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I have a collection of data obtained from calculations and I want to display it on a chart or whiz-wheel or similar, to be used "in the field" as a low-tech solution, since no computer will be available. I have a single output variable calculated from three inputs. What I want to avoid is making a giant book of tables or charts, and instead use something like the whiz-wheel that reloaders use for calculating propellant weight. Are there any nifty graphical devices out there that can display three degrees of freedom on one chart?

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  • $\begingroup$ What about a custom slide rule? The Whiz wheel sounds like a good idea... $\endgroup$ – willpower2727 Aug 18 '15 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ Funny, I was just staring at my slide rule, searching for inspiration. The one I have still only allows for two degrees of freedom (position of the center slide and position of the cursor), but maybe I could add another slide. $\endgroup$ – Carlton Aug 18 '15 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ Also, you might consider the pilot's whiz wheel (E6B). The trick is how to make one with your own data...en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E6B $\endgroup$ – willpower2727 Aug 18 '15 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ So far I've made a slide rule out of paper, with two slides and a cursor. A typical slide rule has one slide. It seems like I can just add as many slides as I need for each independent variable, but I'm still experimenting. Eventually I would like to make the slides round, like the E6B. $\endgroup$ – Carlton Aug 18 '15 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ For the details of how to construct charts for this kind of calculation, you might want to search for info on Nomography. $\endgroup$ – Dan Aug 18 '15 at 15:28
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Per @Dan's suggestion, I googled "nomography" and found an article titled "The Lost Art of Nomography" by Ron Doerfler, published in the UMAP Journal 30.4 (2009). The article describes a compound-nomograph, which is pretty much what I need. Here is a screen shot of such a device, taken from the article:

enter image description here

The image shows a nomograph for three independent variables, but the principle could be extended to any number of variables I believe.

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    $\begingroup$ Identifying the technique by name, citation and illustration is a good start but this would be an even better answer if it described the method for constructing such a graphic. $\endgroup$ – Air Aug 18 '15 at 22:18

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