- This article is about LDraw CAD format in general. For the LDRAW editing program go to LDRAW.
LDraw is an application written by the late James Jessiman for DOS. It could render LEGO pieces and models in 3-D from a simple text file (referred to as an LDRAW file). He also modeled many of the original parts in the parts library that is central to the program. The file format was open to the public, which allowed many enthusiasts to make tools which could process LDraw files. With associated tools, users can model creations, plan designs, or render photorealistic objects.
Nowadays, LDraw generally refers to the collection of tools, psuedo-specifications, ideas, and community surrounding the LDraw file format.
The LDraw format divides a model into steps so that the building instructions can be incorporated into the design, and also allows for steps that rotate the camera and even (primitively) move parts around. It also allows for models to be used as pieces in larger models to make design easier.
All of these tools, as well as information about LDraw and other resources, are available from the LDraw website.
There are many programs written to handle the LDraw file format for a variety of platforms.
Some of the editors for LDraw files are:
- Graphical editors
Viewers do not edit files, but just render them.
Tools are apps dealing with the LDraw format, but do not allow direct rendering or editing. Instead, they generally manipulate and generate files.
Converters take LDraw files can create models for other tools to work with. Often, these other tools are rendering applications, to create photorealistic scenes with Legos.
- L3P is a program that will produce a POV-RAY file from any LDRAW model.
- LDraw2LWS Converts LDraw files to Lightwave objects and scene files
- Ld2VR Converts LDraw files to VRML worlds using Java
All software requires the LDraw Parts Library, a collection of computer modelled building bricks.
- Normal files (.LDR, .DAT)
- Multipart files (.MPD)
- LDLite files (.LDLITE, .LDL)