You can convert a model of the robot from any CAD(AutoCAD, Inventor, 3d max etc.)? For example pr2 was somewhere drawn, or described it "by hand"?
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Have you looked at the urdf tutorials ? These explain the creation of a urdf model comprehensively.
Short answer: For the different links (e.g. "parts") of your URDF model you can use either built-in primitives like cylinders, boxes etc. or a mesh in .stl or .dae (COLLADA) format. Meshes in these formats can be created/exported using a multitude of 3D modeling solutions, like AutoCAD, Inventor, 3DS Max, Blender, Sketchup or others. The safest bet is probably to export a plain .stl file at the beginning, as COLLADA meshes sometimes seem to have problems with exporting due to being more complex.
You can also check the http://www.ros.org/wiki/pr2_description package (install it on your machine) and have a direct look at the PR2 urdf files.
It should also be noted that visualization in rviz is only one of multiple uses of a URDF model. Having a URDF model of your robot for example also makes it easy to transform data between different coordinate systems or to simulate the robot in gazebo.
Originally posted by Stefan Kohlbrecher with karma: 24361 on 2012-01-07
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