Lego CAD - How I did it

Having played around with various Lego software I have come down to the following directory structure and batch files. I'm not saying this is the best solution but I dislike putting different applications in shared directories.

All the following directories come off a root Lego directory C:/lego

Directory structure on my C drive

Having installed all the programs individually its time to get them working together

In no real order lets start.

LDraw - This is the core of all lego CAD. Install it as directed but don't worry about running it. You only really want it for the parts. It gets a 7/10 for the program but 10/10 for its sheer existance.

MLCAD - I like this program its really good at creating DAT files. It seems to have settled down recently. It used to be updated every other week but now its so good it hurts. Rating 9/10

L3P - A really neat program to convert DAT files into POV files. It now handles LGEO parts which make the rendered images even better. Its a bit of a problem to run as its a DOS program but I will deal with that in the tips section. Rating 8/10.

LGEO - This program has all the nice include files for l3p. I used to use l2p but don't worry about that. Rating 7/10

BMP2LDraw32 - This converts BMP to DAT files. It is getting better but it does generate rather large files. Emergency use only. Rating 6/10

l3lab - This is quite useful to have a quick look around any model as it can view from any angle quickly and substitute colours. Rating 5/10

Mpeedy - Quite useful utility to convert all those models into one MPD file. Rating 5/10

Models - This directory holds all my models. I put them in sub-directories of various types. I haven't got a recommended format but its just more cental for all the other programs to find.

Parts - All unofficial models go in here. There is nothing worse than downloading a model only to find some parts are unofficial.

Lego CAD - Tips!

Tip 1 - Create Models in their own directory it's much easier to keep track of projects that way.

A typical model directory

Tip 2 - Add the following lines to your autoexec.bat file

Tip 3 - In each model directory generate a pov.bat file with typically the following line
l3p ../models/%1/%1 ../models/%1 -o -bu -q3 -fg -b -cg30,45,0 -lgeo -sc Contents of POV.BAT file
Then right click on the batch file and add a ? to the program details.
Contents of POV.BAT pif file note the ?
When you run the batch file it will open a window, enter the file name (no extension) and the pov file will be generated.

Tip 4 - Animations. In the model directory create a file called animate.ini with the following contents. Replacing model.pov with your project name

Then in POVRAY add animate.ini to the command line options in render. Run the animation then sit back. Remember to use the clock function in the pov file. Glue the animation files together to generate your animated gif.
If you have used the -sc option in l3p then set the final frame to the number of steps as indicated in the pov file.

Tip 5 - Do what your Mum tells you..


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