Articles by Hill Cox

Other Dimensions: What Spec?

Like many of my colleagues in the gage making business, I am astounded at how many manufacturers blaze away making parts to iffy or unknown specifications. Often the parts are made to a drawing with fuzzy details, and this lack of information is only brought to attention when a truckload of rejected parts hits the receiving dock.
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Other Dimensions: The Other Stuff

Being in the calibration business for such a long time means we’ve had our share of weird requests, as have many of our customers. While providing a laugh from time to time, lately we seem to be getting more of them and that’s downright scary.
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Other Dimensions: Uncertainty Budget

An uncertainty budget is similar to a financial budget in the type of information it can provide. But unlike a financial budget where every element is in dollar terms, the uncertainty budget has to deal with various elements and convert them into linear terms, such as millionths of an inch or microns, when doing gage calibration.
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Other Dimensions: Measurement Uncertainty

Nothing provokes heated discussion like uncertainty. We see it in the global warming-now relabeled as climate change-debate and scores of other issues. We demand precise yet simple answers to complex matters, as politicians know only too well. And if we can find someone else to blame, that’s even better.

In dimensional measurement, we use numbers rather than fear to make a point. But sometimes the irrational does creep in. For example: “I paid a gazillion dollars for that thing and you’re telling me it’s not accurate enough to measure these parts,” or “we can put a man on the moon but we can’t measure this better than ...”
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Other Dimensions: Thread Gages

Those of you who have been following this series of columns know the caveats that apply so I won’t repeat them this time around. If you don’t know them, buy, borrow, beg or steal the previous issues for an update.
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Other Dimensions: Plain Ring Gages

As I noted in last month’s column, this will be an overview of the most popular hardware used for calibrating gages. In case you are wondering why I didn’t mention the use of coordinate measuring machines for this work, and won’t, the answer is quite simple. Few of them are accurate enough for the tolerances involved, and those that are rarely exist outside of national measuring institutions.
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Other Dimensions: In-House Gage Calibration

Editor’s note: This is the first in a three-part series on gage calibration.

Part 1: Plain Plug Gages

This is not a how-to column but rather an overview of what is required in the way of hardware used for gage calibration. As with any measuring process, several types of equipment can be used; I will only deal with the most commonly used equipment. It is assumed that you have a proper environment, your equipment and masters are calibrated, and you have a skilled person to use the equipment.

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Other Dimensions: Certificates of Compliance

I recently wrote about calibration reports and outlined some of the basics involved with them. This month, I thought it would be worthwhile to deal with documents that are often provided in lieu of calibration reports: certificates of compliance.

The original intent of certificates of compliance was to make sure that process steps were not overlooked if they could not be verified later. An example of this might be a product that has to be dipped in a specified solution at a specified temperature for a specified period of time before painting or plating. Usually, there is no way to verify that these steps were taken once the product has been coated. Testing after-the-fact can reveal that the correct thickness of paint or plating has been applied but not that all specified process steps were followed.

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Other Dimensions: Thread Ring Gages Revisited

A year ago I wrote about the value of buying setting plugs along with adjustable thread ring gages, particularly special thread rings. One point I made was that setting plugs should be used for the resetting of adjustable thread rings in accordance with the standard. Taking measurements of them was not accurate enough.

The problem starts with buyers of special rings who do not wish to pay for proper setting plugs. When it’s time for calibration, the hunt begins for someone who has plugs and of course, it’s unlikely they will be found because calibration laboratories would go broke keeping special setting plugs on hand in most cases. Some laboratories are ready to cash in on this situation by offering to “measure” special adjustable thread ring gages so the technician won’t have to buy the right thing. And, wow, the cost will be a lot cheaper than buying setting plugs.


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Karen Spencer, Clinkenbeard's quality manager, discusses what makes the plant stand out, advice for other plants, and looks to the future.
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2015 March

The March 2015 edition of Quality Magazine includes this years Quality's 2015 Plant of the Year.

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