Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM)

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Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) - short version

A device that dimensionally measures 3-D products, tools and components with an accuracy approaching 0.0001 inches.

Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) - long version

A coordinate measuring machine (CMM) is a device for measuring the physical geometrical characteristics of an object. This machine may be manually controlled by an operator or it may be computer controlled. Measurements are defined by a probe attached to the third moving axis of this machine. Probes may be mechanical, optical, laser, or white light, amongst others.

The typical "bridge" CMM is composed of three axes, an X, Y and Z. These axes are orthogonal to each other in a typical three dimensional coordinate system. Each axis has a scale system that indicates the location of that axis. The machine will read the input from the touch probe, as directed by the operator or programmer. The machine then uses the X,Y,Z coordinates of each of these points to determine size and position with micrometre precsion typically.

A coordinate measuring machine (CMM) is also a device used in manufacturing and assembly processes to test a part or assembly against the design intent. By precisely recording the X, Y, and Z coordinates of the target, points are generated which can then be analyzed via regression algorithms for the construction of features. These points are collected by using a probe that is positioned manually by an operator or automatically via Direct Computer Control (DCC). DCC CMMs can be programmed to repeatedly measure identical parts, thus a CMM is a specialized form of industrial robot.


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