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Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing

Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing Introduction

Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing is very important in the manufacturing drawings. Since the first engineering drawing are introduced that the manufacturing drawings contain dimensional tolerances.

Here in this blog i will be explaining the need of Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing, Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing definition, Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing symbols, GD&T advantages, understanding of GD&T in the drawing, types of engineering drawings, dimensions, tolerances and datums.

Tolerances allow parts to deviate from perfection only within defined limits.

The amount of tolerance allowed is usually based on part function.

The limits allow the part to deviate. A properly applied tolerance will ensure that parts fit properly and function as intended.

The goal is to achieve a balance between high cost, narrow tolerances and lower cost, wide tolerances.

The tolerances are simple when they are first introduced. Every dimension had a +/- tolerance.

If the drawing dimension stated: 2.00″ +/-.010″ then an acceptable part would measure between 1.990″ to 2.010″ for that dimension to be acceptable.

As engineering progressed and parts became more complicated, a new method of implementing tolerances was created; Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing, or GD&T.

Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing Definition

Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T), a unique set of GD&T symbols are used to define the relationships between part features and measurement references.

Now a days all the manufacturing drawings are created in CAD tools by mechanical design engineers.

GD&T Factors
GD&T Factors

What is an Engineering Drawing?

A document that communicates a precise description of a part. The description will consist of pictures, words, numbers and symbols.

An engineering drawing will communicate the following factors:

Model Views (Geometry of the part)

Dimensions and Tolerances.

Critical functional relationships.

Part information such as material, heat treat, surface finish. part number and drawing revision number.

Mechanical Drawing Types
Mechanical Engineering drawing content


A numerical value expressed in appropriate units of measure and used to define the size, location, orientation, form or other geometric characteristics of a part

Basic Dimensions

 A basic dimension is considered a theoretically exact dimension. All a basic dimension does is telling you where the geometric tolerance zone or datum target is located. Look for a geometric tolerance in a feature control frame related to the features being dimensioned.

The basic dimension originates from the datum.

The basic dimension is enclosed by a rectangle.

Basic dimensions are used to establish the “true profile” which a profile tolerance will then control. The diameter MUST be a basic dimension if a profile tolerance is applied to a hole.


Tolerance is the amount of permissible variation from the specific dimension. The tolerance is the difference between the maximum and minimum limits.

Tolerance Types


A datum is theoretical exact plane, axis or point location. GD&T or dimensional tolerances are referenced to the datum’s.

All GD&T symbols except for the form tolerances (straightness, flatness, circularity and cylindricity) can use datums to help specify what geometrical control is needed on the part.

Where GD&T is needed?

  • If the Drawing definition and interpretation need to be the same.
  • Features are critical to function or interchangeability.
  • It is important to stop scrapping perfectly good parts.
  • It is important to reduce drawing changes.
  • Required Functional gaging.
  • It is important to increase productivity.

Five Major Advantages of Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing

•  Saving Money — GD&T enhances design accuracy by allowing for appropriate tolerances that maximize production. For many projects, the process provides extra or bonus tolerances

•  Ensuring Dimensional and Tolerance Requirements: A thorough GD&T process guarantees accurate fulfillment of all dimensional and tolerance specifications.

  Assisting Digital Design Methods: A Clear and concise GD&T data is readily adaptable to digital design programs, including nearly universally used 2D and 3D CAD files.

•  Offering Uniformity and Convenience: GD&T is a single and consistent language reduces guesswork. And also interpretation while ensuring consistent geometries across design and manufacturing.

•  Providing Accurate Communication: GD&T enables designers, manufacturers, and inspectors to communicate clearly with one other, saving time and making the process more efficient.

Today’s intricate designs demand the most accurate and reliable communication.

GD&T symbols

There are five sub categories ( form, profile, location, orientation and run out. ) in GD&T.

Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing Symbols
GD&T Symbols


Straightness is a condition where an element of a surface, or derived median line, is a straight line. A straightness  tolerance specifies a tolerance zone within which the considered element of a surface or derived median line must lie.

A straightness tolerance is applied in the view where the elements to be controlled are represented by a straight line.


Flatness is the condition of a surface or derived median plane having all elements in one plane. A flatness tolerance specifies a tolerance zone defined by two parallel planes within which the surface or derived median plane must lie.


Circularity is a condition of a surface where

(a) for a feature other than a sphere, all points of the surface intersected by any plane  perpendicular to an axis or spine (curved line) are equidistant from that axis or spine.

(b) for a sphere, all points of the surface intersected by any plane passing through a common center are equidistant from that center.


Cylindricity is a condition of a surface of revolution in which all points of the surface are equidistant from a common axis. A Cylindricity tolerance specifies a tolerance zone bounded by two concentric cylinders within which the surface must lie.

Profile of a Line

Each line element tolerance zone established by the profile of a line tolerance requirement is two-dimensional (an area) and the tolerance zone is normal to the true profile of the feature at each line element.

Profile of a Surface

The tolerance zone established by the profile of a surface tolerance is three dimensional (a volume), extending along the length and width (or circumference) of the considered feature or features.

All Around Symbol – indicating that a tolerance applies to surfaces all around the Part.


Angularity is the condition of a surface, feature’s center plane, or feature’s axis at any specified angle from a datum plane or datum axis.


Perpendicularity is the condition of a surface, feature’s center plane, or feature’s axis at a right angle to a datum plane or datum axis.


Parallelism is the condition of a surface or feature’s center plane, equidistant at all points from a datum plane; or a feature’s axis, equidistant along its length from one or more datum planes or datum axis.


Position is the location of one or more features of size relative to one another. Defined with the reference of one or more datums.


Concentricity describes a condition in which two or more features , in any combination, have a common axis.


Symmetry is a condition in which a feature (or features) is symmetrically disposed about the center plane of a datum feature.


Run-out is the composite deviation from the desired form of a part surface of revolution through on full rotation (360 deg) of the part on a datum axis.

Total Run-out

Total Run-out is the simultaneous composite control of all elements of a surface at all circular and profile measuring positions as the part is rotated through 360.

Please go through the ASTM Y14.5 Standards for more details on GD&T.

Please do mention your GD&T skill in your RESUME

Thank you for your patience. Good Luck.

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