Pin Gauge

What is a pin gauge?

A pin gauge, also known as a pin gage, or a gage pin, is a pin-like measuring tool, and is specialized in detecting the tolerance of objects. In the field of metal or wood working industry, the measurement after production is a necessary evil. Despite that conducting measurement with pin gauges ensures the optimal quality of products, it increases some processing cost as well.

When it comes to gauges or gages, they are formed in various shapes for accommodating different measuring targets. The general cylindrical shapes of gauges come in solid or hollow forms, which allows for being applied with either the outside or inside diameter. Unless being affected by temperature or other factors, the sizes of gauges are fixed, which make them meet the measuring standards. When applying gauges within the inner parts of targets, or fitting the targets into the inside holes of gauges, the results of tolerance are obtained.

Among all these measuring tools, the pin gauge or pin gage is the most common. The simplest cylindrical shape is perfect for targets with different angles, which makes pin gages the best tool choice. In order to customize the applications of pin gages, they are usually packaged as pin gage sets. In a pin gage set, there are a series of pin gages with the range from minimum to maximum tolerance. The finer the calibration of pin gages is, the more accurate the measurement is. This explains the reason why the manufacturers of metal or wood products would prefer investing a whole set of pin gages instead of the separated ones.

Why use a pin gauge?

As mentioned above, a pin gauge is used for conducting the tolerance measurement. Tolerance determines both the profit and the cost, which are the reverse concepts but correlated much to each other. Technically speaking, the term tolerance refers to a range in which errors are acceptable. In other words, although there is the pre-set standard for product quality, if the result of measurement is within the tolerance range, it is still allowable.

So, why does tolerance make a difference in the profit and cost? For one thing, as the name implies, this error-tolerance range allows for slight deviation. In the precision machining industry, what the manufacturers pursue is the machining accuracy. Finer accuracy indicates better product quality, which leads to greater profit.

However, to enhance the machining accuracy, it should rely much on the tolerance measurement. It requires an intricate machining process to minimize the errors that occur, which takes time and cost from the manufacturer’s perspective. Therefore, to find the balance between profit and cost, using pin gauges or pin gages to do the measurement is indispensable.

The materials of pin gauges

The available materials for making pin gages are steel, carbide, and ceramic. The steel pin gage sets are the most commonly used ones with reasonable price. Thermal expansion may occur to the steel pin gage due to temperature change though. The carbide pin gages remain the smoothest surfaces, as they are resistant to abrasion. As for those made of ceramic, they are resistant to corrosion, so holding them without other equipment is permissible.

In that these measuring tools are the standards of the targets, which are the formed products, they should be ensured in stable condition. The unstable condition of the gauges makes the unreliable results of the measurement. Thus, the replacement of gauge materials prevents the occurrence of factors due to thermal expansion or rust of the surfaces.

The configuration of pin gauges
Pin gauges are designed in cylindrical shapes with solid or hollow inner parts. The solid ones conduct the measurement with the outside diameters, and the hollow ones allow for measuring with the inside diameters. In order to prevent the affective factors from occurring, the pin gages may be equipped with a shank for the operator to hold. 

In addition, it is acceptable for the operators to wear gloves or use pin vises when taking the measurement. In this way, they not only make the protection for the gauges, but also ensure the optimal accuracy in the results of measurement.

The applications of pin gauges

As far as we know, pin gauges are the measuring tools for detecting the machining accuracy and product quality. We have had the knowledge of the purpose and principle of using these tools, now let’s discuss the applications of them.

When processing metal workpieces, for example, drilling and milling are the common techniques for creating holes, slots, or grooves on the product surfaces. Once these machined parts are made, the pin gauges would be applied for examining the parameters such as hole diameter or groove width. Only when the results meet the standard of tolerance then the products are available for appearing on the markets.

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