Slide Rule Apps for the iPod/iPhone



#9

I just received my slide rule from Think Geek. (The quality is poor, but my expectations were low.) It made me curious about slide rule simulators for the iPhone. It turns out there are several. (Just search for "slide rule" in the App Store.) Has anyone tried one or more of these apps? There's no practical application for these simulators (other than education, I suppose) but perhaps someone else here has the simulation bug as badly as I do?

Regards,
Howard


#10

Like everything else these days, is it hecho en China? (the real one, that is).

Edited: 11 Sept 2009, 8:34 p.m.


#11

Can't tell. I'm guessing it is made in Asia.



Sorry for the indistinct lettering. But you should be able to see there is no indication of origin.

As to quality, the center scale can move vertically with respect to the other two, and it sticks on one side. The slide isn't smooth at any point, for that matter. For me a slide rule is just a curiosity, since I was in the first generation that never touched one.

Regards,
Howard


#12

Howard:

Near the end of the slide rule era companies such as Hoffman, Pickett and Sterling offered some quite well made plastic slide rules in configurations ranging from pocket Mannheims to full size log-logs. I have a number of spares in my collection of almost two hundred slide rules. So, I hope that you didn't really spend $29.99 for what you got. Can you get your money back?

I also note that the promotional material at the site you provided says in part

Quote:
... Here was a simple device with one sliding part ...

Wow! Slide rules have two moving parts -- the slide and the cursor.

Palmer


#13

Quote:
Near the end of the slide rule era companies such as Hoffman, Pickett and Sterling offered some quite well made plastic slide rules in configurations ranging from pocket Mannheims to full size log-logs.

Don't forget to mention Aristo.
#14

Well, that's embarrassing. :)

Hey, Think Geek does T-shirts really, really well. Can I be blamed for thinking they could make slide rules too? Heh.

Regards,
Howard

#15

Quote:
As to quality, the center scale can move vertically with respect to the other two, ...

Back in the day, all quality slide rules were fully adjustable. You could adjust the fit of the slide, alignment of top/slide/bottom and cursor, each side of cursor independently.
Quote:
... and it sticks on one side. The slide isn't smooth at any point, for that matter. For me a slide rule is just a curiosity, since I was in the first generation that never touched one.

The professional ones were made either out of mahogany, bamboo, or aluminum (later some in plastic, as Palmer pointed out), and were very precisely machined. You lubricated the mahogany with talcum powder, the Al with petroleum jelly, the bamboo and plastic with nothing. Even so, some sticking (really just slight hesitation) was not unheard of.

It's just a curiosity for me now, but it was an essential tool when I started out.


#16

Quote:
The professional ones were made either out of mahagony, bamboo, or aluminum (later some in plastic, as Palmer pointed out), and were very precisely machined.

Agree if "later" means after ca. 1950 in developed countries, and "some" means state-of-the-art slide rules for engineers and scientists. These were made of good white plastic completely, as were well made student's rules. No need for lubrication or adjustment. BTW, my father had a wooden rule laminated with white plastic on its faces, which I found terribly outdated when he offered it to me in the late sixties.

#17

Athough $29 for a poor quality slide rule is bad news but however, it's a good news that new slide rules are being made.
I think it a copy of a Pickett slide rule. The style of the rule as well as the design of the box is a copy of the Pickett.


Edited: 12 Sept 2009, 6:23 p.m.


#18

Quote:
Athough $29 for a poor quality slide rule is bad news but however, it's a good news that new slide rules are being made.
I think it a copy of a Pickett slide rule. The style of the rule as well as the design of the box is a copy of the Pickett.

I agree that the style looks similar to the some of the lower cost plastic Pickett slide rules. I don't have my collection here but I think it is also close to some of the Acu-Math's and Sterlings. My recollection is that I have at least one which also uses black connectors at the ends.

Lawrence Engineering Service of Peru, Indiana made some really low cost slide rules in the 1940's which used white paint on pine.

I remember that the slides of the metal Pickett's had a tendency to be sticky even when they were greased. If you work with those today you will find that WD-40 does wonders and is far easier to applly without leaving a sticky residue.


#19

WD-40 will in fact leave a residue. WD-40 is NOT a lubricant. It is a Water Displacer.

Better to use a real lubricant that is suited to the slide rule material.

#20

I stand corrected. I did not remember the all-plastic ones in the late 60's. And in fact the engineering students all purchased professional-grade rules.

When I was a university senior in 1970, someone decided they needed my 10" Post Versalog more than I did. I could not afford to replace it at $30, so I bought a 5", $15 "pocket Versalog" with which to finish my studies. As soon as I landed a job and got my first paycheck, I went downtown and purchased another 10" Versalog. I still have both those two today.


#21

I have the Faber Castell 2/83, I think it's one of the better slide rule but made of plastic.


#22

Assume there were some patents constraining the choice of materials. Else no company would have stayed with the older ways of composite rules (basis material plus cover layers) or materials requiring lubrication. Though the production times were longer than patents live, so some "choices" may have been tradition, too.

Edited for typos.

Edited: 13 Sept 2009, 7:10 a.m.


#23

To make something clear: 'plastic slide rules' isn't the same as 'cheap quality'. ARISTO, the world's most successful slide rule manufacturer (with about 1000 models, 1872-1978) made ONLY high grade PVC slide rules from 1936. Their most successful STUDIOs, more than 2 million made, became an engineer's standard outside the US. Also, plastic slide rules should absolutely be kept lubricated! Preferably with vaseline.


#24

I have only a few ARISTO's in my collection. The ones that I have use the so-called Darmstadt configuration where the trigonometric scales are on the frame not on the slider. Slide rules with the trigonometric functions on the slide as in the Mannheim configuration allow direct chained trigonometric calculations such as occur in solid geometry transformations. I haven't figured out how to do chained trigonometric calculations with a Darmstadt without reading a trigonometric function from the frame by eye and entering it at the C scale by eye.

Is it that I just don't know how to use a Darmstadt?


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