JVN Challenge: Record your Season!

Hi Everyone,
I’ve got a challenge for all those mentors out there interested in a design process…

Some of you may know, that last year I recorded my build season on Facebook. This was a simple activity: at the end of every day during the season I would put up a quick post on my Facebook summarizing what we did that day. Nothing complicated.

At the end of the season I compiled all those Facebook posts, and added some context and detail. The result was my 2010 Build Journal.

It is no secret that I’m intrigued by the different design processes that teams use during the build season. I wish I had a way of seeing what other teams do during the 6-weeks, what their methods are, and what their schedule looks like. I have a feeling I’m not the only one.


So here is my challenge – record YOUR season.
Do what I did, if nothing else… it isn’t hard!
Take a few minutes every day and write down what your team did. At the end of the season compile them into one paper and add some detail. That’s it.

I’m not asking you to publicly post your season, I’m not asking you to reveal any secrets, all I’m asking is for a glimpse into your process.

So… who will publicly commit to it? Who’s up for it?

I’ll be doing it again on 148. I’ll be adding frequent updates to my blog during the season and posting a full Build Journal at the end of the year (probably before Championship). I hope some of you “hot shot mentors” will join me.


Now there were similar threads before about either blogging or filming the build process found here:

I was planning on doing this anyways. I enjoyed your build journal last year and thought it was a great idea. It’s useful for even looking back at your own build season to see what happened or what could have gone more smoothly.

Edit: I think JVN is going a bit further by encouraging those that wouldn’t publicly share there season to record it so the community could have a retrospective look at the season.

I’m in.

John, Team 1091, will happily take you up on the challenge, as best we can, and would like to share it publicly. Isn’t this the meaning of gracious professionalism ? Since we are far from being a powerhouse team, and with limited resources, the best we can contribute is our student’s and mentor’s ideas and opinions. Due to an extremely limited time allowance, in our school’s tech-ed department, we’re leaning towards using bamboo, which is lightweight and easily machinable, for our chassis and whatever mechanism we need to build.

Way ahead of you. :wink:

In all seriousness, thanks for doing such a cool project in 2010; your whitepaper definitely inspired me and Shaker Robotics.

We’re in. As soon as I renew our domain, I’ll get a blog up-and-running.

The level to which I will be working with my team(s) is completely up in the air at this point, and could range from more than ever to none at all this year. But if I am significantly involved, I will certainly take a shot at this.

I will commit to doing this on behalf of team 125.

I’ll update this post with where the best place to follow it will be. Most likely it will be via the nutrons twitter (@nutrons) and my own (@brandonholley).


973 is in.

does it have to be a mentor? I was already planning on setting up something to this effect with our website, so would I have to have a mentor do it or can I

I know people will probably want to to this their own way, but would it be possible to have a “Build Log” subforum, where teams could keep their logs? This would keep some of them all in one place. Some other technical forums have similar forums that keep the build logs in one place, like this.

Looking forward to reading them!

I’m down.

Another reason to use Wordpress?

816 is in.

The DiscoBots are all about video logs. We have always kept a weekly media log ( http://2010.discobots.org/node/16 ). We will take the JVN challenge and move up to daily twitter updates this year.


I’m in, though there will probably be some rants and ravings about my grad class sprinkled in as well. I wound up pulling a A- in the hardest math class I’ve ever taken, yet this coming math class (non-linear programming) is [scary math]^2.

I’ll bring this up in my team. Worst case scenario I’ll document the season and upload it afterwards.

I’m not trying to ‘plug’ this here, but I just thought I’d throw a new ‘method’ to ‘document’ a season. I really like reading blogs. However, I hate writing blogs about as much as I hate suffering through terrible movies my girlfriend loves. Evernote is a note-taking, picture-saving, webpage caching, stick-note-everywhere web service that is free for most of the things I need it for. It’s been incredibly useful for grad school. I’ve also used it with my phone to make TODO lists, jot down names of people I interact with that I may need to remember later, etc. What makes it really nice is the fact that the same notes I make on my phone can appear the browser plugin on my work computer and full application on my home computer.

In the mean time, I’ve shared the 2011 robotics folder on my evernote account:

And the general folder, since there’s already some stuff populated in it (used it as reference material for drive train workshops I taught):

An easy way to keep track of what you are creating from a model point of view is to add a “Comment” Comments help you to remember why you did what you did in the engineering design process and as you share models and assemblies, it prevents mistakes.

Right-click on the FeatureManager icon in SolidWorks
Select Comment
Enter your comment and save your note.


Good advice Marie! Another Solidworks feature I had no idea existed… Maybe I should get some formal training one of these days!