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Measure Twice, Cut Once: Respecting Fabrication Tolerances

Complex machine components need precision tools to fit together seamlessly. In manufacturing & fabrication terms, this is known as engineering tolerance. Tolerance is a max/min limit to the accurate cutting of machined parts that enable the parts to function as intended, in addition to their visual aesthetics. Tolerances vary from measurements to even texture, color, shape, & profile of components.

When you need quality precision tools in Detroit, MI, contact Cav Tool.

In a college woodwork class, a millimeter off is still manageable. But, in machining terms, it is a disaster. It can cause critical failure, especially if part of something like an aviation turbine. When a product design engineer is given the blueprints of a part, they need crucial details in machining. For example, if the punch is to work in a circular hole, how much can the diameter vary before it starts to affect the core functionality of the punched part?

Importance of Manufacturing Tolerances

Error Accountability: 

Tolerances allow for a minuscule amount of error as long as the core functionality remains unaltered. Tolerances defined from the beginning of the machining process ensure fewer defects and minor reworking. It helps to improve cost savings.


Aesthetics & tolerances go hand in hand. If you need parts to fit together seamlessly, you need to observe extreme precision and tight tolerances to achieve that.

Improved Functionality: 

If you are fabricating parts for an assembly manufacturing unit sourced from multiple fabricators, you need to refine your tolerances to comply with the component fit. The same is observed across all supplying fabrication units.

Cost-Effective Machining: 

Tolerance ensures precisely machined parts and optimally utilized material, manufacture, & overhead costs to get the end product: fewer defects, more savings.

Shorter Board-to-Market Time: 

Observing tolerances may mean the machining process takes longer. Still, it’s efficient with the turnout in the long run. Defects cause delays and supply shortages; tolerances bypass that.

Reduced Ambiguity: 

Ambiguous measurements are a scourge to precise machining. Without specifications, components & parts are useless. Suppose you need a part machined down to a tolerance of ±0.002mm; you better state it in your blueprint.

The Cost & Benefit of High Tolerance Machining

The only downside of high tolerance machining is that the costs go up. You need time, skilled labor, and precision tools like a CNC to work the part. But the benefits of defect-free parts also reciprocate in rework savings and less overhead. Now, you wonder, why not use low-cost, low tolerances then? Well, you should watch a few episodes of ‘Moments from Disaster,’ especially the ones where low-tolerance parts compromised mega-machines. You will get the idea.

So, despite tolerances being such a seemingly minor aspect in machining, they are critical to the function of components in unison. At Cav Tool, respecting engineering tolerances defines quality in our machining services. Our punches die, buttons, fixtures, & retainers may be intermediate manufacturing components. Still, they are fabricated within precise tolerances so that our clients get the product they require.

Need some high-tolerance components for your manufacturing facility in Detroit, MI? Receive a free quotation on our fabrication services and send your detailed blueprints. We guarantee you complete process-controlled precision in our products!