The More Things Change: Quality Gaging Tips, The Book

We’ve decided to break from our usual format in this column to make a special announcement (at least, I think it’s special): Hanser Gardner Publications has released a new book, “Quality Gaging Tips,” written and edited by yours truly and the original author of this column, the late Jim McCusker. The book is a compilation of more than 140 Quality Gaging Tips columns, arranged by measurement topic and incorporating additional material and illustrations that would not fit in the original magazine format.

Columns From: 5/1/2006 Modern Machine Shop,

We’ve decided to break from our usual format in this column to make a special announcement (at least, I think it’s special): Hanser Gardner Publications has released a new book, “Quality Gaging Tips,” written and edited by yours truly and the original author of this column, the late Jim McCusker. The book is a compilation of more than 140 Quality Gaging Tips columns, arranged by measurement topic and incorporating additional material and illustrations that would not fit in the original magazine format.

For those of you who may not be aware, Quality Gaging Tips debuted in April 1991 and has appeared every month for more than 15 years. When the column was first conceived, we wondered if we’d have enough material to keep a column going for 2 years. However, based on Jim McCusker’s initial direction and historical documents going back more than 50 years, we’ve found a wealth of practical gaging information.

While I was putting the book together and selecting material from more than 175 columns, an old adage kept going through my mind: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It’s a theme that has run through these columns since the beginning—while equipment and technology may change, the fundamental laws of metrology do not. We may have better gages and techniques than our predecessors and we may be better able to control outside influences and document the process, but the fundamentals of measurement are inherently the same.

Some of these fundamentals are reflected in the titles of the columns. “Stage It To Gage It” or “Clean It Up And Wring It Dry,” for example, speak of the basic physics for good, consistent measurement. These topics have been addressed in one form or another for 60 years by many people in the measuring industry. They are good gaging practice and plain common sense.

We’ve also used acronyms such as “Gaging Accuracy Is Spelled S-W-I-P-E” to further define these principles. This key concept has been repeated a number of times because it is one that applies to the everyday world of measurement. It points out the five parts that make up the measurement—standard, workpiece, instrument, personnel and environment—and how each part interacts with the others in the measurement process.

A few ideas have also been repeated because of the changing audience of Modern Machine Shop. Every year, a new class of measuring and manufacturing personnel needs to learn some of the fundamentals of gaging. Columns including, “Dial Vs Digital Indicators,” “Dimensional Collateral: Do Two Sines Equal A Cosine?” or “You Won’t Err With Air” are timeless in concept and valuable enough to reread many times to keep the details fresh.

Over the years, we have also had a little fun with the titles used in these columns. “Stylin’ With Your Micrometer,” “Bar Talk; What’s Your Sine” or even “Calibrating Gages: Your Place Or Mine?” all address serious topics, but with the idea that a little tongue-in-cheek fun can help make a technical subject more interesting and, hopefully, a bit more memorable.

Some of the columns are based on actual user application problems where knowledge of these gaging tips helped provide a solution. These articles include, “The 3 D’s Of Straightness Plugs,” “An Inside Look At Special Diameters” and “Squeeze Gaging.” All feature good applications of basic gaging tips.

That is the real purpose behind the Quality Gaging Tips column: to take the fundamentals of gaging and present them in a way that was easy to read, informative and relevant to the readers of Modern Machine Shop. Our hope is that packaging these columns in book form allows readers to keep the information at their fingertips for quick reference and training.

The book is arranged around 14 general topics that relate to measurement: indicators, gaging basics, surface finish, electronics, calibration, hole measurement, SPC, machine calibration; gage blocks; geometry; air gaging, automatic gaging, hand tools, and gaging applications.

Available at www.hansergardner.com, “Quality Gaging Tips” provides these simple and easy-to-read columns in a format that will allow you to research your gaging problems. There’s no difficult reading here, just basic, sound and easy-to-use advice—the kind of thing your mother would teach you if she were a dimensional metrologist. I may have gone too far there, but I do hope you’ll find “Quality Gaging Tips” a valuable addition to your reference library.

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