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sin wave information required

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I want to practice some effects styleprogramming and one idea ive had is for a basic shoot em up game. Basically the ship can grab loads objects like wreckage and meteors with a kind of tractor beam. I want to use a funky effect for the beam and was thinking of some kind of rippling (?) sine wave (or maybe im thinking a moving wave) that randomly fluctuates etc. I have studied sine waves way over 7 years ago in a level mather (pre uni) but have since forgotten everything so i need some resources (have since burnt my books) Does any one have any. For example 1) i could do with a visual demonstration of how wavelength and amplitude affect the waves appearence 2) some general maths stuff to work out how to code it. 3) and once i got some stuff going maybe info on using sin functions vs look up tables. And how to interpolate if using look up tables. Any info appreciated.

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