How to setup LEGO Digital Designer and Ldraw on Windows

Learn how to set up LDD and Ldraw on your Windows computer. Get one step closer to building your first 3D LEGO Model.

  • #40
  • 16 Sep 2013
  • 8:42

We begin the tutorial with the installation of LEGO Digital Designer. You can install it by downloading the setup here. After following the link, choose your operating system. We have covered only the Windows setup in the video. Remember to check the minimum system requirements, especialy the graphics card. The indows installer will install LEGO Digital Designer for you, as well as Adobe Flash Player if you do not have it installed on your computer.

Next we install Ldraw. You can do this by following this link. Do not worry, after following the link you have to enter the symbols you see on the image shown, before proceding with the download. The LDraw installation may take some time.

In order to build 3D model of your robot you must have the MINDSTORMS parts in your LDraw library. You can find the zip archive with the NXT parts on this site. There you should download the LDraw Stone Colors version file and copy the files to the LDraw folder on your computer as shown in the tutorial. For the EV3 parts you should download the LDraw unofficial parts from the Ldraw site. You can find the zip file with these parts here.

LDraw is just an open source system for building 3D LEGO Models. If you want to build your own model, you can use one of the following programs:


With the beginning of the new season of the First Lego League competition. It is time to start working on the challenge. But before we event think about programming we must have a build robot. During the next few minutes I will show you several ways to build 3D models of your robot. And why you should do this. I will show you how to setup Lego Digital Designer and LDraw on your computer.

For the purpose of this tutorial I will use a clean installation of the Windows Xp. First let's begin by set upping the Lego Digital Designer. You can download it by simply looking for it in Google or by following the link in the description below.

So when you reach the download section you must choose the installer depending on your OS. In my case this will be Windows. Before I clock the "Download now" link I make sure that my computer covers the minimum system requirements listed here. So let's download it. And I will save it on the Desktop.

Few moments later the setup is downloaded so I will click and run it. The installer will start self extracting so you will need to wait several seconds before you can proceed with the installation. There are several things that you should be aware of. One: That it need OpenGL and the second one is that it needs Adobe Flash Player. If you do not have it the installer will install it for you, so don't worry. Okay now we have our setup ready and I have to choose the language I will choose English. And from then on the setup is pretty much straight forward.

So I will install it on my computer. As I said the setup has found that my computer does not have Adobe Flash Player so now it will install it for me. After the installation of the Flash player is completed I will click close and then proceed with the installation. Now the setup is installing so you just have to wait until it's ready.

The installation is complete so we are ready to start the Lego Digital Designer. After the installation is completed we are ready to start using Lego Digital Designer. The fist time you start the program you will have to wait a minute or two in order all the bricks to be downloaded or updated. Afterwards you will see this popup where you should click the second tab. The MindStorms tab and then you should click "Free Build". Now in the left you see the parts you can use and they are grouped. So let's say you need a gear. You could click here and the will expand so you can take the gear that you need. The cool thing about Lego Digital Designer is that the parts stack together easily. So it's really easy to build your robot. After you have finished building. You could go to "Building Guide Mode". Which will automatically be generated and you will see instructions for building you robot. Okay let's go back. The problem with Lego Digital Designer is that there are many parts missing. In that case you could use LDraw. With Ldraw it's exactly the opposite. There are many many Lego parts, but unfortunately it's kind of hard to build using it. So my proposition is to build your robot as far as possible with Lego Digital Designer. And then go to the "File" menu, click on "Export model" and then from the drop down here. You could choose LDraw files so that you could export the model we have build into LDraw.

Now let's setup LDraw. Again we will search for it in Google or you cal follow the link in the description below. But in one way or another we reach the "" downloads section. Here you have to download LDraw-All-In-One-Installer so you click on it. And then this picture appears on your screen so you have to enter the symbols you see.

And then your download will begin shortly.

After the download is completed you open the "zip" file and there you can find the installer. So double click on it and the installer will install LDraw on your computer. Unfortunately it will take you some time, so don't worry just follow the instructions and you will have LDraw installed on your computer. Finally the installation of LDraw is finished. Next we must add the NXT and EV3 parts to the library. In order to do this we must download the two "zip" files you could find under the materials tab below this video. When you open the "zip" file you will find two directories "p" and "parts" you must copy the content of the two directories in the LDraw folder. So we open "explorer" go "C:\ProgramFiles\LDraw.." And here are also two directories "p" and "parts". So as I said you must copy the content. So this without the "s" directory goes to "parts" and then copy the content of the "s" directory also. This should be done also for the "p" directory and for the other "zip" file. After you finished coping all the files you must run LD makelist in order to refresh the library. So double click on it then you are asked whether you want to sort it by description or number. Choose number, so "n", "Enter" and then the program will refresh the list of the parts. Finally we have setup LDraw on your computer, but actually Ldraw is just an open source system for building 3D Lego Models. There are several programs for actually building you model. One option is MlCad which comes with the LDraw installation. Another option is LeoCad which is more user friendly, but still is a CAD program. Finally there is LD Design Pad which is the text editor for building Lego Models. And I personally prefer. Links for downloading and installing the last two could be found in the description below. Also there is the LD View program which is used for visualization of the models-build using LDraw. And LPub which is used for producing "PDF" instructions for the models you have build. Both are installed along the LDraw installation so you should already have them installed on your computer. Today I will stop here! In the next tutorial I will cover in details how to use the programs I mentioned for building your model using LDraw.