How to Use an Engineering Notebook

An important item to have when making, designing, or even brainstorming is an engineering notebook.

1.6.1 - Engineering Notebook

These notebooks are used to record ideas and data that will help you keep track of your projects. They are designed to help you be more efficient with your note taking and your documentation.

Image from Vex Robotics
Image from Vex Robotics

Not everyone knows how to use one of these notebooks properly, though. You can just write in it normally, but if you did that, why not use a normal notebook? There are some guidelines to follow when writing in an engineering notebook.

The layout of an engineering notebook is important to note. The cover of a notebook will either just say “Engineering Notebook” or will have sections to put information in such as your name, contact information, and any other relevant ideas. (It should also include plenty of graphing pages).

On the inside of the first pages there will be a section for all of your contact information.

user-data
Image from BookFactory.

The final section of the beginning is the table of contents. You should list each page you work on in the table of contents. This table will be used to keep track of what pages contain certain topics and can help others navigate your notebook easily. Always record pages you are working on immediately into the table of contents.

LAB_A4_Contents

Since the notebook is used for documentation you should to track what the project is and who is doing it. Whenever starting a new page, fill out all the information at the bottom of the page. Then go to the Table of Contents and write down the page you are working on.

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Image from BookFactory.

When writing on the page, write down any and all information that is relevant to your project. Any ideas should be recorded. For documentation, it is very important to write down any changes you make during the project. It can’t be emphasized more that the most useful way to use an engineering notebook is to write down anything and everything that happens. Drawing pictures is very useful too, even if they are just doodles that help with your project.

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While it seems very tedious to take the time to fill out these notebooks, it is ultimately helpful to have everything documented. The time spent writing everything down will be less than the time spent trying to remember what you did. As frustrating as it may be to have to stop and write everything down, in the end it is more helpful to have a notebook of some sort rather than nothing!

About Robert Prew

I am studying Electrical Engineer at the University of Idaho. I have always been interested in technology, video games, science and learning new things. I always believed in the saying “if you can't explain it simply you don't understand it well enough” by Albert Einstein. I have a thirst for self discovery and learning new things about myself. Bringing joy or making others feel happy gives me a great pleasure. You can usually get me interested in an activity that has a more hands on approach. I will always try and strive to be the best person I can be.

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