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A Review of Current Geometric Tolerancing Theories and CMM Inspection Data Analysis Algorithm



Shaw C. Feng, Ted Hopp


This report provides an overview of the state of the art in mechanical dimensioning and tolerancing theories and CMM inspection data-analysis technology. We expect that the information included in this review will benefit CMM software developers, CMM users, and researchers of new CMM technology.

This document is the result of a survey of published geometric dimensioning and tolerancing theories and post-inspection data-analysis algorithms. Both traditional and modern theories have been reviewed. Principles on which current national standards and international standards are based have been stated. These geometric dimensioning and tolerancing principles are commonly used in mechanical design and part inspection. Post-inspection data- analysis algorithms, used for extracting features and evaluating tolerances, have also been reviewed. The effects of using different fitting criteria are discussed. From this theory and algorithm review, we recommend directions for future development in these areas. The bibliography covers activities and accomplishments of the research in advancing inspection technology.

NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 4509
Report Number


CMM, data-analysis algorithm, dimensioning principles, geometric inspection, geometric tolerancing, mechanical design, mechanical dimensioning, tolerancing principles, tolerancing theories


Feng, S. and Hopp, T. (1991), A Review of Current Geometric Tolerancing Theories and CMM Inspection Data Analysis Algorithm, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed June 18, 2024)


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Created February 28, 1991, Updated October 12, 2021