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Re: Steel slides for quick reference

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On Apr 3, 2008, at 11:24 PM, Conrad Harrison wrote:

Seems a great deal of efficient and less error prone technologies have been discarded in an attempt to elevate the status of engineers, by showing their prowess with mathematics, followed by increasing desire to put formulae into
a computer.

Which is all very well: but what is the point of a model if it cannot be held in the human mind, understood and comprehended by humans, and evaluated
by humans, in real time.
Don't mistake reference materials for calculation aids. Most of my practice involves computer techniques in one form or another, but I still have plenty of reference handouts that I use every day to find everything from weld symbols and fitting weights to bolt stress areas and nominal pre-loads. You can't do FEA without this stuff--at least not FEA with engineering significance.

The reason you're seeing less of this sort of thing is that suppliers have quit handing it out in an effort to cut costs. Or, like the Aluminum Association they've bundled a lot of this and started selling it. On a shallow commercial level, probably they're within their rights, but I'd really like to see that particular golden egg stuffed back up the goose.

Anyone who's interested in graphic aids should research the lost art of nomography--how to make alignment charts to solve equations You can still find articles on how to design them < library/drmath/view/63338.html>. Nomograms let you do implicit solutions. Everyone with a programmable calculator probably has the column allowable load programmed--enter Length, K and radius of gyration, keystroke and you get the load. A nomograph will let you input any three variables and get the fourth with a straightedge--no algebra . They used to be a real pain in the ass to lay out with pencil and paper, but with a decent graphics program you could probably do one in a couple of hours.

Christopher Wright P.E. |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)   | this distance" (last words of Gen.
.......................................| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)

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