What if we could make brand new slide rules? What would they be like?
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If you could flip the switch on a new fully automated slide rule factory today, what kind of product would it produce? What are the very best features of the past that should be incorporated in a new design, and what should be abandoned or discarded?
Not every design of the past was a winner, and if you could start with a fresh piece of paper, what really stands out now as good or bad, looking at all the designs from all over the world? New manufacturing techniques also allow different approaches, and possibly higher precision and interchangability of parts, which opens up many new avenues for that new rule to take.
From a commercial viewpoint, customers at the SRU often want the rule they used in school, or one that has sentimental value for them, or one that they always wished they could have had, but couldn't afford when they were a struggling student, like a Versalog or Deci-lon rule. The marketability of a new rule with no history or past association is therefore a bit uncertain, but leaving that issue aside, what might that new rule really be like, and could it have enough appeal to attract new users?
Here's how I picture a new rule, actually a new pair of rules, based on studying hundreds of designs already made over the years, and extracting the very best from each, and adding in some demented ideas of my own:
|Blueprint for the new SRU-500/1000 Rules
1. Two rules are clearly needed, a pocket sized rule (SRU-500), and a full sized desk rule (SRU-1000).
2. A lightweight plastic body is desirable, and could be easily laser engraved, or molded at low cost, giving a rugged rule with good sliding characteristics. Delrin is a possible material.
3. An aluminum end frame design with stainless steel (hex-head) screws permits interchangeable slides and bodies, allowing real flexibility in the rule, and easy customization, with minimal weight and corrosion.
4. A decimal keeper scale set, and small rotating decimal wheel built into a corner of the body would be very useful and easy to incorporate.
5. Special scale bodies or slides can be interchanged and color-coded easily for quick identification. Alignment can be achieved by precision scale design in the mold or laser tooling, rather than one at a time scale manufacture though engraving.
6. Rules of either size need a cm and inch scale along the edge, this is a common daily use requirement.
7. All scales must be self-documenting, with range data where applicable.
8. Any pocket case must have a clip, and a side slot for a pen is highly desirable. The full sized case needs a place for name insertion, a belt loop ring, and several slots for plastic film instructions, or pens, etc. are highly desirable. Leather is the most favored material, and a well waxed natural finish seems to wear the best.
9. The cursor should have multiple lines for circle calculation, possibly KW/HP conversion, and any other key features linked to special scales.
10. The slide should have end grips like the Deci-lon, desk rules need elevator bumpers to protect the cursor as in the FC 2/83N.
11. The bottom body needs an engravable insert at one end that can be personalized without damaging the rule, and which can be replaced if the rule is sold.
12. The scales should include two L scales (one on the body, one on the slide), so that addition and subtraction can be done. This was a serious omission in all earlier rules.
13. Expanded root scales are very useful, especially on the pocket rule.
14. Maximize scale density by using back-to-back scale scales as on the N803.
15. The cursor design should be as self-aligning as possible, and scratch resistant. It should be possible to attach a magnifier if desired.
16. The bottom body could easily be made tall and thick enough to support a pull out data chart, for general reference information. This can be easily varied for different fields.
We have discussed this topic already among several collectors, including Foo Cheow Ming and Craig Kielhofer, and it is possible that new production could be achieved if there was consensus on the design style, and if enough potential buyers could be committed to justify the required tooling.
Want to toss in your comments? Just email us!
We'll add your email verbatim to the text that follows, and any outstanding comments will be incorporated into the main feature list above. The next step will be to generate a drawing set and try and reduce the design unknowns and choices so that a quotation can be obtained for production.
Incoming email: (most recent on TOP)
From: The Cernys [email@example.com] Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 7:34 AM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Suggestions for new rule designs Clearly the design of a new slide rule is a fun idea to brainstorm about and I really hope it can go into production. I have no special expertise in marketing, but it seems market analysis is crucial to getting into production. What are the markets to aim at, how large are they, and how price sensitive are they? 1. A small number of experienced and knowledgeable collectors. 2. A larger number of people who used slide rules and may or may not still have one and probably haven't used one for years, but who may get a renewed interest. 3. An undefined number of people who've never used a slide rule and barely know what one is, but who might think it is cool to have one. And how do you find that out? If I ask myself what I'd pay, as someone who is aware of the eBay market and who owns a couple of slide rules, but who doesn't think of themself as a true collector, I'd say somewhere between $50 and $100 depending on features and packaging. Does modern technology make it more or less practical to produce slide rules in small quantities and keep the price at what people will pay? Last, it would be good to get assurance that any patents have expired. If slide rules haven't been made for about 25 years then my first reaction is that any existing patents by the best known manufacturers should have expired. Also, I wonder if any patents have been issued since 1975 or so, even if not put into production. Jim Cerny, email@example.com
Walter, What a fascinating and worthwhile project. Please add my comments to you forum regarding this subject. 1. Yes, two models a 5 inch pocket rule, and a 10 inch desk top rule. 2. Similar to K & E Ivorite rules. eg. K & E 4181-1, and K & E 4181-3 3. The scale arrangements of the K & E log log duplex decitrg cover nearly all the bases for engineering use. 4. Addition scales......forget it.....go buy a $5 calculator. 5. Inch and centimeter measuring scales..no way.... duplex rules will be a must,....you don't use slide rules to draw lines!! 6. Don't try and get too fancy, bumpers, magnifiers, micrometer style fine slide adjustment........etc..etc....no..no..no 7. Driving instructions printed on the rule... be serious... K & E's log log duplex decitrig users manual written by Lyman Kells, Willis Kern and James Bland ran to 126 pages supplied in soft cover for the 5 inch rule, and hardcover for the 10 inch rule. 8. Documentation will be crucial to the success of the project. Documentation should be both computer aided on CD-ROM, and a video tape. The whole package should be attractively presented. On video you could present some distinguished personalities from engineering and scientific disciplines to present various features and techniques of the slide rule. etc...etc.... 9. Construction materials......metal, best option would be titanium, next ceramics..... both laser engraved. The proposed design has to retain classical functionality, but be constructed from 21 century materials. For this application, titanium would present the best choice, be wear resistant, and virtually indestructible. 10. Next important consideration would be the market sector that you are going to aim the product at. It should not be at the $5 entry level rule, but a the high end of the market. The new rule is something that people would be proud to own, and not a mere clone of an ancient design. In my opinion pricing levels between $500 to $700 would be about right. If you think this is out of line.....30 year old 5 and 10 inch K & E log log duplex decitrigs 4181-1 and 4181-3 new unused still in box sell for about $495+, and are worth every penny....... Alan Taylor Manila Philippines
From: John & HollyTriplett [firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Friday, October 22, 1999 3:50 PM To: email@example.com Subject: Suggestions for new rule designs hi folks-- just go get hemmi's old machines and make a pickett N803 out of bamboo. make sure that you include the exact scales of the N803 with the constants. Why an N803? because (IMHO) it has the best scales and best layout of any slide rule made (yes, over a versalog and a K+E-maybe over a FC 2/83N). i really like the DF/m scale and the L scale ON THE SLIDER so you can add and subtract - 4 FUNCTIONS! Why Bamboo? personal preference. while the aluminum make of the pickett is a good environmentally "conscious" design (water and wear resistant), it feels a bit flimsy, and that plastic pickett cursor was the SORRIEST ever made--terrible innacurate and poorly made. Bamboo just has a good heft to it and an exotic feel. makes using it even more of a pleasure. and the cursor, i think, was the best made-never out of adjustment. make sure it has a good, heavy leather case with a plastic window for identification. that way you wont have TO WRITE YOUR NAME UNDER THE FLAP!! thanks, john triplett
From: Cathy Mcdermott [firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 1999 5:44 PM To: email@example.com Subject: Suggestions for new rule designs Hello! Thanks for the slide rule design discussion! Here are my ideas: 1) Using modern engraving technology (laser?) it may be possible to increase the resolution of any scale (and increase the number of directly readable significant figures and therefore increase accuracy on the slide rule by adding more fine (extra-fine ?) graduations. A magnifying indicator would be used. Obviously, there would be a limit to the ability of the magnifying indicator to separate, and read directly, very finely engraved lines. However, I think it's worth exploring. 2) The "Eye-Saver" yellow (560nm) of the Pickett slide rules should be utilized. 3) Use aluminum, possibly with a hard coated surface to reduce scratching. 4) I personally would favor a powerful pocket version such as the K&E 68-1130. As I think of more suggestions, I'll e-mail them to you. Thanks again for creating this discussion! Peace, Ed My e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
-----Original Message----- From: Michael, Pam, & Angus O'Leary [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Monday, October 18, 1999 10:32 AM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Suggestions for new rule designs I have a better idea. I have a machine shop and the will to make a new slide rule. I also have the CNC and CAD/CAM tools to make it a reality. I prefer the Pickett idea of using aluminum as a base, but using plastic is also a good possibility. I have several friends in the plastics business. I am willing to design and make up the tooling necessary to get this started. Oh, and by the way, here is my address: Michael P. O'Leary Schizophrenic Chocolate Factory 19 Bartlett St. Epping, NH 03042-2401 (603) 679-2156 email@example.com FOLLOW-UP--- -----Original Message----- From: Michael, Pam, & Angus O'Leary [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Monday, October 18, 1999 9:06 PM To: walter shawlee 2 Subject: Re: Suggestions for new rule designs Dear Walter, Here is how I named my company. It was a long hard week spent in Albuquerque working on a project with the FAA National Power Committee. I got home on Friday afternoon and called the State of New Hampshire Corporation Division to discuss with them some candidate names for my fledgling company. My first thought was to name it "The Barn", since my barn was where I was setting up shop. They said no, how about "The Barn at Epping". That sounded like a take-off on the naming scheme for Saturn car dealerships. It also sounded like a terrible cliché. Each of my next five names was met with a similar inane response. Being exhausted and a little short on nerves, I finally said, "Okay, how about Schizophrenic Chocolate Factory?" The lady on the other end of the phone exclaimed to all within her office, "Hey girls, here is one you've never heard!" I do not know where the idea came from. It just popped into my head. When the paperwork arrived, that is what I filed. I just filed the second five year extension, and I am looking forward to the name being mine for a very long time. You see, while most get a chuckle out of it, and some find it abhorrent, once heard, nobody forgets it. In business, name retention is everything. After all, Lands End does not make boat docks. Their name is synonymous with fine quality mail order clothing and luggage. It just proves you can name your company anything you wish. As to what I do, it is really very simple. I do a wide variety of things. These include: electrical, electronic, microelectronic, power, and mechanical engineering, tool and die making, CNC machining, one-off parts fabrication, CAD/CAM, technical writing, motorcycle fabrication, consulting, and a number of other things I can't remember at present. (It has been a long day, what with my three year old son and my lovely wife both down with pneumonia.) I have come close to mastering each skill before moving on to new challenges, and have been able to make ends meet in the process. I have a deep and abiding respect for metals and their uses. I have quite a number of local shops at my disposal to do those things at which I am not currently adept (plastics). It is my feeling that all my skills and interests would be best brought to bear on the setting up and running of a slide rule manufacturing facility. I am working on the layout of each individual scale on the CAD system. Once all the scales are completed as accurate and verified CAD drawings, I will assemble them into a prototype slide rule layout, which I will make as Model 1, sn 1. This essentially machine-assisted handmade rule will be the model for the first run of high end rules. I feel these will generate the funding required to set up a proper manufacturing and assembly facility to start mass producing high quality slide rules. As the demand provides the opportunity, I plan to make trainer models to assist in the education of our youth. This brings up a story. A month or so ago, I was talking with a young lad about to enter the eighth grade at the local school. I asked him if he could multiply 2x2. He looked at me funny. Then I asked him if he had ever seen a slide rule, to which he replied "no". I went over to my car and pulled out my little 5 inch Dietzgen and proceeded to show him how to do multiplication with it. His eyes started to light up. Then I had him do some calculations with it. He really started to get excited. "How much does it cost?", he asked. I told him that the prices varied but that I had a 12 inch Acu-Math 400 I could sell him for $3.00. He jumped at the chance, but asked if I could teach him how to use it. I acknowledged his request, showed him the instructions, and told him to try it on his own, and ask questions when all else failed. Two hours later, he came up to me and told me he had mastered all but the trig scales, but that trig was what he would be studying this fall. With a glint in his eyes, he said he was looking forward to using "his" slide rule in his classes. That humble old Acu-Math had provided the spark which sent him well on his way to mastering mathematics. Shades of Einstein chasing the "x". If that little lesson is any indication of the power of a slide rule, I expect that it won't take long for a resurgence of interest to take hold. I think it is high time we started making rules again. The market is clearly there. As to the scale layouts, I agree that interchangeable slides sounds like a good idea, but I am not convinced it is practical or necessary. A businessman has little need of the LL-scales, whereas a scientist or engineer would have little use for a slide rule without them. In this day of CNC machining, it is of very little bother to set up scales according to the particular specialty. I envision following Pickett's example of making general purpose and specific purpose rules. For my prototype, I will have in the neighborhood of 40+/- scales, with many of them using the back-to-back style exemplified in the Pickett Model 2. Visually, this makes a great deal of sense, and mechanically, is very easy to manufacture. I am toying with the idea of using 1/4 inch thick aluminum for the rule, with stainless braces and allen head fasteners. A local shop makes optical plastic lenses and could provide the cursors. Springs can be easily made from stainless steel shim stock. Tolerances will be held to 0.001" or better, even for the mass-produced rules, thanks to the availability of CAD/CAM/CNC capbilities. Specialty rules could be made in very small quantities, as the customer will have the option to provide the scales, allow us to produce the scales, or to arrange scales in the manner (s)he sees fit. All the fittings would be standard, including the cursors, which can be provided in optically flat, moderate, and high magnification. I am investigating ways to produce the Pickett Yellow and engraved markings, and to provide a simple and straightforward means of multicolor inking of the engravings. That is where my thought processes are at the moment. I plan to produce these slide rules under my company's name. I also plan to acknowledge the efforts of all who have gone before me, and all who contribute to the endeavor. At some point I hope to have a good enough personal collection to be able to build a display for the Museum of Science in Boston. I feel that the history of the slide rule is probably more important than my own plans to start producing them again. It is a history that few know. I am looking forward to our working together with you on this worthwhile project. My thanks for your time and consideration, Michael
Machiavelli said it best: "The elegance of a solution lies in its simplicity". Here's my $.02 worth on the slide rule design: I agree that a short/long combination is an EXCELLENT idea. The shorty and longy(?) should compliment each other, not duplicate. ---I recommend that the short version be a duplex with with three purposes: First, it's a trainer; meaning few scales and labeled well. E.g. the A, B, and K scales have 1, 10, 100 etc. Degrees are marked. Use different colors. Yadda-yadda-yadda.... Second, the front has the scientific scales: A/B, C/D, K, S/T, CI and L. Third, the back contains business scales for calculating percentages, interest, conversions (volume, length, area, english, metric). Much like the Pickett 400-ES. The shorty would have an extra slide for some specialized scales; or fraction conversions, or other formulas. etc. Make the short one out of plastic in yellow. ---I recommend the long sliderule be a duplex as well. The large sliderule doesn't have the training wheels. Stack all the most popular scales used in science-engineering- business. The longy would have 20+ scales and a thick book to go with it. Make the longy out of machined aluminum and engrave it. ---Make sure there's a good user's manual and a CD to go with the set. Documentation can make or break a project. The CD can contain interactive apps as well as avi clips of proper use for the shorty and the longy. The manual should have a teacher's section to help emphasize and explain how to train in certain topics; illustrates theory. Basically it should have a lesson plan in the back for teachers. Ditto for the CD. Maybe a 'Dummies' quick-reference guide (5 inches high) to take in the field. ---Sell the set in two configurations: the cheap shorty by itself with a manual; or the shorty and longy together with the manual and CD. That way schools can mix/match for training. ---As an added bonus, sell "geek wear" accessories: pocket protectors, official 'geek' tape for eyeglass bridges, pens, etc. ---Throw in a machined aliminum CHINESE style abacus as well to the set. Chinese style I found to be easier to teach children. ---Offer a custom sliderule with the owner's name engraved on the longy; possibly the shorty also. ---Serial number the slide rules as well. This can enhance the 'collectibility'. ---Sell a display case for the set; maybe another case as a gag gift: "In Case of Emergency, Break Glass". That's it for now. BTW, I'd definitely buy at least three or four sets. I would love to Beta Test a set, especially the manual/CD. No matter how cool looking the slide rules are, it will fail without really damn good documentation. Packaging sells. No, I'm not a business geek, I'm a computer geek. Cheers! Tracy-Paul Warrington email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org work phone: 707-423-7444 ----------------------------------------------------------------- From: Riki A Nakamoto [email@example.com] Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 1999 12:49 AM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Suggestions for new rule designs Walter, Some comments on possible new slide rules: 1) Some of your ideas are made for a simplex slide rule (such as the measuring scales) and some for a duplex (such as the elevator bumpers). Perhaps four basic models would be needed, SRU-501/1001 (simplex) and SRU-502/1002 (duplex). I would make the simplex and duplex models have slides that are dimensionally equal, so that they could be swapped back and forth. I envision the simplex slide rules as having one-piece plastic bodies, such as that on the Faber/Castell 67/54b models. This would allow them to be built relatively inexpensively. (So that I could have several in different places--home, office, etc.) Maybe they could be used in classrooms to teach about logarithms and how they work. 2) The right index of the C and D scales would be numbered "10", not "1". Similarly, the middle of the A & B scales would be numbered "10" and their right indexes would be numbered "100". This would make it easier to teach my children. (or anyone else) 3) Scale extensions, as on some Faber/Castell slide rules, colored differently from the main part of the scale, would be on such slide rules. The extensions would not be made by lengthening the entire slide rule, as was done on the Faber/Castell 2/83N. Rather, they would be made to go as far as there was room to put them on the bodies and slides. (The extensions, therefore, would be longer on the slides and the simplex bodies than they would be on the Duplex bodies.) Cursors (which would be multi-line) would have the rightmost and leftmost lines go all the way from the top to the bottom, so that they could be used to read the outer limits of the extensions, and the cursors would end just after the rightmost and leftmost lines. The main hairline on the cursor would be red, and the others would be black. 4) The simplex slide rules could have some instructions on the back, similar to the Pickett 902-T and Post 1447. More instructions could also be written on the front of the body, where they would be visible with the slide removed. This documentation would include special numbers marked (for example, 0.25*pi on the A & B scales, and pi/180 on the C & D scales) 5) Make right-to-left scales (such as CI and DI) red. Make the markings red and back-slanted. Make the other scales black. Make all extensions and their markings blue. 6) On scales with both right-to-left and left-to-right numbers, (such as the S and T scales) make the left-to-right ones slanted (italicized). Make the right-to-left ones back-slanted, and also red. 7) On the simplex slide rules, make the cursors one-piece ones like on the FC 67/54b. This can be removed fairly easily when you want to, but won't slide off the end like a Post 1447. Make a magnifying cursor available, so that a user can buy one and change cursors if he wants magnification. Such a magnifying cursor would magnify the center hairline, but not the auxiliary hairlines. 8) Have the L scale on the body. If interchangeable slides are made available, then some slides could also have one. 9) Have the S scale work with the C or D scale, not A or B. Especially important on pocket size rule. 10) Put the trig scales on the slide, not the body. That way, if different slides are made available, it would be easy to change between a slide that uses decimal degrees and one that uses degrees and minutes. Also, where practical, put any special scales on the slide. 11) Regarding back-to-back scales: I like them. Most of these ideas are features that I have seen on some slide rules, and would like a new slide rule to have. Riki Nakamoto email@example.com -----Original Message----- From: f adrian [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Sunday, August 01, 1999 5:14 PM To: email@example.com Subject: Suggestions for new rule designs Hi Walter, I would like to see a slide rule that could help with subnetting tcp/ip addresses. At the very least, something that would help with binary/decimal/hex conversion. This could draw mainstream interest in slide rules. It would be a great learning tool as well. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> From: Warren M. Salomon Sent: Saturday, July 31, 1999 11:25 AM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Suggestions for new rule designs Walter: Just a few brief thoughts: Using today's rules (i.e., those still existing today), new slides could be made. The new slides would be interchangeable with those that originally came standard with the existing rules. This would allow specialized scales to be added to popular generalized rules (like the Versalog and the Decilon) that have already proven their value over the decades. And there would be no need to manufacture the whole rule -- just the supplimentary slides. Now for something you haven't thought of: consider a large simplex (one-sided) rule, with whatever scales and interchangeable slides you desire. The thing should have desk-top bumpers, as in your suggestion #10. Then on the flip side, an abacus! Some of the Japanese designs are virtually the same rectangular shape and size as a slide rule with 10" scales. This would be far more accurate for addition than your pair of "L" scales. As long as you're thinking of building a retro-tech device, you should go all the way. Warren >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> From: email@example.com Sent: Friday, July 30, 1999 8:36 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Suggestion for new design Walter: Seems to me it might be very interesting to make Bessel functions available. As with log-log scales, one could have multiple scales corresponding to various orders (J0, J1, etc.) and ranges (0.01-0.1, 0.1-1, etc.). The argument would be entered on the D scale, and the value would be read off the appropriate J scale on a stator. It should not be difficult to label the scales above the divisions for positive values and below the divisions for negative (the Bessel functions alternate in sign as the argument varies). For a really fancy rule, color code the positive/negative values. Marc Damashek email@example.com >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> From: Niles M Roberts [firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 1999 5:26 PM To: email@example.com Subject: Suggestions for new rule designs Long overdue idea. But don't lose sight of what makes slide rules useful and appealing; the only thing missing on the old slide rules was an optimum layout. Here's a few comments in no special order: 0) The best general purpose slide rules seem to me to have been: Pickett N-803 (10 inch) Pickett N-600 (6 inch) POST Versalog 1460 and 1461 (10 and 6 inch respectively) I would start with these and reduce their shortcomings. 1) By ALL MEANS a pocket version. I carry one constantly and use it daily. Essential. If you do one slide rule, do this one. Don't believe me? Price a Versalog 1461, K&E 68-1130, or even a Pickett N600-ES relative to their 10 inch counterparts on eBay. They were relatively cheaper when new. 2) I have to disagree with another commenter: Back-to-back scales ARE helpful. They add rhythm vertically, making in easier to orient on a rule with many scales. They break visual monotony. And they do save space. Besides, aren't the scales bordering the slide-edge effectively back-to-back anyway? 2) An attractive, durable finish might be anodized aluminum. Anodized or not, you can laser-engrave any metal. Machined parts add appeal. 3) Perhaps offer a version in polished silicon bronze with enamelled markings (I hear brass can't be enamelled,). Plastic cheapens and trivializes everyhting that's made in it. Look the last Picketts. 4) Make sure there are 4 LogLog scales: LL0, LL1, LL2 & LL3, both + and -. Too many rules are missing LL0. I hate having to fudge numbers around 1.0085. 5) I don't see a point to the multi-phase loglog (LL0x) scales if you have LL0-LL3. (Note: You don't need any lower than LL0 because the hash marks would be indistinguishable from C/D). 6) Forget ALL the mechanical gizmos (pull-out chart, magnifier, bumpers, pencil holder, exponent wheel, ad nauseum...); they get broken or lost, add cost, add bulk, and contradict the clever simplicity of slide rules. One hair-line is fine. Good slide rules are elegant; as complex as they must be, and no more. Remember Rube Goldberg? 7) Here's a suggested ideal general purpose layout with 26 scales: Side A. Stator LL0 + LL1 +/- (back-to-back) A Slide K S (back-to-back with T) T ST C Stator D LL2 +/- (back-to-back) LL0 - Side B Stator DIF LL3 +/- (back-to-back) DF Slide CF CIF (back-to-back with L) L CI C Stator D Sq1 (back-to-back with Sq2) Sq2 DI If you compare this layout with a Pickett N600, there is an added single scale at each outside edge of the stators. If you take the Pickett layout, and - scale all verticle markings down by 5%, - augment the N600 height by 5%, - mark the DI, DIF, LL0+ and LL0- hashes flush with the edges of the stators, - (decrease the larger gaps between scales by about half, though this may be unnecessary) then you could accomodate all 26 scales in a slide rule just a touch wider than an N600, and have it be just as legible. It has 2 scales that a POST 1461 doesn't have (A and DIF), it would be narrower than a 1461, and have a more user-friendly, interesting layout. 8) You may ask: "Why a DIF scale?" If you're setting up proportions with C and D, ANY POSSIBLE result or its reciprocal will be at hand with a flick of the cursor or eye. That's if you also have DF,DI and similar C scales (yeah, 8 of them). The above layout, with 26 scales, seems to accomodate everything. What's missing? 9) The early pocket Picketts with the rounded corners on the stators and cursors had a real nice look; they were machined parts, and they are nostalgic for many. How many remember Dad's ever-present N600 sticking out of his pockett? There were A LOT of those. 10) Ditch addition (extra log) scales. They were left off for a reason. Instead.....see below 11) For add/subt, get an abacus, esp. the Japanese soroban. They come in pocket size. It would be reasonable to make a pocket case that would hold both a slide rule and a soroban. Note that math procedures on a soroban are well developed. You could also use it to get more decimal places when needed. A pocket soroban has 13 columns. 12) For a pocket slide-rule, self-documentation is out. Visual clutter is problem enough as it is. 13) Ditch the ruler marks. Even if you had room, the cursor won't let you get it flush with a surface. And no self-respecting slide rule junkie would dream of using his slide rule as a ruler. BlechhhK!!! 14) Interchangeable slides sound clever. But are they? Compare slide rules of different applications: Pickett 515, N4, 525, 400, optical slide rules etc... They have special scales on both stators and slide. Even if you could make interchangeable slides, they would get lost. Stick with one general-purpose slide-rule (6 & 10 inch) that is complete and optimum. I hope you're not seriously contemplating KW/HP and reactance scales. The market is way too small for anything special purpose. 15) Alignment must be fixed permanently at factory. 16) Don't forget a radian mark. I too feel kind of bad making so many negative remarks. But I think that the some of the old loglog slide rules were nearly optimum. A slide rule with adequate scales, good layout, good materials and a good finish that is IN PRODUCTION is really all anybody needs. Most of the enhancements you suggested are really not enhancements. But if you just make the thing damn it, that would be awesome! Please debate the layout above. --Niles Roberts firstname.lastname@example.org >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> From: hmccomas [email@example.com] Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 1999 8:03 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Suggestions for new rule designs Yes! Side-by-side L (linear) scales for simple or repeated addition or subtraction -- and if you're really feeling nutty and designing a c. 24-inch slide rule, how about a quadruple linear scale (0 to 400) for a little more serious addition. Do you have any idea why the old slide rule designers all left this out, even when they were piling lots of extra scales on a big desk-size slide rule?? What a mystery. It was evident to me when I was 12 years old and got my first slide rule that this is what it needed! A real mystery. Mac McComas Arlington Va PS Another nice design touch I'd like -- a thumb wheel like the ones on micrometers (the long thin clamp type) that could slowly inch the scale along. Good for making the last hair's breadth adjustment. But pull the slide, and it slips easily past the thumb wheel's clutch. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> -----Original Message----- From: Colin Beeforth [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Monday, July 26, 1999 5:16 AM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Suggestions for new rule designs Hi Walter, Thanks for kicking off the discussion on a new rule. I've thought about this quite a bit myself, and would be delighted to see it happen. I hope there are enough interested buyers to make it worthwhile. Most of your suggestions are very practical and concur with my thoughts, except for the cm and inch scales. I know this sounds a bit negative, but I feel that real estate on a rule is always at a premium, and for such a mundane purchase as measuring the length of things, I would rather use the rule space for more calculation scales. I know that cm and inch scales are common on many mannheims, but they are after all usually student rules, where this may be justified. For an engineering or scientific rule, calculation is the prime application. Double sided would be mandatory, and therefore there is little space that could conveniently be used for measurement without serious parallax error. Perhaps an inch scale would be useful in non-metric countries, where is could be used for the dual purpose of the L scale. If you are serious about making a brand new collector's item, perhaps you will also be considering a 20 inch model. There are so few available, that there may be sufficient price premium to consider a small run. Your suggestions of laser engraving are interesting, I know nothing about the technique, although I have seen laser cut metal machine parts. Not quite the same thing though to accurately control depth. I guess they would use some sort of pulse technique to modulate power. Since many American rules are printed, and seem to manage reasonable lifetimes, perhaps a modern lithographic process could be acceptable, at least for larger rules. There have also been some intriguing developments in numerically controlled machinery, the so called "Santa Claus" machines. No doubt you are aware of the prototype PCB machines advertised in RF Design magazine. That's my 2 cents worth. I'm sure you won't forget about us electronics types when considering scales. It always makes a room full of trainees look up when I pull out my lovely Hemmi 266 that you supplied to me. I'll watch with considerable interest. Thanks and regards, Colin Beeforth ------------------------------------------------------------ Colin Beeforth email@example.com
-----Original Message----- From: John Mosand [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Monday, July 26, 1999 10:16 AM To: email@example.com Subject: Suggestions for new rule designs Your suggestions are certainly valuable, as points of departure. I do, however, have some comments and questions. What you are describing would be a rule for USERS. I think that most users' needs are well taken care of by several of the best and most developed existing rules, which are plentiful. Most likely, all needs for one partilcular SR user are covered by at most two of these, one general and one specialized. For a general one, I personally prefer the F-C 2/83N, which has 20" basic scales, while its companion 5" has 10" basics. A specialized one could be anything: chemistry, electric, math, surveying, etc. They are all there already. What at least some of us would or might be interested in, is a very unusual concept that would be a collectors' item as well. E.g. a revival of an old and rare layout like a TWO- slide SR, a duplex maybe 4" or more wide, with virtually all the scales that are common on 'todays' standard rules. Or something like that. My comments to your listed points: Pt. 1: I'm not so sure of the need for a new pocket rule. Pt. 2: I'm not sure about Delrin, since it is somewhat soft. There are many other materials, however, so a choice shouldn't be a problem. Pt. 4: The decimal keepers never really caught on and are probably unnecessary. Pt. 6: I think that built-in measuring scales are unnecessary. On a duplex they would be awkward in any case. For desk use one always has a scaled ruler at hand - much more practical for measuring off a drawing etc. Pt. 8: Who would want a scabbard hanging from the belt today? Pt. 12: Two L-scales for adding? Are you kidding? While 'theoretically possible', how would you add e.g. 123.45 and 0.67 with anything faintly resembling accuracy? Forget it and use a calculator or paper and pencil (or your head). Pt. 14: Back-to-back scales? This is where some of the otherwise excellently made American rules seem over- crowded and less legible, especially with their small size figures. A small space is all one needs. Pt. 15: Self aligning? I don't quite understand. Pt. 16: A very practical idea? I don't think so. Would complicate things unduly. It isn't my intention to sound negative to this plan, just to try to put it into a realistic perspective. I also share the hope that some kind of production can be put into effect again. For the printing of scales: could somebody try to find out by which technique the later Graphoplex rules were produced? They can't have been engraved or printed by a very common procedure(??). John.
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