The ASME Y14.5 standard is hundreds of pages long and serves as a comprehensive guide for the design language of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing. The knowledge contained within that standard -- when wielded by sophisticated practitioners of GD&T -- is an incredibly powerful tool to improve communication, increase productivity, and eliminate wasted time and materials.
But for the uninitiated, the standard is a dense, impenetrable text too complicated to be of much use. Without good instruction, learning to use GD&T can be a lengthy, frustrating experience.
We know, we’ve been there.
What started as a reference website for his coworkers at ZF turned into GD&T Basics. The lessons Tom learned while teaching himself GD&T and his experiences using (and not using) GD&T on the job as an engineer forged GD&T Basics’ instructional approach.
The Origins of GD&T Basics
Our founder, Tom Geiss was hired as an application engineer right out of school, but he’d never been exposed to the language of GD&T. Early on in his career he was designing parts that couldn’t be produced because he didn’t understand the effects of tolerances on manufacturing. Turns out, knowledge of GD&T was critical to his job, and without it, he was unable to communicate properly with his colleagues in production and inspection and this cost him his first job.
As with many others, that failure served as an excellent teacher, and it instilled a drive to master the concepts and terminology of GD&T.
It took Tom years to learn GD&T on his own, using sheer will and brute force effort. He built his foundation slowly, adding to it as he worked for companies large and small and connected with mentors who gave him additional knowledge and insight along the way. Eight years into his engineering career, he had acquired the ability and perspective to not only see how useful GD&T is, but also how few people shared his understanding of GD&T. So, he began to share his knowledge and teach his colleagues so they could reap its benefits, too.
Why We Teach the Way We Do
At GD&T Basics, our mission is to simplify the complexities of geometric distancing and tolerancing. The ASME Y14.5 standard is incredibly complicated, and learning it all will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the language of GD&T. But without an understanding of how to use that knowledge, to effectively apply it to the work you do, it’s useless. Knowledgeable fools are fools nonetheless.
We’re in the business of helping our students gain the wisdom of how to utilize GD&T at work, not merely rote knowledge of the GD&T standard.
That’s why we focus on teaching the parts of GD&T that are relevant to the work our students do. Other training companies evangelize the entire standard and are convinced that proper training is about obtaining complete knowledge of GD&T symbols, terminology, and theory. Their devotion is to the standard itself, not its actual use.
Our view is that such an approach would be a disservice to our clients. We’re realists, and we know that most people will only ever use 15-20% of the standard on the job. So, we maximize the impact of our instruction by simplifying the material. We teach the relevant parts of the standard and directly connect GD&T to its uses in production and inspection -- and with our on-site training, we fully tailor what we teach to each client’s drawings and needs. We teach how to apply GD&T throughout the manufacturing process, not just in design. Doing so gives our students the perspective to see how using GD&T affects all aspects of production, including inspection and the supply chain.
After years of working as engineers and machinists and helping thousands of companies implement GD&T as instructors, we’ve seen what goes right and what goes wrong, and we know what GD&T best practices look like. Developing an efficient process boils down to effective communication between your departments, customers, and suppliers to design for manufacturability -- and provide the appropriate context to machinists and inspectors so they can create and validate the parts produced.
Our background has taught us to value real-world experience and that there are many ways to employ GD&T to improve the manufacturing process. We aren’t in the business of telling our clients what to do. We’re a resource to help them find ways to improve communication and increase profits. We aim to keep what works and use the relevant parts of the ASME Y14.5 standard to fix what doesn’t.
"The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple."
We start with every client by asking the same question: what changes can we make to achieve the greatest impact with the least amount of change?
That’s why our teaching methods rely so heavily on real-world examples. We believe that the best way to learn is by doing, which means showing our students real engineering drawings and working with actual parts. Formal engineering training focuses on CAD models that are idealized examples without tolerance limitations. Our instruction leverages real engineering drawings that balance the realities of function and manufacturability because that’s how it works in the real world.
Our teachers strive to be a mentor and resource to their students, not a master dispensing knowledge from on high. That’s not to say that we aren’t authorities on GD&T. Our instructors are in the top 1% of GD&T experts in the country and have a deep understanding of the entire standard. But we also retain a beginner’s mindset and model ourselves after the finest educators we’ve had in our lives. The best teachers can take a complex idea and make it digestible, easy to understand, and even obvious for their students – and that’s the standard we expect from ourselves.
We simplify the standard for our students by identifying and teaching only the relevant parts, then reinforce the material through example drawings and exploration of how it fits into students’ day to day work. Our online coursework breaks down GD&T into manageable chunks, with lessons that take less than 10 minutes each. And after completing the course, students get continued support through our weekly online webinars that illustrate how to solve real problems that others in the industry are facing out on the production floor.
Our teaching aims to help students absorb useful information, not impress them with our knowledge. And while we approach instruction with a beginner’s mindset, our training can be as advanced as you need it to be. Everything in the standard is there for a specific reason and as long as a given element of the standard serves your business, we’ll teach you how to use it.
We believe in practice over theory. Every engineering drawing is an agreement between design and manufacturing, but in the real world, disputes are common. Everybody wants to get it right, but you can’t make the right decisions without first understanding how everything works.
GD&T Basics can give you the understanding needed to make better decisions and get it right.
We want to help you figure out the best approach for getting your team using GD&T. We are here first to help - not sell, so let us know how we can assist your team to get started with GD&T Training.