CAD: Creating parts

Most of the IDeATe manufacturing equipment requires a 3D part created in CAD. Teaching CAD is beyond the scope of these resource pages, but you will find useful and effective tutorials at, which is supported by Computing Services at Carnegie Mellon. Login to Lynda through the CMU portal, otherwise, Lynda will ask you to pay for the courses.

This page has links to AutoDesk programs (including AutoCAD, Fusion 360, Inventor, Maya and Revit) and to SolidWorks, which are available for free download to Carnegie Mellon students.

For the laser cutters and cutting plotters, you may find the following applications useful. DXF (drawing interchange format) is the most common format to move parts from a CAD/graphics program to a 2D cutter.

For the 3D printers, the following applications may be useful. STL (stereolithography) is the most common format used to move parts from 3D CAD to a 3D printer. For printing, 3D CAD models must manifold objects (no dangling edges or disconnected faces) and must be watertight. If you are having trouble with this, check out