If you're not shooting cannons (and you shouldn't be), nomograms can be functional and handsome memory aids and computation devices. They can also be made with a limited amount of supplies. I wanted to start making a nomogram with one level of complexity, the ability to add and subtract different numbers, which required a middle value that can vary. A little bit of measuring cutting, guessing, and checking gave me a useful, if not handsome, tool.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
The tape is optional. I use it to line the guide so the fastener doesn't wear away the paper.
Step 2: Cut Guide
Step 3: Guide Numbers
Step 5: Practical Precision
You'll notice that the pointing is approximate. That's where Mr. Doerfler's phrase "practical precision" comes in handy. You can also use the phrases "close enough for who it's for" and "close enough for government work."
Step 6: Meditations and Explorations
- To make a little smooth gliding, I added an index card washer to the back.
- As I was making this nomogram, I could see how the far left and right axes had a curvilinear relationship with the center numbers. My next nomogram will emphasize that.
- The spindle in the middle would work better if it were transparent and pointed to the edge.
- Obviously, you need fairly decent fine motor skills to create nomograms with paper fasteners. How about nomograms for the under eight crowd? You could use a straight edge or a piece of yarn for calculation, or a magnetic board for moving around numbers.
- Is there a relationship between curve-stitching devices (http://www.mathcats.com/crafts/stringart.html) and nomograms?
- What are the similarities and differences of nomograms, sectors, slide rules, and rulers?