This edition of the Fastener Training Minute with Carmen Vertullo was originally published September 23, 2018 as “a book recommendation for fastener people” during episode 132 of Fully Threaded Radio.
Today we’re going to do something a little bit different. We’re going to do a book recommendation. Not a book review, just a recommendation. A very good friend of mine, Jim Law from Ababa Bolt here in El Cajon California, gave me a book called “The Perfectionists”. It’s written by Simon Winchester a fairly famous writer who’s got lots of interesting technical and historical books, mostly having to deal with technology. One of his most famous books is The Professor and the Madman about a US Civil War doctor who became a major contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary while in a mental asylum. The Perfectionists is about the development of Technology from the beginning of the mechanical age right before the Industrial Revolution, and I found it to be fascinating and worth recommending and there are even a few things about fasteners. Even though it’s not a fastener book, I’ll tell you why I think you should read The Perfectionists by Simon Winchester.
I found this book interesting because it starts off talking about a topic which is very very important to all of us who are involved with either manufacturing or inspecting fasteners, or actually manufacturing or inspecting anything.
The particular topic is knowing the difference between accuracy and precision and I’m going to give you a brief example.
Let’s say you are measuring a screw thread but it’s not very good if we don’t know where we’re starting from. So we need to have a zero point to have accuracy. With our tri-roll gauge, if you’re familiar with that, the way we get our zero is we put a master setting plug in there. That set plug is the exact size of whatever the pitch diameter that we’re reading. So now we have accuracy because we know where zero is and we also have precision because we have an instrument that can read that measurement out to four decimal places. Another example that might be that say you are a marksman and you are shooting bullets at a target, and your bullets are all landing in a very tight pattern but they’re nowhere near the bullseye. That means you have great Precision. You can put those bullets on a pretty tight pattern, but until you get them on the bullseye you don’t really have accuracy. You can have pretty good accuracy in a nice reasonable spread around your target without great Precision.
So the fundamental difference between accuracy and precision is how tight the pattern is for precision and how close to the Target it actually is for accuracy. So, I hope you’ll read The Perfectionists by Simon Winchester. It goes on to talk about how we first figured out how to make the cylinders for steam engines perfectly round. And how did we first figured out how to make perfectly flat Machine Tools lathes and Milling machines. And also talks about how we discovered how to make turbine blades for jet engines, and how we discovered material processes and microprocessors and all those things that matter to us in modern technology. It’s on Amazon. It’s about $18 and read it The Perfectionists.