Hexagon Metrology, Inc.

Intro to Coordinate Metrology - Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing

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Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing

Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) is a universal language of symbols, much like the international system of road signs that advise drivers how to navigate the roads. GD&T symbols allow a design engineer to precisely and logically describe part features in a way they can be accurately manufactured and inspected. GD&T is expressed in the feature control frame (Figure 22). The feature control frame is like a basic sentence that can be read from left to right. For example, the feature control frame illustrated would read: The 5 mm square shape (1) is controlled with an all-around (2) profile tolerance (3) of 0.05 mm (4), in relationship to primary datum A (5) and secondary datum B (6). The shape and tolerance determine the limits of production variability.

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There are seven shapes, called geometric elements, used to define a part and its features. The shapes are: point, line, plane, circle, cylinder, cone and sphere. There are also certain geometric characteristics that determine the condition of parts and the relationship of features.

These geometric symbols are similar to the symbols used on maps to indicate features, such as two and four lane highways, bridges, and airports. They are like the new international road signs seen more frequently on U.S. highways. The purpose of these symbols is to form a common language that everyone can understand.

Geometric Characteristic Symbols

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Straightness — A condition where all points are in a straight line, the tolerance specified by a zone formed by two parallel lines.

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Flatness — All the points on a surface are in one plane, the tolerance specified by a zone formed by two parallel planes.

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Roundness or Circularity — All the points on a surface are in a circle. The tolerance is specified by a zone bounded by two concentric circles.

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Cylindricity — All the points of a surface of revolution are equidistant from a common axis. A cylindricity tolerance specifies a tolerance zone bounded by two concentric cylinders within which the surface must lie.

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Profile — A t

olerancing method of controlling irregular surfaces, lines, arcs, or normal planes.  Profiles can be applied to individual line elements or the entire surface of a part. The profile tolerance specifies a uniform boundary along the true profile within which the elements of the surface must lie.

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Angularity — The condition of a surface or axis at a specified angle (other than 90°) from a datum plane or axis. The tolerance zone is defined by two parallel planes at the specified basic angle from a datum plane or axis.

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Perpendicularity — The condition of a surface or axis at a right angle to a datum plane or axis. Perpendicularity tolerance specifies one of the following: a zone defined by two planes perpendicular to a datum plane or axis, or a zone defined by two parallel planes perpendicular to the datum axis.

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Parallelism — The condition of a surface or axis equidistant at all points from a datum plane or axis. Parallelism tolerance specifies one of the following: a zone defined by two planes or lines parallel to a datum plane or axis, or a cylindrical tolerance zone whose axis is parallel to a datum axis.

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Concentricity — The axes of all cross sectional elements of a surface of revolution are common to the axis of the datum feature. Concentricity tolerance specifies a cylindrical tolerance zone whose axis coincides with the datum axis.

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Position — A positional tolerance defines a zone in which the center axis or center plane is permitted to vary from true (theoretically exact) position. Basic dimensions establish the true position from datum features and between interrelated features. A positional tolerance is the total permissible variation in location of a feature about its exact location. For cylindrical features such as holes and outside diameters, the positional tolerance is generally the diameter of the tolerance zone in which the axis of the feature must lie. For features that are not round, such as slots and tabs, the positional tolerance is the total width of the tolerance zone in which the center plane of the feature must lie.

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Circular Runout — Provides control of circular elements of a surface. The tolerance is applied independently at any circular measuring position as the part is rotated 360 degrees. A circular runout tolerance applied to surfaces constructed around a datum axis controls cumulative variations of circularity and coaxiality. When applied to surfaces constructed at right angles to the datum axis, it controls circular elements of a plane surface.

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Total Runout — Provides composite control of all surface elements. The tolerance applied simultaneously to circular and longitudinal elements as the part is rotated 360 degrees. Total runout controls cumulative variation of circularity, cylindricity, straightness, coaxiality, angularity, taper, and profile when it is applied to surfaces constructed around a datum axis. When it is applied to surfaces constructed at right angles to a datum axis, it controls cumulative variations of perpendicularity and flatness.