LDraw is a software program, originally for DOS
, for creating models out of LEGO
s. It was created by James Jessiman
(who passed away July 25, 1997
) and is currently maintained, in some fashion, by the folks over at http://www.ldraw.org
Many people have used LDraw-created .dat files with a program called L3P (by Lars C. Hassing) which translates them into pov-ray-renderable 3-D scenes, from the command line. Also useful is the older L2P.
Various LDraw-compatible but more advanced CAD programs exist, including the ldraw.org-approved and 100% ldraw-compatible MLCad by Michael Lachman, and LeoCAD, which does not use the standard LDraw parts files but can export a LDraw .dat if necessary.
I much prefer the ease of use of LeoCAD, and as it is built for Linux as well as Windows few PC users would be left out of the Lego-luvvin'. Find it at http://www.leocad.org. MLCad comes from http://mlcad.ldraw.org, if you're interested.
You can see some examples I've created with LeoCAD and rendered, at Brickshelf, at this address:
Mac users: Feeling left out? Try BrickDraw3D, a LDraw-compatible program for Mac OS 8 and up. I can't say much more about it, having not tried it, but if you want to give it a shot find it at http://olson.pair.com/brickdraw3d/.
And have some fun! Remember, LEGOs aren't just for kids anymore!