US FIRST recommends some online research on what a professional engineering notebook should look like. Do this before you get started on yours. An engineering notebook is a collection place for all of your design ideas. It should (almost) be possible for someone to rebuild your robot based on your records and your diagrams. Pictured below left is part of a page from Leonardo DaVincis notebook. The photo on the right shows a tank built from his designs centuries later.
We found these example pages from a professional engineering notebook on the ASU Polytechnic Engineering website. https://sites.google.com/a/asu.edu/engineering/using- your-notebook
We found this information on the ASU website, in an article on Using Your Notebook by Mark Henderson, ASU Polytechnic Engineering. Keeping an engineering notebook is a good engineering habit! Here are some instructions from a company on how engineers are to keep their notebook: -Write EVERYTHING down; even include a dentist appointment! Thats what helps make it a believable legal document. - Keep the notebook up to date and have it witnessed often by those whom you trust and who understand your work. -This can mean the difference between owning your patent rights to your work or NOT!
One of the goals of FIRST and FTC is to recognize the engineering design process and the journey a team makes together. Phases of this journey include: -The problem definition (the Kickoff!) -Concept design -System-level design -Detailed design -Test and verification -Production (the actual robot build)
As you build your robot, you will run into obstacles, learn lessons and you will need to draw things out on paper. This is where you and your team will use an engineering notebook! Your notebook follows your team from kickoff to competition. Judges review your engineering notebook to better understand your journey, your design and your team.
FIRST wants you to use your engineering notebook to: -DOCUMENT OBSTACLES THAT WILL BE FACED -HIGHLIGHT LESSONS LEARNED -SKETCH OR DRAW IDEAS FOR DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING -RECORD THE RESULTS OF DEVELOPMENT AND TESTING -DOCUMENT TEAM DECISIONS
ENGINEERING NOTEBOOK GUIDELINES AND FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS General Guidelines for both handwritten and electronic notebooks
1.DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!! The FTC Engineering Notebook is a COMPLETE documentation of your teams robot design for a given season. A new notebook is to be created for each new season. This documentation should include… Sketches Discussions and team meetings Design evolution Processes Obstacles EACH TEAM MEMBERS THOUGHTS throughout the journey
Sketches Pictures and sketches of Your robot design are Recommended as part Of a thorough documentation.
2. NEW FOR THIS SEASON: The Engineering Notebook MUST be divided into multiple sections! The three sections are as follows: ENGINEERING SECTION (required) - This section is for the robot design process TEAM SECTION (required) - This section is for team information, outreach activities, and team activites (such as parties) BUSINESS PLAN/STRATEGIC PLAN/SUSTAINABILITY PLAN (optional)
The Engineering Section Start a fresh page in the Engineering Section at every team meeting! The DATE and START/STOP TIMES should be recorded when starting each new page. EACH DAY SHOULD START WITH TWO COLUMNS: 1. TASKS COLUMN – What is your team doing and discovering? 2. REFLECTIONS COLUMN – Where your team records thoughts on what is happening and any questions that need to be answered.
Two examples of Task and Reflections columns: one handwritten and one computer-generated
All designs and changes to your robot should be recorded Directly into the Engineering Section of your notebook. The inclusion of all details and sketches are preferable. IF YOU ARE USING A HANDWRITTEN NOTEBOOK: Notes and calculations should be done in your notebook, NOT on loose paper!
The Team Section Start the team section of your notebook by introducing each team member and mentor with a brief biography of their name, age (or school year), interests, and reasons for joining your FTC team. Photos along with the bios would serve as a great visual for the judges to Get to know each member of your team. The Team Section is also a good place to discuss and show team activities that are done throughout the teams season. This includes outreach.
3. Your team name and number must appear on the outside cover of your Engineering Notebook.
4.TEAM SUMMARY PAGE – new for this season The summary page should be attached to the front cover of your Notebook. The summary sheet should give the judges an overview of your season highlights. It should also contain your TEAM NUMBER and point the judges to the pages in your Notebook that you would most like them to consider. Teams must tab/flag 6 to 8 pages of the Engineering Section to Support entries on the summary page.
5.Your notebook should be organized. You want it to be easy for an outsider to understand your team and your journey. 6.Written entries must be in PERMANENT INK – not pencil. 7.Pages must be numbered. They should not be removed or replaced. 8.In the case of an error, draw a single line through the incorrect data. Do NOT erase or use correction fluid. All corrections should be initialed and dated.
9. Entries should be made by EVERY team member. All entries need to be initialed (or signed) and dated. The notebook may be maintained by a single person, but this year the rules are quite clear that entries need to be made by EVERY team member, regardless. FIRST wants everyone to make a contribution to the notebook. This provides each team member with at least some experience with documentation and creates a well-rounded notebook. Entries should highlight the thoughts of all team members and mentors of the team.
10. Use both sides of a page. Never leave any blank space: X out or crosshatch all unused space, and initial and date.
11. We recommend a Table of Contents. You can purchase Blank Notebooks with a table of contents built in to the front of the notebook (more on this in a later section).
12. How to insert pictures/photos or outside information into your notebook (handwritten version only): Tape the picture into your notebook and outline it with permanent ink. This lets the judges know that something was there in the event that it falls out. If you insert an entire page, be sure to put the corresponding page number on that inserted page!
13. Insert a Bill of Materials (BOM) into your engineering notebook (as required by the rules in the annual Game Manual). Be sure to bring a second copy of your BOM for hardware inspection.
- This decision is entirely up to the team. - No distinction is to be made between handwritten and electronic Engineering Notebooks during judging. So…the real question you need to ask yourself is: What works best for me? Which format am I most Comfortable with? Weve tried both formats here at Café Bot.
Electronic Notebooks Teams may choose to use electronic or online programs to create their notebook. For judging purposes, teams must print out their notebook pages and place them in a binder – NO LARGER THAN 1 1/2 THICK. All pages must be numbered and in order. Only one copy is required per team.
Benefits of the electronic notebook: - Possibly easier to organize with the new rules (regarding separate sections on the engineering and outreach pages) - Easy to keep a very clean, professional look - Easy to keep backups of your notebook (in case of loss or damage) - Easy to create a tasks/reflections template - We have found that many high school students prefer to type out their thoughts rather than handwrite…you might find you have better notebook compliance with this format.
US FIRST has a great example of an electronic notebook on their website: http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc/team-resources
Handwritten Notebooks Spiral-bound, laboratory, or documentation notebooks are readily available for teams to use for their Engineering Notebook. There is also a notebook supplied to FTC teams (for free) when the team registers each season. As with the electronic notebook, all pages must be numbered. Some of the notebooks already come with numbered pages. There must not be any missing pages! You may submit multiple handwritten notebooks if needed; be sure to clearly label them Book 1 of 2, Book 2 of 2 and so forth.
Benefits of the handwritten notebook: - Based on our teams experiences so far, it seems the handwritten notebook is what is actually used in industry. - The handwritten notebook is a very real documentation of your teams journey. If handwritten, judges like to see the real thing complete with misspellings, stains, worn edges and wrinkled pages. -You can put photos, printouts, schedules and so forth directly into your handwritten notebook…no need to scan things in.
Some Engineering Notebook resources: www.technoguards.org -This is a website from a past FTC team that used an online template for their notebook. www.bookfactory.com -This is a great place to purchase engineering notebooks for handwriting. They have a large selection of notebooks with built-in Table of Contents and pre-numbered pages.
Here is a judge summary sheet. This represents some of what judges are looking for in your notebook. Note that the Notebook is extremely important for the Think Award and the Inspire Award. It also plays a key part when a team is being considered for any of the judged Awards!
Keep it real. Keep it organized. Stay on top of it! Pictures, tables, CAD or other graphics are great: the more the better.
The most important thing regarding our Engineering Notebook: WHAT WE LEARN IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT WE WIN! Our notebook has shown us how much we have learned and grown in a relatively short time together as a team!
Questions? Presented by FTC Team #4982, Café Bot www.cafebot.org www.cafebot.net