If you are interested in learning about Computer-Aided Design (CAD), or are assigned by your team to learn CAD, use this channel for resources.

First, read this webpage.


CAD is not necessary for FTC to build a successful robot.

Many successful teams don’t CAD their robot at all. Other successful teams only make parts of their robot in CAD. Of course, few teams do fully design their robot in CAD, especially those that regularly show up at the world championship.

So, what’s the point of CAD, then? It is encouraged that new/rookie teams try their hand at CAD, especially if you have a mentor or parent who is experienced in such an area. CAD is beneficial for multiple reasons.

CAD solves a lot of preventable headaches, such as spacing issues. Thus, it will save time when you discover problems in CAD that you can remediate before you build your robot.

CAD is a professional tool that is used in many STEM fields. Having CAD knowledge and skills will be beneficial in your future career, should you study and work in those fields.

If you desire to create 3D-printed or machined parts, CAD will be necessary to do so.

However, CAD is not the magic genie that will guarantee you success in FTC. When used properly, it is a great tool to aid teams in building their robot. 

Keep in mind, though, that many teams have had success without CAD. 

The Software We Use - OnShape

Onshape is a free, cloud-based, collaborative CAD tool that can be used anytime, anywhere and on any device, including MacBooks and Chromebooks. Team members can collaborate on the same model in real time and communicate using comments, action items, and markup tools. In addition, the incredible FIRST community has taken advantage of the open nature of Onshape to develop parts libraries and custom features specifically for FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge. 

PTC provides free access to our software for all FIRST students and mentors, along with plenty of learning resources.

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