Last competition season our team entered three robots in two different competitions and we did quite well for ourselves, however we discovered a relatively new aspect to the overall scoring: Engineering Notebooks.
We currently have all six of our teams keeping logs and fleshing out ideas in their very own engineering notebooks.
Have any other teams recently encountered the same thing? What are you guys doing in your engineering notebooks? How do you folks prepare for notebook presentations at competitions?
insted of doing a large notebook ,we had an a3 art folder … which went everywhere with the robot … this contained photos of previous designs, autodesk designs, code … and examples of code … controls … torque ratios … etc … even had things like plates/flags in it … kept it all together and hung it on the wall at the end of the day … (we also had a diary that had a page per day … and we could write in what we did … so if someone wanted to do some work, team members would have known what has been happening … it is defo a good idea to keep track of what everyone is doing … and what has been done by who, when, where and any problems. Our gateway folder is away, but our sack attack folder is nearly full … gonna get another one and glue it 2gether …
what i did, that the judges liked, was backed up every version of code, every notepad / paper scribblings of pseudo code and when we talked to them, we did it in a very casual manner… showing them photos … then each of us talking about designing, prototypes, final build … then we broke up and talked about our areas of expertise … (programming & design / prototyping / building / improvement) … we also talked about our mon-fri book (showed them briefly)
we also talked about how many hours we worked (all logged in book) … and about the all nighter we pulled the night before the competition (they were impressed) … i think that is why we won the energy/judges … lol !
Lots of people have posted their engineering notebooks on this forum, so search away.
This website has a nice beginners example of an engineering notebook and what they contain. You will also find some information by doing a web search on “Engineering notebook,” but a lot of these contain things you don’t need in a VRC notebook, such as signing every page, rules for crossing out changes, and making sure there is no white space, which are all good practices if you expect to file a patent some day but don’t help youth robotics teams.
Yes, we gotten feed back from the judges at worlds that they love code and hand-drawn design work. In our notebook, pages 21 through 71 is just our code if that gives you an idea of how important we think code is.
But we got told by the judges that they wanted to see more sketches and drawing of the design process and not just a polished display of the outcome. They want to see your thought process. Most importantly, your notebook represents your team; make it as unique as you are and have fun with it. This year I think we are writing it in first person from the perspective of our robot. So... yeah have fun with it.
On 675D we like to put code in our logbooks so that if we are trying to perfect a new code we can simply open our logbook as opposed with having to find the file and open it in RobotC. Also we put our thoughts that we are explaining to each other as hand-drawn diagrams and anything that we actually build is inventored.