Gauge Blocks

Gauge blocks are also called gauge block set that are measuring devices, which are system for the production of precision lengths. Individual gauge blocks are metal or ceramic blocks that have been precisely ground and lapped to a focused thickness value.

Because gauge blocks are often come in sets, so they are also called gauge block sets and the block series range standard length values that are all set in standardized procedure, so they are stacked by users to make a wanted length. Gauge block set was invented by Swedish machinist in the year 1896, whose name is Carl Edvard Johansson. The invention of this mechanical item greatly improved the progression of industry then and the influence is so huge that even affect the methods people use now. The invention of gauge block set could be recognized as an epoch making invention. 

Gauge Blocks’ Uncertainty in Dimension

The structure of these gauge blocks are piled one by one, so it is noteworthy that the piled blocks may indicate small dimensional uncertainty that may cause tolerance issues. Wringing is the term that referred to the conjoining process of those gauge blocks by sliding methods. Wringing would leads to the extraordinary flat surfaces of the blocks of the gauge block set to cling together. For the wringing effect, many people may think it as the effect of magnetism but actually it is proved that such phenomenon involves no magnetism at all but other physical effects that pull those gauge blocks together. The asserted hypotheses are many, such as due to the smooth surfaces of the gauge blocks, the air pressure may push the two into stick together. Others suggest that there may be some surface tension. Still others guess that there may be the effect of molecular attraction between the gauge blocks. 

Supportive Accessories of Gauge Blocks

There is a whole set of supportive accessories sold together with those gauge blocks in a case bin. Those accessories are things such as holders, extending tools, etc, to offer a measure of firmly clamping big stacks altogether. Those holders and extending tools can help users and workers to make the best usages of the tools as caliper jaws. Those supportive tools are critical to the measurement and inspections of the gauge blocks’ functionality and users of those blocks need to know better about the whole block sets before using them. Gauge blocks are often used together with the dial indicators as two pairs of basic inspection instruments. A dial indicator is a measuring device as well, which are one of the most primary measuring tools utilized in the precision manufacturing process.

In the application in the engine building, they are typically used to measure deck clearances, crankshaft thrust and straightness. Lifter travel and other measurements that involve the distance between two surfaces or small amounts of component travel are also common in the dial indicator inventory. This device aims at comparing measurements between two objects so inspection person can check the conformity of one of the objects. The second one is normally the reference. The dial indicator can be used in many objects while for the final checking shall also be checked by other devices.

Production of Gauge Blocks

The manufacture of gauge blocks are often made with hardened metals such as alloys like steel alloys. Some may use ceramics or cemented carbides as the materials to make the gauge blocks. Tungsten carbide is also an option. For this option, the carbide has a hardness of about 1500 Vickers, so it is suitable for the usages. The lengths of gauge blocks are different, and for those are in longer length, they are often made with cross sections with holes for the purpose of clamping. Carbon steel is also an option. Steel gauge blocks are hardened with special treatment and are tempered in a large extent. The hardness of those gauge blocks are so important, since an appropriate hardness value can help prolong the lifespan of the gauge blocks, reducing the wear rates during frequent usages.

After basic cutting of the blocks, the next step is abrasive cutting, which is, the grinding process. Precision grinding is crucial to the manufacture of gauge blocks, and then the lapping process follows afterwards. After lapping, the gauge blocks are lightly oiled, and will be stored and used in a controlled condition of dry climate. In most circumstances, gauge blocks are not treated with plating and coating processes.

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