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Smart GD&T™ Intermediate Glossary

(Based on the ASME Y14.5M 1994 and ISO 1101 Standards / Formulated by William Tandler (WT))



Copyright by Multi Metrics, Inc. Menlo Park CA. - 1 - 1999 to and including 2004 All Rights Reserved
• Actual Mating Size, Location Constrained: the size of
the location constrained maximum inscribed or minimum
circumscribed envelope of perfect form inside a hollow,
physical Feature of Size, or outside a solid, physical
Feature of Size.

• Actual Mating Size, Orientation Constrained: the size
of the orientation constrained maximum inscribed or
minimum circumscribed envelope of perfect form inside
a hollow, or outside a solid, physical Feature of Size.

• Actual Mating Size, Unconstrained: the size of the
orientation and location unconstrained maximum
inscribed or minimum circumscribed envelope of perfect
form inside a hollow, or outside a solid, physical Feature
of Size.

• Actual Value: The size of the smallest tolerance zone
defined by the specified Geometric Characteristic, which
just accommodates the controlled component of an
Actual Feature. The Actual Value of a Geometric
Characteristic is a theoretical value, and can never be
known. Example: the actual value of the Position (the
Actual Position) of a bore is the diameter of the smallest
cylindrical zone, located at True Position, which just
contains the entire, bounded axis of the actual
Considered Feature. See also: Measured Value.

• Axis: the form perfect spine of the Unconstrained Actual
Mating Envelope of a linear extrusion of circular
section. Bores and shafts have axes which can be
controlled by the Position, Perpendicularity, Parallelism
and Angularity tools.

• BASIC Dimension: a theoretically perfect, linear or
angular dimension, which serves to specify (1) the form,
and the orientation and location of tolerance zones
relative to one another and relative to specified Datum
Reference Frames, but only those tolerance zones which
can be oriented or located, (2) the mutual orientation and
location of Datums, and (3) the mutual orientation and
location of Datum Targets.

• Bilateral Tolerances: permissible equal or unequal,
upper and lower deviations of a variable from a nominal
value, which, together with the nominal value, specify
permissible upper and lower limits for the variable.

• Bonus Tolerance: the additional tolerance authorized by
the Tolerance Zone Size and Tolerance Zone Mobility
modifiers (M) and (L). See also “Nominal Tolerance”
and “Effective Tolerance”.

• Cartesian Coordinate System: a collection of three
perfectly straight, mutually perpendicular lines, called
axes, which meet in a point, called the origin, form three
perfectly flat, mutually perpendicular planes, called bases
planes, and are outfitted with linear scales. Cartesian
coordinate systems have three degrees of rotational
freedom, called pitch, yaw and roll, and three degrees of
translational freedom, called ∆x, ∆y and ∆z. Cartesian
coordinate systems serve, with the help of BASIC
dimensions, to define the orientations and locations of
the True Features of machine parts and of the tolerance
zones which limit the imperfections of Actual Features.

• Datum: the minimum set of a theoretically perfect,
imaginary point, and/or line, and/or plane, which,
together, fully characterize the orientation and location of
a Datum Feature Simulator. In simple cases, Datums
serve to orient and locate tolerance zones directly. In
complex cases, Datums serve to establish Datum
Reference Frames to orient and locate the tolerance
zones.

• Datum Feature: a specially labeled physical surface of a
real object which serves 1) to reduce the object’s degrees
of rotational and translational freedom relative to
manufacturing and inspection fixtures and mating parts,
and 2) to establish frames of reference for controlling the
orientation and location of related features.

• Datum Feature Simulator: a “perfect” inverse Datum
Feature, which serves as a bridge between the imperfect
real world of Datum Features and the perfect imaginary
world of Datums and Datum Reference Frames.
Conceptual Datum Feature Simulators are perfect,
physical Datum Feature Simulators must meet “gage
maker’s” tolerances.

• Datum Reference Frame: a Cartesian coordinate system
established using the Datums extracted from a set of
Datum Features referenced in a Feature Control Frame.
Datum Reference Frames serve to orient and locate
tolerance zones.

• Datum Target Simulator: a “perfect” inverse Datum
Target, which serves as a bridge between the imperfect
real world of Datum Targets and the perfect imaginary
world of Datums and Datum Reference Frames.

• Derived Median Line: the not necessarily form perfect
spine of the Unconstrained Actual Local Envelope of a
linear extrusion of circular section. Bores and shafts
have Derived Median Lines, whose Straightness can be
controlled by the Derived Median Line Straightness tool.

• Derived Median Plane: the not necessarily form perfect
spine of the Unconstrained Actual Local Envelope of a
linear extrusion of two parallel lines. Plates and slots
Smart GD&T™ Intermediate Glossary
(Based on the ASME Y14.5M 1994 and ISO 1101 Standards / Formulated by William Tandler (WT))



Copyright by Multi Metrics, Inc. Menlo Park CA. - 2 - 1999 to and including 2004 All Rights Reserved
have Derived Median Planes, whose Flatness can be
controlled by the Derived Median Plane Flatness tool.

• Envelope: an imaginary, mathematical surface of perfect
form which establishes a boundary for a physical feature.

• Feature: A collection of associated spatial points
forming a boundary between solid material and free
space. Examples: (1) the surface of a sphere, (2) the
opposed planar surfaces of a plate, (3) the compound
curved surface of a propeller blade.

• Feature, Actual: an imperfect feature of a real part. See
also: “Measured Feature”, “Substitute Feature” and
“True Feature”.

• Feature Component: any physical or conceptual
geometric entity associated with a Feature. Examples:
the linear and circular surface elements and the axis of a
cylinder.

• Feature, Considered: a feature currently under
consideration, for example being toleranced.

• Feature Control Frame: a rectangular frame consisting
of three sections, the first for specifying a Geometry
Control Tool, the second for specifying the shape, size
and any modifications to a tolerance zone, and the third
for listing the Datum Features responsible for
constructing the associated Datum Reference Frame.

• Feature, Measured: the set of measuring uncertainty
burdened points collected on the surface of an imperfect
Actual Feature. See also: “Actual Feature”, “Substitute
Feature” and “True Feature”.

• Feature of Size: A collection of points, forming a
boundary between solid material and free space, which
are nominally equidistant from a 3D point, axis, or plane
of symmetry, and whose associated normal vectors are
uniformly oriented toward (internal), or away from
(external), said point, axis, or plane. Examples: Sphere,
cylinder, slot.

• First Angle Projection: an elevation view of a part,
which is placed on the opposite side of the part in a multi
view drawing. First angle projections are created by
rolling an object once about an axis by 90°.

• Geometric Characteristic: a concept for categorizing
and describing variations in the size, form, orientation
and / or location of a Feature. Examples: diameter,
flatness, cylindricity, parallelism, distance, location,
runout, etc.

• Geometry Control Tool: a means for specifying
permissible variations in the size, form, orientation or
location of a Feature, represented by a symbol, and
referenced in Feature Control Frames. Examples: the
Size tool, the Flatness tool, the Parallelism tool, the
Position tool.

• Geometric Entity: any imaginary or real two or three
dimensional geometric construct, thus a point, a straight
or curved line, a plane or a curved surface.

• (L): the “Least Material Condition” Modifier. When
placed behind the tolerance in a Feature Control Frame,
(L) requires said tolerance to increase by an amount
equal to the absolute value of the difference between the
“in-material” Unconstrained Actual Mating Size and the
form tolerance adjusted LMC size of the Considered
Feature, up to a maximum of the total size tolerance, as
the feature departs from LMC toward MMC. When
placed behind a Datum Feature label in a Feature Control
Frame, (L) requires the Datum Feature to be simulated at
its Virtual Least Material Condition, leading to DRF
mobility as the Datum Feature departs from Virtual Least
toward Virtual Maximum Material Condition.

• LMC: “Least Material Condition”, the condition of a
feature in which it contains the least material permissible
as a function of its toleranced magnitude.

• LMC Envelope: An imaginary surface of perfect
volumetric form, which represents the boundary of a
feature at its “Least Material Condition”. The LMC
Envelope is defined 1) by the Size tool - under the
influence of the Envelope Rule and an associated
Material Condition Modifier (L) - and 2) by the Surface
Profile tool. The LMC Envelope is independent of
additional constraints on form, orientation or location,
which, if imposed, determine an expanded envelope
known as the Virtual MMC Envelope. For the additional
effects due to orientation or location constraints, see:
“Virtual MMC Envelope”.

• Lower Tolerance Limit: the lowest allowed actual
value, thus the nominal value minus the lower tolerance.

• (M): the “Maximum Material Condition” Modifier.
When placed behind the tolerance in a Feature Control
Frame, (M) requires said tolerance to increase by an
amount equal to the absolute value of the difference
between the “in space” Unconstrained Actual Mating
Size and the form tolerance adjusted MMC size of the
Considered Feature, up to a maximum of the total size
tolerance, as the feature departs from MMC toward
LMC. When placed behind a Datum Feature label in a
Feature Control Frame, (M) requires the Datum Feature
Smart GD&T™ Intermediate Glossary
(Based on the ASME Y14.5M 1994 and ISO 1101 Standards / Formulated by William Tandler (WT))



Copyright by Multi Metrics, Inc. Menlo Park CA. - 3 - 1999 to and including 2004 All Rights Reserved
to be simulated at its Virtual Maximum Material
Condition, leading to DRF mobility as the Datum Feature
departs from Virtual Maximum toward Virtual Least
Material Condition.

• Material Condition: a measure of the magnitude of a
feature as a function of the amount of material associated
with it relative to toleranced limits representing its
Maximum and Least Material Condition.
• Material Filled Zone: the region in or outside the
possibly orientation or location constrained virtual
boundary of a feature, which is guaranteed to be material
filled under the influence of all the tolerances controlling
it.

• Material Free Zone: the region in or outside the
possibly orientation or location constrained virtual
boundary of a feature, which is guaranteed to be material
free under the influence of all the tolerances controlling
it.

• Measured Value: an approximation of the magnitude of
the Actual Value of a Geometric Characteristic, which is
determined by a mathematical algorithm applied to a set
of raw data extracted from a Measured Feature. The
Measured Value is influenced by the uncertainty of the
raw data and by the particular processing algorithm
selected. Example: The Measured Position of a bore
might be reported as twice the maximum radial offset of
the bounded axis of a Gaussian best-fit cylinder
constructed using two sets of ten equally distributed, but
otherwise random points collected at opposite ends of the
bore, relative to a Datum Reference Frame constructed
using ten random points collected on each of three
nominally mutually perpendicular, planar, Datum
Features A, B and C. This value will be influenced by
the uncertainty of each probed point, by the inevitable
failure to probe the truly significant points on the Datum
Features and on the bore’s surface, by the imperfect
determination of the extent of the bore’s axis, by the use
of a Gaussian best-fit cylinder algorithm instead of some
other algorithm, and by the particular algorithms selected
to extract the Datums from Datum Features A, B and C,
and by the algorithm used to establish the Datum
Reference Frame from the Datums. See also: Actual
Value.

- Median Line: the not necessarily form perfect, linear
symmetry component of a feature having linear
symmetry. Examples: Shafts, bores and other linear and
rotational extrusions have both Axes and Median Lines.
See also: Axis.

- Median Plane: the not necessarily form perfect, surface-
like symmetry component of a feature having a surface of
symmetry. Examples: slots, slabs and other linear and
rotational extrusions have both Axes and Median Lines.
See also: Mid-Plane.

• Mid-Plane: the form perfect spine of the Unconstrained
Actual Mating Envelope of linear extrusion of two
parallel lines. Plates and slots have Mid-Planes which
can be controlled by the Position, Perpendicularity,
Parallelism and Angularity tools.

• Mid-Point: the point at the center of the Unconstrained
Actual Mating Envelope of a spherical surface. Spheres
have Mid-Points whose location can be controlled by the
Position tool.

• MMC: “Maximum Material Condition”, the condition of
a feature in which it contains the most material
permissible as a function of its toleranced magnitude.

• MMC Envelope: An imaginary surface of perfect
volumetric form, which represents the boundary of a
feature at its “Maximum Material Condition”. The MMC
Envelope is defined 1) by the Size tool - under the
influence of the Envelope Rule and associated Material
Condition Modifiers (S) and (M) - and 2) by the Surface
Profile tool. The MMC Envelope is independent of
additional constraints on form, orientation or location,
which, if imposed, determine an expanded envelope
known as the Virtual MMC Envelope. For the additional
effects due to orientation or location constraints, see:
“Virtual MMC Envelope”.

• Nominal Dimension: a numerical value which, together
with upper and lower tolerances, specifies the
permissible upper and lower limits of a dimension.

• Radius: the line originating from a point which defines
the surface of a sphere, the line perpendicular to and
originating from a line which defines the surface of a
cylinder, or the line perpendicular to and originating
from a circle which defines the surface of a torus.

• Reference Dimension: an untoleranced dimension which
serves as a reminder of dimensions toleranced elsewhere
and has not direct influence on the geometry of a part..

• RFS: “Regardless of Feature Size”, a statement to the
effect that the size of the Considered Feature may not
influence the tolerance or the Datum Reference Frame
under consideration.

• (S): the “Regardless of Feature Size” Modifier. When
placed behind the tolerance in a Feature Control Frame,
(S) is a Tolerance Zone Size modifier and requires the
tolerance to be fixed at the stated value regardless of the
Smart GD&T™ Intermediate Glossary
(Based on the ASME Y14.5M 1994 and ISO 1101 Standards / Formulated by William Tandler (WT))



Copyright by Multi Metrics, Inc. Menlo Park CA. - 4 - 1999 to and including 2004 All Rights Reserved
size of the Considered Feature. When placed behind a
Datum Feature label in a Feature Control Frame, (S) is a
Tolerance Zone Mobility modifier and requires the
Datum Feature to be simulated Regardless of its Size,
leading to DRF stability relative to the specified Datum
Feature. In the ASME Y14.5M 1994 standard, the RFS
modifier no longer exists as such, and is merely implied
in the absence of (M) or (L) modifiers. In keeping with
the principles of Smart GD&T, explicit use of the RFS
modifier is recommended in spite of this exclusion.

• Spine: an imaginary point, line or surface, which
represents the symmetry component of a Feature of
Symmetry. The Spine of a sphere is a point. The form
perfect spine of a cylinder is its axis, the not necessarily
form perfect spine of a cylinder is its Median Line.

• Substitute Feature: the perfect imaginary feature,
derived from a Measured Feature through use of a
particular mathematical, “best-fit” algorithm. The
Substitute Feature forms the basis for reporting “Measure
Values” and Analytical Values” of Geometric
Characteristics. See also: “Actual Feature”, “Measured
Feature” and “True Feature”.

• Third Angle Projection: an elevation view of a part,
which is placed on the same side of the part in a multi
view drawing. Third angle projections are created by
rolling an object three times about an axis by 90°.

• Tolerance Bandwidth: the difference between the
upper and lower limits of a variable, thus the “size” of a
tolerance zone.

• Tolerance Value: the numerical size of a tolerance zone.

• Tolerance Value, Effective: the sum of a nominal
tolerance value and an authorized, numerical Bonus. See
also “Bonus Tolerance”, and “Tolerance Value,
Nominal”.

• Tolerance Value, Nominal: the tolerance value specified
in a Feature Control Frame. See also “Bonus Tolerance”
and “Tolerance Value, Effective”.

• Tolerance Zone: a bounded region of space within
which a specific component of a feature must lie.

• True Feature: a perfect, mathematical representation of
a feature of a conceptual part, defined in a CAD
environment. See also: “Actual Feature”, “Measured
Feature” and “Substitute Feature”.

• True Position: the Basic location of the mid-point, axis
or mid-plane of a feature.

• True Profile: the surface of a feature, specified by Basic
dimensions.

• Unilateral Tolerance: a permissible deviation of a
variable in a single direction, either above or below its
nominal value.

• Upper Tolerance Limit: the highest allowed actual
value, thus the nominal value plus the upper tolerance.

• Virtual Size: the size of the Virtual MMC or Virtual
LMC Envelope of a feature.

• Virtual LMC Envelope: a perfect mathematical
construct representing the virtual (effective), in-material
boundary of a feature, which results from constraints on
its form, orientation or location, in addition to constraints
on its size in conjunction with the Envelope Rule.
Example: The Virtual LMC Envelope of a bore of
Ø25±1 mm constrained by a Position Tolerance of Ø 0.5
mm referenced at MMC, is the LMC size of the bore,
Ø26, plus the MMC Position bonus of Ø 2 mm, plus the
Position tolerance of 0,5 mm, thus Ø28.5 mm. See also:
“Virtual MMC Envelope”.

• Virtual MMC Envelope:a perfect mathematical
construct representing the virtual (effective), in-space
boundary of a feature, which results from constraints on
its form, orientation or location, in addition to constraints
on its size in conjunction with the Envelope Rule.
Example: The Virtual MMC Envelope of a bore of
Ø25±1 mm constrained by a Position Tolerance of Ø 0.5
mm referenced at MMC, is the MMC size of the bore,
Ø24, minus the Position tolerance of 0,5 mm, thus Ø23.5
mm. See also: “Virtual LMC Envelope”.