Does anyone draw or sketch what they are going to build? Also do you write down your programming?
I'll write pseudocode on paper or on my phone or something else and then work from that.
Designs I usually draw with pen and paper or draw them up in FreeCAD.
I also keep a "nightpen"(a pen with an LED on it) and a small notebook by my bed in case I wake up and have an awesome idea, usually ideas aren't that the morning after, but sometimes I've solved something in a really clever way :)
Thanks you guys
If your playing with blocks in code then you need block diagrams.... I draw lots of blocks and how they connect and talk to one another...
If I run into a difficult section, I'll walk away.... (no touchy the computer - if you do, your probably gonna make a bigger mess)
I got to the top of Mt. Tabor to contact the magic elves, and by the time I leave - the problem is usually solved..
Only then do I start putting the code in....
Google Sketchup - is fine for 3D mechanical drawings.. Its much faster (once you get the hang of it) and you can flush out some issues before committing the time and materials....
... Magic elf hideout... Location found... Must sequester....
I do it all either on paper or on the computer screen well before I do it physically. I feel that even though I know how to wire up the individual parts, if I started wiring the 'Bot without a plan to follow, I would surely forget something, or wire it wrong. That is true of anything I build. I lay it out so I can look it over as a finished product before soldering and cutting off leads that I might find later needed to be longer... or whatever.
Oh, then after that, I breadboard it, or at least parts of the circuit, to make sure what I planned actually works.
Then after all that, I start putting it together for real.
In my opinion, it is not just a good idea; it is essential.
ADDED: I guess I should say that applies to the electronic portion of the robot and to the programming. As to the physical body of the robot (wheels, motors, etc.), I do tend to just throw those together after only a little mental consideration as to where I will put the electronics parts. That has caused a couple "minor" difficulties, but nothing like what poorly planned electronics could do...
Er... Do I smell smoke?
I would say that 80% of my code is done with paper and pencil. I print hard copies all the time and I have sticky notes EVERYWHERE.
Take notes as you code, period.
Piles of post-it notes. A few 3-ring binders. Lots of eraser crumbs. A link to a related post.