of the things I’ve always said that my team lacks is a CAD design sub-team, but we don’t have mentors available to help us with that. That’s why I want to learn CAD this summer and then teach students during pre-season. Does anybody know a good site with CAD tutorials? Which software would you recommend to a beginner?

I really want to learn, this was my last year as a student in my team and since my high school and my university are the same institution and both are in the same place (weird things we do in Mexico) I see no problem at all in being a mentor. I am going to study a career we call here “mechatronics engineer” (It covers a lot of aspects of engineering, such as programming, electronics and mechanics") and during my second year I will be taught to use Siemens NX, so if the tutorials are for that software, that would be wonderful.

For Autodesk products:

Solidworks has a getting started tutorial included in the program to get the basic fundamentals down. After that I challenged myself to build things and googled any problems I had.

The tutorials built into Inventor are really good. I’d recommend starting there, but also come up with a project to give yourself a reason to use CAD and push the boundaries of what you know. CAD up last years bot, design a 2-speed gearbox, or maybe look at a swerve module. It will be way easier to learn if you have something concrete to work on.

I found Inventor quite intuitive. I never really did any tutorials but instead just experimented with different tools and saw what they did. But the few tutorials I did were indeed very good. If you can’t find videos for general CAD you can look for videos of different parts. Mainly it is sketching, extruding that sketch, and assembling it. I will actually be teaching my team CAD next week and will be recording the whole thing, so that could be something you might be interested in watching after I upload it.

For beginners I would definitely recommend Autodesk Inventor. It is very easy to use and intuitive. I wouldn’t recommend Creo as it was confusing and not easy to learn. Solidworks I found to be not bad but some of the processes are somewhat confusing and not straightforward. But that could adjust be me being somewhat biased to Inventor as that was the one I learned first. Inventor also works with the many other free Autodesk products like 3DS Max and Inventor Publisher. Inventor also has the ability to animate your models and render pictures with ease.

Built By Design really helped me teach myself, it was made specifically for FRC.

^^ Seconded ^^

The built by design videos are amazing help if you are learning Autodesk inventor.

Our team actually started cad in 2011 and myself and another member taught ourselves. We simply followed the autodesk inventor built in tutorials to learn how to work in the environment. Honestly we didn’t even do all the tutorials. Just parts 1, parts 2, and assemblies. From then on we tasked ourselves to try and cad different objects and whenever we got stuck we would just google how to do a certain task.

Inventor and Solidworks are similar enough that if you know one, you can usually figure out the other. That’s how I learned Solidworks: I knew Inventor already (and then I went the other way into the bargain). I’d go with Solidworks if you need complex-ish surfaces (which most FRC teams won’t, but other applications, like airplane wings, might); other than that it’s a tossup.

Both have tutorials; it’s been a while since I used them so I can’t really speak to how good they are, but that’s definitely a good place to start.

If you are still looking to learn CAD on your own… Here is a great resource. It is called BXD Aftermath. Right now it is in beta but it is launching at the end of summer. To join the beta go here:

Autodesk inventor is relatively easy to learn. It is also free for students. The tutorials included are wonderful. Also, since the product is widely used, there are hundreds of great tutorials on YouTube. It can be used to create even the most complex robots and also run small scale simulations. Our team does extensive CAD in Inventor and we have not had any major issues with the product.

Creo might not be easy to learn, but this file explains it’s basics pretty well:
And this site is a grand database of lectures, covering basically every aspect of modeling with Creo (a sign in is required, tough):;jsessionid=E8BABECEDEDE52A6DBEF27E31178CC37

For all SolidWorks users, thismay be helpful.

I would recommend SolidWorks. It is easy and intuitive to learn. Also, SolidWorks Electrical was just released, which could help with the robotics. This allows you to create schematics in 2D and then it combines this with a huge library of 3D parts so you import the 3D parts into an assembly and it knows how all of these components are connected.
andres_900 has posted a useful link to the YouTube SolidWorks videos. And these videos explain when and where you would use certain features of the software as well as tutorials on how to use it. Tutorials and what other users are creating in SolidWorks is posted on the SolidWorks teacher blog available at:
Besides the content online you can find several books on amazon. If you get good at it there are also many certifications you can take.