Does anyone, in all earnest, still use slide rules for work?



#36

Not necessarily in here. Are there die-hards who still swear by slide rules?


#37

have you seen anyone riding a penny farthing bicycle lately? ;-)


#38

I got a lot of mileage from the use of cardboard calculators. They may still be in use as company handouts, though with the internet information highway less useful. They were not precise, but that was not needed as the selection of parts values was more limited and their tolerances considerable. It put your decimal in the right place, a potential danger with the slide rule. Sam 81


#39

Quote:
It put your decimal in the right place, a potential danger with the slide rule. Sam 81

The other side of the coin is, with the way we used to have to do calculations in the slide rule days, you were forced to figure out what a reasonable answer was, since the slide rule only gave you significant digits, not magnitude. With today's automated calculations (computers), there's always the risk of GIGO.

#40

Quote:
... you were forced to figure out what a reasonable answer was...

And I still do, even when using Excel, or should I say _especially_ when using Excel...

I had a pocket slide rule at school* that my father taught me how to use. I still have his bigger Faber Castell one at home (just for show).

*I had a geeky science teacher that allowed slide rules in the exam, but not electronic calcs.
#41

Sam:

Quote:
It put your decimal in the right place, a potential danger with the slide rule. Sam 81

Somewhere in this forum I picked up the idea that you are over eighty years old. If so, then you have got to remember that there were ways to keep track of the decimal point which were akin to the way it is done when using logarithm tables.

Palmer

#42

Quote:
have you seen anyone riding a penny farthing bicycle lately? ;-)

Yes - just a couple of days ago, actually:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1210534/Bike-enthusiast-develops-electric-penny-farthing-travels-13mph.html

Best,

--- Les

[http://www.lesbell.com.au]

#43

For getting a whole set of relations at once, a slide rule is unbeatable. Not that this brings me back to use one again, though ;)

Just a few years ago (maybe 4), I've seen a professional using a pocket slide rule at work. And it was a reasonable application.

Edited: 3 Sept 2009, 1:45 p.m.


#44

I always wanted a slide rule... I remember seeing one in my house when I was a kid, but it was a cheap plastic unit and no one knew where it ended up. But I wanted a good one! Made of bamboo! I like 'old' technology, reading about Briggs and Oughtred and logarithms and have a 12th edition Machinery's Handbook that has a chapter on the slide rule which I love. So last month I bought my first one from the Slide Rule Trading Company - a Hemmi 260 Advanced Engineering Slide Rule. It was brand new (so not cheap...), never-been-used, with instruction manual and new leather case. What a slipstick! I financed the purchase by selling a spare HP-32E to a fellow in Australia who posted in the WTB section.

I am still learning how to use all the scales and am enjoying the experience. I really want to get a vest pocket sized unit next to wear to black-tie affairs and fancy restaurants (and show-off at the office). The 'ultimate' geek symbol. No batteries, works in most ambient lighting conditions, and sure to impress women all over the planet. I love this forum...

My $0.02... --- Jeff Kearns


#45

Quote:
I really want to get a vest pocket sized unit next to wear to black-tie affairs and fancy restaurants (and show-off at the office). ... and sure to impress women all over the planet.

And what planet are you referring to?

#46

I still have a tie clip slide rule. I don't have to wear ties anymore, but it was fun to wear. Always wanted a set of cuff links to go wit the tie clip.

There were all sorts of wearable slide rules. See followin link:

Wearable Slie Rules

Just found a like where you can buy a Slide Rule Tie Clip:

Slide Rule Tie Clip


While I don't use a slide rule anymore, our office does use a lot of special slide rule type charts to calculate pipe sizing, duct sizing, electrical sizing, etc. Companies used to make all sorts of sliding devices - rectangular and circular - that would let you quickly select a particular equipment size. When PC's came out, they stopped giving the sliding charts out and starting giving us disks with computer programs (now they give us CDROM and even DVD's). These were NEVER as easy or fast to use as the sliding charts. That's why we hang onto these 20-30year old charts.

Bill

Edited: 3 Sept 2009, 3:08 p.m.

#47

Quote:
And what planet are you referring to?

Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars. ;-)


Regards,


John


#48

It seems men can't even go to Mars because they can't agree on a measuring system.


#49

Watch out: you're going to "open a barrel", as people say here.

#50

Why the one located between Saturn and Neptune, of course.

Cheerio! --- Jeff Kearns

#51

Quote:
Just a few years ago (maybe 4), I've seen a professional using a pocket slide rule at work. And it was a reasonable application.

Drawing straight lines on a piece of paper? ;-)


- Pauli


#52

I have several, don't use them much, mostly to keep in practice. Along the way I lost my 4" and 6" VersaLogs, and would love to replace them, but the prices the collectors want, no way. I keep looking at garage sales.


#53

I recall leaving a test where all the EE's were finished and the ME's were still looking at their rules with a puzzled expression. We used every scale on the rule but the cube root.


#54

Quote:
I recall leaving a test where all the EE's were finished and the ME's were still looking at their rules with a puzzled expression. We used every scale on the rule but the cube root.

I was an AeroE and I remember that the twidgits were better with their slide rules than we were. I don't recall that it bothered us very much since we knew that most serious aero work couldn't be done at slide rule accuracy.
#55

The Versalogs were issued in standard 5" and 10" scale versions. If you had them in 4" and 6", they would be incredibly valuable today :-)


#56

Must have been 5" and 3" (or there abouts) then. The shirt pocket one was a stock item, the tiny one a gift from a salesman (I taught slide rule at the time.)

#57

Quote:
Drawing straight lines on a piece of paper? ;-)

They actually work really great for that: I used to use the slide from my K&E for drawing straight lines all the time. It was especially nice when you were using an ink pen (fountain pen - who here remembers, or still uses (!), one of those?) because the ink didn't get sucked under the slide, courtesy of the ridge sticking out, like it would be when using a regular ruler that laid flat on the paper next to the pen tip.


#58

Quote:
(fountain pen - who here remembers, or still uses (!), one of those?)

Yes, and I do remember the trouble of using them with rulers, I had a ruler with a ridge, but when I'd use a normal ruler it was a matter of keeping the opposite side down and rotating the side you just used straight upwards, any sliding movement causing that awful smear :)
#59

I only use them to show my students what was used in the "old" days.

Maybe in Ireland they're still used. Here is the link to the 2009 CPA Examination Syllabus:

CPA Syllabus

On Page 4 we have:

Use of Calculators, Logarithm Tables,Templates and Slide Rules

The use of calculators is permitted, provided they are not mains
operated or do not have a print out facility. Logarithm tables are
available on request. Use of templates for flow charting etc., is
allowed. The use of slide rules is also permitted.

CHUCK

#60

As reported in Readers Digest, there was a report that concluded, these values were calculated with a sly drool. Sam

#61

Just today, I got an email from ThinkGeek.com that said they're now offering a slide rule. Very cool!

thanks,
bruce

#62

Well, actually yes! We offer our clients a formwork planning slide ruler. The ruler is slided to the appropriate slab thickness and then one can read all the spacings for the propping supports and girders from the ruler.

All formwork companies offer a similar type of device to their clients.

#63

I have one in my car mainly to calculate fuel consumption.

#64

I would guess that student pilots still learn to use an E6B flight computer. I don't know if pilots still use them or not.

I still see speed/feed calculators in machine shops.

Both are specialized versions of slide rules.


#65

I know student pilots still use the Aristo Aviat on a regular basis. I'd guess they tend to use their notebooks later.

#66

Relatively recently SciAm had a great article on the slide ruler. The followup letters to the editor had a letter from a US military artillery operator that stated that they still use slide rulers to verify the computer instructions.

#67

BTW, is there a more dramatic scene with slide rules in any movie than when Mission Control is checking Jim Lovell's conversions with slide rules in the movie Apollo XIII?


#68

Dramatic, maybe, truthful, probably not. Someone posted recently in one of these threads that the Apollo 13 engineers with the slide rules were double-checking addition results which, I am told, a slide rule cannot do.


#69

Quote:
... double-checking addition results which, I am told, a slide rule cannot do.

A user can do addition within a limited range on slide rules which have the L scale on the slider.

A user who has one of those devices with a slide rule on the front and an Addiator on the back (such as my Faber-Castell 67/22R) can do more extended addition. In fairness, the addition isn't done with the slide rule part.

Another interesting addition to the conventional scales on a slide rule is an appropriately positioned scale on the inside of the frame which allows the device to be used as an inside caliper, as in the A. W. Faber 387 and 1/87m.

#70

Well, my boss does, only in jest and very, very, infrequently, just to show the superiority of his "slipstick" over my beloved HP calculators.

The only time I might best him in such peeing contests is when we have slightly more complicated, relative to say, a gas law calculation, or a more than one step conversion, and just by punching in "XEQ <whatever label>", the HP calc renders the result ahead of his laminated wood or plastic or whatever it's made of generating frictional heat.

Unfortunately, I fear his slipstick is more politically correct- it's green and the HP uses batteries. Oh well.


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