I have been in the Vex competition for the last six years and have done on programming for all six, and documentation for one. This year of revision was nice, earning 20+ awards, including design and excellence.
Since teams have shared their notebooks to the forum in the past, I figured that I might as well do the same.
First of all, got me. Secondly, how do you type things out onto grid paper like that and have it in a fully bound book?
We have always hand written our books and hand drawn all of the pictures but after looking at notebooks at worlds, I’ve noticed that there aren’t many high level teams that do it like we have. Any tips for starting something that I can type up instead of hand writing?
Slightly off topic, but are there any cad softwares that you’d recommend for Mac?
Thank you so much for sharing!! Our team does not have a lot of experience in notebooking and I think this and other amazing notebooks that have been shared here will be great sources of inspiration for us.
what programs do you use to make entries? my team has only done physical notebooks in past years, but we’ve been looking in to going digital, and I really like how this combines the neatness of digital notebooks as well as the authenticity of a physical.
Let’s just say a mac isn’t the first choice for engineers. But if you don’t have the option, OnShape is a good high-end CAD package that will run on most any computer because it’s browser based: the real computing is done on onshape’s servers.
We used google slides for creating the pages and printed, cut, and taped the pages into the bound notebook. The grid was a background image of each page of the slideshow. The writing is done with google slides text boxes.
Feel free to follow the same format as your hand-written notebooks. This notebook was largely inspired by 41091a (my old team)'s written notebook from years past.
Make templates! We personally prefer to make one for the design process, one for programming, and one for tournament analysis.
The way we did this for design process was the following:
Complete a Full Entry of the Drivetrain
Duplicate slides for Intake
Replace all text/images that pertain to the intake
Make minor adjustments to the formatting if needed
This makes the development time faster and the notebook to look more coherent to judges.
Watch out for forgotten placeholders! When slides are duplicated, and text is replaced, there may be remnants of the original work that is just overlooked. We look over and over again through pages before printing out and there are still a dozen inconsistencies. Find friend, family, or whoever is down to check to find problems.
Typically, a page of the notebook took an hour and a half to write.
The dates of actually working on the notebook were less based on a schedule, and more about when the build or program was finished. This allowed us to experimental in the prototyping and tuning, while not having to worry about scrapping a design that has already been written in the notebook.
All of the pages are printed and signed in a unit, two weeks before a competition.
Is there any specific reason why you analyzed each robot element individually? Normally, our team would choose how we would build each part of the robot at the beginning. For example, you did: choose drivetrain, build drivetrain, choose intake, build intake, while we did:
choose drivetrain and intake, build them.
I’m guessing you also decided what you would build(cata, flywheel) before you built anything, so is there any reason for this order of documentation?
I believe this question refers to the design process cycles for building.
Each cycle is divided by a specific functionality of the robot (ie. drive, collect, score) and follows the logic completely through one function, before moving on to the next.
We do it this way to make navigating the notebook easier. If judges would like to know more about shooting discs, there is an entire section dedicated to this.
I should mention that we do not fully follow this formula when actually building the robot. We follow a path more akin to your team’s approach of defining each part of the robot before starting the CAD/Build.