CAD Design and Animation

This page contains information to help FRC teams with the implementation of CAD (What is CAD?) and 3D animation software for use in the FIRST Robotics Competition.  

Disclaimer: Some of the links below may lead to external web sites that are not endorsed or controlled by FIRST, and may contain outdated or inaccurate information about FIRST programs. For official information about FIRST, please consult

Autodesk Software 

To make it easier for teams to design the next great robot, FIRST has partnered with Autodesk, to provide Autodesk® software licenses to schools who have a FIRST program.

Autodesk software for FIRST schools

Autodesk software for students, teachers and mentors - home use

    • Download Autodesk software for educational / personal / noncommercial use
    • 60+ Autodesk titles available for FREE
      • Autodesk® Inventor®
      • Autodesk® Revit®
      • Autodesk® AutoCAD®
      • Autodesk® 3DsMax®
      • Autodesk® Maya®
      • And more…
    • 3 year license
      • No watermark on 2014 & 2015 software

    PTC Software   

    Unlock Your Team’s Full Potential with PTC Creo 3.0

    PTC is pleased to announce the release of PTC Creo 3.0 for FIRST teams!

    PTC Creo 3.0 is an enhanced 3D CAD software that will save your team time and budget by providing you with the opportunity to design, assemble, and test your robot in PTC Creo 3.0.

    Download your free copy of PTC Creo 3.0 -

    Once you have registered, you will have access to download instructions for PTC Creo 3.0.  We also recommend configuring PTC Creo 3.0 with the “Schools” configuration.

    Download instructions to configure PTC Creo 3.0 for Schools -

    Some of the Top Enhancements in PTC Creo® Parametric™ 3.0

      • PTC Creo Parametric continues to see significant improvement in graphics performance and capability. Shade with reflections has been significantly improved to support realistic materials with access to different material classes that will each be displayed appropriately, such as metal, glass, paint, and plastic. In addition, bump maps are now realistically displayed in the graphics areas. Full support has been added for HDR images that can now show realistic reflections interactively on the geometry, offering control over the intensity, location, and size of the HDR image. All these changes allow users to work in an immersive environment and see a representation of how the product will look in the real world.
      • The PTC Creo Design Exploration Extension (DEX) is a dedicated tool for enabling the quick and easy investigation of alternative concept designs within the parametric environment. Using “checkpoints,” DEX eliminates the need to manage multiple versions of data and allows designers to move seamlessly back and forth between design branches.
      • PTC Creo Parametric introduces a new concept in the form of the Notification Center. This allows users to quickly see, interrogate, and action problems in their models. Problem items will be displayed directly in the model tree. If the model contains failed or outdated items, notifications will be displayed. Users can then open up the notification center to view and act upon them.
      • 3D thickness checking: It is now possible to perform a 3D thickness check. The geometry is color coded based upon minimum and maximum allowable thickness specified by the user. The minimum thickness location will be displayed directly on the model. This allows designers to quickly determine the feasibility of the design before waiting for the design to be transferred to a Mold Design expert.
      • Sheetmetal productivity: Rapidly create sheetmetal geometry using new functionality to automatically apply bend relief, create sheetmetal rips, bend coplanar geometry, and simplify die form and flat pattern creation.

    SolidWorks Software   


    SolidWorks 3D CAD Software for mechanical, part, assembly, drawings and applications for building competitive robots, Sheet metal and Weldments, Photorealistic Rendering, Animation, Toolbox – fastener library of components, eDrawings for sharing and SolidWorks Costing for estimated machining costs and Workgroup PDM to keep track of drawing revisions.

    SolidWorks Electrical Software  for electro-mechanical, control system design for SolidWorks Electrical 2D Schematic for single line and multiline schematics and SolidWorks Electrical 3D for incorporating into you 3D CAD model, Bill of Material, and cable/wire harness.

    SolidWorks Simulation for engineering analysis and simulation – to test your design in a real-world environment including SolidWorks Simulation Premium for stress, thermal, fatigue, structural design optimization, SolidWorks Flow Simulation for flow analysis, SolidWorks Motion for kinematic analysis, SolidWorks Sustainability for environmental factor simulation and SolidWorks Plastics for manufacturing simulation of injection modeled parts

    SolidWorks Composer for technical documentation and animations used to document manufacturing instructions and assembly procedures, for use by marketing, graphic artists and engineers.

    Serial Numbers and Tutorials

    After acceptance of the SOLIDWORKS FIRST Robotics application, teams will be emailed serial numbers and a link to SOLIDWORKS robot tutorials in .pdf. All teams can access building a competitive robot, SOLDIWORKS FRC video tutorial series.  


    Teams have access to My SolidWorks, a place to connect, share and discover everything SOLIDWORKS. Here FIRST teams can link to our parts catalog, 3DContentCentral, SOLIDWORKS forums, and tips about using SOLIDWORKS. Just create a “Guest” Login account to access My SolidWorks.

    Teams also can register to attend their local SolidWorks User Group meeting. Teams can share their models on our SolidWorks Education Facebook page.

    Kit of Parts (KOP)

    SOLIDWORKS produced an updated KOP from last year with smarter components containing electrical information.  We will produce a new KOP for the upcoming season. There are additional components for FRC and FLL. All KOP models can be inserted directly into SOLIDWORKS from the Design Library by linking to your folder with Add File Location command.


    An extensive library of parts used in past competitions is available here: FIRST CAD Library