Are the vex-issued notebooks good?

So how good are the vex issued notebooks for an engineering notebook? By this I mean the ones that you receive in your welcome kit when you register. If they aren’t good, what notebook do you use?

Also, how do you deal with the fact that your code changes over time. You’re not supposed to take pages out, so how do you replace the code?


There’s nothing inherently wrong with using the VEX engineering notebooks. You’re not going to lose any points or miss out on sections of the rubric because you used the VEX notebooks. However, I think there are some better options out there if you are willing to pay some more for them. I personally have been using the Design Notebooks sold by BookFactory. They have hard-back binding unlike the VEX notebook, and the general construction of the notebook is very high quality, including the binding and the paper. Personally, I really like how the paper responds to gel-pen ink. The paper accepts it well, which is very useful for sketching designs. You can get them either from BookFactory’s website or on Amazon.

As for your question on documenting code:
Why does the fact that something changes over time mean that it is hard to document? Your robot is never expected to be perfect from the get-go. The entire purpose of documentation of anything from design to building to programming is to clearly document how things change over time. Your notebook is not so much a guide to your end robot but a record of how you got there. As such, I think the best ways to document code is to explain algorithms and processes you’re employing (with the help of flow diagrams or control structure diagrams), include any pseudocode you or your team used, and then paste in a copy of the methods/functions you write based on the diagrams and pseudocode. Including well-commented code here helps explain things even more. In general, use your notebook to explain your thought process in writing the code-- why did you choose to do it a certain way? Why is that better in comparison to other methods? etc.


The vex notebooks are not very good. The pages are small and they fall out after a while. Plus they aren’t hardback and are susceptible to bending or punctures (yes that has happened) My personal favorite are these. they are pretty cheap, hardback, and they are larger than the the vex ones. As for code just keep adding new code into the notebook. Notebooks are all about the process and iteration. I usually put any large updates into the notebook and the most recent code before each comp. Just make sure to date all of your code updates properly and clearly.


They can be used without any problems … but it is better to get a notebook at staples or something.
If you get one at a store make sure it doesn’t have the loop… judges don’t like that


Different opinion: The vex-issued notebooks are fantastic and will work just as well as any other notebook in almost all cases. When you finish one notebook, simply start a new one and you can hold them together with binding rings. While a different notebook may look better, the vex-issued notebooks will be just as useful in winning judged awards as any other.

Like @Aditya_Narayanan said, rather than replacing your code, you are expected to create new entries detailing new and updated versions of your code.


I’ve had no issues with the notebooks and I’ve won exelence and design a few times, they’re fine


My team is getting a graph paper notebook, so we can… graph… stuff.


Do you know if BookFactory sells any notebooks with isometric graph paper? I couldn’t find any on Amazon, but I didn’t look at their website.

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$20 (on sale for that matter), is not cheap for one notebook. Is it a worthy investment? Probably. Is it cheap? Definitely not. There are probably cheaper alternatives that don’t say “Engineering Notebook” on the front, but that’s just my opinion.


In the long term and in the relative scope of other vex products I think it’s a good investment. Like many have already said As long as your notebook is bound it doesn’t really matter, but personally I don’t mind dishing out 20 dollars for something that will last and will be reliable.

Edit: The cost can also be split between the team members unless you are a solo team. And if you have 3 or 4 people this gets very affordable very quick.


I can confirm that using a VEX-issued notebook has no difference in design award. I’ve gotten two design awards at my state championship using a VEX-issued notebook, and my friend Keilan from 590 got design award at VEX Worlds 2019 using a VEX-issued notebook.


They don’t make any with isometric paper as far as I know. I would suggest printing some isometric paper and just pasting it into the notebook for any isometric drawings you want to make.

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Can we have two seperate notebooks for hardware and software or is that not a good idea?

I would say that is not a good idea. Generally, judges like to see your engineering process from start to finish, in order, and including all aspects. It is as good practice to use one notebook, but if you fill that one up you can absolutely start a new one. The best way to document code into your engineering notebook is to print out code, tape or glue it in, and then explain what the program does. It is also essential to write about any new updates you have made to your code, as you would normally for building.


20$ is alot if you have 5 books plus. But I love those notebooks

I personally prefer Vela Science notebooks. They are very professional and you can get them with 240 pages for $27 (although they have cheaper ones).

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it is good and you should for rewards

You don’t have to use the Vex issued notebooks for the bonus 5 points(which is what I assume you mean by rewards). As long as it is a bound notebook, it counts. Also, it’s debatable if they’re good or not.

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