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Castle Frankenrule, where the bad, mysterious and ornery slide rules live.
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  Sphere Research Corporation
3394 Sunnyside Rd.
West Kelowna, BC, Canada V1Z 2V4
Phone: +1 (250) 769-1834


A great source for test equipment, repairs, calibrations, useful metrology information, and of course, SLIDE RULES!

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* Visit Castle Frankenrule! *
The good are elsewhere,
these are the bad and the ugly of the slide rule world.

Frankenrule was drawn by Larry Stewart!




* Sadly, not every slide rule is a treasure, and some are downright ornery and unlovely. Usually they manage to escape and avoid detection or exposure, but we have trapped some of them here for your inspection and contemplation during those idle moments not filled with 'B' Science Fiction movies.

* Many Frankenrules are naturally ocurring disasters, but sometimes they get made intentionally or by accident. A few were created during darker moments right here in our own laboratory for amusement. Just goes to show everybody has their demented side.

CLICK for bigger PIC!* The original Frankenrule! cartoon above was drawn by Larry Stewart, another slide rule fanatic in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada, you know, the True North, Strong and Free... where we are also located, incidentally, but on the west coast, in British Columbia). Using a combination of deftly applied Staedtler-Mars pens and the magic of computer graphics, he captured the real 'essence' of the Frankenrule for your personal amusement.







CLICK for bigger PIC! Larry also just won an Aurora award for artistic achievement (the Canadian equivalent of the Hugo) for his recent illustration work in TRIFOLIUM BOOKS, by Julie Czerneda. Need some incredible original artwork for something YOU are doing?
Email Larry to tell him you liked the cartoon Email Larry Stewart HERE!

* Got some rules you figure belong here? Send us your distorted, your corroded, your demented rule pictures, longing to be revealed!
Email Walter with your own Frankenrule stories and pictures... Email Walter HERE with your Frankerules!


CASTLE FRANKENRULE will appear below shortly!

The residents of Castle Frankenrule....

The Culprit The Story
The International Space Station Computer Mystery Resolved!
The ISS, Stuck in orbit during Canadarm Installation, with bum computers! Click for bigger PIC!
The ISS, Stuck in orbit during Canadarm Installation, with bum computers! Click for bigger PIC!




The ISS emergency system that took over after the NT servers Kacked. Click for bigger PIC!
The ISS emergency system that took over after the NT servers Kacked. Click for bigger PIC!

Exclusive satellite photos here at the Slide Rule Universe!
How the recent mission computer failures were REALLY CORRECTED!

This amazing series of deep space photos was obtained from NASA under the Freedom of Information Act, after all other attempts were unsuccessful to discover the nature and resolution of the recent computer failures on board the International Space Station (ISS). As everyone will recall, the station and the mission to carry out the installation of the new Canadarm 2 were paralyzed in late April and early May of 2001 by continued on board computer failures of all the station servers.

Examination of the mission logs confirmed that it was in fact multiple failure of the triple redundant NT servers on board that halted the mission. Not surprisingly, they were unable to reboot the systems after many attempts, and the mission seemed doomed to failure. While the press was told that "the computers finally got fixed", this was not true, the NT servers are still showing the Blue Screen of Death even now. However, the ingenious Canadian astronaut aboard tasked with the arm installation just happened to have packed some top secret special equipment that was brought into play.

The mission was saved by an ingenious use of the new arm and what the photos now reveal is the 300+ foot Texas Magnum slide rule (in tasteful eye saver yellow) created by Skip Solberg and Jay Francis recently. Despite considerable joking they received as to the true purpose of that massive rule a few months ago, the mystery is now revealed to everyone. Not surprisingly, the space program was once again saved by a you-know-what, and we owe Skip and Jay and their dedicated team a hearty thank you for saving the mission from what could have been total disaster. You can see their rule (pre-launch) in the Moby Slide Rule Section.

The Culprit The Story
Walt's Experimental Frankenrule, CLICK for a bigger PIC!
Walt's Experimental Frankenrule, CLICK for a bigger PIC!




Walt's Experimental Frankenrule, CLICK for a bigger PIC!
Walt's Experimental Frankenrule, CLICK for a bigger PIC!

Walt's Experimental Frankenrule...

This all started innocently enough, I bought a Picket N3ES (sigh) in VERY GOOD condition. When it arrived, it had the previous owner's initials on every single part of the rule. It also had pieces of cardboard jammed under the filthy and horribly scratched (and initialed) lenses in an attempt to make it work better. Both sides of the cursor, the end brackets, all over the slide, you name it, had his initials on it. It would appear to me the previous owner had a problem with trust at some level.

Anyway, the rule was a disaster, and just by the way, had no case. I kept looking at it, and started to speculate on what I could do to make it less of a nightmare. Finally, I ripped the rule completely apart, and decided the slide was just unsavable. I happened to have another N3T broken apart for other reasons (all equally serious), and found the slide could be aligned perfectly to the N3ES body with a bit of work to make the action smooth. I made a complete new cursor from parts, and took a fine wire wheel to the hideously marked up end braces until all the corrosion and the dreaded initials were gone. After a long scrub, clean, and massive guideway polishing, the rule actually worked again, and looked pretty good in a chromatically impaired sort of way.

I had no case, but had an extra leftover case from an N500 (the unhappy victim of some savage dymo tape removal) to work with, but it was too narrow. I discovered that if the internal plastic sleeve was removed, the case flattened out, and the much wider N3T/ES body fit inside neatly. Ooohh, aaahhhh. The two now co-exist together happily as evidence that it is possible to transform landfill material into a workable slide rule, if you have a few days to kill.

The Culprit The Story
Man's Inhumanity to Rules, CLICK for a bigger PIC!
Man's Inhumanity to Rules, CLICK for a bigger PIC!
Man's Inhumanity to Rules...

Another tale that starts out innocently enough with a text only eBay listing of a K+E 4088-3 rule in Very Good condition. Hmmmm, what would BAD condition look like, I wonder?

This jumped out at me when I opened the box, and I didn't have the heart to bury it, although that would have been the kindest fate. I hang on to it in the hope that I'd luck into a big box of spare parts and an extra case. So far, this has not happened, but I remain somewhat optimistic.

The Culprit The Story
The Amazing Schmendrolog...

This Polish slide rule (manufactured circa 1973) featured such groundbreaking slide rule innovations as the 'RND' scale (random number generator) and the famous blank area on the back for writing intermediate values and phone numbers.

In fact, this rule was the first to feature reverse polish notation, an important step in modern computing technology.

How did this rule come into existance? Well...

The story according to Joe is as follows:

Schmendrolog started its life as a Post Versalog. I scanned both sides and cleaned up the scans in Corel Draw. I moved some scales, and fabricated others out of pieces of different scales. I used some small details from other rules I had scanned just because I liked them, like the scale dimension markings with the little curved arrows.

I purchased a product called StickyJet, which is an inkjet printable self adhesive polyester film. I printed the front and back sides on stickyjet, and pasted them over the sides of the rule. I had removed the cursor to gain complete access for scanning and building. I took impressions of the endpieces and cast replacements from red polymethyl methacrylate self-curing plastic, which I then machined flat on the lathe and drilled and tapped holes for the original 2-64 screws. I made a case from red flag bunting. I made a box from red cardboard on a jig I was working on for duplicating K+E slide boxes, and fabricated an end label to roughly match the usual style. I Made a manual the same size as a K+E manual, and made a cover using the red color scheme and Polski logo I had made up. My brother-in-law, who is Polish, traslated all the text. I created a name for the company which translated is 'Polish Slide Rule Manufacturing Company' and put it on small strips of stickyjet to cover the Post info on the sides of the rule.

It was a fun project, and I offered it for sale on EBAY on April Fools Day last year. I received some bids, but ended the auction with a messge that I had found it to be a forgery. Some got the joke, some thought it was real....

Joe

Provided by Joe Levine (JoeDentist@aol.com)

The Culprit The Story
The Doomsday Disc

From the private collections of Larry Stewart and John Mosand, these little treats are the ultimate macabre miscarriage of science. No doubt they would have made Dr. Strangelove happy, though. One was designed by the 'Lovelace' Foundation, if you can believe it.

Want to know the blast pressure of your favorite size atomic device 1000 meters from ground zero? Need to know the optimum burst height for that new nuke you just bought? How about the high confidence kill zone radius, or temperature at some exact distance from the nuclear weapon that just went off down the block? These babies can answer all those burning questions as you get flambéd into free ions and radioactive dust at about 1,300MPH. The perfect gift for people who still think nuclear war is winnable and appealing, and want to be precise in their calculations to prove it. CLICK HERE and HERE to read the instructions, and learn how to calculate translational body velocity and crater size.

The stylish blue one is from Larry (did they come in decorator colors?), the Tan one is from John (sorry, the text is in German, we will try and get a translated listing of the scale names).

The Culprit The Story
CLICK for a bigger PIC!
Secret Soviet Technology, CLICK for a bigger PIC!
Secret Soviet Technology

While the west was racing towards microcircuits of ever smaller size, and walkman disc players, it was sometimes reported that the Soviet Union, in the early 80's, had a top scret development project code named 'Behemoth' that was thought to rival the west's best supercomputers by using purely mechanical technology. Foo managed to obtain, at great personal peril, a clandestine sketch circulated by ex-STASI agents that showed some details of Behemoth, a 50 foot long, servo operated, high resoultion slide rule capable of astonishing accuracy, with hundreds of specialized, top secret scales.

Able to withstand withering EMP and operable under conditions that would destroy conventional computers, this unique device, never captured live on film, was thought to be the most powerful slide rule ever built, reputedly made in the sub-basement of the Kalashnikov rifle factory.

The Culprit The Story
CLICK for bigger PIC!
CLICK for a bigger PIC of The Amazing Sinoplex Rule
The Amazing FC Sinoplex Rule

Many engineers have pored long and hard over calculations involving sine/cosine curves, and always wished they had a better, higher resolution tool to use. Faber-Castell released the experimental Sinoplex Rule in April of 1933, some years ago to address this problem, but cursor manufacturing difficulties made production volumes difficult to achieve, and only a single hand-crafted wood-body prototype was ever made. Thanks to John Mosand [jomosand@online.no] for this rare photo of the very elusive prototype. Marketing suggested the 'Sinus' name but there was considerable worry it would be mistaken for some kind of cold remedy.

The Culprit The Story

CLICK for a bigger PIC of what happens to rules that get too much sun...
What happens to rules that don't use enough sun-block.

In case you are wondering what POSSIBLE harm could come to your slide rule if left out in the sun, here is a sad testament to the enormous power of solar radiation.

The Moral? DON'T leave that rule out in the sun unless you want it to look like a plastic pretzel. Even a lowly Sterling 587 deserves a kinder fate than this.



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