15-294 Software Setup

All the software you need for this course is pre-installed on the IDEATE@Hunt MacBooks which you can check out prior to class.

You are also welcome to run the software on your personal laptop, if you prefer. To do so, follow these install instructions:


  • SolidWorks is the CAD (Computer Aided Design) package we will use for all our work.
  • SolidWorks runs on Windows. It can be run on Macs under Parallels or BootCamp.
  • The student version can be purchased for $25 from the CMU bookstore.
  • It's also possible to run SolidWorks remotely via Virtual Andrew.


  • Inkscape is used to color DXF files to prepare them for the laser cutter.
  • It's available as a free download for Windows, Mac, or Linux. To install Inkscape on a Windows workstation where you are not an Administrator, use the "portable" version with these install instructions.
  • Many other tools can also be used to edit DXF files, such as DraftSight or CorelDraw. Use whatever you prefer.

Python 2.7

  1. Download Python 2.7 from python.org and run the installer.
  2. Add Python to your search path. From a Command window, do:
    set PATH=%PATH%;C:\Python27

Python dxfwrite package

  1. Download and unzip the dxfwrite package from here.
  2. You don't have to 'install' dxfwrite if you put the source file in the same directory as your application; Python will find it.
  3. If you do want to install dxfwrite, you can do so from the command line:
    cd /d Z:\Downloads
    cd dxfwrite-1.2.0
    python setup.py install


MeshLab is an open source tool for displaying and editing mesh files, including the STL files that 3D scanners and printers use.

Older Stuff

Cube Client

Preform for the Form 1+ Printer

  • The Preform application prepares files for the Form 1+ 3D printer.
  • Download it (Mac or Windows) here.

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Last modified: Sun Aug 28 22:13:16 EDT 2016