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Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing

Common Geometric Symbols and Terms

Form Tolerances
Profile Tolerances
Orientation Tolerances
Runout Tolerances
Location Tolerances
Common Geometric Symbols and Terms
Tolerances are categorized into five types. These tolerance types include form, profile,
orientation, runout, and location. This section will discuss primarily those tolerances that relate
to die casting. Table 1 identifies common geometric characteristics, their symbols, their type, and
the features to which they apply.

Table 1 Common geometric symbols and terms.

Form Tolerances
Form tolerances include flatness, straightness, circularity, and cylindricity. These tolerances
relate to individual features only.
The flatness tolerance is symbolized by a parallelogram and specifies a tolerance zone confined
by two parallel planes within which the entire surface must lie. Figure 1a demonstrates how the
flatness symbol is applied, and interpreted.

Fig. 1a Flatness symbol on a drawing.

Fig. 1b Isometric view interpretation.

Fig. 1c Side view interpretation.

In the example shown in figure 1b and 1c, the entire top surface must lie between two parallel
planes separated by a tolerance zone of .03 inches. A flatness tolerance establishes limits a
feature must exist within. Exceeding these limits may cause the part not to fit or function
properly. Die cast parts are subject to warping due to shrinking, cooling, and other thermal
factors (thermal gradients) that may influence flatness. For flatness specifications, refer to
Coordinate Dimensioning Tolerances in Engineering and Design, section 4.
Straightness is very similar to flatness, except that the tolerance is applied between two parallel

lines instead of two parallel planes.Straightness is symbolized by a short horizontal line as shown
in figure 2a.

Fig. 2a Straightness symbol on a drawing.

Fig. 2b Side view explanation.

Straightness is defined by points on a line lying between two parallel lines separated by a
tolerance. Points on the line that cross one of the parallel lines is unacceptable. See figure 2b. In
the example shown in figure 2, the top line must lie between two parallel lines separated by a
tolerance zone of .005 inches.

3a Circular symbol on a drawing.

3b Circular interpretation.
Circularity is the third form tolerance and is defined as all points constrained to lie within two
concentric circles of specific diameter. See table 2 for diameter and radius symbology. Any
points lying outside the larger circle or inside the smaller circle are unacceptable. See figure 3b.
Circularity is symbolized by a circle as shown in figure 3a. In figure 3, the tolerance is .04

Table 2 Additional symbols.

Cylindricity is essentially the combination of both circularity and straightness. It is defined as all
points constrained to lie within two circles and extend the length of the cylinder. Cylindricity is
symbolized by a circle with a tangent line on the left and right side as shown in fig 4a. In figure
4, the tolerance is .04 inches.

Fig. 4a Cylindrical symbol on a drawing.

Fig. 4b Cylindrical interpretation.

Profile Tolerances
Profile tolerances include two characteristics; profile of a line and profile of a surface. Profile
tolerances can describe single features or related features. They are used to relate one feature to
another or one feature to a datum. Profile tolerances and their symbols are identified in table 1.
Profile of a line is symbolized by an open semi-circle and typically refers to irregular lines.
Profile of a line is defined as the amount of deviation allowed from a given line. Figure 5
demonstrates how the profile of a line is applied and interpreted.
In figure 5, each line element of the surface between C and D must lie between two profile
boundaries .015 inches apart in relation to datum planes A and B. See figure 5b.
Surface profile is symbolized by a closed half-circle, flat side down and typically refers to
irregular planes. Surface profile is defined as the amount of deviation allowed from a given
surface. Profile of a surface can be applied to a figure in four different ways; bilateral tolerance
as shown in figure figure 5a, unilateral tolerance (inside) as shown in figure 5b, unilateral
tolerance (outside) as shown in figure 5c, and bilateral tolerance unequal distribution as shown in
figure 5d. Thefour applications of profile of a surface are demonstrated in figure 5. When the
type of tolerance zone is not specified, the tolerance zone is assumed to be bilateral.

Fig. 14 Symmetry.
The area between bells establishes the acceptable tolerance zone for symmetrical part features.
The centerline or axis of the bell establishes the reference line from which symmetry is
measured. Symmetry tolerance is only applied on a regardless of feature size (RFS).

Difference between all around and all over

If youve been keeping track of the new GD&T standard, then youre probably aware of most of
the bigger changes. (Yes, I know that 2009 doesnt sound new, but most people still call it the
new standard since it takes a while for companies to switch to a new dimensioning standard.)
The new item I want to show you is pretty easy. It is called the all over symbol, and it is very
similar to all around, which may be familiar to you. Both of these symbols will be found with
feature control frames that use profile of a line or profile of a surface. Heres an example of the
all around symbol, which has been in use for many years:

The all around symbol is the small circle on the elbow of the leader line for the GD&T feature
control frame. This means that there is a profile zone imposed around the entire perimeter of the
part, but only in the left-hand view. It doesnt cover the two large faces of the part (this is why
the 30 mm dimension still has a tolerance on it). Here is the same all around profile zone
shown in yellow:

OK, but now lets look at the new one, which is called all over:

Notice that there are two circles around the elbow of the leader line this is a new addition in
the 2009 standard (to get the same effect previously, we could have used a text note ALL
OVER). This means that the profile tolerance extends everywhere! Notice that the depth
dimension of 30 must now be a basic dimension. Here is this new tolerance shown in yellow:

So as I said, its not a difficult concept. But be careful all over literally means all over! If
there were any holes in this block, the profile tolerance would also cover the walls of the hole
(which means the diameter of the hole would have to be given as a basic dimension). So use this
new one with caution.