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92

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AUTOMATION SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, VOL. 3, NO. 1, JANUARY 2006

Generating Variational Geometry of


a Hole With Composite Tolerances
Yusheng Liu and Shuming Gao

AbstractTolerance is almost ubiquitous during the whole


product life. However how to effectively embody and interpret
the semantics of tolerance in three-dimensional computer-aided
design systems is still an open issue. Variational geometry is
recognized as one of the most promising solution for it. And the
methods for systematically and efficiently generating the variational geometries of all kinds of geometric entities with tolerances
are imperative. In this paper, a degree-of-freedom (DOF)-based
approach is proposed for generating variational geometry of a
hole with composite tolerances imposed on its centerline and
surface at the same time. All possible combinations of tolerance
requirements for a hole are discussed. And the mathematical
models for variational geometries of the centerline and the surface
of a hole are deduced. Furthermore two strategies for improving
the efficiency of generating the variational geometry of a hole are
presented. Finally, the algorithm is implemented and some test
results are given.
Note to PractitionersThis paper is motivated by the problem
that the tolerance information in the current computer-aided-design CAD systems lacks the necessary engineering semantics,
which causes tolerance information that cannot be correctly used
and impedes the integration of CAD and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). Existing approaches have partially solved the
problem for the pattern of holes (POH) and plane feature based
on variational geometry. But the computational efficiency with
the variational geometry method is very insufferable due to a lot
of Boolean intersection operation. In this paper, the hole feature
is mainly considered because its tolerance specification is quite
different from other features and is imposed on the centerline
and the surface of a hole at the same time. First, the mathematical model is given for interpreting the engineering semantics
of the tolerance of the centerline and the surface based on the
variational geometry, respectively. Then, the tolerance principles
are further considered for compensation between the above two
types of tolerance. More important, a direct method, which can
largely avoid the Boolean intersection operation, is proposed for
generating the variational geometry. The computational efficiency
is thus improved dramatically and the variational geometry is
generated almost in real time. This enables virtual assembly and
virtual inspection with the tolerance information to be possible.
Index TermsComputer-aided design (CAD)/computer-aided
manufacturing (CAM), tolerance, variational geometry.

Manuscript received October 17, 2004; revised March 25, 2005 and June 6,
2005. This paper was recommended for publication by Associate Editor J. Fuh
and Editor M. Wang. This work was supported in part by the National Science
Foundation (NSF) of China under Grants 60403049, 60273057, and 50275136;
in part by the National Grand Fundamental Research 973 Program of China
under Grant 2002CB312106, and in part by the Trans-Century Training Programme Foundation for Talents by the Education Ministry of China and Pre-research of National Defense under Grant 514890201-04JW0401.
The authors are with the State Key Laboratory, CAD&CG, Zhejiang
University, Hangzhou 310027, China (e-mail: ysliu@cad.zju.edu.cn;
smgao@cad.zju.edu.cn).
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TASE.2005.860615

NOMENCLATURE
ACS
CITZ
CTS
CYTZ
DCS
LTZ
MMC
OTZ
PTZ
RTZ
RTZLO
SITZ
STTZ

Axial cross section.


Circularity tolerance zone.
Combined tolerance specification.
Cylindricity tolerance zone.
Diametral cross section.
Location tolerance zone.
Maximum material condition.
Orientational tolerance zone.
Positional tolerance zone.
Resultant tolerance zone.
Resultant tolerance zone of LTZ and OTZ.
Size tolerance zone.
Straightness tolerance zone.
I. INTRODUCTION

OLERANCE is almost ubiquitous during the whole


product lift cycle. It is imperative for the seamless integration of computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided
manufacturing (CAM). Presently, the tolerance representation
model used in CAD systems is usually documentation oriented. However, using the representation model, the tolerance
semantics and their interaction cannot be correctly interpreted
in truly three-dimensional (3-D) context and effectively used
in 3-D CAD systems. And how to model and represent the
actual manufacturing errors of a part in 3-D CAD systems is
still an open issue. There is a great gap between the industrys
requirements on tolerancing and the tolerancing capability
that the current CAD systems can provide. It is recognized
that variational geometry is a good choice for making up this
gap. By using the variational geometry, the actual variational
situation of machined parts can be effectively represented and
visualized, and the simulated inspection and assembly can also
be carried out at the early design stage.
Currently how to systematically generate the variational geometry of all features of a part is under research. Some work has
been carried out for the features such as planar face and pattern
of holes [1][4]. However, according to our knowledge, there is
no systematical and effective approach to generating the variational geometry of a hole up to now, although it is widely used in
the design of mechanical parts. Compared with those imposed
on other kinds of features, such as plane and edge, the tolerance
specifications on a hole are generally much more complicated.
Specifically, the tolerance specifications are often imposed on
both the surface and the centerline of a hole at the same time
with certain interactions between them. For the generation of

1545-5955/$20.00 2006 IEEE

LIU AND GAO: GENERATING VARIATIONAL GEOMETRY OF A HOLE WITH COMPOSITE TOLERANCES

the variational geometry of a hole, one problem is how to generate the variational geometry of a hole imposed of arbitrary
CTS. The other problem is computation efficiency. Using the
current approaches, it is very time-consuming because a lot of
Boolean intersection operations have to be done. In this way, the
long-time waiting will be insufferable and real-time response is
quite necessary for tolerance analysis, tolerance prenspection in
3-D CAD systems, and virtual assembly with tolerance.
To address these problems, a degree-of-freedom (DOF)based approach is proposed to systematically and efficiently
generate the variational geometry of a hole. The objectives of
this work are: a) enabling the approach to deal with all the
possible CTSs by analyzing them and coming up with a systematical model; b) improving the computational efficiency by
avoiding Boolean intersection operations as much as possible.
II. RELATED WORK
Tolerance modeling and representation comprise two-fold
functions: 1) the modeling and representation of the whole
tolerance zone; and 2) the modeling and representation of the
variational entities that satisfy the tolerance requirements. The
first part gives the extreme variational range and the second
part gives the way to represent the actual manufactured parts
with errors. A fundamental mathematical model is imperative
for achieving the above two functions and further for bringing
tolerance into play in 3-D CAD systems. A significant amount
of research has been conducted in this field. The proposed
models can be divided into five kinds: offset zone model,
parametric model, variational surface model, kinematic model,
and DOF model.
The offset zone model is proposed based on the concept of
variational class for representing geometric tolerance [5],
[6]. In this method, the issue of tolerance zone formation was
addressed and the realization method that uses offset operation to generate tolerance zones was also given. An object with
deviation is considered acceptable if its boundary lies within
the special range of the tolerance zone. Thereafter, this model
was refined [7]. Applying variational class to assembly, a
model was proposed based on virtual boundaries defining half
spaces composed of the part and establishing bulk material
regions and tolerance zones accordingly [8], [9]. However,
this model cannot deal with form tolerance and orientational
tolerance because of their unfixed location. In addition, how to
generate the variational entities was not discussed. Based on the
parametric model, several researchers developed the variational
model, which is dimension driven, constraint based, and allows
plus/minus variations of the dimensions of a part [10][12].
This model was mainly proposed for dimensional tolerance
that can be considered as the derivative of the parameterized
dimension constraint. The M-space theory was set forward
based on the vectorial approach and the variational surface
model was developed [13], [14]. In this model, tolerances are
used to directly define the valid variational region spanned by
the model variables and the surfaces are allowed to independently vary with the change of model variables. Positions of the
vertices and edges are calculated from the variational surfaces.
This approach was implemented and generalized by other

93

researchers [15], [16]. A kinematic-based approach, called a


kinematic model, was proposed where the tolerance zones are
modeled taking the effect of datum feature, datum precedence,
and material modifiers into account [17]. However, the model is
too complex to use. Another kinematic method is put forward
by using a combination of kinematic joints [18]. In this method,
geometric variations caused by tolerances are estimated using
the combinations of kinematic joints. But they did not mention
how this method could be extended to size tolerance.
DOF models were proposed by several groups [3], [4],
[19][22]. In [20], the elementary surface concept was
proposed and divided into seven types called topologicallyand technologically-related surfaces (TTRS). Twenty-eight
different possible geometric relationships and their DOFs are
constructed from the TTRS. The displacement torsor was also
defined as a six-dimensional vector, containing three translation and three rotation values. A graph-based model was
developed in which points, lines, planes, and feature of size
(parallel faces, cylinders, spheres) all contain DOF attributes
in [21]. This model could support a validation maintenance
of tolerance and was further refined [23], [24]. A novel type
of model based on T- Map was proposed in which several
similar to the model variables
model variables , , and
used in the DOF-based method mentioned above, were defined
[25][27]. In this model, all possible variational surfaces are
represented in the T-Map. They also gave the methods of
generating T-Maps of circular and rectangle surfaces. By using
Minkowski sum, their method can deal with the accumulation
of different kinds of tolerances. But they did not mention how
to extend the methods to the hole and other types of features.
III. COMBINATIONS OF POSSIBLE TOLERANCE
SPECIFICATIONS ON A HOLE
Holes are frequently used features in mechanical design. Almost in every part there are one or more holes. Generally, a hole
is imposed of high tolerance requirements because they usually
play an important role in realizing the functionality of parts. In
order to easily find out the most representative tolerance specification for the modeling and generating of the variational geometry of a hole, we first analyze all of the possible CTSs.
In this work, all the CTSs are divided into three kinds: certain,
possible, and impossible. All kinds of CTSs for a hole are enumerated in Table I. From the table, we can see that there are 20
kinds of certain CTSs, 17 kinds of possible CTSs, and 44 kinds
of impossible CTSs. By further analyzing all kinds of CTSs, we
observe that there are three characteristics of them as shown.
1) The corresponding CTSs of using dimensional tolerance
for location or location tolerance to specify the extreme
variational range of the centerline of a hole are very similar (i.e., in Table I, the CTSs involved in the columns 1,
2, 3, and 4 are similar to those involved in columns 5, 6,
7, and 8, respectively). So the only dimensional tolerance
for location or the location tolerance for specifying the extreme variational range of the centerline needs to be considered. In this paper, the latter is considered.
2) The tolerance specifications involved in column 4 and
column 8 are of the most generality for the centerline. The

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AUTOMATION SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, VOL. 3, NO. 1, JANUARY 2006

TABLE I
ALL POSSIBLE CTSS FOR THE HOLE

other tolerance specifications involved in columns 3, 2, 1,


and 7, 6, 5 can be viewed as the special cases, and the
tolerance requirements are gradually loosened. Similarly,
the tolerance specifications involved in row 4 are of the
most generality for the surface.
3) Column 9 in Table I contains some special cases because
of the speciality of the runout tolerance. Runout tolerance
can be considered as a composite tolerance itself. It is always specified on the surface of a hole, but it can also
specify the locational requirements on the centerline at
the same time. And any other locational tolerance specifications for the centerline are redundant.
According to the above characteristics, it can be concluded
(or
) is of the most generality for
that the CTS of case
the hole. And obviously, the method of generating the variational geometry for this case can also be applied to the other
CTSs after some adaptations.

Fig. 1. Normal line and its variation.

From the perspective of DOF, there are four DOFs , , ,


for such a centerline
where
are two transitional
and
DOFs and and are two rotational DOFs. For any variation
of the straight line, it can be decomposed into the corresponding
,
variations of the four DOFs of the straight line (i.e., , ,
). Assume that the equation of the variational line is

IV. MATHEMATICAL MODEL FOR VARIATIONAL


GEOMETRY OF THE CENTERLINE

(1b)

The variational geometry of a hole with composite tolerances consists of two parts: the variational centerline and the
variational surface. In this section, we concentrate on deducing
the mathematical model for the generation of the variational
geometry of the centerline based on DOF. The corresponding
contents about the variational surface of a hole will be given
in Section V.
A. General Variational Model for Centerline Based on DOF
To deduce the DOF-based variational model for the centerline of a hole, we first define a local coordinate system (LCS)
for the centerline as follows: taking the normal direction of the
centerline as the normal direction of the axis of the LCS and
the center of the line segment as the origin of the LCS, as shown
, the equation of the
in Fig. 1(a). With such defined LCS
centerline can be written as
(1a)

we have

This shows that any variational line can be represented by the


variations of its four DOFs when the form errors are not considered. It also means that the variations of the four DOFs can
be defined as the variables of the variational model for straight
lines.
B. Variational Model for the Centerline With Simple Tolerance
Specification
When it is necessary to impose certain tolerance specifications on the centerline of a hole (here, the default tolerance is
not considered), the location tolerance
must be considered
first because it can also specify the orientational and form tolerance requirements. Only if the location tolerance cannot sufficiently specify the requirements on the orientation of the hole,

LIU AND GAO: GENERATING VARIATIONAL GEOMETRY OF A HOLE WITH COMPOSITE TOLERANCES

Fig. 2.

95

Hole feature and its PTZ.

the orientational tolerance


will be further specified. Similarly, the form tolerance will be further given only when the location tolerance and/or the orientational tolerance cannot sufficiently specify the requirements on the form of the hole.
In general, the characteristics of the tolerance zones of different tolerances are quite different. The location tolerance zone
(LTZ) is fixed, which cannot translate and rotate at all; the direction of the OTZ is fixed but its position is not; the form tolerance zone is completely floating in the space, able to translate and rotate freely. Here, we first consider the simplest case
(i.e., only the positional tolerance is given, which is one specific
type of location tolerance and can be different in each direction
or omnidirectionally the same in each diametral cross section
(DCS) according to the tolerance requirements). But the modeling method for the variational geometry of the centerline will
be similar. In this work, different positional tolerances and
are given in axes
and direction as shown in Fig. 2(a).
The PTZ, in this case, can be easily obtained, which is a cuboid
whose length, width, and height are , , and , respectively,
as shown in Fig. 2(b). According to tolerance semantics, each
variational centerline must be located in LTZ. Using this propcan
erty, the extreme situations for the DOFs , , , and
and are
be easily deduced and the extreme variations for
shown in Fig. 2(c) and (d). And the extreme variation can be
expressed as
(2a)

Fig. 3.

Axis with concentricity tolerance.

Constraints
(3e)
(3f)
For other types of location tolerance, such as concentricity
and symmetry, the mathematical model can be obtianed similarly. Taking the concentricity and its tolerance zone shown in
Fig. 3 as an example, the mathematical model can be obtained
by slightly adapting the above mathematical models (2a)(2d)
and (3a)(3f) as follows.
1) Substitute and with .
2) Add another constraint

(2b)
Similarly, we get
(2c)
(2d)
In summary, the mathematical model for the variational centerline can be given as the following:
Variations
(3a)
(3b)
(3c)
(3d)

C. Variational Model for the Centerline With Complex


Tolerance Specification
in Table I,
When more complicated CTSs, such as case
are imposed on the centerline, the mathematical model becomes
much more difficult to deduce. The key problem is that the RTZ
is not easy to obtain as described in the last subsection and it is
not as simple and regular as that shown in Fig. 2(b). The RTZ
will be the combination of the relevant tolerance zones and usually irregular.
We generate such an RTZ by conducting Boolean intersection
operations between all of the relevant tolerance zones, which
consists of two steps: 1) generating the RTZ of location tolerance and orientational tolerance (RTZLO); 2) generating the
final RTZ with the form tolerance considered.

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Fig. 4. Different forms of Z

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AUTOMATION SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, VOL. 3, NO. 1, JANUARY 2006

and Z .

1) Generating the RTZLO: RTZLO is generated by conducting Boolean intersection operation between LTZ and OTZ.
However, as mentioned in the last subsection, the position of
OTZ is not fixed which can translate freely along the axes
and . Since there is usually a location tolerance imposed on
the centerline beforehand (or there is a default location tolerance), the translation of the OTZ is limited in a certain zone so
as to guarantee that the RTZLO is not empty. According to this
can be determined
property, the extreme variational zone
for the centerline of the OTZ.
,
First, the maximum zone swept by OTZ, denoted with
which is generated by translating (sweeping) the OTZ over the
LTZ, is determined. In this sweeping operation, the generator of
the sweeping operation is the OTZ and the generatrix is every
point in the LTZ. Moreover, as described in [28] and [29], any
sweeping operation is a Minkowski sum, in which our genercan be
ator and generatrix are the two operands. That is,
expressed as follows:
(4)
where refers to Minkowski sum, and
and
stand for
LTZ and OTZ, respectively.
As mentioned in the last subsection, different location tolerance specifications are necessary for different tolerance requirements. Similarly, different orientational tolerance specifications
are also needed. The form of DCS of LTZ and OTZ can be rectangular or circular according to the given tolerance specifications. Therefore, there are four kinds of different forms of
that are given in Fig. 4 (here, only DCS is given).
with an offset operation from the
,
Second, we obtain
which is shown in Fig. 4. When the centerline of the OTZ trans, RTZLO will not be empty and the tolerance selates in
mantics can be guaranteed. After
has been generated, the
, and
centerline of the OTZ is first randomly determined in

Fig. 5. Some examples of RTZLO.

then we generate the RTZLO by performing a Boolean intersection between the LTZ and OTZ. Some examples of the RTZLO
are illustrated in Fig. 5.
2) Generating the Final RTZ: When the straightness, the
only type of form tolerance for a line is imposed on the centerline, the final RTZ becomes more complicated and irregular
and any DCS is different from the others. Considering that the
straightness tolerance zone (STTZ) is floating, which can translate and rotate in the RTZLO and has four DOFs, we generate
the final RTZ by following two steps:
and
for STTZ. Here, we
1) Determination of the
by the Minkowski sum with RTZLO
also generate the
being the generatrix and STTZ being the generator. That
is
(5)
where
refers to the RTZLO, and
stands for
STTZ.
of OTZ, we
With the same method for generating
can obtain the
of STTZ from
. The obtained
gives the extreme variational zone of the centerline of the
STTZ.
2) The determination of the location and orientation of
STTZ. To determine the location and orientation of
, we just need to randomly
STTZ, which is floating in
give the variational values of the four DOFs , , ,
of the centerline of the STTZ. For the four DOFs , ,

LIU AND GAO: GENERATING VARIATIONAL GEOMETRY OF A HOLE WITH COMPOSITE TOLERANCES

Fig. 6.

97

Example of RTZ.
Fig. 7.

, , there are
possible variational sequences
to randomly generate them. Without the loss of generality, we choose the sequence
to calculate their random variational values one by one.
According to the tolerance semantics, the limitation
condition on the variation of the STTZ is expressed as
follows:
Condition 1: The intersection of STTZ and the bottom-end surface of RTZLO and the intersection of STTZ and the upper-end
surface of RTZLO must not be empty.
After generating the variational values of , ,
, and
, we generate the final RTZ by conducting Boolean intersection operation between the STTZ and the RTZLO. An example
of the final RTZ is shown in Fig. 6.
Finally, a NURBS curve is used to represent the straight line
with form tolerance. We first slice the final RTZ into a series of
DCSs. Then in each DCS of the final RTZ, a point is randomly
chosen to build the variational straight line. Finally, we create a
NURBS curve with all of these points interpolated.
V. MATHEMATICAL MODEL FOR THE VARIATIONAL SURFACE
There are four kinds of possible CTSs for the surface of a
hole, as listed in Table I. The most general case is that the surface
is imposed on both size tolerance and cylindricity at the same
time.
Cylindricity is always used to limit the extreme variation
of the whole nominal cylinder surface. Its effect consists of
two folds: 1) used as circularity in each DCS; and 2) used
as straightness in each axial cross section (ACS). Thus, we
divide the mathematical model for the variational cylinder
surface into three parts: that for the cylinder surface as a
whole, that for each DCS, and that for each ACS. In this
section, the interaction between the tolerances of the centerline
and the surface is not considered, which will be discussed
in Section V-A.
A. Mathematical Model for the Variation of the Whole
Cylinder Surface
Let us consider an arbitrary cylinder that is a part of the
whole cylinder and assume that the height of cylinder is ,
with
. Here, is the total height of the hole. Obviously, the cylinder must satisfy the tolerance specifications
for the original cylinder. The relationship between the CYTZ
and the SITZ for the cylinder is illustrated in Fig. 7. Here,

Relationship between SITZ and CYTZ.

the nominal radius of the cylinder is supposed to be , the upper


and lower limits of the size tolerance are supposed to be
and
, and the value of the cylindricity is supposed to be
. Meanwhile, an LCS
, as shown in Fig. 7, is constructed and used.
According to the definition of cylindricity in ASME Y14.5.1
[22], the CYTZ is floating and its radius is also uncertain. It
indicates that there are five DOFs for the CYTZ (i.e., , ,
, , and . The first four of them are for the centerline of
CYTZ and the last is for the radius. We define them as the model
variables of the mathematical model for the variational surface.
According to the tolerance semantics, the limitation condition
on the variation of the CYTZ is expressed as follows.
Condition 2: There exists at least a circle in both DCSs of the
CYTZ and SITZ, which must surround the inner boundaries of
the CYTZ and SITZ at the same time.
Fig. 8 shows some examples of the variational CYTZ. The
variational CYTZs in Fig. 8(a) and (b) satisfy the above condition while the variational CYTZ in Fig. 8(c) does not. Fig. 9(a)
gives the extreme case of the variation of the CYTZ (here, only
the ACS is given because of its symmetry). It shows that only
one circle exists that satisfies condition 2 in both end surfaces
as illustrated in Fig. 9(b) and (c). From the two figures, we can
see that condition 2 can be equivalently expressed as
Condition 3: the inner boundary of the CYTZ must not transcend and intersect with the outer boundary of SITZ; the outer
boundary of CYTZ must not transcend and intersect with the
inner boundary of SITZ, either. Furthermore, the extreme condition in the inner boundary of the CYTZ is tangent with the
outer boundary of SITZ while the outer boundary of CYTZ is
tangent with the inner boundary of SITZ.
According to the above condition 3, we can obtain the detailed variational constraint set for both the bottom and upper
end surfaces as follows.
For the bottom-end surface
(6a)
(6b)
(6c)
(6d)

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Fig. 8.

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AUTOMATION SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, VOL. 3, NO. 1, JANUARY 2006

Some examples of the variational CYTZs.

Fig. 9. Extreme variation of the CYTZ in SITZ.

For the upper-end surface


(7a)
(7b)
(7c)
(7d)
;
.
Here,
By solving the inequation set and considering
,
we obtain the following mathematical model for the variation of
the whole surface.
Variations

Fig. 10.

Ellipse used for representing the variational circle.

(8h)

(8a)
(8b)

(8i)
(8c)

where

(8d)

B. Mathematical Model for the Variation of the Surface in


Each DCS

(8e)

Using the above mathematical model expressed with inequation (8a)(8i), the location of CYTZ in each DCS can be de,
termined after the variation of the model variables , ,
, and
are randomly chosen. The RTZ of each DCS will
be the intersection of CYTZ and SITZ in the DCS as shown in
Fig. 9. In each DCS, the function of cylindricity degrades to that
of the circularity that should be also modeled because,in each
DCS, the actual form will not be circular any more.

Constraints

(8f)

(8g)

LIU AND GAO: GENERATING VARIATIONAL GEOMETRY OF A HOLE WITH COMPOSITE TOLERANCES

Fig. 11.

99

Decomposition of coordinates of the control points.

In this work, we use an ellipse to represent the variational


circle. As illustrated in Fig. 10, the form, size, and location of
an ellipse can be completely defined by the four end points of
its two axes. We call these four points as the control points of
the ellipse. In the following, we discuss how to calculate the
coordinates of the control points and how to use them to generate
the ellipse to represent the circle with tolerances.
1) Generation of the Coordinates of the Control Points: The
coordinates of the control points are obtained by using a decomposition strategy. As discussed above, the variation of the surface
in each DCS consists of two parts: the variation of the surface as a
whole and the variation in each DCS, which change the nominal
coordinates of the control points. It can be concluded that the coordinates of each control point consist of the following three parts:
nominal value, variational value brought about by the CYTZ, and
random variational value brought about the CITZ.
1) Calculation of nominal value. The nominal value of each
control point as shown in Fig. 11(a) can be easily calculated
from the given nominal cylinder as follows:

(9)
2) Calculation of the variational values brought about by the
CYTZ in each DCS. They can be determined by the model
variables , ,
,
,and asillustratedinFig.11(b).

We get the variational coordinate values of each control


point as follows:

(10)
Here, is the distance between the DCS and the bottom
end surface.
3) Calculation of the random variational value brought about
by the circularity in each DCS. This value is uncertain and
randomly determined. For each control point, according to
the location of the CITZ in each DCS, the upper and lower
limits are different, which are classified into three cases.
Taking the point A in Fig. 12 as an example, the classification results are listed in Table II. After the variational limits
are determined, the random variational coordinate values
can be easily calculated and listed in Table III according to
a certain distribution such as normal distribution, triangular
distribution, etc.
Finally, the coordinate values of the control points are obtained by adding up the above three parts.
2) Generation of the Ellipse for Representation of the Circle
With Tolerances: The coordinates of the ellipse origin , ,
and
are calculated as
and the lengths , of the axes
shown in (11a) and (11d) at the bottom of the page.
The final equation of the ellipse is as follows:
(12)

(11a)

(11b)

(11c)

(11d)

100

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AUTOMATION SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, VOL. 3, NO. 1, JANUARY 2006

Fig. 12.

Classification of the limits of control points.


TABLE II
CLASSIFICATION OF THE LIMITS OF THE CONTROL POINTS

TABLE III
RANDOM VARIATIONAL VALUES FOR DIFFERENT CONTROL POINTS

VI. IMPROVEMENT OF COMPUTATIONAL EFFICIENCY


When complex CTSs are imposed on the centerline, the RTZ
becomes complicated, uncertain, and irregular as discussed
in the last section. In general, the generation of the RTZ
involves a lot of 3-D Boolean intersection operations when
conducting tolerance analysis in 3-D CAD systems which is
very time-consuming, especially for complicated parts. This
problem may even make it unacceptable to perform tolerance
analysis in 3-D CAD systems. In this work, we improve the
efficiency of generating the RTZ by two means: converting
3-D Boolean intersection operations to 2-D ones and avoiding
the 2-D Boolean intersection operations as much as possible.
First, we deal with the case that the location tolerance and
orientational tolerance are imposed on the centerline at the
same time. The characteristic of this case is that the LTZ is
fixed and the OTZ can translate. Moreover, all RTZs DCSs
are the same. Based on this characteristic, it can be easily
proved that the 3-D Boolean intersection operations can be
degenerated to 2-D ones for this case. Therefore, we use
2-D Boolean intersection operations to replace 3-D ones to
generate the RTZ of LTZ and OTZ. In this way, the calculation
complexity is remarkably reduced.
To further improve the computational efficiency, a direct
method is given to avoid 2-D Boolean intersection operations
as much as possible during generation of the RTZ. The main
idea is to directly determine the boundary and the bounding
box of the RTZ according to the form of LTZ and OTZ
and the location of the OTZ instead of using 2-D Boolean

intersection operation to efficiently determine the RTZ. Some


examples of different boundaries and bounding boxes of the
RTZs are given in Table IV. It can be seen from the table
that for the specific form of LTZ and OTZ, the boundaries
of the RTZ, as well as the configuration of the compositive
edges of the bounding box (CCEBB) of the RTZ will be the
same or different according to the location of the centerline
of the OTZ. To determine the CCEBBs and boundaries of
the RTZ according to the location of the OTZ instead of by
performing Boolean intersection operations, the key problem
to a set of regions
is to find an approach to divide the
so that the following condition 4 is satisfied.
Condition 4: There are constant CCEBBs wherever the cenwhile different reterline of OTZ is located in a region of
gions will have different CCEBBs. Meanwhile, any region does
not overlap the others.
The following will discuss the division methods for different
forms of LTZ and OTZ.
A. Rectangular

and Rectangular

This is the simplest case. For this case, the boundary of the
is the same as the boundary of its bounding box. The
RTZ
in this case is shownd in Fig. 4(a). The boundary edges of
the RTZ may vary when the location of OTZ varies. For example, the upper boundary of the RTZ may be that of LTZ or
OTZ, and the left boundary may also be that of LTZ or OTZ,
and so on. To directly determine the CCEBBs according the lois divided as follows:
cation of the OTZ, the

LIU AND GAO: GENERATING VARIATIONAL GEOMETRY OF A HOLE WITH COMPOSITE TOLERANCES

101

TABLE IV
SOME EXAMPLES OF THE FORMS OF RTZ (ONLY DCS GIVEN)

Fig. 13.

Division of Z

in the case that both Z and Z are rectangular.

1) Finding two horizontal dividing lines


,
, as illustrated in Fig. 13, which lie between the upper and
,with
distance from the
bottom boundaries of
corresponding boundaries, respectively.
,
, as illustrated
2) Finding two vertical dividing lines
in Fig. 13, which lie between the left and right boundaries
,with
distance from the corresponding boundof
is
aries, respectively. Through the above dividing, the
divided into nine regions as shown in Fig. 13. Based on the
division, condition 3 is satisfied and the corresponding relationships between the regions and the CCEBBs of different RTZs are summarized in Table V. It can be seen
from the table that the CCEBBs can be directly obtained
once the region in which the centerline of OTZ is located
is determined.
B. Rectangular

and Circular

The
in this case is shown in Fig. 4(b). For this case, we
by first subdividing the zone and then merging
divide the
some of them together. The dividing process consists of the following steps.
,
,
,
1) Finding out four horizontal dividing lines
as shown in Fig. 14(a). Among them,
and
and
are coincident with the upper and bottom boundary edges
and
lie between the upper and
of the LTZ and

distance from
bottom boundaries of the LTZ with
the corresponding boundaries (i.e.,
,
), respectively.
as
2) Finding four vertical dividing lines , , , and
and
are coincishown in Fig. 14(a). Among them,
dent with the left and right boundary edges of the LTZ and
and
lie between the left and right boundary edges
distance from the corresponding
of the LTZ with
,
), respectively.
boundaries (i.e.,
3) Finding four circular dividing lines , , , and
as
, and whose
shown in Fig. 14(a), whose radius are all
centers are exactly the vertices of the LTZ.
is divided into 37 reThrough the above dividing, the
gions as shown in Fig. 14(a). From this figure, it can be seen that
when the centerline of the OTZ lies in some adjacent regions,
the boundaries and CCEBBs of the RTZ are also the same. This
indicates that the division with 37 regions contains some redundant regions. We examine each pair of adjacent regions and
make those having the same CCEBBs merged to obtain the real
division, as shown in Fig. 14(b). The relationships between the
regions and the CCEBBs are listed in Table VI. The boundaries
of the RTZ are determined with the regions in the same way.
The necessary intersection points in Table VI are analytically
calculated.
For the other two cases as shown in Fig. 4(c) and (d) (i.e., the
is circular and
is rectangular and both
and
are
by the similar method,
circular), we can get the division of
which are, respectively, shown in Figs. 15 and 16. The corresponding relationships between the CCEBBs and the different
regions are listed in Tables VII and VIII.
C. More General Tolerance Specifications for the Centerline
In the last two subsections, an efficient approach for determining the CCEBBs and the boundaries of RTZ based on
the location of the centerline of the OTZ has been presented,
without considering the form tolerance (i.e., straightness for
the centerline). Here, we further extend the approach to make
it be able to deal with the straightness for the centerline. To
take the straightness into consideration, there are two possible

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TABLE V
CCEBBS OF DIFFERENT REGIONS WHEN Z AND Z

Fig. 14.

Division of Z

ARE

BOTH RECTANGULAR

in the case that LTZ and OTZ are rectangular and circular.
TABLE VI
CCEBBS OF DIFFERENT REGIONS WHEN Z IS RECTANGULAR AND Z

cases: 1) the centerline is imposed of location tolerance and form


tolerance; 2) the centerline is imposed of location, orientational,
and form tolerance at the same time.
We make the following adaptations for the proposed approach
of improving efficiency: 1) check whether the form of RTZ is
regular before the STTZ is considered. Here, regular means
that the RTZs DCS is circular or rectangular. Otherwise it is
called as irregular; 2) two end faces are individually considered.
In each end face, the number of DOFs of STTZ will be reduced
and .
to two translational DOFs
Based on the above adaptations, if the form of each end face
of the RTZ is regular before the STTZ is considered, the dividing method given in last two subsections can be directly used
for both end faces. Otherwise, Boolean intersection of the 2-D
boundaries should be done inevitably in the two end surfaces to
get the final RTZ.

IS

CIRCULAR

VII. HANDLING OF THE INTERACTION BETWEEN THE


TOLERANCES OF THE HOLE
For a hole, the tolerances on its centerline and the tolerances on
its surface inevitably interact with each other. The interaction can
be divided into two layers: rule layer and implementation layer.
In the rule layer, the interaction between the tolerances of the
hole is handled by the tolerance principles, such as maximum
material condition (MMC). The location tolerance value of
can be compensated from the size tolerance
the centerline
of the surface. Specifically, we first check if the actual size
of the hole is larger than that of MMC. If so, it indicates
that the compensation is required. And then the compensation
is calculated as follows:
value
(13)

LIU AND GAO: GENERATING VARIATIONAL GEOMETRY OF A HOLE WITH COMPOSITE TOLERANCES

Fig. 15.

Division result of Z

103

when Z and Z are circular and rectangular, respectively.

where
and
are the actual size and MMC size of the
hole, respectively.
is taken as the actual location tolerance value
Finally,
for the centerline.
In the implementation layer, the interaction comes from the
form tolerance of the centerline and surface (i.e., the straightness
and the cylindricity). For a hole, the cylindricity error of the surface comes from two parts, the straightness error of the centerline and the size error of the surface. As discussed in Section IV,
the simulated centerline is generated first and its actual straightness error can be calculated. And then, the actual cylindricity
:
is no more than the following value
(14)
Equation (14) gives a conservative and feasible assessment for
the actual cylintricity.
VIII. EFFICIENCY ANALYSIS
In the proposed approach, two strategies are given to improve
the efficiency of generating the variational geometry of a
hole. One is to replace 3-D Boolean intersections by 2-D
Boolean intersections. The other is to use the direct method
to further reduce the times of Boolean intersection as much
as possible in determining the RTZ. Three experiments are
conducted to test the efficiency improvement compared with
the traditional method and the results are given in Fig. 16.
In the experiments, several factors, such as the form of
the tolerance zone, distribution function, and the ratio of
location tolerance and orientational tolerance are considered.
In this work, 3-D Boolean intersection operation is used in
the traditional method to generate the RTZ.
Experiment 1: To test the efficiency improvement under the
conditions that the orientational tolerance satisfies the uniform
distribution. The experiment result is shown in Fig. 17(a).

Fig. 16. Division result of Z

when Z and Z are both circular.

Experiment 2: To test the efficiency improvement under the


conditions that the orientational tolerance satisfies the normal
distribution. The experiment result is shown in Fig. 17(b).
Experiment 3: To test the efficiency improvement under the
conditions that the orientational tolerance satisfies the triangular
distribution. The experiment result is shown in Fig. 17(c).
It can be concluded from these experiments:
1) Compared with the traditional method, the computational
efficiency has been remarkably improved. It can be seen
from the experiment results that the proposed approach
is faster than the traditional approach from 5 to 70
times.
2) When both the LTZ and OTZ are rectangular, the efficiency improvement is almost constant, not varying with
the ratio of location tolerance and orientation tolerance
and the distribution function.
3) The efficiency improvement with the normal distribution
is better than that of the triangular distribution, and

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AUTOMATION SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, VOL. 3, NO. 1, JANUARY 2006

TABLE VII
CCEBBS OF DIFFERENT REGIONS WHEN Z IS CIRCULAR AND Z

TABLE VIII
CCEBBS OF DIFFERENT REGIONS WHEN BOTH Z

similarly, the efficiency improvement of the triangular


distribution is better than that of the uniform distribution.
The reason may be that there are more simulated values
closer to the nominal value under normal distribution and
triangular distribution, whereas the simulated values are
uniform in the whole tolerance zone under the uniform
distribution. This makes it more possible to avoid 2-D
Booleanintersectionoperationundernormalandtriangular
distribution.
4) By increasing the ratio of location tolerance and orientational tolerance, the efficiency improvement is also better
and better.

AND

IS

ARE

RECTANGULAR

CIRCULAR

IX. ALGORITHM AND IMPLEMENTATION


A. Algorithm of Generating a Variational Hole
Based on the mathematical models described in the previous
sections, we developed an algorithm for generating the variational geometry of a hole consisting of the following steps:
1) constructing the LCS of the hole;
2) generating the LTZ or dimensional tolerance zone of the
centerline of the hole;
3) generating and randomly determining the position of the
OTZ of the centerline (if the orientational tolerance exists);

LIU AND GAO: GENERATING VARIATIONAL GEOMETRY OF A HOLE WITH COMPOSITE TOLERANCES

Fig. 17.

Efficiency improvement under different conditions.

Fig. 18.

Nominal and variational geometry of a bracket.

105

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AUTOMATION SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, VOL. 3, NO. 1, JANUARY 2006

4) generating and randomly determining the position and


orientation of STTZ of the centerline (if the straightness
tolerance exists);
5) generating the RTZ of the centerline using the approach
described in Section VI;
6) if the straightness exists, generate a NURBS curve as the
variational centerline and calculating the actual straightness error ; otherwise, generate a straight line as the
variational centerline;
using (14) given in Section VII;
7) calculating
8) equally slicing the cylinder to sections along the centerline, then
generating the SITZ of the surface of the hole;
generating the CITZ in the SITZ and further generating
the ellipse as the variational profile.
9) generating the whole variational surface by performing
the skinning operation on the generated sections.

[2]
[3]
[4]
[5]
[6]
[7]
[8]
[9]
[10]

B. Implementation
The model and the algorithm presented in this paper have
been implemented with Visual C++ 6.0 based on the geometric
modeling kernel ACIS6.0. The bracket shown in Fig. 18(a) and
(b) is used as a test example and the related dimensions and
tolerance specifications are also given. The variational holes are
given in Fig. 18(c). To clearly display the variation, the tolerance
is exaggerated.
X. CONCLUSION
In this paper, we have proposed a DOF-based approach to
systematically and efficiently generate variational geometry for
the hole. The major contributions of the work include:
1) A classification of the combination of the tolerance
specification, including 20, 17, and 44 kinds of certain,
possible, and impossible CTSs, is given for the hole.
It is very helpful for finding the most representative
case for the modeling of variational geometry and for
guiding tolerance design and tolerance specification.
2) A general mathematical model for generating the variational geometry of a hole is given based on DOF. Based
on the model, the variational surface and centerline can be
systematically generated and the interactions between the
tolerances of the centerline and surface are also considered. The proposed model can deal with all of the cases
of CTSs.
3) The method improves the computational efficiency remarkably, which makes it possible to carry out real-time
tolerance analysis and virtual assembly with tolerance in
truly 3-D CAD systems.
Future work will be focused on 1) applying the approach to
virtual manufacturing, virtual assembly, and virtual inspection;
and (2) extending the approach to other kinds of features, such
as steps, slots, etc.
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LIU AND GAO: GENERATING VARIATIONAL GEOMETRY OF A HOLE WITH COMPOSITE TOLERANCES

Yusheng Liu received the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from Zhejiang University,
Hangzhou, China, in 2000.
He conducted Postdoctoral research in the Sate
Key Laboratory, CAD&CG, Zhejiang University,
and City University of Hong Kong in 20002003.
Currently, he is an Associate Professor in State Key
Lab., CAD&CG, Zhejiang University. His research
interests are computer-aided tolerancing, content-based retrieval, design reuse, and CAD/CAM.

107

Shuming Gao received the Ph.D. degree in applied


mathematics from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou,
China, in 1990.
Currently, he is a Professor of the State Key
Laboratory, CAD&CG, Zhejiang University. He
was a Visiting Scholar and a Visiting Professor
in the Design Automation Lab of Arizona State
University, Tempe, in 1996 and 2001, respectively.
His research interests include product modeling,
CAX integration, collaborative design, virtual reality
in design and manufacturing, MEMS, CAD, etc.