How to Measure to a MILLIONTH of an Inch (The Dawn of Precision) - Smarter Every Day 206

How to Measure to a MILLIONTH of an Inch (The Dawn of Precision) - Smarter Every Day 206
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    - [Destin] Radius gauges.
    -[Darryl] Yes.
    If anything's missing it's because you probably--
    - [Destin] What are you talking about?
    - You probably misplaced it.
    - Hey it's me Destin.
    Welcome back to Smarter Every Day.
    So this is my dad,
    and everybody's gonna talk about
    in the comments how ugly we are.
    Let's just get that outta the way.
    - Chip off the old block.
    - We're ugly.
    - It ain't gonna get no better.
    - We know it.
    He knows how to measure things.
    He's been a metrologist for years
    and years and years, right?
    - Yes.
    - Yeah, what things have you measured?
    - All kinds of things.
    - Yeah?
    - You name it,
    just this week I measured things that go into space
    and things that go down deep in the ocean.
    - Just this week?
    - Just this week.
    - And that's a metrologist does, right?
    It's the study of measuring things.
    So, when I was growing up,
    this is the kind of stuff I would play with
    in the garage.
    These are micrometers,
    that's a really old lathe over there.
    These are things that kind of shape the way I think,
    and I read a lot of books back in the day,
    and I'm basically making this video
    because I want you to see it.
    It's the dawn of precision.
    You taught me all this stuff,
    and there's a guy named Joseph Whitworth.
    - Mm-hmm, we're standing on his shoulders right now, right?
    - Right, well I mean like,
    you like surface plates don't you?
    - Oh yeah.
    - Do you know who made surface plates?
    - Who made em?
    I guess Mr. Starrett did.
    - No, Joseph Whitworth.
    - Did he?
    - Yeah.
    - Did he really?
    - Yeah, so today on Smarter Every Day,
    I would like to go on an adventure
    to learn about this guy,
    Joseph Whitworth,
    and basically I think you will enjoy this video.
    - Okay.
    - So our story starts here
    at the Tennessee State Museum.
    There's a really cool thing here,
    something I've cared about my entire life.
    It's a special weapon that was used in the Civil War
    called a Whitworth rifle.
    Okay this is what we're here for,
    this is a Whitworth.
    This represents the proliferation of the idea
    of modern manufacturing precision.
    This is a weapon that was designed in England
    by a guy named Joseph Whitworth.
    The scope is off to the side
    so I don't really know how they fire this thing.
    Look at the end of the barrel here.
    You can see that it's not a circle
    like most rifles are at the end of their barrel.
    This is a hexagonal bullet.
    Now the interesting thing about that
    is it's a hexagonal helical bullet.
    If you think about it,
    how do you make a hexagonal hole in metal,
    and then how do you twist that at a certain rate?
    The answer is extreme manufacturing precision.
    So there was a bullet at the museum,
    but the cool thing about the South
    is you can pick up the phone and call people
    like Preston who owns,
    and you have a Whitworth bullet?
    - [Preston] I do.
    - [Destin] So your thing is Civil War relics, right?
    Like you've got all the-- - Yes.
    - [Destin] You buy and sell the stuff, right?
    - Absolutely.
    - [Destin] But, is your Whitworth for sale?
    - Not yet.
    - [Destin] Well what's the deal here?
    You found this right?
    - I found that one.
    - [Destin] Okay, so it has sentimental value to you.
    - [Preston] It does.
    I've never actually sold anything that I found.
    - [Destin] Really?
    So what's the story with this?
    This is what you'd call a drop?
    - [Preston] This was a dropped bullet,
    it was not fired.
    It was found along the second day's battle lines
    at the Battle of Nashville.
    Basically it would've been dropped on December 16, 1864.
    - [Destin] Really?
    You can peg it down to the day?
    - You can peg it down to that day.
    - So what's so special about the Whitworth bullet,
    the hexagon right?
    - The hexagon,
    a lot of the Whitworth's that came through
    were the round conical type shells.
    You didn't see a lot of the hexagon type guns
    come through,
    and it's quite rare to dig one
    and to find one in dropped great condition
    is kinda neat to find.
    - [Destin] So why did the sharp shooters of the day
    prefer the Whitworth?
    - Very accurate.
    - [Destin] Really?
    Did you know they actually made artillery pieces
    that have the hex?
    - I did, I did.
    I'd seen some of those shells.
    I've never seen the actual cannon,
    but I'd seen some of the shells.
    - [Destin] I recently went to a civil war cannon shoot,
    and while some people were there on the field
    trying to knock down barrels with their cannons,
    there was this one guy that was absolutely drilling
    whatever he aimed at.
    How long did it take you to make this Mike?
    - [Mike} It took me a couple years.
    The planning and arranging stage
    took longer than the actual making of it.
    The making of it was about a year.
    - [Destin] So the whole purpose of this
    is that you have an increased roll rate,
    so you have a more stabilized projectile right?
    - Correct.
    - Wow, that's amazing.
    Okay let's get the camera set up.
    - [Man] That's perfect.
    - Is that it?
    Oh that's cool.
    That's really cool.
    That's gonna work.
    - [Mike] It looks good doesn't it?
    - [Destin] It really does.
    Okay here we go,
    Whitworth 600 meters,
    yards, yards.
    600 yards.
    - [Mike] Whitworth three powder ready to fire?
    (cannon boom)
    (explosion flying through the air)
    - [Destin] Did you hit it?
    - Yeah looks like I skimmed the bullseye
    at about nine o'clock.
    - [Destin] Really?
    Oh holy cow dude!
    We're talkin' about 600 yards?
    - Yes.
    - That's insane.
    So here it is right here.
    - Aw man.
    - Oh my goodness.
    - Look at how aggressive that rotation is.
    - Whoa! - Wow!
    - [Destin] Each one of those lands
    represents 60 degrees of rotation,
    so what we can do is we can go back
    and we figure out where one is in polar coordinates,
    and as it rotates we can actually calculate
    the roll rate and the distance.
    And we can calculate the distance
    or the muzzle velocity,
    based on the length of the round itself.
    (cannon firing)
    - Whitworth was an engineer.
    He developed a lot of machining,
    unique machining abilities to make flat planes,
    to measure to a millionth of an inch,
    those were all original things that Whitworth engineered.
    - A millionth of an inch.
    To show how this might work,
    let's look at this.
    So let's say we have a lever here,
    and we have 10 inches here,
    and we have one inch here to where we put a pencil
    or something like that.
    So if we move this thing 10 inches up top,
    we get one inch of movement down here.
    But what if we add another lever to this,
    exactly like that one.
    It's got a 10 inch fulcrum distance there,
    one inch of movement.
    Down here in the middle,
    that's a hundred thousandths of an inch of movement.
    Down here at the bottom,
    it's barely even moving.
    That's 10 thousandths of an inch.
    We have to zoom in so you can even see it.
    Okay it's one thing to understand these principles,
    it's quite another to actually incorporate them
    into the machinery of the day.
    That's the magic of what Whitworth did,
    and to explain how he did it,
    I'm gonna kick it over to a buddy of mine named Will.
    He has a YouTube channel called Machine Thinking.
    He actually went to the U.K. and shows exactly
    what Whitworth did to kick precision manufacturing
    into high gear.
    - [Will] Thanks Destin,
    though it does seem incredible,
    Whitworth did make a machine that could measure
    down to a millionth of an inch.
    To make a machine this accurate and precise
    he did something amazing.
    His machine had a micrometer screw
    with 20 threads per inch,
    which acted on the work piece
    that had a worm wheel with 200 teeth
    on the end of that shaft.
    In turn, the shaft had a dial divided 250 times.
    So 20 times 200 times 250 gives you a resolution
    of one millionth of an inch.
    Whitworth was able to show
    even a momentary human touch on the workpiece
    was detectable by this machine.
    Now this was before the times of
    environmentally controlled rooms,
    so I'm certain he was unable to get those same measurements
    day to day,
    but it does show he was able to measure
    to accuracies far beyond what anyone else was doing
    at the time.
    In fact, Whitworth is credited for introducing the thou,
    a one thousandths of a inch of measurement,
    and he could easily and regularly work
    to that kind of precision or beyond.
    But you can't make a machine measuring close
    to millionths of an inch from just anywhere.
    There's a whole chain of important precursors
    to make something like that.
    Whitworth helped invent or improve those as well,
    probably the most important being the surface plate.
    The surface plate is simply a piece of cast iron
    or later granite,
    which is incredibly flat and serves as your reference
    for all precision.
    Whitworth helped popularize the method
    for making surface plates by scraping and lapping
    three pieces of cast iron together.
    The only plane that has come
    in between three or more surfaces
    has to be one that is practically perfectly flat,
    and it's from those flat surface plates
    that Whitworth could transfer that precision
    into other tools or machines
    like his millionth of an inch machine
    or cannons or rifles,
    and was able to help the world
    make precision a commodity like it is today.
    All the precision and accuracy in the world
    can be traced back to flat plates
    like the one that Whitworth made.
    It's not initially intuitive,
    but even those precise hexagonal bores
    have their origins back in Whitworth's machines and tools,
    which got their precision and accuracy
    from his surface plates.
    The amazing accuracy of his cannons and rifles
    are just the end product of a very long chain of precision.
    But Whitworth didn't keep all this technology
    to himself.
    He eventually founded his own company,
    and he made precision machine tools
    for the industries that were starting to bloom
    thanks to this new level of precision.
    Whenever you have new kinds
    of precision and accuracy available to manufacturers,
    it enables new kinds of things to be made
    and products start to get cheaper.
    If you're ever eating a fresh strawberry
    in New York City in January,
    you have Whitworth partly to thank for that.
    Whitworth's company made some of the
    absolute finest machine tools you could buy,
    including lathes, planners,
    drill presses, shapers,
    slotters and more,
    which gave precision manufacturing a huge kick.
    Whitworth died a wealthy man,
    and for his enormous accomplishments was given
    a title by the crown,
    but perhaps his biggest legacy
    was for another kind of machine he made,
    a screw cutting machine that he sold all over Britain.
    What that machine did,
    and the implications of it are amazing.
    - If you wanna learn more about precision manufacturing,
    go check out Will's channel,
    Machine Thinking.
    Think about how important this stuff is.
    He's got some more videos coming about
    Whitworth and precision manufacturing,
    but this is important.
    Like Whitworth was the first person
    to standardize threaded fasteners,
    like threads per inch.
    He did that,
    it's called the British Standard Whitworth.
    Imagine going to a bolt bin here
    and trying to get a bolt,
    but nothing is standardized.
    He fixed that back in the 1840's.
    So do me a favor and look around you
    and see what's within arm's reach.
    If there's something made by humans around you,
    chances are there's a threaded fastener in it.
    So, leave a comment down in the video
    as to what that thing is,
    chances are it's a small fine thread machine screw,
    if I had to guess.
    Leave a comment and bonus points if you can name
    exactly what thread it is.
    Another thing you'll find in the basement,
    genealogy, things like that from the family.
    But I'm gonna give you the modern precise way.
    - What's that?
    Oh yeah.
    - [Destin] 23 and me.
    I would argue that there is a new helix study going on
    that's trying to help the world,
    and that is DNA.
    DNA as you know is a double helix.
    23 and me is the sponsor for today's episode,
    and they have developed a kit
    that you can get by going to
    It comes to your house.
    There's a little vial in it.
    You spit in the vial,
    you package it back up.
    You register,
    you send it off.
    There's a video on Smarter Every Day
    where I went to the lab and see them using a chip
    like this to do what's called genotype testing.
    They don't sequence your DNA,
    they do genotype testing,
    which is a way to look at different SNPs,
    Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms,
    to understand more about your genetic sequence.
    It's like a very small fraction of your sequence.
    There's two ways you can use 23 and me.
    You can just do the ancestry part,
    which makes a great gift for somebody that's interested
    in genealogy and stuff like that.
    Or you can do health and ancestry,
    which is what I choose to do
    because I get all kinds of information
    about my body.
    Just like back in the day,
    they were seeing the dawn of precision manufacturing.
    Right now, today,
    in our day and age,
    we are at the dawn of precision medicine,
    which is going to affect our children's lives forever,
    and it's gonna make the world a better place.
    So I'm excited about this.
    If you want to get a kit for you or someone you love,
    go to
    Get a kit,
    makes a really good gift,
    and learn more about your body.
    You went to Alabama right?
    - Absolutely.
    - Roll Tide.
    - Roll tide.
    - [Destin] Dude, every time I see you,
    you're over here sticking things in your barrel.
    What's up with that?
    - Well, I have the luxury of cleaning the bore
    to an immaculate state,
    which helps with accuracy in an actual war situation.
    - Dude's proud of his gun,
    that's what this is.
    Proud of your gun,
    that's exactly what's going on.
    - That's right.
    - [Destin] This is your baby isn't it?
    - It's like waxing my corvette.
    - [Destin] It's called the Whitworth three plate method.
    - I did not know that.
    I mean I knew the three plate method,
    but I didn't know Whitworth did it.
    - [Destin] So Whitworth is like your hero.
    - Yup.
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