Friday, February 9, 2018
So What’s a Surface Plate?
To my many friends here, (In fact someone asked me) who do not know what the technical terms mean… Lathes…Surface plates??
A lathe is a machine which “turns” cyclindrical components very accurately. This means that the cylindrical part is rotated and a cutting tool removes material along its length.
This process has been in use for, literally, thousands of years. It was used to produce wooden parts and the process has been refined from holding large logs between to two trees. A modern lathe, though, is a sleek, computer controlled machine, which can produce many thousands of parts in a day. More on lathes in another article..
What is a Surface Plate:
These are simply reference datums for measuring objects. The surface is flat to within a few thousandths of a millimeter along its entire surface. Any object that is made in engineering, is made to a very precise size specification. Before sending a product out, a manufacturer needs to know that the size is within specification. More than anything else, he needs a perfect plane on which to place the component, from which to commence measurement of the product and this plane is provided by the surface plate. Of course the measurements themselves are carried out using other instruments and tools, but no matter how sophisticated the measuring instrument, we need a near perfect datum surface.