Engineering notebooks

What does your team use for engineering notebooks or keeping track of designs during your build season?

Is your question about the “Engineering Notebook” that some robotics programs use to evaluate whether teams deserve an award, or just about recording design ideas that you will want to review later.

The notebooks for the awards are used to record specific information that satisfies the award criteria.

Recording design ideas to review later is a different subject.

FYI: Engineers use all sorts of notebooks, napkins, and clouds to record design ideas. There is no such thing as a universally accepted “Engieering Notebook” concept or medium/method. Don’t get tangled up in irrelevant criteria that supposedly separate an engineering notebook from a notebook, unless you are satisfying award criteria, or an employer’s criteria. Instead, start with simple/easy, and iterate if you need improvements.

Pick something that suits your purpose, AND ensure that your choice makes it easy to record and review information that you will actually review some time in the future. Recording something you won’t use in the future is a waste of time.

I’m partial to something like the hardback “National Brand Record Book with Margin”, #56-211. It’s good for writing notes and doing some sketching, on numbered pages, in a book that will survive years of handling. However, if you want pages that have a grid ruling, rather than horizontal lines, you will need to look elsewhere.


I personally use some Wipebooks… Those are amazing! They are notebooks using special dry-erase pages, making them small white boards. You can erase pretty easily with white board erasers without damaging the pages. It’s really useful!

We used Google Docs last season: