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Errors in Thread

Effects of Errors in Thread

Screw Thread Measuring Elements

1. Major diameter
2. Minor diameter
3. Effective diameter
4. Pitch
5. Thread form

Major Diameter

Major Diameter

Minor Diameter

Effective Diameter

One-wire method
In this method, one wire is placed between two threads at one side
and on the other side the anvil of the
measuring micrometer contacts the crests. First
the micrometer reading is noted on a standard gauge whose
dimension is nearly same as to be obtained by this method.
Actual measurement over wire on one side and threads on other
side = size of gauge difference in two micrometer readings.
This method is used for measuring effective diameter of counter
pitch threads, and during manufacture of threads.
The difficulty with this method
is that the micrometer axis may
not remain exactly at right angles
to the thread axis.

Two Wire Method

Pitch Measurement


Pitch diameter
Errors in this diameter determine to a large extent
the amount of "play" between assembled screw
Pitch diameter of an external thread is less than its
upper limit, so its threads will appear to be thin and
increasingly slack in assembly with an internal
thread on its own low diametral limit. Conversely, if
the pitch diameter of the external screw is above its
upper limit then the threads are said to be thick.
The reverse of these conditions applies to internal
screw threads.

Pitch errors can be considered as departures from
the inclined straight line depicted

Fig. 5a, shows the errors in pitch, round and along, a screw.
The errors are expressed with respect to a datum plane
normal to the axis of the screw.
There is a lengthening of pitch up to say 0.003 mm at
region (a), at region (h) the pitch with respect to the datum
is short by 0.002 mm.
The cumulative error is a shortening of pitch between
positions (a) and (h) of (0.003 + 0.002 mm), i.e. 0.005 mm.
It will be seen also that the extremes of the plot are regions
(i) and (f) between which there is a maximum cumulative
pitch error of 0.0115 mm.

The maximum cumulative error in pitch, i.e. the maximum

error in the axial distance between any two positions along
the helix, has to be accommodated when one screwed part
is to assemble with another.
General lengthening or shortening of pitch may be due to
changes in the material in hardening, or a reproduction of an
error in the leading screw of the lathe or thread grinding
machine upon which the sample was made. Errors of a
periodic nature, see particularly the record in Fig. 5a, may be
due to a to-and-fro axial motion when the sample was
made, caused by damaged centres, or an out-of-square
abutment face on the leading screw of headstock spindle, or
eccentrically mounted change gear wheels.
Common practice to check accuracy of pitch only at
consecutive pitches over the length of a screw gauge.

Error in pitch in relation to pitch diameter

It is important to realize that errors in pitch, namely

incorrect relative position of the flanks, act obstructively:
for example an otherwise perfect external screw which has
pitch error will not screw into a perfect internal screw of
the same nominal size.
It can be made to do so by removing metal from its flanks
and thus reducing its simple pitch diameter. An alternative
way of appreciating the connection between errors in pitch
and pitch diameter is that pitch errors virtually increase the
pitch diameter of an external screw and virtually reduce
the pitch diameter of an internal screw.

Suppose the upper and lower outlines in Figure of earlier slide represent
respectively a perfect internal screw and an otherwise perfect external screw
but for having a pitch error of p. The two screws just assemble over a length
of n pitches, and are depicted in contact with each other on flanks at only the
first and last threads. The maximum displacement between the two threads,
the pitch error p axially, can be seen as a symmetrical gap of p/2 axially at
each side at the centre thread, and can be expressed equivalently as p/2cot
radially. Thus the external screw which has a simple pitch diameter smaller
than that of the internal screw engages by behaving virtually p2cot larger
diametraly. The numerical values for cot for threads in common use are as

It will be seen that the virtual equivalent effect on

pitch diameter is a multiple of pitch error, roughly two
times for the commonest threads and roughly four
times for Acme.
For this reason of multiplied effect it is essential that
pitch errors be kept as small as possible;
measurements of pitch may be made to a resolution
of 0.0002mm [0.00001 in] so that the threading
process is checked closely.


Threaded components intended to assemble and to be
interchangeable have to be tested to ensure assembly and, equally
importantly, with no more slackness of fit than the designer permits.
A system of limit gauges as follows is recommended and is common
Gauges for external threads
a) A Go screw ring or calliper gauge made to the maximum permitted
pitch diameter of the external thread. If the latter has a nominal
thread form as in Fig. 1b the Go gauge should correspond with the
maximum metal permitted outline of the product.
b) A Not Go pitch diameter calliper gauge or screw ring made to the
minimum permitted pitch diameter of the external thread.
c) Go and Not Go plain calliper gauges made to the respective maximum
and minimum permitted major diameters of the external thread.

Gauges for internal threads

a) A Go screw plug gauge made to the minimum permitted pitch diameter
of the internal thread. If the latter has a nominal thread form, the Go
gauge should correspond with the maximum metal permitted outline of
the product.
b) A Not Go pitch diameter screw plug gauge made to the maximum
permitted pitch diameter of the internal thread.
c) Go and Not Go plain plug gauges made to the respective permitted
minimum and maximum minor diameters of the internal thread.
Length of gauge
The Go screw gauges should have a length of thread not less than the
length of engagement of the components to be tested, thus ensuring
that the effect of cumulative error in pitch in a component is taken into
The Not Go pitch diameter screw gauges may be limited to not more
than three turns of thread. In their cases cumulative error of pitch in a
component can play little part over the short length of engagement of
the Not Go gauge.

Thread form of gauge

Go screw gauges should be the counterpart of the maximum
permitted metal outline of the thread to be gauged. Thus for
Whitworth and B.A. threaded components the Go gauges will have
radiused crests and roots to ensure that no part of the component
outline exceeds its maximum permitted metal profile. However for
American National, ISO metric and unified threads which have flat
crests and clearance at the roots it is not practical to supply a flat at
the roots of Go gauges. British Standards indicate the appropriate
thread form for Go gauges and in each case it ensures that the full
length of straight flank of the component thread is tested.
Not Go pitch diameter gauges concentrate on ensuring that the pitch
diameter of the component is not outside the minimum metal limit.
Accordingly the crests of the gauge are deliberately truncated and the
roots cleared. Furthermore the Not Go gauge offers reduced flank
contact with a component thread and thus is less affected by flank
angle errors than it would be in full flank engagement.